In the end the prospects for democracy depend on whether the rebels can mobilise support politically throughout Libya, says Mary Kaldor. The problem with the military approach is that it entrenches division. The preoccupation with classic military means is undermining the capacity to address growing insecurity and risks a deteriorating situation.
The recent history of western military interventions in the Middle East is hardly encouraging. Yet British PM David Cameron has clearly been itching to begin the bombing in Libya, and US President Obama has also sanctioned armed action - in spite of serious warnings from advisers in and outside the White House.