Qaddafi’s Last Stand?: How the United States Can Respond

WASHINGTON, D.C.–(ENEWSPF)–February 24, 2011.  Yesterday, the Center for American Progress released the article “Qaddafi’s Last Stand?: How the United States Can Respond as Tripoli Heats Up,” by John Norris and Sarah Margon, detailing steps that the United States can take as protests and violence escalate in Libya.

Libya stands at a remarkable moment. Moammar Qaddafi, the country’s decades-long dictator, is again demonstrating his utter moral depravity by bringing in mercenaries and having his air force strafe unarmed protestors. Libya is no ally of the United States—unlike Egypt or Bahrain—and behind-the-scenes, president-to-president phone calls will likely yield little. But it is clear the United States can and must act when Libya’s own U.N. delegation is calling for the establishment of a no-fly zone and calling Qaddafi’s actions genocidal.

Bringing pressure on a government with so little regard for its people is no easy task. But some creative pieces of leverage can be deployed. Groups like the International Crisis Group and the Genocide Intervention Network have already called for some sensible steps, including the imposition of targeted sanctions on Qaddafi and his family, offering safe haven to Libyan pilots seeking to flee rather than carrying out orders to shoot civilians, imposing an international arms embargo of weapons sales to Libya, and moving toward the establishment of a no-fly zone over Libya.

In their article, John Norris and Sarah Margon expound upon some additional measures the administration should consider:

  • Convince Libyan business leaders that Qaddafi is a liability they can no longer afford
  • Use the foundation they’ve made with Libya in recent years to appeal to engaged Libyan diplomats and encourage them to take a strong and vocal stance against violent response to dissent
  • Consider using the growing relationship between the United States and Libyan militaries

As Tripoli burns, the administration must use all of its levers—both direct and indirect—to respond to Qaddafi’s outrageous actions and support the Libyan people.

Read the full article here.

John Norris is the Executive Director of the Sustainable Security and Peacebuilding Initiative and Sarah Margon is Associate Director for Sustainable Security at American Progress.