Why Obama May Be Hesitant on Libyan No-Fly Zone

By | March 2, 2011

Since mid-February, Libyan citizens have been revolting against their government. The Libyan President has been taking military action to quell the rebellion including using mercenaries and air power on his own people. President Obama has asked for a contingency plan for a no-fly zone over Libya, but has been hesitant to put it in place.

Obama has asked for Libya’s President Muammar Gaddafi to step down and stop attacking the people of Libya, but with this, as in most difficult decisions, he provides little-to-no leadership. Now, perhaps, we know why.

According to a Bloomberg.com article, China and Russia signaled their opposition to a no-fly zone over Libya.

China joined Russia today in signaling potential opposition to imposing a no-fly zone over Libya if fighting continues between protesters and forces loyal to leader Muammar Qaddafi.

Li Baodong, China’s ambassador to the United Nations, didn’t explicitly rule out support for a move by the Security Council to police air space over Libya.

While pressure from Russia and China are certainly of significant influence, there are many other factors the President must consider. His own military chiefs are telling him that their resources are already stretched due to Obama’s surge into Afghanistan and the failure to draw-down forces in Iraq.

The action in North Africa will not be bloodless. Libya has anti-air assets that will require action immediately. Creating a no-fly zone will first require that all of it’s air defense capabilities are rendered useless whichwill require significant military action – in yet another Mid-East nation. As Defense Secretary Gates testified to Congress, “Let’s just call a spade a spade, A no-fly zone begins with an attack on Libya.”

Obama is in a tough spot, but that comes with the job. If he supports a no-fly zone and the military action that comes with it, he looks like he is positioning the U.S. in a conflict solely for Libya’s oil production. If he does not support the protection of the Libyan people, he is choosing a dictator over the revolutionaries.

Afghanistan is going to be a long slog that the American population may not have the will to continue and a revolt in northern Africa would most-likely not yield an outcome much better than the Gaddafi regime. Without international assistance, Gaddafi may well remain in power and take out his anger on the revolutionaries once the rebellion is put down.

There are no easy choices here, it’s 3am Mr. President, the phone is ringing – what do you do?

 

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4 thoughts on “Why Obama May Be Hesitant on Libyan No-Fly Zone

  1. Mirac

    The incompetence of the chosen one surfaces more and more every day. I saw the “rebels” leader in Libya today on TV. Sure looke d like a US military bullet proof vest and a Colt 1911A- 9mm military issue pistol on his belt. Add that to his Che cap and Che-esque neck wrap he had on , and mark my words, the U. S. will be shown to be aiding the Rebels in Libya exentually. All this while the ditherer in chief tells the world we can’t get involved in other countries business.

  2. twistedmuser

    He’ll probably roll over and go back to sleep. Upon waking he will convene a committee to help him draft a sternly worded letter, after which he will direct Hillary to deliver. I’m not actually saying he should do anything. I am saying it was a whole lot easier to criticize when he was running for office the actions of GWB vs performing actions himself.

    1. Rich Mitchell (twitter: @CDNNow) Post author

      I agree whole-heartedly. I am not saying that he should or shouldn’t although I am leaving towards, not adding Libya to our list of current “Overseas Contingency Operations”, “Man-made disasters” or whatever crafty term we’ll be using next. The fact that he is paralyzed by the decision is more my concern.

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