The enforcement of a “no fly zone” in Libya would generate military and political risks, especially as far as the reactions of the Arab League and African Union, contexts in which Libya has a strong influence, said professor Stefano Silvestri, an expert in defense and security matters, and director of the International Affairs Institute (IAI) to MISNA.
Professor, the UK and France are working on a UN Security Council resolution to issue a “no fly zone”. Are we heading toward an external intervention?
“It is possible but the actual problem is to prevent this choice from provoking extreme reactions. The UN has an important role to play but we cannot leave aside the Arab League and the African Union, contexts in which Libya has a strong presence. The African Union in particular would be the toughest situation because Col. Mu’ammar Qadhafi has secured solid relations with many member states”.
“No fly zone” means military intervention?
“Yes for all intents and purposes. International forces could be forced to engage in aerial combat as well as destroy ant-aircraft gun batteries. In Bosnia and in Iraq, the two precedents for this type of operation, when a fighter-jet was identified by radar, the ground installations had to be struck, In Libya there would be the additional difficulties tied to the extraordinary size of the territory”.
France said it would back the National Council formed in Cyrenaica and Italy has also announced having established relations with the insurgents…
“These are necessary forces. Relations with Qadhafi are beyond recovery and it is essential to establish contact with the opposition because the insurgents control half of the country and they have bases in the West in Tripolitania. I stress that problems with the Colonel are going to be unavoidable”.
Have external forces contributed to the Libyan crisis?
“Libya’s revolt is not the first. The novelty is the extent of the protests and the fact that after the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt, there was the idea that it would be possible to make it. The precedents in the two countries have had a galvanizing effect over a population deprived of references in terms of movements or organized parties.”
Might a protraction of the crisis determine a political division of Libya?
“Such a solution would be fragile and temporary”.