By Garibov Konstantin
Russia is seeking to involve the United Nations in dealing with the Libyan problem after the death of its ousted leader Muammar Gaddafi. Moscow submitted a draft resolution to the UN Security Council concerning the abolishment of the no-fly zone over that North African country. Simultaneously, the Russian side wants Washington, Paris, London and Beijing to endorse its initiative on creating a mechanism to control man-portable air-defense systems (MANPADS) that Libya purchased under Gaddafi.
The UN Security Council closed the Libyan air space to all traffic on March 17th to avoid civilian deaths during NATO air strikes. Moscow believes the decision on doing away with this no-fly zone should also rest with the Security Council. At the same time, moves of the Western coalition ran counter to that resolution which virtually served as the basis of any foreign military intervention. A statement to that effect cam from Alexei Podtserob, an expert at the Oriental Studies Institute and Russia’s former ambassador to Libya and Tunisia.
“The Russian initiative aims to stop the NATO-led campaign in Libya. Following Muammar Gaddafi’s death, US President Barack Obama said the Alliance has brilliantly met the challenge, spending only eight months to defeat the rebel army and kill the head of state. Directions voiced by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who said she would like Gaddafi “captured or killed soon”, have also been followed. Thus, everything is over from a formal point of view, making further NATO operations senseless,” says Alexei Podtserob.
It appears that the Russian side wants, among other things, to remove the formal basis for a new campaign under new conditions. Having pledged an end to the ongoing one, Anders Fogh Rasmussen said NATO troops will stay in that country for another week and interfere to protect civilians if necessary.
On October 23rd, Libya’s new authorities declared the country free from Muammar Gaddafi’s 42 years of one-man rule and expressed readiness to meet all international agreements clinched with their Western partners.
To boost people’s confidence, the National Transitional Council (NTC) promised to form a new Cabinet in 30 days and to arrange first parliamentary elections within the next 8 moths.
Tripoli University political analyst Ahmed al-Atrash Ahmed pointed to one of the serious obstacles that these efforts will certainly come across. According to him, the Libyan military seek more influence in the government than the previous armed forces, making it difficult to forecast the outcome of clashes between secular and military authorities amid the growing Islamist ambitions.
Apart from that, Gaddafi followers posted his last will on the Colonel’s official website where he urges them to keep fighting against any aggressors attempting to occupy Libya. This document is not the only thing that may prevent this page from being finally turned over. In defiance of all Muslim traditions, the late Libyan leader’s body has not yet been committed to the ground. There is even information that the government is going to bury him at sea like “number one terrorist” Osama bin Laden. This may evoke an outburst of popular unrest and make the new authorities resort to violence. Furthermore, the UN and a number of human rights organizations are still urging an inquiry into the death of Muammar Gaddafi.
Experts do not rule out that Al-Qaeda Islamists may make use of Libya’s political vacuum. The Russian-proposed draft resolution therefore aims to prevent them from capturing Libyan weapons – an estimated 20,000 man-portable air-defense systems, according to figures released by the US State Department.