Libya, Mission Creep and Regime Change
Mission Creep: Libya Echoing Iraq Already
Flicking on CNN this morning, you'd be forgiven for thinking you were watching a rerun. Listening to pundits discuss how "the mission is changing" would bring back echoes of Iraq (a US-instigated war that is still going on, if we're honest). Nobody is saying "Iraq" on CNN, though, at least not yet.
'No Regime Change' as Gaddafi Compound is Bombed
While France, Britain and the USA continue to repeat the mantra of "this is not regime change", it's hard to sell the public that story when Muammar Gaddafi's compound is getting bombed. This is exacerbated by the White House's mixed message: no regime change, but Gaddafi must go. It can't be both.
South African President Jacob Zuma was blunt in his denouncement of "the regime change doctrine", saying "Operations aimed at enforcing the no-fly zone and protecting civilians should be limited to just that." Russian President Vladimir Putin denounced the attacks as a "crusade"; Russia abstained during the UN draft resolution vote, but did not exercise veto power.
People living in the Middle East know that, once you get Western military forces in your backyard, it's pretty much impossible to get them to leave. This isn't just history for them, but current events. No, the Arab League will not get on side with this.
That said, Qatar is involved in the bombing of Libya, but is keeping its mouth shut in terms of the extent of that involvement.
Also, what happens once more civilians get killed by Western bombardment? The US military is stretched beyond capacity as it is between its other Middle East adventures, and cannot realistically commit to another campaign. The US public also has had a bellyful of war in the region, and probably won't go for it, either, not that it's the US public's decision.
Who should they believe when the Libyan airwaves reveal claims of civilian casualties among people who have not taken up arms or are fighting with Libyan soldiers?
It is impossible to independently verify how many people have been killed or injured.