Libyan Civil War: Peace or Protraction?
By Matt Southworth on 04/12/2011 @ 02:00 PM
Yesterday, South African President Jacob Zuma announced that President Gaddafi accepted a “roadmap to peace” outlined by the African Union. Less than 24 hours later, Libyan rebel forces rejected the peace deal. Mustafa Abdel Jalil, the rebel’s leader, told reporters the deal was rejected because it failed to push Gaddafi and his sons out of the country—a precondition echoed by the Obama administration.
FCNL supports the initiative, despite the imperfect first attempt. The peace plan, which calls for a cease fire, dialog between conflicted groups and the suspension of air strikes, is a good start.
After this rejection and amid accusations of civilian and rebel deaths at the hands of NATO air strikes, William Hague Britain’s Foreign Minister, is calling for an expansion of NATO efforts in the country. The French echoed British calls. NATO, which has flown 1,721 sorties (713 strike sorties) since taking command of the U.S. war in Libya, has rejected the British and French criticism of their handling.
Also an important factor in times of tight budgets is the cost of this war. The U.S. taxpayers will pay $608 million for the U.S.’s 14 day share in the lead, and about $40 million per month to continue the NATO air campaign, according to the Pentagon. Keep in mind the U.S. could fund the United States Institute of Peace—which has a $40 million per year operational budget—for an entire year every month at this rate.
FCNL supports a way forward in which the U.S. should: cease military operations; support robust diplomacy; support self-determination; continue the arms embargo; provide humanitarian assistance; and demonstrate global leadership. The U.S. and the world cannot afford a protracted Libyan civil war.