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Military intervention in Libya? No thanks!

Press communiqué of Vrede vzw,

March 10, 2011

Today Defence Ministers of NATO gather in Brussels to discuss military measures against Qadhafi's regime. Particularly, the installation of a no-fly zone seems to appear a possible option. Vrede vzw warns for the hidden agenda and the negative consequences of any military intervention. Even a no-fly zone can quickly escalate into an open military conflict.

Vrede vzw firmly condemns the brutal repression of the Qadhafi regime, and supports all diplomatic and economic measures to pressure Tripoli. But we learned from the Kosovo war that one has to be very prudent concerning the information which is reaching us. In times of war truth is always the first victim. W have many question marks over the real number of victims due to the air attacks. Certain national and international parties can have an intrest in drawing a more disastrouos image than reality already is. In Kosovo some politicians overestimated the number of victims till enormous proportions in order to justify a 'humanitarian' military intervention.

A no-fly zone can all too easily spiral into a full scale military operation because of the need to eliminate the well developed Libyan anti-aircraft defences. This means bombardments with all the misery these entail. What is the effectiveness of a no-fly zone? We saw in both Iraq (post 1991) and Bosnia (from 1992 onwards) that the succes of the military prohibition of air attacks isn't that big, and that its contribution to a quick solution or to a decrease in the number of victims is very doubtful. It is far from sure that a flight ban can stop war actions. In Bosnia the no-fly dictate did not prevent Sarayevo to be attacked by artillery operations. A no-fly zone means often the first step into a military adventure, facilitating the second step. If after the planes the regime uses tanks, are we going to bomb these as well?

The danger of a hidden (NATO) agenda is real. We know very well that western concern goes in the very first place to the oil resources in the region, and that democracy and human rights are not the real motivation. Just look at the massive arms supplies of the recent years. Between 2004 and 2009 four EU counries (Italy, France, the UK and Germany) signed export permits for more than 500 million euro to Libya. The Libyan air force flies French Mirage fighter planes. We seem to forget our responsibility in this matter. But a military operation can be a good way to enhance the control over Libya and its natural resources.

Western hypocrisy is omnipresent and that should make us cautious. During the 'cast lead' war in Gaza and the summer war against Lebanon the US and some allies tried everything to hinder attempts to stop the bombings. It concerned a deliberate move in which Israel would annihilate respectively Hamas and Hezbollah, while the number of civil victims increased per day. The proposal of a no-fly zone did not appear then.

Moreover: how humanitarian can be the intentions of countries which are responsible for the massive death toll and the destruction in Afghanistan and Iraq?

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