Unfortunately, however, the handling of the legal framework for the Libya operation mirrors Western behaviour in previous interventions, from the Bosnia operation in 1995, to the Kosovo war in 1999 and the invasion of Iraq in 2003. In every one of these occasions:
- A handful of Western governments used a UN Security Council resolution which lacked full backing, supposedly on the behalf of the ‘international community’
- In every single case, the aim was to persuade Russia to abstain, rather than veto a resolution, on the calculation that, once this was accomplished, China would be too embarrassed to be in a minority of one to torpedo the same resolution
- At every stage, this was accomplished by fudging the real extent of the operation being contemplated
- The scope of the operation then grew and was invariably translated into ‘regime change’
- Weapons were provided to local combatants, in violation of existing provisions
- Resolutions were reinterpreted unilaterally, to suit whatever purposes were required
- And, in every single case, once a resolution passed in the UN, Western governments precluded any further debate over its interpretation and application.
Dr Jonathan Eyal var Senior Research Fellow and the Director of International Security Studies vid engelska Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) när detta publicerades 2012.