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World | Libya
Politics | Human rights

Foreign intervention in Libya more probable

Italian warships approaching the Libyan coast

© Min della Difesa/afrol News
afrol News, 25 February
- As the situation in Libya, especially Tripoli, is nearing a humanitarian disaster, a foreign intervention is becoming more probable. The reasons for a legitimate intervention have already been defined.

As the regime's attacks on civilian protesters become steadily more grotesque, interference from abroad cannot be ruled out any longer, international analysts agree. Egypt, Italy, the European Union (EU) and NATO are indeed already sending signals that could justify an intervention from their part.

Egyptian authorities have in statements strongly exaggerated the numbers of their citizens residing in Libya and in need of help. Indeed, large numbers of Egyptians need help in Libya, as they have been targeted by the Ghaddafi regime as the "foreign agents" behind the unrest.

This threat to Egyptian citizens in Libya would legitimise a limited intervention by the Egyptian army to help evacuate its citizens. Egypt would not risk breaking international law. How "limited" such an intervention would become, would depend on the resistance met by the Ghaddafi regime.

Italy is following the same procedure. According to the Rome government, some 400 Italians still are in Libya; threatened, without food and unable to leave. Defence Minister Ignazio La Russa today announced a possible "military intervention" to evacuate Italians from isolated south-east Libya.

Two vessels from the Italian marine and two military aircrafts are already ready to start the operation. Defence Minister La Rusa says he is only waiting for a "go" word from the Foreign Ministry. Also Italian troops in Libya could get involved in confrontations with troops loyal to Colonel Ghaddafi, with unknown consequences.

Meanwhile, the UN is preparing the terrain for a possible wider international intervention, although the veto powers so far seen reluctant to get involved. The UN's hu

Protesters in Tripoli fleeing gunshots

© Anomymous/afrol News
man rights agency already has warned about "crimes against humanity" by Mr Ghaddafi - reason enough to legitimise an intervention.

Today, the UN's food agency WFP warns of a collapse in food supplies for Libyans and an approaching hunger in Tripoli. This alone would allow for a humanitarian intervention, protected by military forces.

The most effective intervention would of course be NATO-led. NATO leader Anders Fogh Rasmussen today called for an emergency meeting about how the military alliance could assist foreigners trapped in Libya. Especially the US - but also Turkey, fearing retaliation attacks on its many citizens in Libya - are against a larger intervention - for now.

But there are people already speaking of a wider intervention than only rescuing foreign nationals. Sources in Brussels say that the EU is now to consider sending a "military humanitarian intervention force," which not only was to help evacuating the estimated 6,000 EU citizens still in Libya, but also protect Libyans.

Meanwhile, the earlier proposals of a "no-fly zone" over Libya are laid dead as the largest threat against protesting Libyans no longer comes from the air but from mercenaries and the few elite brigades still loyal to the regime. NATO leader Rasmussen says a no-fly zone is not on the agenda, as it in any way would take a longer process at the UN to legitimise and prepare for it.

The sending of foreign land troops to Libya - with an evacuation or even "humanitarian" mandate - is becoming the most probable option. With the legitimacy base already established, no UN Security Council resolution would be necessary and action could start immediately.

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