Libya, Past the No-Fly Zone

Written on March 14, 2011 by Ángeles Figueroa-Alcorta in Africa, Democracy & Human Rights, International Law & Organizations

By Diego Sánchez de la Cruz, Master in International Relations Candidate at IE*

The United Nations formally answered to the Libyan crisis through Resolution 1970. Passed by the Security Council on February 26, it established international sanctions on the Gaddafi regime, including an arms embargo, an asset freeze and a travel ban.

 It is true that, so far, the UN has not called for any kind of military intervention, yet some could argue that Resolution 1970 was enacted under the seventh chapter of the UN Charter, which allows the Security Council to take military action in order “to restore international peace and security”. Also, Resolution 1674 (which was passed in 2006) discussed the “responsibility to protect” local populations from violent crimes.

 Several analaysts are suggesting that an active intervention should take place in Libya. However, besides the obvious atrocities seen in the last weeks, it is important to make a cool-headed analysis of the military implications that such operation would carry.

 For instance, many observers and institutions (including the Arab League) have called for the establishment of a No-Fly Zone (NFZ) in order to prevent air strikes against the protesters. However, the Gaddafi regime has now overcome the early progress of the revolts, and currently carries the initiative against the protesters. This makes the NFZ option rather irrelevant, as most of the fighting is being done by ground forces.

 Additionally, a NFZ would have been a very costly solution, compared to its limited impact. As seen in Iraq throughout the 90s, the coordination of selective air strikes under Operation Desert Fox was far more effective than the NFZ imposed on Saddam Hussein’s regime. Furthermore, the NFZ did not work in the Balkans, either.

The current state of play has become so complex that anyone who supports an intervention must admit that such operation would have to be extensive and prolongued. A clear vision is necessary in order to avoid a lengthy and troublesome conflict. Read more…

*Diego Sánchez de la Cruz holds a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Universidad Antonio de Nebrija plus a Postgraduate course on Political Communication from Universidad Pontificia Comillas/ICADE. Diego was an international exchange student in the University of San Diego, in California (USA), and completed a Seminar on Political Communication from George Washington University. Over the last years, he has collaborated with Public Affairs firms like Llorente & Cuenca or media outlets like El Correo Gallego.


No comments yet.

Leave a Comment


We use both our own and third-party cookies to enhance our services and to offer you the content that most suits your preferences by analysing your browsing habits. Your continued use of the site means that you accept these cookies. You may change your settings and obtain more information here. Accept