Reasons Behind The West’s Involvement in Libya
As I have briefly mentioned in a previous post, there are a host of less-than-altruistic reasons which have forced the west to intervene in Libya. Let us list them..
1. The refugee situation
Many commentators, both MSM and blogs, ignore or marginalize what I consider to be one of the most important reason for the intervention. Neither Egypt or Tunisia, both neighboring pro-western countries, want hundreds of thousands of refugees crossing their border or dying near it. In this day and age- pictures and video clips of such incidents are as destabilizing as the events themselves.
Countries and territories within boating distance of Libya (Italy, France, Spain, Greece, Malta, Cyprus, Turkey) are also at risk of massive waves of refugees if Gaddafi is allowed to get away with genocide in Libya. The long-term effects and costs of such population displacement can, by themselves, justify any intervention.
While Libya is not a big oil producer like KSA or Russia, it is an important provider of crude for countries like Italy and France. Extended periods of unrest in Libya will cause significant and lasting supply disruptions to those countries.
At this stage, the options are-
a. Stick with Gaddafi and hope that he can keep on suppressing the rebels and keep things functioning.
b. Accept that Gaddafi can no longer maintain order or keep things functioning properly, even if he regains all the cities he has lost.
They have chosen option b.
3. An improvement over Gaddafi
It is no secret that the west prefers to deal with ME leaders who are friendly and accommodating of their interests. Ex- and current leaders such as Mubarak, Ben Ali, the Saudis, King Hussein were/are predictable and accommodating of western interests. Gaddafi, on the other hand, is not liked by the west AND his own people. Even other dictators/kings in the ME hate Gaddafi. To put it another way, almost everyone wants him gone. Given that most people in Libya detest him, any significant weakening of his regular military power (over more than a few weeks) would almost guarantee an insider assassination or mass-desertion.