In the Financial Times, Paddy Ashdown (former High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina and former Leader of the Liberal Democrats) calls for a no-fly zone in Libya:
It is difficult not to feel a wearisome sense of déjà vu watching European leaders on Friday saying something needed to be done in Libya, but failing completely to say what.
Libya is not our backyard. But what happens there and in the other countries of the Maghreb matters to us Europeans very much. If those who have overturned dictatorships in Tunisia and Egypt (and hopefully Libya) in this “Arab spring” can create effective, broadly secular democratic republics on the model of Turkey, Europe’s crucial relationship with its southern (and oil-providing) neighbours will be fundamentally altered to the advantage of both. If they fail, then dictatorships will inevitably follow – and very likely extremist Islamist ones. The nature of our neighbourhood is being decided on the dusty streets of Libya’s towns and that matters to us very much indeed.
But now, again, time is not on our side. The indiscriminate use of overwhelming force against his people by Muammer Gaddafi – in flagrant contravention of his international obligation to protect them – is now having an effect. To do nothing is to acquiesce to the crushing of a people, which will almost certainly be accompanied – if it has not been already – by horrors that amount to crimes against humanity. So what should we do? What can we do?
Read on to see what Paddy proposes for the long term in Libya – and his call for a no-fly zone right away, to ensure that Libya’s people even have a long term to look forward to.