Libyan Ambassador To U.S. Calls For Action Against Libya
Calls are growing for outside intervention in Libya but it's unclear what can, or should, be done.
Libya’s Ambassador to the U.S. is among those diplomats who have defected from the regime, and this morning he called on the U.S. and other nations to come to the aid of the protesters:
Libya’s ambassador to the United States described a brutal scene playing out in the streets of Tripoli, where government supporters and parts of the military have been called by Col. Moammar Gadhafi’s regime to take on protesters demanding the president’s exit.
“Tripoli is burning,” Ambassador Ali Suleiman Aujalisaid on “Good Morning America” today. “The people are being killed in a brutal way. The people are armless.”
Aujali said Gadhafi’s supporters are using tanks and gunfire to kill not just protesters but also the capital’s residents, adding that he’s seen images of “people cut in half, just like they’re being killed by bulldozers.”
“Please please help the Libyan people. Help them. They are burning,” he appealed to the international community. “They are being killed in their streets, their houses.”
Anjali’s words echo those of Libya’s Deputy U.N. Representative, who called on the United Nations to impose a no-fly zone over the country:
“The tyrant Muammar Gaddafi has asserted clearly, through his sons, the level of ignorance he and his children have, and how much he despises Libya and the Libyan people,” he said in a statement that was endorsed by the staff at the mission, excluding the ambassador.
“This is in fact a declaration of war against the Libyan people,” Dabbashi told reporters, surrounded by a dozen Libyan diplomats. “The regime of Gaddafi has already started the genocide against the Libyan people.”
The statement called on “the officers and soldiers of the Libyan army wherever they are and whatever their rank is … to organise themselves and move towards Tripoli and cut the snake’s head.”
It appealed to the United Nations to impose a no-fly zone over Libyan cities to prevent mercenaries and weapons from being shipped in.
It also urged guards at Libya’s oil installations to protect them from any sabotage “by the coward tyrant,” and urged countries to prevent Gaddafi from fleeing there and to be on the lookout for any money smuggling.
Dabbashi and his colleagues called on The Hague-based International Criminal Court to start an immediate inquiry into war crimes and crimes against humanity they said Gaddafi and his sons and followers had committed.
Both the Security Council and the Arab League are holding emergency meetings today on the situation in Libya, but it’s unclear whether there is really sufficient international support for intervention.
Frankly, I’m conflicted on this one. The crackdown on protesters is horrible but, unless is spills over international borders, I’m not sure that foreign intervention is either appropriate or justifiable. In either case, I certainly don’t think that unilateral American action would be appropriate, especially since it would seem to play right into the “foreign influence” meme that the Gaddafi family has been trying to tag the protests with over the past several days. In the end, how this turns out is going to have to be in the hands of the Libyan people.