A rebel force was hastily created and started to gain territory in Libya. Unfortunately, most of those gains were negated by a vicious counter assault by Gadhafi. In the last two weeks, Libyan rebels have been pleading for help, specifically the creation of a no-fly zone. After much delay and confusion, the U.N. Security Council approved the creation of a no-fly zone in Libya. Over the weekend, a U.S. led coalition began hitting key military targets in the country. One of the attacks hit the Gadhafi compound in Tripoli and his exact location is not known at the present time.
These attacks will give the rebels a chance to gain ground against the Libyan military still loyal to Gadhafi. The attacks seem to have succeeded in neutralizing Libya’s military and preventing a massacre in the rebel held city of Benghazi. Last week, Gadhafi promised to terrorize the city and search for rebels “house by house,” checking every last closet. Over the past few weeks, Gadhafi’s forces have been killing women and children in an attempt to break the rebels. His military has been ruthless, and his tyrannical son has been promising nothing short of the annihilation of all opposition. Fortunately, the air strikes have crippled his ability to inflict additional damage.
What should be the goal? The coalition and their Arab league supporters should not allow Gadhafi to remain in power. This was the mistake made by President George H. W. Bush in the first Gulf war when Saddam Hussein was allowed to stay in office despite his brutal track record. Gadhafi has a long history of supporting terrorism and authorizing terrorist actions against the West. In the 1980’s, his agents bombed a Berlin disco, killing American servicemen. His former Justice Minister, Mustafa Mohamed Abdel-Jalil, has now confirmed that Gadhafi authorized the bombing on the Pam Am flight that crashed in Lockerbie, Scotland, killing all 270 passengers. Gadhafi needs to pay for the crimes against his own people and the innocent victims of the Lockerbie crash.
Some are worried that the dictator will lash back and release mustard gas in Europe or try to bomb another passenger jetliner. These are more reasons why he needs to be removed from power. As coalition forces enforce a no-fly zone across Libya, arrangements should also be made to remove from Gadhafi from office and bring him to the International Court of Justice. He should face the same consequences as Slobodan Milosevic, the late Serbian dictator who was tried at The Hague.
This effort will pay huge dividends for the West if Gadhafi can be replaced by a secular government, who will allow freedoms in Libya. In the 42 years of Gadhafi, the Libyan people have not experience freedom, only repression and the dictatorship of a madman. His removal will be a service to humanity and give Libya a chance to join the family of law abiding nations.
Jeff Crouere is a native of New Orleans, LA and he is the host of a Louisiana based program, “Ringside Politics,” which airs at 7:30 p.m. Fri. and 10:00 p.m. Sun. on WLAE-TV 32, a PBS station, and 7 till 11 a.m.weekdays on WGSO 990 AM in New Orleans and the Northshore. For more information, visit his web site at www.ringsidepolitics.com. E-mail him at [email protected].