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Analysis from The Arabist (read all):

5 questions few are asking about Libya - Blog - The Arabist

1. UNSC Resolution 1973 isn't really about getting a ceasefire, is it?

Not really. Even if Qadhafi were to produce a real ceasefire, which is unlikely, the rebels would not observe it: they would keep trying to topple the regime. This resolution, under the guise of obtaining a ceasefire, seeks to carry out regime change...

2. But what if Qadhafi hangs in there, and there's a stalemate?

Well, prolonged civil war happens. But it's not clear whether this is a likely outcome, particularly if there are such stringent sanctions and travel restrictions on regime officials. There could a "liberated zone" and a Qadhafi-controlled zone for a while, with ongoing skirmishes...

3. What happens if Qadhafi is toppled but the remnants of the regime, perhaps backed by some measure of tribal or other popular support, remains in place? 

... It gets more complicated in the Qadhafis are gone, both Westerners and Arabs may be ready to deal with regime remnants (particularly if they play a role in getting rid of the Qadhafis) but the insurgents may not want anyone associated with the former regime in place. So prolonged civil war is one possible outcome, yet again. This is why some kind of recognized leadership for the insurgency that is able to negotiate with whoever comes after Qadhafi is necessary.

4. What if the insurgents don't want to negotiate?

Once empowered, the insurgents will naturally want to go all the way and topple Qadhafi. I totally support them in that endeavor. But we don't know much about them, or how they might behave towards non-combatants that back the Qadhafi regime...

5. What is the most desirable outcome?

Obviously, to see Qadhafi toppled. But that's only step one. We don't know what the insurgents want aside from a Qadhafi-free Libya. We don't know what Western powers (if they are united on this) want to see.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Mar 20th, 2011 at 10:42:17 AM EST

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