No Fly Zone? No Win Zone?

The policy of the United States towards recent events in Libya seems to be taking shape.  President Barack Obama wants Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi out of power.  the United States will not try to oust him, but we are participating in the creation of a no-fly zone over parts of Libya in an effort to prevent the slaughter of Libyan rebels by Gaddafi forces.

What a complicated situation.

Gaddafi is associated with terrorism and ruthlessness, but what do we know about the rebels?  Regime change brings the possibility of a better Libya, but it is hard to support the rebels when we don’t know anything about what they want to do if they gain power.

And what do we make of our military policy?  The West, led by France with Britain’s support and the USA tagging along, has weakened Gaddafi’s military capabilities, but there’s something that bothers me about the no-fly zone.  After Iraq was driven out of Kuwait in 1991, there was a rebellion against Saddam Hussein.  The Allies created a no-fly zone then, which hampered Hussein.  But it didn’t stop him–he crushed the rebellion and stayed in power.  Our current no-fly zone prevents Gaddafi from getting the quick victory he wants, but it hardly guarantees his demise.

If Gaddafi defeats the rebels, what then?  Does the West ignore him?  From what I’ve read, Europe gets a lot of oil from Libya.  Do they go back to business as usual?

The West launched it’s military operations with the blessing of the Arab League.  Once the bombs started dropping, the League began expressing reservations.   And why should they support an action by the democracies against a dictator?  The members of the Arab League include a bunch of countries run by dictators!   If they demand that the no-fly zone gets scrapped, do we do as we are told?  Our President has made it clear that he wants any action to have an international consensus behind it.

I have a lot of questions about the situation in Libya, and few answers.  It would be nice if someone came up with those answers.