The Other McCain

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British Sending Military Advisers to Libya; Russia Says Aid Violates U.N. Mandate

Posted on | April 19, 2011 | 6 Comments

It may be too early to call it a hopeless quagmire yet, but the situation is definitely getting squirrelly now:

Britain said Tuesday it is expanding its presence in Libya with military advisers and the European Union said it is prepared to send troops for humanitarian assistance if requested by the United Nations. . . .
Britain said it is sending a contingent of experienced military officers to the rebel stronghold of Bengazhi in an advisory role.
The team will work with Libya’s Transitional National Council on how the opposition can improve military organizational structures, communications and logistics, the British Foreign Office said. It will also assist in the delivery of critically needed aid.
This deployment is fully within the terms of UNSCR 1973 both in respect of civilian protection and its provision expressly ruling out a foreign occupation force on Libyan soil,” Foreign Secretary William Hague said on Tuesday.

The Foreign Secretary was at pains to declare that this deployment isn’t actually a deployment:

The British personnel will be under strict orders not take part in planning or executing military operations, Mr Hague said: “It’s not boots on the ground, it’s not fighting forces. These are not people to fight on the battlefield, these are people to advise on organisation.”

There was, however, a strong dissent from a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council as to whether all this aid to anti-Qaddafi forces is within the scope of the “humanitarian” mandate of UNSCR 1973:

Russia said on Tuesday Western attempts to topple Muammar Gaddafi were a violation of a U.N. resolution on Libya, which only authorized the use of force to protect civilians.
“The U.N. Security Council never aimed to topple the Libyan regime,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said. “All those who are currently using the U.N. resolution for that aim are violating the U.N. mandate.”
Given such a Western position, the Libyan opposition was refusing to negotiate a ceasefire with the regime in Tripoli, Lavrov said. “It is crucial to establish a ceasefire,” he said on a visit to Belgrade.

The question, of course, is why no one in the White House press corps has recently asked our Nobel Peace Prize-winning president whether he’s happy with the progress of “Operation Odyssey Dawn.” Matthew Rothschild at The Progressive is disillusioned:

From his Nobel Prize speech to his Libya speech, Obama has become the chief advocate of war, boasting of its utility and expanding its justifications.
He’s turned into a better salesman for war than his predecessor, and he’s running the empire more efficiently—and with less antagonism.
More bombs, less bombast: That’s the Obama doctrine for you.

UPDATE: Allahpundit highlights the impotence of our European allies.

UPDATE II: Phineas at Sister Toldjah:

Britain and her allies (including us) have invested tons of their prestige in this effort to oust Qaddafi and they can ill-afford to let the rebels lose. . . . The whole public purpose of this mission was to protect civilians from Qaddafi, so how do you do that when your “allies” on the ground are incompetent?

As I said yesterday, the Obama administration is faced with a choice: Either commit enough military force to topple Qaddafi, or else blame the whole disastrous mess on Hillary.

UPDATE III: Now a Memeorandum thread. Today is the one-month anniversary of “Operation Odyssey Dawn.” Robert Spencer warns that U.S. intervention is aiding jihadists. And the pathetic haplessness of our European allies is examined by Doug Bandow at The American Spectator.


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