Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Arming Unknown Libyan Rebels

The Guardian reported:

The US and Britain have raised the prospect of arming Libya's rebels if air strikes fail to force Muammar Gaddafi from power.

At the end of a conference on Libya in London, Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, said for the first time that she believed arming rebel groups was legal under UN security council resolution 1973, passed two weeks ago, which also provided the legal justification for air strikes.

America's envoy to the UN, Susan Rice, said earlier the US had "not ruled out" channelling arms to the rebels.

The British foreign secretary, William Hague, agreed that the resolution made it legal "to give people aid in order to defend themselves in particular circumstances".

The west's main Arab ally, Qatar, also said providing weapons to Gaddafi's opponents should be considered if air strikes failed to dislodge him. The Gulf state's prime minister, Sheikh Hamad Al-Thani, said the effect of air strikes would have to be evaluated in a few days, but added: "We cannot let the people suffer for too long."
Yet, the Pentagon said the unknown opposition may have Al Qaeda and Hezbollah elements.  Are we back to "the enemy of my enemy is my friend?"  That didn't work so well in Afghanistan.  Who will the world arm to get rid of Gadhafi?  That's if Gadhafi doesn't take the offer to leave, avoiding a war crimes trial.

Update:  Libya's oil money can pay for rebel weapons, now that Treasury approved opposition oil sales.