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back print

Two Years After Launching Intervention

Alexander MEZYAEV | 19.03.2013 | 00:00

 March 19 is the date the NATO intervention against Libya was launched two years ago. This day in 2011 NATO started combat actions against the Arab Jamahiriya under the pretext of complying with the United Nations Security Council resolution N 1973. It was illegal for the resolution allowed  “to take all necessary measures to protect civilians under threat of attack in the country,” but an armed intervention was not and could not have been included.  A number of steps envisioned by the resolution were illegal by themselves. For instance, the introduction of “no fly zone” is a flagrant violation of Libya’s state sovereignty on the one hand, and the United Nations Charted on the other.

On March 14 a special United Nations session marked the two year anniversary of NATO’s aggression, a new resolution was adopted. The authors were Australia, Luxemburg, Morocco, Ruanda, Great Britain, France and the United States.  The Security Council extended for 12 months the mandate of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya to assist the authorities in defining national needs and priorities and match those with offers of strategic and technical advice, and modified the two-year-old ban on arms imports to boost the country’s security and disarmament efforts. The tasks include managing the democratic transition and included technical advice and assistance to the electoral process and the drafting of a new constitution; rule of law promotion and human rights protection; restoration of public security; countering weapons proliferation; and supporting efforts to promote reconciliation. (1)

Besides, the new resolution introduces a number of significant changes into the existing relationship with the country. First, the solution of the issue related to the country’s frozen assets.  The Council relegated to the Special Committee to study in consultation with the Libyan government the measures introduced by the resolutions 1970, 1973 and 2009 focused on ”the hidden assets of the two listed entities — the Libyan Investment Authority and the Libyan Africa Investment Portfolio — and on the assets of the listed individuals, most of which were believed to be held abroad in different names. In particular, the Panel had collected information regarding efforts by certain listed individuals to negate the effects of the assets freeze measures by the use of front companies and by accomplices who had assisted them.  The Panel also reported on the implementation, or lack thereof, of the asset freeze by certain Member States”.  The Committee is to abrogate the sanctions against the two entities mentioned when it finds it expedient so that free excess to assets would be guaranteed in the interests of Libya people.(2)
Second, there were significant steps taken aimed at liberalization of arms supplies.   In important adjustments to the arms embargo, the Council lifted the requirement that the Sanctions Committee approve supplies of non-lethal military equipment and assistance for humanitarian or protective use.(3)  It also removed the need for notification to the Committee of non-lethal military equipment being supplied to the Libyan Government for security or disarmament assistance, and urged the Government to improve the monitoring of arms supplied to it, including through the issuance of end-user certificates.(4) 

At that the resolution concedes there are constant breeches of the rules according to which the measures are to be implemented. The arms from Libya are spreading out across the whole continent. On December 16 the government announced the closure of borders with Algeria, Chad, Niger and Sudan. The southern areas of the country were declared “closed military zones”. By the way, Mali is not the only victim of arms supplies coming from Libya. The Darfur conflict may get sparked again: Sudan says the arms supplies to the rebels have significantly increased. Al-Bashir, the President of Sudan, acknowledged he supplied with the Libyan “revolutionaries” with weapons in 2011 to topple Gaddafi.(5)
The arms embargo against Libya is a blow to the interests of Russia and China.  It the second time, the first time embargo went into effect in 1992 aimed against Russian supplies. The Council’s Sanctions Committee has recently asked China about the arms the Jamahiriya wanted to get, but didn’t, in the summer of 2011. The same Committee asked Russia in 2012 about serial number and individual markings of the AK 103-2 rifle captured by the Niger government to make precise if it was manufactured in Russia and what country has Russia sold it to.   There has been no reply as yet.(6)
A mechanism is worked out to avoid compensation to the countries that suffered losses as a result of terminating the contracts which had been concluded before with the Gaddafi government. The UNSC resolution N 1973, “Decides that all States, including the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, shall take the necessary measures to ensure that no claim shall lie at the instance of the Libyan authorities, or of any person or body in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, or of any person claiming through or for the benefit of any such person or body, in connection with any contract or other transaction where its performance was affected by reason of the measures taken by the Security Council in resolution 1970 (2011), this resolution and related resolutions”. (7)  Remember, Russia abstained from adopting this anti-Libyan and at the same time, anti-Russian resolution…

The process of Libya’s disarmament is kicked off. It affects two core areas: transfers to the neighboring states and the liquidation of chemical weapons. The new resolution’s provision on providing assistance to the “democratic” government of Libya is something one can understand: no matter victorious reports on the advent of democracy in the “new” Libya, the government doesn’t yet control the larger part of the country. That’s what the UN experts report says straight, “the National Transitional Council’s control has remained conditional, a product of continual negotiation with autonomous militia and local councils”. This conclusion the UN experts made in order to justify the Libyan government’s mass crimes”. The document says “Jockeying between rival militias has led to a number of violent incidents, while the lack of centralized control limits the Council’s ability to enforce international standards of human rights and due process”.(8)
The new Libya parliament sanctioned force against the people of Bani-Walid that remained faithful to the old regime.  The city was sieged and then seized by force. The new democratic parliament also approved a “political isolation law” that isolates from political life all who supported Gaddafi. At that, democrats cannot come to agreement.  The former Libyan Prime Minister Mustafa Abu Shagur could not make it through a confidence vote in the parliament.    Ali Zeidan, the incumbent Prime Minister of Libya, couldn’t push four new ministers through the High Commission for the Implementation of Integrity and Patriotism, including the candidate for the minister of internal affairs position.  Libya is democratized and, any normal democratic state needs international assistance. On December 17 International Ministerial Conference on Support to Libya in the Areas of Security, Justice and Rule of Law took place in London with the participation of  the United States, Great Britain, France, Germany,  Denmark, Italy, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey and the European Union.  On February 12, a conference devoted to the same agenda took place in Paris. The United Nations leadership openly acknowledges the UN Mission does “assist” Libyan prosecutors and courts. They promise ‘assistance” in the preparation of the new constitution. Is it not the most obvious demonstration of Libya’s democracy and independence?

The discussions on federal structure, or legal territorial dismemberment of the country, are in full swing. It is accompanied by religious hatred, mainly aimed at the country’s Christians (9) , but not only. Sufi shrines are attacked more and more often...

At the end of last year a few serious clashed took place between the Salafi Muslims and local residents defending a Sufi shrine in the eastern Libyan town of Rajma, east of Benghazi. It was preceded by August attacks by the Salafi against the historic mausoleum of attacks by the Salafi against the historic mausoleum of Abdussalam al Asmar in Zlitan, the mausoleum of Sheikh Ahmed al-Zarruq in Misrata, the mosque of Sidi Al-Sha'ab in Tripoli…

Speaking to the United Nations, Prime Minister of Libya Ali Zeidan was open enough and expressed “gratitude to all partners and allies from friendly countries” that supported the coup in Libya in different ways.  He said it was thanks to their efforts Libya won on October 20 2011. (10) 

Besides the prolongation of the UN Libya Mission mandate, new “partners and allies” are to come. It has just been announced the European Union will establish its border security mission in the middle of 2013…


(1)  Paragraph 7 resolution  № 2095 March 14  2013 , // UN Document: S/RES/2095 (2013).
(2)  Paragraph 13, resolution  № 2095.
(3)  It was introduced by item 9(a)  of the UN Security Council resolution № 1970 (2011).
(4)  The notification or absence of negative decision was envisaged by item 13(a) of the resolution 2009 (2011).
(5)  Bashir says Sudan armed Libyan rebels, // Sudan Tribune, 26 October 2011 (official website of the «Sudan Tribune» (Sudan):,40547).
(6)  Paragraph 135,Final report of the Panel of Experts in accordance with paragraph 24 (d) of resolution 1973 (2011). February 17, 2012/UN Document: S/2012/163.
(7)  Paragraph 27 UNSC resolution №1973 (2011).
(8)  Paragraph 22 of Letter dated 17 February 2012 from the Panel of Experts on Libya established pursuant to resolution 1973 (2011) addressed to the President of the Security Council //UN document S/2012/163;
(9)  Copt churches are exploded; a few hundred people were dead and wounded in December 2012 – March 2013.
(10)  The record of the UN session on March 14 2013//UN document: S/PV.6934, p.7.


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