The U.S. Should Not Get Involved in Libya

Kamal Nawash   في السبت 19 مارس 2011

 By :Kamal Nawash

These are new and exciting times in the Middle East and North Africa. The world has witnessed two nonviolent revolutions in Tunis and Egypt that brought down two powerful leaders in a matter of days. Other countries are experiencing similar calls for change and in the case of Libya, the call for change has turned deadly.

As was the case during the uprising in Egypt, many Americans requested the U.S. government to actively side with the demonstrators or those who want change. This is a MISTAKE. The U.S. should NOT attempt to influence the outcome in the changes taking place in the various Arab Countries.

To the extent that change occurs in Arab governments, it should be organic without any interference from outside powers. The United States is not popular in any Arab country. This is due to decades of American involvement in the Arab world that includes the Iraq war, Arab/Israeli conflict and numerous other strategic decisions taken by the United States since WWII. Consequently, any liberation or freedom movement that receives overt help from the United States will be delegitimized in the eyes of the people they are trying to liberate. This is why the Libyan rebels, who are desperate for help, specifically said they don't want American military involvement on the ground. The rebels know that if the U.S. joins the battle on their side, the rebels will lose most of their support from the Libyan people.

For the most part, the U.S. should be on the sidelines in the call for change in the Middle East. The U.S. can play an indirect role, however. One of the reasons that People like Qadaffi refuse to step down from power is because doing so could mean suicide. Qadaffi has nowhere to go and if he stays in Libya after stepping down, he will be killed, jailed or humiliated. The U.S. should sincerely suggest a way out for Qaddafi and other leaders who find themselves in the same predicament. It is not enough for a U.S. president to tell Qaddafi to leave Libya as Obama has done. The U.S. should try to convince rebels in Libya and the global community in general to guaranty Qaddafi's safety and provide him with immunity from future prosecution from any country. If such an offer was on the table then leaders such as Qaddafi of Libya and President Saleh of Yemen may seriously consider stepping down from power.

Any leader who faces danger to his life and his family's life is likely to fight to the end. The world would be better off by offering leaders like Qaddafi a safe and comfortable retirement.

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