Libya saves NATO from its identity crisis

NATO ambassadors decided on Sunday to take over control of the military operations in Libya. The organization seems to be united again. It overcame its identity crisis in the expense of hundreds of lives of peaceful civilians in Libya.

After a  hot dispute between NATO members, with Germany and Turkey not wanting the organization to carry on the bombing campaign against Gaddafi’s forces, all the 28 member-countries agreed on taking control over of all UN-mandated military operations in Libya.

“NATO will implement all aspects of the UN resolution. Nothing more, nothing less,” Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said in a statement. “This is a very significant step, which proves NATO’s capability to take decisive action.”

“NATO is united, NATO is operating” NATO spokesman Oana Lungesku said at a press conference in Brussels on Wednesday.

The union representatives sounded very optimistic. They found a common ground for the NATO members, something that will proof the necessity of the alliances’ existence. It was very important to do this as soon as possible, because the last NATO’s “project” – the war in Afghanistan – must be over by 2012. After finishing it, there was nothing in perspective to still rally the union that in some ways has already outlived itself.

One can recall November 2010 which became a crucial moment for the organization.  NATO’s Lisbon summit was very important for the future of the alliance, as during the past few years it was the same question that puzzled many: what was this 20th century alliance doing in the 21st century world?

“I’m not sure what NATO is in the 21st century,” Ivan Eland, the director of the Center on Peace & Liberty at The Independent Institute, said back then. “It’s still a military alliance on paper, but I think it’s not really feasible to defend every country, so it’s really become a talk shop and it’s outdated.”

The Soviet Union was no longer a threat to Europe’s peaceful existence. And there were no immediate danger to the countries located in this region. Libyan crisis came in very handy. Libya is one of the closest neighbors to the EU countries, and the unrest in the latter could be a theoretical threat. The “red threat” is gone, and something new, something dreadful like Libyan Colonel with his mythical chemical weapons should take its place.

Transferring control to NATO was a high priority of the Obama administration in Washington. Quite reasonably, Barack Obama does not want the US to be leading yet another high-profile military intervention in the Middle East, the Australian reported.

The U.S. needs NATO to conduct all the interventions that were started with the organization’s back up. Therefore the Americans did all the heavy grunt work of suppressing Gaddafi’s air defence installations for its allies to pick up the operation.

Meanwhile, the rebels who are “protected” by the NATO forces and bombs from embattled leader Muammar Gaddafi’s troops, have already agreed to export oil from the territories under their control to Qatar, Reuters reported. And that was done just a few days after the Western countries entered Libya. Nobody even tried to pretend that oil was not one of the key interests here.

The only hope is that Russia and China will finally wake up and won’t let the hawks to devour their possible prey.

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