The Libyans Must Topple Gadhafi Themselves (Frankfurter Allgemeine, Germany)

By Günther Nonnenmacher:

Behind closed doors, the allies discuss the goal of toppling Gadhafi. That’s wrong: After the dictator’s military wings have been clipped, the Libyan people must complete their revolution themselves.

Military intervention by the French-led “coalition of the willing” has prevented the city of Benghazi from falling to Gadhafi’s troops, thereby rescuing its citizens from slaughter. According to the allies, the attacks on Libyan air defenses have resulted in their neutralization, thus proving the effectiveness of the no-fly zone strategy. Further attacks may be necessary to succeed in achieving U.N. Resolution 1973’s goal: protection of the Libyan people from their own government. Nevertheless, an end to the bombardments is at least on the horizon, begging the important question: What comes next?

Behind closed doors, the allies are discussing the goal of toppling Gadhafi, i.e., affecting regime change. That is a politically legitimate goal that the resolution supports by condemning Gadhafi as well as imposing strict sanctions and embargoes against Libya. Achieving this via military means is not, however, a goal covered by the resolution, and the West should not pursue it for other reasons, as well.

In Tunisia and Egypt, the people rose up against their rulers by denouncing and withdrawing support from them — on their own, until the West publicly began supporting them. That is the source from which their revolutions draw their power and dignity. Time and again, the assertion was made that the world wanted to help these nations economically, but absent the imposition of a specific model of democracy on them from the outside. No one wanted to repeat the mistakes of George W. Bush’s “freedom agenda” and try to set up an imported democracy knowing the results of the “nation building” that such a policy entails. No one exactly knows how the Libyan people are divided in the matter of support for Gadhafi. As brutal as it sounds, the Libyan people have to bring a conclusion to their revolution themselves once Gadhafi’s military wings have been clipped. And despite all the difficulties involved, they alone have to decide how their country is to be governed.

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