The uprising in Egypt that led to the resignation of former president Hosni Mubarak has spread through the Middle East. Citizens in Egypt, Bahrain and Libya all have staged substantial protests in their respective countries as they call for their political rights and freedoms as citizens.
Libyan ruler Moammar Gadhafi has used his military and police to squash the rebellion and kill protesting citizens. The United States and other Western nations took a tough stance against Gadhafi, calling for a cease-fire and an immediate end to the slaughtering of citizens.
Early Saturday, according to CNN, coalition military jets were seen flying over Libya in an effort to enforce a United Nations-approved no-fly zone. The coalition, which consists of the United States, the United Kingdom, Belgium, France, Canada, Qatar, Italy, Norway, Denmark and Spain, began taking out Gadhafi-controlled airfields, surface-to-air missile sites and communication posts which had been used by the Libyan army as it attacked Libyan citizens.
Intervention from Western countries and other countries around the globe became necessary when Gadhafi began to use his military against his own citizens. Western nations that stand for human rights and civil liberties rightly stepped in to end the slaughter of citizens who have assembled in Libya.
The United States has led the way and conducted a majority of the missile attacks. However, U.S. officials made it clear that they will hand over control of the continued enforcement of the no-fly zone to coalition forces while the U.S. fades into the background.
“We’ve essentially made substantial progress in wiping out [Gadhafi’s] air defenses,” one U.S. official said, according to CNN.com. And the French air force also has teamed up heavily with the United States to conduct the initial strikes.
CNN reported that Gadhafi’s compound sustained significant damage to a building that coalition forces have called a communication center.
According to CNN, “The official said the compound was targeted because it contains capabilities to exercise command and control over Libyan forces and the coalition goal is to degrade his military capabilities. The official said neither Gadhafi nor his residence was the intended target.”
It is of paramount importance that coalition nations not overstep the parameters established in the U.N. Security Council’s resolution. In military action, such as what is taking place in Libya, nations often become to susceptible to losing sight of their original intentions.
The other struggle to this action has been to convince the Arab world that all attacks have been within the U.N. Security Council’s scope of enforcing a no-fly zone.
President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and several other top administration officials have been making calls to nations of the Arab League to garner support for the military mission in Libya and to insist that the bombing does not go beyond the U.N. mandate, according to political analyst Ed Henry. Obama also personally called King Abdullah of Jordan.
Once the no-fly zone is created and missile strikes predominantly end, the U.S. will allow other coalition nations to police the no-fly zone. U.S. officials have made it very clear that the U.S. has no broader mission other than to enforce the U.N.-approved no-fly zone.
Once the no-fly zone is in place, coalition countries hope the pressure on Gadhafi will force his resignation as pressure mounts. Protesters have already felt empowered since the intervention by coalition forces, and Gadhafi’s army has been ineffective in fighting what Gadhafi calls the “animals.”
However, it appeared Gadhafi was still far away from giving in before the bombardment started.
The Libyan city of Benghazi has been secured as a makeshift capital for rebel forces, and Gadhafi’s capital in Tripoli has been attacked heavily by coalition missiles.
Gadhafi’s army has been moving dead bodies into bombed areas to give the appearance that coalition missiles have killed the civilians when in fact the bodies are a result of Gadhafi’s cruelty.
The Washington Post spoke to one rebel fighter who said, “We thank the international community for their serious steps to kill this murderer.” The fighter, who gave his name as Adam al-Libi, said, “If God is willing, we will win.”
In the end, a solution will be brought about by political change instead of military might, but U.S. and coalition attacks on Gadhafi’s air force have empowered rebel forces. Obama has made good on his promise from his speech when receiving the Nobel Peace Prize to provide
humanitarian aid to those merely seeking the freedom and human rights that should be granted to all people on this earth.
Alex Apple is a freshman political science and journalism double major from Nashville, Tenn.