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Sanctions on Libya? Yes!

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On February 24, the minute all those Americans who wanted to leave Libya had safely escaped, President Obama bandied about sanctions. That’s the favourite threat used by our political class on both sides of the Atlantic whenever war is out of the question.

Obama’s first move was to call Prime Minister Erdogan of Turkey while French President Sarkozy was there on a visit, and tell them he wanted sanctions. Of course, they both agreed. The very next day, the United Nations Security Council produced a sanctions resolution backed by just about every member country, probably a first in the annals of United Nations history.Protest March (oil painting by Claude)

One can only applaud the international community for its reaction to the bloodshed in Libya. Anyone who’s followed the unfolding of the tragedy on Al Jazeera, as I have, will have seen Colonel Muammar al Qaddafi at his worst on Tuesday, February 22 in a raving 80 minute speech, threatening death to his own people. There can be no doubt the man is bloodthirsty, out of touch with reality and out of his mind.

No one wants to invade Libya to restore peace or save lives, so sanctions are the answer.  Okay, I can live with that. But there are sanctions and sanctions: only those that directly hit Qaddafi should be used; meaning a freeze on his assets, an interdiction to travel, bringing him to trial for crimes against humanity, a ban on arms sales to Libya. All of that is fine, but not a trade embargo that would only hurt the man in the street and leave Qaddafi unharmed.

It would seem the UN is going in that direction. For the sake of the poor Libyan people, I hope it keeps going that way…

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About Claude Nougat

Claude Nougat is a writer, economist, painter and poet. A graduate of Columbia University, she has dabbled in a wide variety of jobs before starting a 25 year career at the United Nations (Food and Agriculture) where she ended as Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia. Now happily retired, she dedicates herself to her two lifelong passions, writing and painting. She is the author of seven books of fiction and a prime exponent of Boomer literature, a new genre focused on the “second act” in life. Her novel, Crimson Clouds, has been hailed as “quintessential boomer lit”. Her most recent book (published April 2013) is a science fiction serial novel Forever Young, that takes a hard look at our world 200 years from now when the benefits of technological advances all go to the ultra rich, the One Percent. Her poetry has been included in Freeze Frame, an international poetry anthology curated by British poet Oscar Sparrow, published by Gallo Romano Media in 2012. She is married and lives in Italy.
  • John Lake

    I’m not certain that the Turkish Prime Minister, Erdogan, has approved sanctions against Libya.
    As to more rigorous actions, some have called for military intervention, some would arm the dissidents. The United States is in dire straits financially, and can’t just act without restraint.
    I tend to think either of the steps mentioned in this comment would be potentially catastrophic.

  • I agree! “Transition” is a euphemism for “problems”. Actually, toppling leaders is the easy part. Building a new, more liberal regime is the hard part, especially when the people of the old regime are still around and in power positions…

  • You know, the word ‘transition government’ makes me shudder– given the troubles we have here in Egypt with our own transitional government!

  • Yes, it pains me too! Things are evolving very fast, and for the moment it really looks like Lybia is going to break in two, with the rebels holding Benghazi and several cities in the eastern part of the country. They’ve even set a transition government structure (it seems in the hands of lawyers and judges) and some commentators here in Italy seem to expect them to negotiate with Qaddafi. But what? Perhaps some sort of compromise – nobody really knows how it will all end…

  • I hope so too.
    It really pains me that the international community is soo powerless in the face of crazed bloodthirsty madmen like Gaddafi.