The current international military effort in Libya – which may soon be shifted into NATO’s hands – is a welcome change from the usual, mostly American-led interventions in the region.
For the first time in the past decade, the United States has enjoyed resolute support from the international community for a military intervention in the Middle East.
This support likely bolstered President Obama’s own resolve to act on behalf of the Libyan resistance movement against Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi.
The current allied forces, with France seemingly leading the way, are in the process of establishing a no fly zone over Libya by sea and air.
President Obama has asserted in statements to the press that American ground forces will not be deployed to the North African country.
Obama has once again found himself toeing a fine line – support from the international community and the plight of the Libyan people may prompt him to up the ante in Libya, and take an even harsher line against Qaddafi.
However, the public’s mounting disapproval of the ongoing war efforts in two other Middle Eastern nations – Iraq and Afghanistan – are deterrent enough against an increased American presence in Libya.
Congress is split down the aisle, with Democrats in the House and Senate wary of the escalating conflict between rebel forces and the Qaddafi government, and House Republicans pushing the president to take a more aggressive stance.
The reality of the current situation has more than two sides.
In reality, the United States does not have the resources to shoulder an extended siege of Libya; but with the allied press of that nation in its infant stages, it is unclear just what more shall be demanded of the U.S.
The plight of the Libyan people is a dire one, and it is right for the U.S. and its willing allies to stand for them.
Still, a matter of the semantics of the Libyan rebellion comes into question, one that will affect how the allied forces will act:
Is Libya’s current conflict truly an extension of the Arab Spring that has swept the Middle East? Or is this the beginning of a bloody civil war, one that could entrench foreign forces in an extended conflict – much in the way that the U.S. was trapped by Iraq?
Whatever the answer, the United States is acting now, and the unintended consequences of this action remain to be seen.