Partition: Dividing Libya in two may be rebels' best hope
Wednesday 23 March 2011
With the stated aim of last week's UN resolution limited to the cessation of violence against the Libyan people – and an ongoing row over whether targeting Colonel Gaddafi would be legal – the Western powers are increasingly aware of a result that falls some way short of regime change: partition.
Conscious of the fragility of public support, and concerned about the mounting costs of the campaign, some members of the alliance against Gaddafi see merit in the idea. Yesterday, Nick Harvey, the minister for the Armed Forces, told the BBC partition was "one possible outcome". He added: "A stable outcome where they weren't killing each other would in a sense be one way of achieving the humanitarian objective."
Any informal partition would solidify the division that already exists in the country. For the rebels to survive, they would need to take settled possession of Ajdabiya, as the city controls the irrigation systems that supply water to their stronghold, Benghazi.
But any such plan would be fraught with complications. There are cities in the west of Libya where rebels have acted against Colonel Gaddafi, and there is no clear way of ensuring those rebels' safety.
There is also no sense that either side would accept a more permanent split. It is not clear how any division would be policed without Western boots on the ground – although Mr Harvey refused to rule it out. And there would be inevitable tension over the country's vital oil supplies.
That suggests that any partition would simply delay the conflict. But if there is little movement in Tripoli in the days ahead, the Western allies may conclude that it is their best hope of securing a reasonable outcome. They would hope a temporary partition would allow rebels time to regroup and mount another campaign.
- 1 Stamford Hill council removes 'unacceptable' posters telling women which side of the road to walk down
- 2 Kim Kardashian 'nude pictures' leaked on 4chan weeks after Jennifer Lawrence 'The Fappening' scandal
- 3 Scottish referendum 'English question': Tory MPs call on David Cameron to create an English first minister in wake of No vote
- 4 Iranian blogger found guilty of insulting Prophet Mohammad on Facebook sentenced to death
- 5 Free U2 album: How the most generous giveaway in music history turned into a PR disaster
Stamford Hill council removes 'unacceptable' posters telling women which side of the road to walk down
Kim Kardashian 'nude pictures' leaked on 4chan weeks after Jennifer Lawrence 'The Fappening' scandal
Iranian blogger found guilty of insulting Prophet Mohammad on Facebook sentenced to death
Hitler’s former food taster reveals the horrors of the Wolf’s Lair
Jennifer Lawrence 'naked sex video' will be leaked next, threatens 4Chan celebrity photo hacker
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'
£70000 - £80000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Group Head of Marketing and Communic...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: Level 3 Nursery Nurse required for ...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: L3 Nursery Nurses urgently required...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: We have a number of schools based S...