Leading article: A coalition still at odds after Doha

Share
Related Topics

A few hours of discussion in Qatar yesterday left an impression of modest progress within the Libya contact group that contrasted with the conspicuous lack of progress, so far, on the ground. Two factors clearly remain as problematic as ever: the intrinsic weakness of the anti-Gaddafi opposition and the legal position relating to outside assistance. The 10-point communique bore the hallmarks of much hedging.

In an advance on the London meeting, which established the contact group, there was agreement that Muammar Gaddafi's continued presence threatened any resolution to the current crisis, but no open support for regime change imposed from outside. There was no agreement either on the permissibility of supplying weapons to the anti-Gaddafi forces. One question is whether the embargo that currently applies to Libya bans arms supplies to everyone, or just to the Gaddafi regime. Another is whether the regime's frozen assets abroad can be unfrozen to fund the rebels' cause. The additional help approved in Doha was described as non-lethal or humanitarian – with more than 3.5 million people said to be in need.

As the past three weeks have demonstrated, what amounts essentially to more of the same may not be enough to bring the opposition forces victory, at least not soon. And if it is not, what then? The UN mandate does not extend to the forcible removal of Gaddafi – who shows no sign of readiness to give up power voluntarily – and the requirement to protect civilians can apply equally to opposition-controlled areas as to those controlled by Gaddafi. It can be stretched only so far in tipping the advantage towards the rebels.

A Nato meeting today and tomorrow will be an opportunity for the alliance to review the efficacy of its operations to date, but statements yesterday suggested that the French President's impatience is not shared by either Britain or the Nato secretary general. The unsatisfactory conclusion is that all concerned will either have to reconcile themselves to the present uneasy stalemate or show themselves as prepared for the long haul as Gaddafi himself appears to be.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - B2B, Corporate - City, London

£45000 - £50000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Recruitment Genius: Head of Content and PR

£35000 - £37000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

Recruitment Genius: PHP Developer - Mid / Senior

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing digital agenc...

Recruitment Genius: E-commerce Partnerships Manager

£50000 - £100000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a newly-created partne...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Zoe Sugg, aka Zoella, with her boyfriend, fellow vlogger Alfie Deyes  

If children are obese then blame food manufacturers, not Zoella

Jane Merrick
Amos Yee arrives with his father at the State courts in Singapore on March 31  

Singapore's arrest of a 16-year-old YouTuber is all you need to know about Lee Kuan Yew's legacy

Noah Sin
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor