Act. Now.

The unfolding catastrophe in Libya has forced the world to once again grapple with the conundrum of international humanitarian intervention. However, recent efforts at intervention — notably the humiliating episode in Somalia and the terrible failure to act in Rwanda — have revealed both the risks of action and the costs of inaction. Muammar al-Qaddafi’s ...

-/AFP/Getty Images
-/AFP/Getty Images
-/AFP/Getty Images

The unfolding catastrophe in Libya has forced the world to once again grapple with the conundrum of international humanitarian intervention. However, recent efforts at intervention -- notably the humiliating episode in Somalia and the terrible failure to act in Rwanda -- have revealed both the risks of action and the costs of inaction.

Muammar al-Qaddafi's bloodcurdling speech on Feb. 22 should force even skeptics of international intervention to think twice. In his defiant remarks, the Libyan dictator vowed to "cleanse Libya house by house" in order to stay in power. Qaddafi also insisted that he has not begun to crack down in earnest -- despite sketchy reports that his effort to quell the protests has already left hundreds, possibly thousands, of unarmed people dead -- and approvingly cited other uses of state security forces to quell unrest, such as the Chinese assault on Tiananmen Square and the U.S. actions in Waco and Fallujah.

Read more.

The unfolding catastrophe in Libya has forced the world to once again grapple with the conundrum of international humanitarian intervention. However, recent efforts at intervention — notably the humiliating episode in Somalia and the terrible failure to act in Rwanda — have revealed both the risks of action and the costs of inaction.

Muammar al-Qaddafi’s bloodcurdling speech on Feb. 22 should force even skeptics of international intervention to think twice. In his defiant remarks, the Libyan dictator vowed to "cleanse Libya house by house" in order to stay in power. Qaddafi also insisted that he has not begun to crack down in earnest — despite sketchy reports that his effort to quell the protests has already left hundreds, possibly thousands, of unarmed people dead — and approvingly cited other uses of state security forces to quell unrest, such as the Chinese assault on Tiananmen Square and the U.S. actions in Waco and Fallujah.

Read more.

 

Hussein Ibish is a senior resident scholar at the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington.

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