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Libya Orders Cease Fire, Halts Military Operations

Faced with a United Nations Security Council Resolution and the threat of international military action, Libya announced today that it was halting all military action against the rebels in the eastern half of the country:

Hours after the United Nations Security Council voted to authorize military action and the imposition of a no-flight zone, Libya performed what seemed a remarkable about-face after weeks of defiance, saying it would call an “immediate ceasefire and the stoppage of all military operations” against rebels seeking the ouster of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi.

The pledge came from the Libyan foreign minister, Moussa Koussa, even as western powers said they were readying warplanes for imminent action to enforce the Security Council resolution. It was unclear what effect a ceasefire, if honored, might have on the international mobilization.

At a news conference in Tripoli, Mr. Koussa said Libya accepted the resolution, which included a call for a ceasefire. He registered “sadness” that the resolution included such measures as the no-flight zone and “will have a general impact on the life of the Libyan people.”

Before the announcement, French and British officials said Friday that military action would start soon in an attempt to contain forces loyal to Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi as they threaten a final assault on the rebel stronghold of Benghazi.

If this is for real, then one wonders if Gaddafi hasn’t just called the world’s bluff. If he puts a cease fire in place and complies with it, then what justification is there for any military action against his regime?

 

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Anon says:

    Maybe I misunderstand the goal of the UN resolution, but isn’t this a good thing? It halts Gaddafi without a single bomb dropped/missile launched.

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  2. john personna says:

    “If this is for real, then one wonders if Gaddafi hasn’t just called the world’s bluff. If he puts a cease fire in place and complies with it, then what justification is there for any military action against his regime?”

    This isn’t calling a bluff, but this is an interesting counter-move.

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  3. john personna says:

    (Bluff-calling would have been to strike out at the Arab League or something.)

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  4. tom p says:

    This is more “checking the bet” to see what the other players at the table are going to do.

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  5. Steven Plunk says:

    It’s been argued all along that a NFZ could have an effect without ever putting a plane in the air. While there are still many moves left on both sides this one has changed the game. Those who opposed it should now rethink their positions and understand why this changed things. A little decisiveness and flexing of muscle is what despots respond to. Shoot down one plane and they know we are deadly serious.

    If we’re going to fund a military then we must be willing to use it for the right causes. Even Obama says it’s time for this dictator to go.

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  6. Tlaloc says:

    Those who opposed it should now rethink their positions and understand why this changed things.

    hrrrm, rethinking.

    …no, it’s still a stupid thing to do. We’ve made the threat so now we’re on the hook to monitor the situation to make sure he isn’t lying about the cease fire, and if he does we’re on the hook to get involved in the internal affairs of Libya. And if the rebels regroup under a genuine ceasefire and start things up again he has grounds to go to the UN and say “hey I played nice and look where it got me, when are you going to do something about these terrorists, since you won’t let me do it?”

    All in all we’ve just shackled ourselves to yet another ugly little civil war for no reason.

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  7. Tlaloc says:

    If we’re going to fund a military then we must be willing to use it for the right causes.

    “Right” reasons come around about once a century or so. The rest of the time it’s all things we shouldn’t touch.

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  8. Steve Verdon says:

    “Right” reasons come around about once a century or so. The rest of the time it’s all things we shouldn’t touch.

    Agreed.

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  9. tom p says:

    we must be willing to use it for the right causes.

    Just out of curiousity Steve, what are the right reasons?

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  10. Steven Plunk says:

    tom p, After Obama sent signals with his Ghadaffi must go rhetoric this qualifies. And it’s not just us, this is a UN action.

    There are a lot of unknowns here but saying one thing and doing another only made us look bad. At least now (late) we are showing the world we can make a decision.

    If Obama would have said early on the United States would have no part in this then it would have been a clear signal and we could have stayed out. The President wrote a check with his mouth that needed to be cashed.

    Now we must establish with our allies clear limits on what we will and will not do. Don’t wait for circumstances to drive us we must control as much as we can. We’re either leaders or followers. Leaders have the advantage.

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  11. […] early morning piece looking at our apparent decision to go to war in Libya (qualified only because Muammar Gaddafi’s announcement of a cease-fire calls into question what comes next ), Michael Reynolds argues that, whatever the merits of the […]

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  12. Tlaloc says:

    There are a lot of unknowns here but saying one thing and doing another only made us look bad.

    I can’t disagree with that. We should have stood to a neutral position, willing to support UN action but not pressing for it.

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  13. […] Mataconis in a brief post at Outside the Beltway asks a good question: “If this is for real, then one wonders if Gaddafi hasn’t just called the world’s bluff. If […]

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  14. anonymous says:

    We’ve fought Mouammar in the past. The last time we had a no-fly zone he regretted it.
    Our military forces and the other countries were, and still are ready if need.
    He’s not calling any bluff, he’s abiding by U.N strictly because if he doesn’t, and his regime wins they will not be supported with business from other countries.

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  15. Marie Devine says:

    Saddam Hussein did the same thing just before we went against him. It did not stop us, which shows that there is an underlying motive in the coalition’s actions. It does not make sense that we side with protesters in various protests and not know what their goal is.

    “If he puts a cease fire in place and complies with it, then what justification is there for any military action against his regime?”

    Unions, Communism and Socialism seem to be tied to the protests in the Arab nations in this articles: read it all.http://www.divine-way.com/egypt_protests__kgb__socialism__unions__blacks__workers_world_connection.html

    “Even more significant is that the Hezb’allah representatives demonstrating on the first day of the Cairo uprising were carrying flags displaying the hammer and sickle.” “…..express goal of creating a favorable atmosphere for Soviet-style socialism within the American trade unions ….” (It is now spreading.)

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