The Libyan syndrome

After US congressmen asked President Obama to give a thorough account of the Libyan operation, the president invited the speaker of the House of Representatives John Boehner to a party of golf.

In politics, Mr. Boehner and Mr. Obama may be irreconcilable opponents – but both are great lovers of golf. The speaker accepted the president’s invitation. The party is appointed for June 18.

By this invitation, Mr. Obama probably wants to blandish Mr. Boehner – but, sooner or later, the president will have to answer to the Congress.

What irritates the House of Representatives most of all is probably the fact that President Obama sent forces to Libya without the House’s formal sanction. The congressmen are demanding that the president must answer when the war will be ended and how much it will cost the US. They also want Mr. Obama to clearly outline what part of the operation is meant to be carried out by the US and what by its allies.

Another question which the congress is occupied with is the influence of the US’s participation in the Libyan war on two other wars which America is not yet through with – in Afghanistan and in Iraq. This is probably the hardest question for Mr. Obama to answer – there is little success to boast of in both these wars, especially in the Afghan war.

True, according to American laws, to declare a military operation, the president is not obliged to consult with anyone, including the Congress. But this is so only with operations which last for no more than 60 days. For a longer operation, a sanction of the Congress is needed. It turned 60 days since the beginning of the US’s operation in Libya on May 20, but the operation is still on, and there seems no end to it. The White House is still trying to persuade the Congress that the Libyan case is not a full-fledged war but a short-term operation, but the Congress does not agree with this interpretation.

Well, the congressmen are probably right – it seems like the US forces have stuck in Libya for long, like it is in Afghanistan and Iran and, if we take some glance back into history, like it was in Vietnam. It becomes increasingly clear by the day that the NATO bombings are not helping to solve the Libyan conflict – but the leaders of the NATO countries seem not to notice this.

This is what for the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov criticized NATO this Saturday. The only way to peace in Libya is trying to bring the both warring sides to the table of talks – but NATO doesn’t seem to realize this, the minister said. He also added that NATO has the same vicious approach to the conflicts in Syria and in Yemen, for some reasons not backing those who are seeking for peaceful solutions of these conflicts.

“What is going on in Yemen is a nightmare,” the Russian Foreign Minister said. “It’s a most severe civil war. One can only regret that the peaceful initiative of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Persian Gulf was not immediately supported. I cannot understand what the reason for this delay was.”

The initiative of the Council of Arab States suggested that Yemen’s President Ali Abdullah Saleh must resign in exchange of a guarantee of no persecutions against him. As you probably remember, on Friday, Mr. Saleh was wounded when oppositionists fired at a mosque near his palace, where he was at that moment. Now he has gone to Saudi Arabia for medical treatment.

Mr. Lavrov qualified the policy of the Western coalition in Libya and other Arab countries which are now whelmed by revolts as “stubborn”. He believes that if one country is whelmed with a civil war, and another country joins this war, no matter on whose side, there would be no end to this war. Violence can breed nothing but more violence. The only way to peace is trying to reconcile the warring sides.

[Source: The Voice of Russia, Moscow, 06Jun11]

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Libya War
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