UN resolution legality needs a gatekeeper

On March 29, Gaddafi's army recaptured two cities. This new twist to the Libyan military situation has heaped political embarrassment on the West. It is now time to prevent the West from further abusing Security Council Resolution No. 1973.

The Western powers have acted beyond the resolution. Although the leaders of the US, Britain and France have said their military actions are only aimed at establishing a no-fly zone, the Western air strikes have directly attacked Libyan government forces and provided air support for the opposition. They have jointly demanded Gaddafi to step down immediately, which has nothing to do with Security Council resolutions.

In the absence of China, Russia, the African Union and most members of the Arab League, the London conference centered around the political landscape of the "post-Gaddafi era." This countermands the authority of the United Nations and goes against the Western declaration of "letting Libyan people determine by themselves."

The intensification of Western direct military intervention could force Gaddafi to step down soon. But the West has two obstacles: the Security Council resolution does not grant them such authority and they have to consider public opinion. The greater the opposition of global opinion, the more hesitant the West will be.

China should unite with Russia in requiring the US, Britain and France to respect Security Council resolutions. As the Security Council president this month, China should hold an emergency meeting at the ambassadorial level, and demand announcements about air strikes and plans for future intervention. The Council should ask the West to guarantee no expansion of military operations.

China should let French President Sarkozy know that the air strikes he defends are widely opposed in China. If he is a president with political honor, he should face the questions posed by Chinese media and guarantee that he will abide by Resolution 1973.

The world must not allow the West to act unchecked, especially when using the name of the UN. They should hear the voices of opposition and face the problems they cause.

Maintenance of the Security Council resolution can achieve a moral high ground. China and Russia abstained, which does not mean the US, Britain and France gained carte blanche. China, Russia, Brazil and other emerging countries should take actions to let these three countries understand this.

China should enter into contact with the Libyan opposition and various other forces in the Middle East. Libya's future can only be decided by the Libyan people themselves. Since Obama, Cameron and Sarkozy also agree with this, they should accept supervision. Even if the supervision would encounter some opposition in the Arab world, it is still worth doing.

[Source: Global Times, Editorial, Beiging, 31Mar11]

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