President Barack Obama made a televised address from the National Defence University, in Washington, to explain why he took action against Gaddafis forces that had attacked civilians for protesting against regime. Those who drafted the Resolution 1973 based their case on a need to protect the Libyans and facilitate dialogue between warring camps. A top Vatican official, Bishop Martinelli, in Tripoli, has recently commented: The air strikes are meant to protect the civilians, but they are killing dozens of civilians; he was reacting to the killing of 46 civilians by the UN mandated bombers. During the entire episode of the diplomatic build-up against Libya, the Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC) did not figure anywhere. The Arab League (AL) hurriedly suspended Libya's membership and abdicated its responsibility for resolving the crisis. It referred the matter to the UN for military action against the Gaddafi regime by enforcing a no-fly zone. No wonder, spoilers promptly filled the void. The UNSC Resolution No 1973 on Libya was poorly drafted by these opportunists. It is likely to set a horrible precedent in the name of vague terminologies like democracy, human rights, protection of civilians, etc. Going by the wording of the resolution, almost all the Arab states and most of the developing countries could qualify for foreign intervention under fuzzy pretexts. Such actions are poised to be selective, while atrocities committed in places like Gaza and Kashmir will continue to be pushed under the carpet. Realising the implications of the resolution, the Arab support for military intervention wavered rather quickly. Alas By then the lamb had been handed over to the wolves. It is not surprising that out of the 21 League members, only four attended the Paris Summit convened to implement the UN resolution, and Qatar and the UAE are the only Arab states taking part in enforcing a no-fly zone, both contributing just a token number of aircraft. The resolution authorised the UN member states to take all necessary measures to achieve these aims, but ruled out the presence of foreign troops on Libyas soil. However, the US Ambassador to the UN later said that it would permit helping the rebel forces with weapons. Hence, the US has found justification to train, arm and finance the anti-Gaddafi insurgents, although some of the rebel leaders are affiliates of Al-Qaeda and have fought against America in Afghanistan and Iraq. Needless to say, the UN mandate of enforcement under Chapter 7 and the related articles are meant to be exercised as a 'last resort. Russia and China questioned the merit of using force when other means had not been exhausted; this argument was also supported by Brazil and India. These four nations also pointed to the lack of clarity about who would enforce the measures. The blitzkrieg-style attack on Libya by the US, the UK and France surprised almost everyone because of the speed with which it was executed after authorisation. Much before the resolutions passage, the Western media was abuzz with the speculations that foreign special operatives and logistic support units had already entered the Libyan soil clandestinely. The NATO is well experienced in enforcing no-fly zone; however, other attendant aspects of the mission and strategy are hazy. Libya is more than 30 times larger than Bosnia, where NATO implemented a no-fly zone by employing around 240 aircraft from over 10 countries. A number of countries participating in the air campaign are of the view that they want an end to Gaddafis rule; whereas, this is not the intention conveyed by the language of the Resolution 1973. Moreover, a no-fly zone could do little to impede Gaddafis land forces. One wonders how long this operation could depend exclusively on air campaigns; the Kosovo model may not hold good for Libya. Enforcing the UN mandate by air power alone will be impossible. Eventually, it would necessitate the commitment of ground troops. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has recently observed that the concept of a just war can easily take on the aspect of a crusade. The wars on such pretexts are indeed a replica of the medieval notion of a 'morally justified war, which have since long been replaced with the model of 'legal war. The UNO was precisely brought into being to prevent this kind of 'just wars. Due to the munitions of phenomenal destructive power at the disposal of intervening parties, they end up in causing more casualties and destruction than what repressive regimes could inflict on their own people with relatively primitive means. Pakistan has termed the resolution as a sign of alarm; it is deeply concerned at the use of force against Libya and is of the opinion that a big crisis is in the offing in the Arab region and northern Africa. Iran has also expressed similar reservations. Further, the disagreement over the extent and limits of intervention in Libya indicates deep divisions within the regional and global institutions and governments. A split UNSC vote of 10-0 with five abstentions indicates lack of unanimity on the issue. The split within Europe is rather evident. Germany abstained from the resolution, refusing to participate in the operations and calling any military operation folly that may go beyond air strikes. Germanys stance is backed by Turkey. Brazils Ambassador raised the prospect of the resolution causing more harm than good to the civilians intended to be protected. Similar considerations weighed with the Arab League delegates when they debated the crisis in Cairo. They called for a no-fly zone in Libya, and nothing more. The League was opposed to any foreign intervention and wanted that the no-fly zone must end with the end of that crisis. Therefore, in case of a prolonged conflict, the frail cooperation among regional groupings could quickly melt down on the pretext of violation of the UN parameters set for intervention. The UN authorisation is based on the premise that civilians are under attack, but they are armed and fighting the Gaddafi forces. The Libyan government has the right, as a sovereign nation, to put down an armed rebellion; though, it certainly does not have the right to kill innocent protesters. China and Russia abstained and in a way extended tacit support to the move to launch an aggression against a sovereign country. Even though they may not be in favour of allowing Libyas occupation, they would now find it hard to arrest or reverse this tendency. Islamic and other developing countries need to do effective lobbying with Moscow and Beijing to stall such moves. Pakistan is of the view that no country should be divided, fractured or brought under attack merely in the name of restoration of democracy, protection of human rights, or safeguarding the civilians. It also rejects the trend of regime change through foreign intervention; its priority is stability and peace. President John F. Kennedy once quipped that limited military interventions are like taking a drink, once you take one and the effect wears off, you have to take another. The American and British media are already referring to eastern Libya, as a 'disputed territory. Forced partition of Libya would create yet another perpetual war zone. In all probability, we are in for a long haul n The writer is a retired Air Commodore of Pakistan Air Force. Email: