U.N. Resolution 1973 “Authorizes Member States that have notified the Secretary-General, acting nationally or through regional organizations or arrangements, and acting in cooperation with the Secretary-General, to take all necessary measures . . . to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, including Benghazi, while excluding a foreign occupation force of any form on any part of Libyan territory, and requests the Member States concerned to inform the Secretary-General immediately of the measures they take pursuant to the authorization conferred by this paragraph which shall be immediately reported to the Security Council.” I guess a “request” for Security Council notification isn’t the same as a
“requirement” . . .
’cause France has been air-dropping weapons to Libyan rebels without passing along the news to the U.N. [Click here for the Aljazeera TV report.] Now that the air drop has been exposed by the French media, the military has responded with the expected Gallic shrug.
Colonel Thierry Burkhard, a spokesperson for the French general staff, told Al Jazeera on Wednesday that the military had dropped assault rifles, machine guns and rocket-propelled grenade launchers to groups of unarmed civilians in western Libya it deemed to be at risk.
Earlier in the day, the Le Figaro newspaper and the AFP news agency reported that France had dropped several tonnes of arms, including Milan anti-tank rockets and light armoured vehicles.
The airdrops arrived somewhere in rebel-held towns in the Nafusa mountains, which run east-west from the Tunisian border around 100km south of the capital Tripoli.
As always, the “debate” over a U.N. member state’s actions has quickly devolved into a game of semantics, with France claiming that the offensive weapons are being used defensively (which makes them OK, apparently.) Not all U.N. members are walking around with wool pulled over their eyes. “We already have proof that these weapons are in the hands of al-Qaeda,” claims AU Commissioner Jean Ping.
According to insiders, France would like rebel forces use their kit to mount an attack on Tripoli and take out Gaddafi’s core defenders and, thus, the man himself. Which is not what I’d call self-defense. But you might. And the U.N., well, they’ll get back to you on that.
I know! Let’s ask Barak Obama! Mr. President. Do you approve of the French effort to supply Libyan rebels with guns, rockets, grenades, grenades, grenade launchers, ammunition and other war materiel? If so, what is the United States doing to keep these weapons from falling into the hands of terrorists, and destabilizing Africa? That’s assuming that the U.S. isn’t slipping Johnny Reb some of our guns . . .