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Now the questions are Nato’s to answer

25 March 2011

9:12 AM

25 March 2011

9:12 AM

Now, at least, we know: Nato will be taking charge of the no-fly zone that has been erected around Libya. And we might even welcome the news. As soon as the Americans made it clear that this was
not their conflict to command, a new leadership arrangement was always going to be required — and Nato were the obvious choice. The only real barriers to their assumption of power have been
French enthusiasm and Turkish reluctance, but they now appear to have been reconciled. In so far as this has clarified the next steps in Libya, it is a good thing.


But confusion remains, and in wholesale quantities. It’s not just that the divisions of responsibility are still not properly established — talks are still ongoing as to whether Nato should
be given wider responsibility over the entire military operation — but that there are still differences of opinion on how to proceed. For example, the US seems to have ratcheted up its
efforts to oust Gaddafi, saying in yesterday’s Pentagon briefing that, "Our message to the regime troops is simple: stop fighting, stop
killing your own peoples, stop obeying the orders of Colonel Gaddafi." But other officials are still emphasising a negotiated settlement between Gaddafi and the rebels.

Nato may be an umbrella organisation — but there are a lot of competing voices underneath its canopy. Much remains to be resolved.


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