Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Libya vs. Syria

After several months, we now see a new regime slowly forming in Libya. This has come after sustained NATO involvement. The reasons given for intervention included the need to protect civilians (and not oil) from harm. Yet, the same justifications seem applicable in the Syrian case and, nevertheless, there is no contemplation of NATO involvement in Syria.
Perhaps the obvious difference between these two countries is that one has oil and the other does not. But is it that simple?


R. Michael Barron said...

I'm falling in the "not" column on this one. While I tend to suspect Libya's oil was one of, if not the reason we intervened, there are many factors contributing to the decision not to intervene in Syria. For one thing there's Syria's position. Libya's neighbors had already undergone their own political upheavals and are relatively unstable. Under such circumstances I can see how a quick and decisive rebel victory would be preferable to a prolonged civil war ending with a win for a weakened Gaddafi. Syria's neighbors on the other hand are still stable enough to beg the question of whether NATO bombs would do more harm than "good." Of course, I'm not saying oil doesn't enter into it, but I tend to think it more complex than that.

Thom Brooks said...

This is well observed and I agree: Syria does have a geopolitical importance beyond natural resources rather different to Libya. But then our political leaders should have made a different case: the humanitarian crisis in Syria today seems no less worrying than in Libya when NATO swiftly intervened.

eamonnmcdonagh said...

There’s also the fact that Syria has bigger, better equipped and more experienced armed forces than Libya. It also has to regional allies – Iran and Hizbollah that are capable of making all kinds of trouble. Finally, Syria is ruled by an ethnic minority that looks prepared to do whatever is necessary to stay on top of the heap. Oh and remember that NAT0’s capabilities were stretched to the limit even to help take down Gadaffi. There was/is allegedly a chronic shortage of laser guided bombs among NATO countries other than the USA. And if the French hadn’t had an aircraft carrier they were willing to commit….