NATO mired in crisis

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More than one month has passed since members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) waged their first military actions against Libya in the name of protecting civilian lives.

With the NATO forces, Libyan rebels and pro-Gadhafi troops locked in seesaw fighting now, there seems to be little chance of an end to conflict in the North African country any time soon.

The situation will become increasingly embarrassing for the NATO-led coalition forces as long as the Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi refuses to yield to the Western intervention and the Libyan rebels fail to gain an upper hand over the government forces.

The war pits the world's most advanced military bloc against the government forces of a small African country.

Given that there have been worries over the West's declining credibility and influence in the world arena in recent years, it was anticipated the coalition's military assaults against the Gadhafi regime would present a golden opportunity for the West to restore its status.

Such a prospect looks increasingly unlikely as even the advanced Western weaponry has yet to bring the Gadhafi regime to its feet.

Ever since the Libya operation began, there have been growing doubts among the international community about the real purpose of the Western powers' military intervention, mounting criticism over the coalition's lack of a clear roadmap and increasing concern for the worsening humanitarian situation in Libya.

With key members of the coalition facing formidable economic problems at home and anti-war demonstrations in countries such as the United States, France, Turkey and Spain, many in the world arena have begun to wonder how long the coalition can continue its operations in Libya.

Worse, the coalition is losing the moral and legal grounds for their prolonged military intervention in Libya.

Although the United Nations Security Council resolution 1973 mandated a no-fly zone in Libya to protect civilians, there is abundant evidence indicating the NATO-led mission has gone beyond the UN authorization.

The coalition also made clear its objective overthrowing of the Gadhafi regime after its operation began in Libya, which is not endorsed by the UN.

After more than a month's bombing by coalition forces, there is a growing humanitarian disaster in Libya with increasing civilian casualties.

In a sense, the NATO-led war in Libya has done little to uphold the spirit of the UN mandate but only exacerbated the grievances of the Libyan people and deepened the nation's divisions.


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