International Relations

The UN and Libya

Jul 21 '11

James Joyner has nice post about the apparent lack of planning and organizing for a peacekeeping operation in Libya — with boots on the ground — if and when the Qaddafi regime ends.  I agree that this is a big problem and a big concern.   See also Bruce Jones et al who were suggesting that the UN wake up on the issue back in April.  Maybe a PKO won’t be needed to help keep a transition from getting awful.  Much stranger things have happened.  But the PKO powers-that-be shouldn’t be counting on it.

Joyner notes statements by various officials indicating that their country or organization won’t actively participate in a Libyan PKO.  I would add that regardless of what they are saying now, if chaos and score-settling in Libya makes for a big surge in refugee flows across the Mediterranean, then there will probably be strong pressure for a PKO from at least a good chunk of the EU.  For reasons that Jones et al detail, the UN is the most likely venue for launching such an operation.  I’ve heard rumors that bureaucratic in-fighting in the Secretariat has prevented planning for a robust mission.  These rumors could be totally wrong or out of date, I don’t know, but I hope some enterprising journalists will look into it.