Tuesday 29 March 2011

"History is not encouraging."

For the time being, then - which could be short in this fast-moving conflict - Libya is quite a different story from Iraq. The combination of military success and intensive television coverage makes it resemble more the short (seventy-eight days) war in Kosovo in 1999. More generally, and here the comparison extends to the earlier wars of Yugoslavia’s break-up, a strong motivation of western states is to wage the anti-Gaddafi campaign while saving their electorates from having to watch on the television news the distressing effects of military combat.
The real conflict over Libya’s future is thus filtered through western political worlds that are pressed by intensive news-cycles. These pressures, powerful enough in “normal” times, accelerate where (as with Bosnia, Kosovo and now Libya) unequal conflicts in which state forces are committing or threatening massacre of vulnerable populations can produce among domestic audiences a “something-must-be-done” mood. 
openDemocracy: Libya, Arab democracy, and western policy, March 29, 2011

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