Sunday, May 8, 2011

Gaddafi Has To Go Without Any More Bloodshed

Gulf News editorial (08/05/2011)l: His Arab colleagues must persuade him to quit for the good of his own people

Libya needs time to find its own way forward, without the presence of Muammar Gaddafi as leader and probably without any of his family in the future government. Military solutions look very unlikely to bring about any resolution, as the civil war has become stuck, with neither side being able to land a decisive blow. The future of Libya is not likely to be decided on the battlefield.
The Libya Contact Group met in Rome last week, and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the desired outcome was an end to violence and ‘the beginning of a democratic transition to a better future'. All the Nato, Arab and other countries in the group agreed that they were looking for a transition.
An excellent article last week by Shaikh Hamad Bin Jasem Al Thani, Qatar's Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, written with Italian Foreign Minister, Franco Frattini, was very clear that the international community wants a political solution in which the Libyan people alone will decide their country's future.
The two were right when they said that "the start of such [reconciliation] demands the cessation of violence, a ceasefire which requires Colonel Gaddafi's definitive departure if it is to be credible."
There needs to be more Arab activity to bring a diplomatic end to the civil war. Gaddafi needs to be persuaded to leave without bloodshed for the good of his people, and his long-term Arab colleagues may be best placed to bring this about.
But what is as important as any diplomacy, is the very good plan from the Contact Group to set up a trust fund of $3 billion (Dh11 billion) for the Transitional National Council, which might be funded from seized Gaddafi assets, or future oil sales from rebel territory.
This makes it clear to Gaddafi that the rebels cannot be starved out; and it will also give some heart to the rebels in their dispiriting stalemate.

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