Almost one month ago, this writer wrote, "The Fortress Siege of Tripoli by Qaddafi, a Humanitarian Rescue May be Needed", OPEDNEWS, February 23, 2011.
After dithering these past two weeks, as the opposition to Qaddafi has been attacked unmercifully and forced to withdraw in many areas it recently controlled, the U.N. Security Council with France and Britain in the lead with a reluctant U.S. in tow along with the Arab League (with Russia, China and Germany among others abstaining) approved a no-fly zone over Libya along with other military measures [excluding a military invasion] intended expressly to protect the people of Libya who are under attack by Muammar Qaddafi's forces.
At the time of the U.N. resolution authorizing force in Libya, Qaddafi's forces were on the outskirts of Benghazi shelling the city with artillery and tank fire, it's "army" (made up of his son's highly trained security forces along with black African mercenaries) moving menacingly close to assault the city.
Qaddafi these past two weeks has made clear his intentions; he would show no mercy to the opposition, "go door to door, in closets and kill the rats".
The opposition in Libya (like the young revolutionaries in Tunisia and Egypt who were able to topple their dictators as well as those in rebellion in Yemen, Bahrain, Syria, Jordan and beyond) were enthusiastic and determined but untrained and seriously outgunned facing the withering firepower from Qaddafi's tanks, artillery, helicopter gunships and jet fighters.
The Libyan army and navy (many of whose forces joined up with the rebels against Qaddafi) had been depleted and seriously neglected over many years by him (worried as he was about a potential coup by them) was no match against his sons highly trained security forces armed with modern weapons.
It became clear to the opposition forces that unless there was a no fly zone and Western intervention to halt Qaddafi's onslaught, the Libyan people's rebellion would be slaughtered with the resultant genocide allowed to occur because of the West's inability to act decisively.
Let's be clear; the opposition in Libya WANTED Western support in their fight to topple Qaddafi. The cheering by thousands in Benghazi (upon hearing the U.N. had agreed to intervene defending the Libyan people) was spontaneous with authentic exuberance believing the international community had finally come to their aid and they wouldn't be abandoned.
Now this intervention into Libya should NOT be equivocated with the U.S. illegal pre-emptive invasion and occupation in Iraq or the continuing U.S. war and occupation of Afghanistan with its missile and drone attacks that kill innocents in Pakistan and Yemen.
For sure, it would have been better (as happened in Tunisia and Egypt where the people and their militaries acting alone with NO outside interference, were able to bring down the likes of Ali in Tunisia and Mubarak in Egypt) if the rebellion in Libya (acting solely on its own initiative and without any outside intervention) could have toppled Qaddafi on its own. Unfortunately that was not going to happen!
The rebellion in Libya to overthrow Qaddafi may or may not be successful even with U.N. support and intervention. There is no guarantee the rebels in Libya can sufficiently regroup and overtake Qaddafi and his forces even if the latter are left depleted and denied its tanks, artillery and aerial firepower.
But the grassroots rebellion in Libya against Qaddafi deserves that chance to succeed.
The Arab "spring" which began three months ago in Tunisia is still evolving all over the Arab world. The West didn't interfere in Tunisia and Egypt. Because of the West's history, its colonial occupations and invasions in Muslim lands there is legitimate criticism by many behind the real motives and intent of the Western led U.N. approved intervention into Libya.
If the end result of this "humanitarian" intervention becomes just another smokescreen for invading and occupying another Muslim country for its oil, such an outcome would substantiate the claim any U.S. intervention anywhere is always malevolent and detrimental to the people of those lands.
It is hoped this time American involvement in Libya is benevolent and truly supportive of the Libyan people and without hegemonic and imperialist aims.