One day after the United Nations voted to end the Libya mission on October 31st, NATO Ambassadors agreed to end the seven month mission on Monday. The declaration comes despite pleas by Libya’s National Transitional Council (NTC) to extend the mission to the end of the year. Libya’s NTC fears that Gaddafi loyalists may reconstitute.
The mission divided the UN Security Council, while the UN Resolution was passed, China, Russia, Germany, Brazil and South Africa abstaining from the vote. Russia, China, Brazil and South Africa later claimed that NATO exceeded its mandate, with Russia being most vocal on the issue.
While the United States, the United Kingdom and France fired the opening salvo, using Tomahawk missiles and a series of air strikes, the United State quickly moved into the background, with France and the UK flying the majority of missions. The United States provided logistic support. Prior to the commencement of Operation Unified Protector Gaddafi’s military was on the brink of capturing Bengazi.
NATO made a turnaround possible and Rebel forces started gaining ground, eventually fighting bloody battles, most notably in Misurata. NATO touts that it took no casualties during th. e operation and that there were very few civilian casualties.
Gaddafi was captured with the help of NATO, although the alliance claims when they attacked Gaddafi’s convoy they were unaware that the Libyan leader was in it. Gaddafi, who tried to flee, was eventually pulled out of a culvert and images that have circulated the globe show the brutal dictator alive and apparently beaten and killed by captors.
The NTC, which has come under intense pressure, due to Gaddafi’s death, has vowed to investigate the Gaddafi killing and that it will bring perpetrators to justice. Human Rights Watch has also found 53 Gaddafi loyalists bodies on the property of a hotel in Sirte, with their hands tied to their back. Libyan Rebels were in control of the hotel at the time of their death.
Cash strapped nations will welcome the end of the mission. With Gaddafi’s son Seif al-Islam still on the loose and Gaddafi’s intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi suspected to have passed into Niger, there is still the possibility of an insurgency in Libya.
While NATO touts success, it remains to be seen how Libya deals with its immense problems to move forward. The Rebels, while joyous last Friday, are not united and the eventual outcome is on a slippery slope. One can only hope that the NTC is able to unite all the factions.