Monday, 21 March 2011

Guardian Comment: Kosovo - a template for disaster

David Gibbs in The Guardian's Comment is Free section argues today that the idea that Kosovo is a model for humanitarian intervention in Libya is based on a series of myths...

This is important reading for us as the NATO bombing of Serb forces in Kosovo to protect ethnic Albanians in the late 1990s is often cited as a successful example of humanitarian intervention. Current events in Libya are heightening the debate over the use of the R2P (Responsibility to Protect) doctrine. There are also long-held concerns as to just how effective just air power can be in resolving issues over the long term.

An introductory excerpt:
As they weigh up whether to support the attack on Muammar Gaddafi's regime, some western commentators are taking comfort from the 1999 Nato air war against Serbia, which is widely viewed as a successful humanitarian mission that protected Kosovans from Serbian aggression. Moreover it was done at low cost to the intervening powers, who suffered no combat casualties. And ultimately it led to the ousting of Serbia's villainous leader, Slobodan Milosevic. The Libya intervention, it is hoped, will have a similarly positive outcome.

In reality, Kosovo presents little basis for optimism with regard to Libya. Its success is based on a series of myths.

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