Crisis between Libya, U.S. continues

Katherine Marcheski

The United States has recently joined a coalition for efforts in defense of Libyan citizens against Col. Muammar Qaddafi, who has been in authority for 40 years.

Ayman Fayed, originally from Egypt and assistant professor in electrical and computer engineering, has insight to the issues in Libya.

“The U.S. will be viewed negatively either way,” Fayed said. “If they don’t intervene they would be frowned upon. But when they do it’s seen as conspiracy. The motives will be manipulated, so will the issues of credibility and good intentions. But that’s what the [Libyans] think.”

Fayed also said that in Egypt’s case, the people were able to bring down the regime of Mubarak, but for Libya the odds have been stacked against the people.

“Libya’s case is much more extreme; Mubarak was sane, Qaddafi is brutal. People like him have no regard for human life, and have become used to thinking that killing is OK,” Fayed said. “He is not just a dictator, he is mentally sick. The United States has to choose how much they will intervene, and they know if they don’t at all, people will continue to die.”

Fayed said religion has become a pull to emotions in the Middle East, especially in Egypt and in Libya.

“If you are not Muslim, you will be called a traitor. They brainwash the people telling them the United States wants to come in and Christianize everybody, and you will be ousted if you follow them,” Fayed said.

James McCormick, professor and chairman of political science, said this is a humanitarian issue.

“Civilians need to be protected from Qaddafi, and humanitarian intervention is the stated purpose of the U.S. intervention,” he said. “This response is to Resolution 1973, which states ‘to take all necessary measures’ [to protect and safeguard human life].”

However, there are economic sanctions. Although we only receive somewhere between 4 to 5 percent of oil from Libya, oil is still a factor.

“Oil is a small factor but it is apart of the rationalization,” McCormick said.

Another controversy over the legitimacy of the Libya intervention is the lack of the U.S. intervening in the past, including Rwanda and Darfur, and more recently countries such as Yemen and Egypt.

“Libya has had a higher numbers of death compared to the other rebelling countries, and the ties are greater to the Middle East and Northern Africa than they are with other parts such as Darfur,” McCormick said.

President Barack Obama wants to have an engaged partnership with other countries such as Britain and France during these times of international chaos so America is not left standing alone. The U.S. has still been in the lead due to Obama and the fight for the U.S. to live up to the American values, McCormick said.

Thursday, NATO pledged to take control over the “no fly-zone,” provided all 28 members agree to relieve the pressures from the U.S.

The fate of U.S. intervention and the fate of Libya as a country all depend on Qaddafi’s military forces and the rebels, who have little organization, so short-term progress is crucial to ensure progress in Libya.

“Worst case scenario for Obama is a stalemate. In 2005, a ‘Responsibility to Protect Doctrine‘ was made in efforts to distribute responsibility internationally for countries during times of genocide or violations of human rights,” McCormick said. “Our intervention is crucial to live up to that, but also for our ties with the Arab world and human rights in general. There are regional, economic and political reasons for us being there, and it is all crucial.”

Lt. Col. Jay Soupene from the ROTC program at Iowa State trusts fully in the capabilities and orders of the U.S.

“We support the orders of the president and the United States [government], deployment is under his command. We swear to defend the orders of the Constitution and the orders of the president,” Soupene said.

Soupene also said there can never be an overall effect speculated over deployed troops to a new region, and the outcomes for the U.S. and Libya cannot be determined.

“[Troops] give their best, and we believe in what we do. At all times,” Soupene said.

Obama has spoken in news releases recently about issues pertaining to Libya, including economics and military relations. Obama has already stressed that lives have been saved and the U.S. will continue to show it’s support, the “how” is still to be determined.