[Marxism] France, US, Britain concede military action alone can't oust Gadhafi

Fred Feldman ffeldman at verizon.net
Wed Jul 13 03:42:56 MDT 2011

Introductory comments to Guardian article

Gaddafi regime 'ready for talks' on transition of power to rebels

France, Britain and US acknowledge Nato military action alone unlikely 
to force Libya's leader to step down

Efforts to find a political solution to the Libyan crisis are 
intensifying as France, Britain and the US acknowledge that Nato 
military action alone is unlikely to force Muammar Gaddafi to step down.

The UN and western countries are urging formal talks between the 
Benghazi-based rebels and the Gaddafi regime amid new signs that Tripoli 
might agree to discuss a transition of power.

Alain Juppé, France's foreign minister, provided the strongest 
indication yet of optimism about the outcome. "Emissaries are telling us 
Gaddafi is ready to go, let's talk about it," he said on Tuesday. "The 
question is no longer about whether Gaddafi goes but when and how."

François Fillon, the French prime minister, told the national assembly 
that a "political solution is taking shape".

Al-Baghdadi Ali al-Mahmoudi, Libya's prime minister, told the French 
daily Le Figaro that the regime was ready to negotiate "unconditionally" 
as long as Nato action ended. Gaddafi would not be involved in talks, he 
said, and would "respect the will of the people".

France's defence minister, Gérard Longuet, suggested on Sunday that 
Gaddafi could remain in Tripoli "in another room in his palace" and Nato 
could stop its bombing campaign while talks began.

The push for a political solution is being spearheaded by the UN envoy, 
Abdel-Ilah al-Khatib, who met Mahmoudi in Tripoli at the weekend. Khatib 
told reporters: "I am urging the parties to increase their focus on 
working towards a political solution. We would like to see indirect 
discussions evolve into direct talks."

A key issue was agreeing on a body to manage a transition. It would have 
to be "all-inclusive and involve representatives from all political and 
social groups as well as a wide range of factions, regions and tribes." 
He added, however, that there was a significant gap between the two sides.

President Barack Obama is backing Moscow's mediating efforts in Libya if 
they lead to Gaddafi stepping down.

Italy, hosting Nato's air operations, added its voice to the chorus on 
Tuesday. Franco Frattini, the foreign minister, told Algeria's al Khabar 
newspaper: "We are convinced that the Libyan crisis requires a political 
solution characterised by an end to fighting; Gaddafi, who lacks all 
legitimacy, leaving the stage; and the launching of an inclusive 
democratic process involving all parts of Libyan society."

Western governments admit they are worried about the lack of a decisive 
blow by Nato, the mounting cost of the campaign and the weakness of the 
rebel forces, but say they are encouraged by a widening agreement about 
the desired political outcome.

"There is a consensus on how to end the crisis, which is that Gaddafi 
has to leave power," Juppé told France Info radio. "That [consensus] was 
absolutely not a given two or three months ago." Initiatives by the 
African Union and South Africa have faded away.

"There are indications that people around Gaddafi would envisage a 
solution that includes him being out of power rather than in," said one 
diplomat. "We are hearing that from various people but it's not yet set 
in stone. There is an emerging international consensus around a 
political track and momentum is building up, but there is no breakthrough."

Libya experts suspect that ideas about Gaddafi stepping down may be 
being floated without official authorisation to test western reactions.

The approach of Ramadan, the Muslim month of fasting at the beginning of 
August, is also adding to pressure to find a way out of the impasse.

Later this week the Libya international contact group meeting in 
Istanbul is expected to channel more cash to the Transitional National 
Council and step up efforts for a political settlement.

Nato governments insist there can be no backtracking from the arrest 
warrant issued for Gaddafi by the international criminal court but 
continue to hope that he might yet flee to a country such as Zimbabwe, 
Belarus or Sudan – even though he has always insisted he will stay in L

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