As the rebels near the end of their months-long struggle for power and Gadhafi’s family flees to Algeria, the world is looking to Libya’s future.
The United Nations seems to already have a plan for Libya once Gadhafi is captured and officially deposed. According to a 10-page leaked document, which was apparently written by a special UN team led by former UK Amnesty International head Ian Martin, the UN is prepared to deploy military observers and police officers to Libya. As Al Jazeera reports,
The document outlines plans for UN-assisted elections in the next six to nine months.
It also calls for the deployment of 200 unarmed military observers and 190 UN police officers to serve as trainers.
But it says such a deployment would only be implemented if it was requested by Libyan authorities and authorised by the UN Security Council.
“If requested by the Libyans and authorised by the Council, the UN could contribute to confidence-building and to the implementation of agreed military tasks, through unarmed UN military observer (UNMOs).
“Such confidence-building might be necessary for the troops of the Gaddafi government which will find themselves under the control of hostile forces. The UNMOs might also act as some deterrence against ill treatment of the former enemy by rogue elements.”
Additionally, 61 civilian staff would be stationed in Libya for the first three months, and the UN will support an interim government.
The document creates the impression that the UN is more focused on the immediate aftermath of the Gadhafi government’s collapse, not long-term stabilization efforts. If major challenges arise during the transition of power, additional support would be “beyond the capacity of the UN.”
While it is not unusual for international groups to assist in transition periods after a violent revolution, the UN’s plans suggest that the Libyan rebels’ desire for complete autonomy might not be fully realized. The document’s insistence that actions will only be taken with the consent of the Libyan people is admirable, and one can only hope that the UN follows through on that commitment instead of exerting undue influence in the new phase of Libya’s history.