“The suffering is increased”

The international Catholic peace movement pax christi rejects the military intervention of the West in Libya. Johannes Schnettler, vice president of the German section, fears to our site "enormous civilian casualties".

The United Nations Security Council had passed a resolution in New York on Thursday evening (local time) to ban flights over the North African country to protect Libyan civilians from the air force of ruler Muammar Gaddafi. Almost anything is permitted militarily – except ground troops. Germany abstained in vote and wants to do the same for air strikes.

This is "military support for the opposition movement in the country," Schnettler said in an interview with our site on Friday (19.03.2011). At the same time, however, the civilian population is also endangered by possible attacks from the air. In addition, NATO is being drawn into a conflict "the consequences of which are as yet unforeseeable". Although pax christi "sympathizes with the protest movement" in Libya, the great dilemma lies in the choice of means. With the path that the United Nations has now prepared, the suffering will be increased.

Topic also in the Bundestag Following the Security Council's approval of a no-fly zone, the ie also became the focus of deliberations in the Bundestag again on Friday. In a government statement at noon, Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle wanted to present the German position. Germany – along with veto-wielding powers China and Russia – had abstained from voting in the powerful U.N. body and will not send soldiers to North Africa either.


At 11.00 o'clock the Bundestag interrupted its meeting, in order to make possible for the parliamentary groups consultation over the new situation. The Security Council had voted last night by ten votes to none and five abstentions in favor of the resolution, which authorizes member states to "take all necessary measures" to protect the civilian population in the North African country from the forces of ruler Muammar Gaddafi.

Westerwelle said the tightening of international sanctions "is something we welcome and support, and something we ourselves have pushed for". The German government, however, remains extremely skeptical about the option of military intervention in Libya, which is "also provided for in the resolution. "We see considerable dangers and risks here. That is why we cannot agree to this part of the resolution."

Involvement of Arab countries
CDU foreign policy spokesman Ruprecht Polenz welcomed the UN decision. It is important that there is now an authorization basis for those countries that want to intervene, said the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the Bundestag on Deutschlandfunk radio. Polenz called it "very decisive" that Arab countries – namely Qatar and the United Arab Emirates – apparently also want to participate in such a measure. If this were not the case, the West would face the accusation that it is only concerned with oil in the case of Libya.

Greens urged deployment strictly bound by international humanitarian law. The establishment of protection zones for the civilian population and a no-fly zone bought time for the tightened sanctions to take effect, explained the heads of the parliamentary groups Renate Kunast and Jurgen Trittin in Berlin. For this, however, human rights and the proportionality of means must also be observed.

Kunast and Trittin, as well as party leader Claudia Roth, emphasized: "We consider the measures of the United Nations to be politically necessary overall in order to protect the population from the most serious human rights violations." They welcomed at the same time "that the Security Council expressly excludes the sending of occupation troops".

The Left Party criticized the decision. As right as it is to put a stop to the murderous activities of the Gaddafi regime, it is just as wrong to try to achieve this with war, declared the chairmen of the party and parliamentary group, Gesine Lotzsch, Klaus Ernst and Gregor Gysi. The civil war in Libya threatens to become an international war.

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