France wants new UN authorization for regime change in Libya

posted at 12:15 pm on April 15, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Remember 2003?  After the 9/11 attacks, the US decided that it couldn’t wait for rogue states to conduct attacks before taking action to disarm them, especially those with WMDs who had used them in the past, such as Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.  After spending twelve years trying to get Hussein to comply with both a cease-fire and a series of 17 UN resolutions, George Bush went to the UN for a specific resolution authorizing military force aimed at dislodging the Hussein regime from Iraq.  France, however, balked at the notion of such cowboy diplomacy, and when eastern European nations rallied to Bush’s side, Jacques Chirac informed the EU’s newest members that they had missed an excellent opportunity to keep their mouths shut.

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose:

The French defence minister has suggested a new UN Security Council resolution may be needed for Nato allies to achieve their goals in Libya.

Gerard Longuet was speaking after a joint letter by the US, UK and French leaders said there could be no peace while Col Muammar Gaddafi was in power.

The current UN resolution makes no mention of regime change.

Not only do the French recognize that the current mission objectives do not meet the existing UN mandate, they want the UNSC to consider adopting a new resolution that does, although they put it somewhat passive terms:

Speaking on French radio, Mr Longuet conceded that ousting Col Gaddafi would be “certainly” beyond the scope of the existing UN Security Council resolution 1973 on Libya, and could require a new council vote.

“Beyond resolution 1973, certainly it didn’t mention the future of Gaddafi but I think that three major countries saying the same thing is important to the United Nations and perhaps one day the Security Council will adopt a resolution.”

The Western leaders have made the goal of regime change more explicit, even if they’re still struggling on whether to actually do enough to accomplish it:

The leaders of Britain, France and the United States said a Libyan future including Moamer Kadhafi is “unthinkable”, as the defiant fist-pumping strongman toured the streets of Tripoli. …

On Thursday, differences between world powers over how to deal with the Libyan crisis began to widen when the BRICS group — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — urged that “the use of force should be avoided.”

Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev went further, arguing that UN Security Council Resolution 1973 did not authorise military action of the kind being carried out in Libya by attack jets from NATO and some Arab countries.

Longuet brushed aside this widening divide in the international community, arguing that Russia, China and Brazil “will naturally drag their feet.

“But which of the great countries can accept that that a head of state can resolve his problems in training cannon fire on his own population? No great power can accept that,” he argued.

Unlike in Iraq, this would almost certainly be a war for oil, which is still not an illegitimate issue in the conflict.  Europe has obviously gone all-in for regime change, or at least as all-in as Europeans will go on any military action.  If they end up leaving the Gaddafis in power, they can kiss that flow of Libyan oil good-bye, and watch it go to China or India instead.  They get a significant amount of their energy resources from those fields, which is one of the reasons the British government played Let’s Make A Deal with the Pan Am 103 bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi.  They can’t afford to see those resources disappear.

The contrasts between this situation and Iraq are striking.  Hussein had already conducted a genocidal campaign against the Kurds with chemical weapons, took away water from the Marsh Arabs, and violently suppressed Iraq’s Shi’ite majority.  The US and UK spent twelve years trying to get Hussein to voluntarily comply with UN resolutions, and in the end the UN refused to give the US and UK a mandate for intervention — largely due to France.

The similarities?  France had deep economic interests in Iraqi oil, which Hussein allowed to flow to them while pocketing a fortune through the Oil-for-Food Programme, and they have deep economic interests in Libyan oil, which Gaddafi would probably burn now rather than sell to the French.

Ironically, the US under Barack Obama would probably prove to be an obstacle to this attempt to get a regime-change mandate at the UN.  If Obama backed it, that would put the US on the hook for its eventual success or failure.  As we have seen in the past couple of weeks, NATO turns out to be mainly ineffective at conducting serious military operations in the absence of American leadership, and it’s doubtful that the few nations that would participate in a ground offensive against Gaddafi would have the logistical and operational capability to do it anyway.  Obama certainly isn’t going to get Congressional approval for participation in a ground war in Libya, and an attempt to conduct one without Congressional approval might mean an impeachment — and would almost certainly kiss any chances of re-election goodbye.


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You lost obozo. Get over it and get use to it.

VegasRick on April 15, 2011 at 12:18 PM

The contrasts between this situation and Iraq are striking.

great rundown, Ed.

Who would’ve ever thought that the French would be strappin’ on spurs and becoming the world’s “cowboy”?

excuse me…I hafta laugh.

ted c on April 15, 2011 at 12:20 PM

If Donald Trump was in charge, he would have kicked the UN off of our soil years ago.

Knucklehead on April 15, 2011 at 12:20 PM

Irony sure is ironic, isn’t it?

catmman on April 15, 2011 at 12:22 PM

Didnt I read in a previous thread where mccain is trying to get authorization for dear leader to cover his butt
-

cmsinaz on April 15, 2011 at 12:22 PM

“But which of the great countries can accept that that a head of state can resolve his problems in training cannon fire on his own population? No great power can accept that,” he argued.

“Is this guy serious?” – The leaders of Russia, China and Brazil

Rocks on April 15, 2011 at 12:22 PM

Great piece ed

cmsinaz on April 15, 2011 at 12:25 PM

“Is this guy serious?” – The leaders of Russia, China and Brazil

Rocks on April 15, 2011 at 12:22 PM

Brazil?

PackerBronco on April 15, 2011 at 12:25 PM

Brazil?

PackerBronco on April 15, 2011 at 12:25 PM

I think he meant Venezuela.

Caiwyn on April 15, 2011 at 12:26 PM

It will be interesting to watch France go into Libya and get their collective butt kicked.

jaime on April 15, 2011 at 12:26 PM

Ironically, the US under Barack Obama would probably prove to be an obstacle to this attempt to get a regime-change mandate at the UN. If Obama backed it, that would put the US on the hook for its eventual success or failure.

Aren’t we already on the hook?

flyfisher on April 15, 2011 at 12:27 PM

which is one of the reasons the British government played Let’s Make A Deal with the Pan Am 103 bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi

I think we should veto any new resolutions unless the UK hands over the people responsible for his release. We can store them down at Guantanamo.

FloatingRock on April 15, 2011 at 12:28 PM

France gearing up for a military expedition. They’ll need to ramp up production at their white flag factories.

jaime on April 15, 2011 at 12:29 PM

Go for it Barry!

dmann on April 15, 2011 at 12:29 PM

Unlike in Iraq, this would almost certainly be a war for oil,

No kidding! FRENCH and BRITISH access to oil. WHY ARE WE THERE?

Oh, yeah, SOMEONE “volunteered” US forces. In the mean time, Barry Obama has executed HIS exit strategy from the scene.

Leadership you can believe in!

GarandFan on April 15, 2011 at 12:30 PM

On Thursday, differences between world powers over how to deal with the Libyan crisis began to widen when the BRICS group — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — urged that “the use of force should be avoided.”

Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev went further, arguing that UN Security Council Resolution 1973 did not authorise military action of the kind being carried out in Libya by attack jets from NATO and some Arab countries.

If Russia and China are against it, any UN resolution for regime change will be vetoed. “C’est pas la peine”, which is French for “Fuhgeddaboudit”.

Sarkozy and the French were the first to call for the no-fly zone, which might have worked if Obama hadn’t dithered for two weeks.

But since Obama said “no boots on the ground”, do France and the UK have the ground troops to and armored vehicles to force Qaddafi out of Tripoli, even as France has sent troops to the Ivory Coast?

Maybe, as Dianne Feinstein suggested, French “gendarmes” (national police) should arrest Qaddafi and frog-march him into the Bastille on July 14. Aux armes, citoyens!

Steve Z on April 15, 2011 at 12:31 PM

It will be interesting to watch France go into Libya and get their collective butt kicked.

jaime on April 15, 2011 at 12:26 PM

Happened to Italy in Ethiopia, and Albania/Greece. Helped to divert Nazi troops from Leningrad.

rbj on April 15, 2011 at 12:32 PM

Envoyez la Légion étrangère, garçon futé.

Akzed on April 15, 2011 at 12:34 PM

Where in the UN charter, does it allow members to conduct regime change on another member, for no reason except that they want to?

Rebar on April 15, 2011 at 12:34 PM

Getting the U.S. involved in Libya may be Obama’s biggest political blunder.

So far, anyway. There’s plenty of time left.

SlaveDog on April 15, 2011 at 12:34 PM

And no mention of Haliburton yet?

SlaveDog on April 15, 2011 at 12:36 PM

France gearing up for a military expedition. They’ll need to ramp up production at their white flag factories.

jaime on April 15, 2011 at 12:29 PM

The last French military leader to win a war without allies was Joan of Arc in the early 15th century.

Will this be Waterloo Two?

Steve Z on April 15, 2011 at 12:36 PM

Sacré bleu!!!!!

OmahaConservative on April 15, 2011 at 12:36 PM

Est-ce que cela veut dire qu’il est, comme une véritable guerre réel?

OmahaConservative on April 15, 2011 at 12:39 PM

Regime change will require troops.

Is this a job for the Foreign Legion?

HondaV65 on April 15, 2011 at 12:41 PM

Gaddafi needs kilin’. However, would it be asking too much to have him hang on through the 2012 election campaigns?

a capella on April 15, 2011 at 12:42 PM

HondaV65 on April 15, 2011 at 12:41 PM

And by the way – the Foreign Legion has an excellent record of getting it’s ass kicked in Africa! LOL

HondaV65 on April 15, 2011 at 12:42 PM

kilin’

sb killin’.

a capella on April 15, 2011 at 12:43 PM

Democrat Wars always result in quagmires and ineffective use of military power. They hate being responsible for “collateral damage.”

ExpressoBold on April 15, 2011 at 12:43 PM

“France is a great friend, they’re always there when they need us.” Something like that…

unlisted on April 15, 2011 at 12:45 PM

And no mention of Haliburton yet?

SlaveDog on April 15, 2011 at 12:36 PM

That’s become a toxic topic for the Left, ever since George Soros bought $62 million worth of Halliburton a couple of years ago.

Del Dolemonte on April 15, 2011 at 12:47 PM

Peggy Bundy: “Listen, Honey, I’m having a little trouble with the insurance company. Did you know that the French claim that the real Mona Lisa is theirs, just like we did?”

Al: “You know, it’s a dark day when someone will believe the French over me!”

Del Dolemonte on April 15, 2011 at 12:48 PM

Est-ce que cela veut dire qu’il est, comme une véritable guerre réel?

OmahaConservative on April 15, 2011 at 12:39 PM

Une veritable guerre reelle pour les Francais, but a kinetic military operation in TOTUS-speak. It will fall to the Brits to kick Daffy’s bloomin’ arse.

Steve Z on April 15, 2011 at 12:49 PM

OmahaConservative on April 15, 2011 at 12:39 PM

Are you suggesting war-war rather than just war?

ExpressoBold on April 15, 2011 at 12:49 PM

An opportunity for Russia or China to veto any UNSCR.

Does Samantha Powers feel egg on her face yet?

LarryD on April 15, 2011 at 12:52 PM

Steve Z on April 15, 2011 at 12:49 PM

Yup…

ExpressoBold on April 15, 2011 at 12:49 PM

Yes…

OmahaConservative on April 15, 2011 at 12:55 PM

That photo of tough little Sarkozy with tall wimpy Obama is very revealing. Jacques Chirac is a lot taller than George W. Bush and Tony Blair, but Chirac wimped out in Iraq. Napoleon was only about 5’3″, and Vladimir Putin isn’t much taller…you’ve gotta watch those tough little guys!

Steve Z on April 15, 2011 at 12:57 PM

This means WAR!

Rufus T. firefly

novaculus on April 15, 2011 at 12:57 PM

Aren’t we already on the hook?

flyfisher on April 15, 2011 at 12:27 PM

Nope, the genius-ness of the trick Obama played.

According to ‘senior white house official’ (I’ll bet it is Valere Jarret) that whatever consequences ‘will not be on our shoulders’.

Sir Napsalot on April 15, 2011 at 12:57 PM

NO WAR FOR OIL!

Oh wait, that’s so 2006, isn’t it?

AZCoyote on April 15, 2011 at 1:00 PM

Obama certainly isn’t going to get Congressional approval for participation in a ground war in Libya, and an attempt to conduct one without Congressional approval might mean an impeachment

Oh Puh-Leeeeze….Impeachment? Republican leadership obviously doesn’t have the balls, and the left can control (or silence) even its fringe.

Throw in a cooperative MSM with waaaaaay to much invested in his success and game over.

Impeachment? – LMAO.

Tim_CA on April 15, 2011 at 1:09 PM

Does Samantha Powers feel egg on her face yet?

LarryD on April 15, 2011 at 12:52 PM

Not until she shaves her regulation-length Taliban beard off…

Fortunata on April 15, 2011 at 1:12 PM

And no mention of Haliburton yet?

SlaveDog on April 15, 2011 at 12:36 PM

Dunno, what’s French for Haliburton?

BigWyo on April 15, 2011 at 1:25 PM

If the oil situation gets any worse, we will the the French say that it is the burden of White Men to bring civilization to that part of Africa.

pedestrian on April 15, 2011 at 1:25 PM

NO WAR FOR OIL!

Oh wait, that’s so 2006, isn’t it?

AZCoyote on April 15, 2011 at 1:00 PM

Exactly!! Plus it’s those dashing Europeans doing it and they’re just way cool and stuff.

And they’re better than us…too…

BigWyo on April 15, 2011 at 1:28 PM

It will be interesting to watch France go into Libya and get their collective butt kicked.

But monsieur, surely you forgot about ze Foreign Legionne?

Don L on April 15, 2011 at 1:33 PM

One direct hit with a 2klb bomb in Gaddafi’s Depends, problem solved.

Speakup on April 15, 2011 at 1:35 PM

Dunno guys…….it used to be easy to bag on the French Military.

Then Obama became Commander-In-Chief of U.S. Forces…..and Libya happens. Compare their response to ours.

I miss the good old days.

Tim_CA on April 15, 2011 at 1:40 PM

Greatest French War Victories…

- Gallic Wars
Lost. In a war whose ending foreshadows the next 2000 years of French history, France is conquered by of all things, an Italian. [Or at ths time in history, a Roman -ed.]

- Hundred Years War
Mostly lost, saved at last by female schizophrenic who inadvertently creates The First Rule of French Warfare; “France’s armies are victorious only when not led by a Frenchman.” Sainted.

- Italian Wars
Lost. France becomes the first and only country to ever lose two wars when fighting Italians.

- Wars of Religion
France goes 0-5-4 against the Huguenots

- Thirty Years War
France is technically not a participant, but manages to get invaded anyway. Claims a tie on the basis that eventually the other participants started ignoring her.

- War of Revolution
Tied. Frenchmen take to wearing red flowerpots as chapeaux.

- The Dutch War
Tied

- War of the Augsburg League/King William’s War/French and Indian War
Lost, but claimed as a tie. Three ties in a row induces deluded Frogophiles the world over to label the period as the height of French military power.

- War of the Spanish Succession
Lost. The War also gave the French their first taste of a Marlborough, which they have loved every since.

-Seven year War 1756-1763
Lost: after getting hammered by Frederick the Great of Prussia (yep, the Germans again) at Rossbach, the French were held off for the remainder of the War by Frederick of Brunswick and a hodge-podge army including some Brits. War also saw France kicked out of Canada (Wolfe at Quebec) and India (Clive at Plassey).

- American Revolution
In a move that will become quite familiar to future Americans, France claims a win even though the English colonists saw far more action. This is later known as “de Gaulle Syndrome”, and leads to the Second Rule of French Warfare; “France only wins when America does most of the fighting.”

- French Revolution
Won, primarily due the fact that the opponent was also French.

- The Napoleonic Wars
Lost. Temporary victories (remember the First Rule!) due to leadership of a Corsican, who ended up being no match for a British footwear designer.

- The Franco-Prussian War
Lost. Germany first plays the role of drunk Frat boy to France’s ugly girl home alone on a Saturday night.

- World War I
Tied and on the way to losing, France is saved by the United States [Entering the war late -ed.]. Thousands of French women find out what it’s like to not only sleep with a winner, but one who doesn’t call her “Fraulein.” Sadly, widespread use of condoms by American forces forestalls any improvement in the French bloodline.

- World War II
Lost. Conquered French liberated by the United States and Britain just as they finish learning the Horst Wessel Song.

- War in Indochina
Lost. French forces plead sickness; take to bed with the Dien Bien Flu

- Algerian Rebellion
Lost. Loss marks the first defeat of a western army by a Non-Turkic Muslim force since the Crusades, and produces the First Rule of Muslim Warfare; “We can always beat the French.” This rule is identical to the First Rules of the Italians, Russians, Germans, English, Dutch, Spanish, Vietnamese and Esquimaux.

- War on Terrorism
France, keeping in mind its recent history, surrenders to Germans and Muslims just to be safe. Attempts to surrender to Vietnamese ambassador fail after he takes refuge in a McDonald’s.

The question for any country silly enough to count on the French should not be “Can we count on the French?”, but rather “How long until France collapses?”

“Going to war without France is like going deer hunting without an accordion. All you do is leave behind a lot of noisy baggage.”

mechkiller_k on April 15, 2011 at 2:16 PM

Actually, when you put this together with the Ivory Coast, it looks more like a war to establish the UN as kingmaker. Local elections? Unless blessed by the UN, they don’t matter. Someone’s been in office forever? If the UN decides he’s “illegitimate”, he gets the boot (or the bombs).

cthulhu on April 15, 2011 at 2:16 PM

Norse invasions, 841-911.
After having their way with the French for 70 years, the Norse are bribed by a French King named Charles the Simple (really!) who gave them Normandy in return for peace. Normans proceed to become just about the only positive military bonus in France’s [favour] for next 500 years.

Andrew Ouellette posts this in response:

1066 A.D. William The Conquerer Duke and Ruler of France Launches the Largest Invasion in the history of the world no other was as large until the same trip was taken in reverse on June 6th 1944 William Fights Harold for the Throne of England Which old king Edward rightfully left to William but Harold Usurped the throne Will fights the Saxons (English)wins and the French Rule England for the Next 80 Years. then the French start the largest building and economic infrastructure since the fall of the Roman Empire the Norman Economy skyrockets and the Normans inadvertantly start England to become a major world Power Vive La France-

Matt Davis posts this in response to Andrew Ouellette above:

Oh dear. We seem to have overlooked some basic facts. Firstly, Philip the First (1060 – 1108) was King of France at the time of the Norman invasion of 1066 – William was Duke of Normandy and, incidentally, directly descended from the Vikings. William was, therefore, as alien to France as the experience of victory. Since Philip did not invade England, the victory at Hastings was Norman – not French. Normandy may be a part of France now but it most certainly wasn’t in 1066. Therefore, William’s coronation as King of England had nothing whatsoever to do with the French. As usual, they were nowhere near the place when the fighting was going on. The mistaken belief that 1066 was a French victory leads to the Third Rule of French Warfare; “When incapable of any victory whatsoever – claim someone else’s”.

Mexico, 1863-1864.
France attempts to take advantage of Mexico’s weakness following its thorough thrashing by the U.S. 20 years earlier (“Halls of Montezuma”). Not surprisingly, the only unit to distinguish itself is the French Foreign Legion (consisting of, by definition, non-Frenchmen). Booted out of the country a little over a year after arrival.

Panama jungles 1881-1890.
No one but nature to fight, France still loses; canal is eventually built by the U.S. 1904-1914.

Napoleonic Wars.
Should be noted that the Grand Armee was largely (~%50) composed of non-Frenchmen after 1804 or so. Mainly disgruntled minorities and anti-monarchists. Not surprisingly, these performed better than the French on many occasions.

Haiti, 1791-1804.
French defeated by rebellion after sacrificing 4,000 Poles to yellow fever. Shows another rule of French warfare; when in doubt, send an ally.

India, 1673-1813.
British were far more charming than French, ended up victors. Therefore the British are well known for their tea, and the French for their whine (er, wine…). Ensures 200 years of bad teeth in England.

Barbary Wars, middle ages-1830.
Pirates in North Africa continually harass European shipping in Meditteranean. France’s solution: pay them to leave us alone. America’s solution: kick their asses (“the Shores of Tripoli”). [America's] first overseas victories, won 1801-1815.

1798-1801, Quasi-War with U.S.
French privateers (semi-legal pirates) attack U.S. shipping. U.S. fights France at sea for 3 years; French eventually cave; sets precedent for next 200 years of Franco-American relations.

Moors in Spain, late 700s-early 800s.
Even with Charlemagne leading them against an enemy living in a hostile land, French are unable to make much progress. Hide behind Pyrennes until the modern day.

French-on-French losses (probably should be counted as victories too, just to be fair):

1208: Albigenses Crusade, French massacared by French.
When asked how to differentiate a heretic from the faithful, response was “Kill them all. God will know His own.” Lesson: French are badasses when fighting unarmed men, women and children.

St. Bartholomew Day Massacre, August 24, 1572.
Once again, French-on-French slaughter.

Third Crusade.
Philip Augustus of France throws hissy-fit, leaves Crusade for Richard the Lion Heart to finish.

Seventh Crusade.
St. Louis of France leads Crusade to Egypt. Resoundingly crushed.

[Eighth] Crusade.
St. Louis back in action, this time in Tunis. See Seventh Crusade.

Also should be noted that France attempted to hide behind the Maginot line, sticking their head in the sand and pretending that the Germans would enter France that way. By doing so, the Germans would have been breaking with their traditional route of invading France, entering through Belgium (Napoleonic Wars, Franco-Prussian War, World War I, etc.). French ignored this though, and put all their effort into these defenses.

mechkiller_k on April 15, 2011 at 2:21 PM

cthulhu on April 15, 2011 at 2:16 PM

Agreed.

mechkiller_k on April 15, 2011 at 2:16 PM

hahaha!

unlisted on April 15, 2011 at 2:22 PM

0 couldn’t commit enough to make a speech about this, but won’t his participation in that op-ed be enough to get rid of Dafy?

Oleta on April 15, 2011 at 2:37 PM

Exactly where in the U.N. charter or the NATO treaty does it provide for the use of military force to eliminate the leader of a sovereign country because the U.N. or NATO doesn’t like the way he is ALLEGEDLY treating his people?

How is K Daffy a threat to any NATO signatory?

Obama owns this fiasco.

AcidReflux on April 15, 2011 at 2:52 PM

I’d rather have a corps of German troops in front of me than a battalion of French troops behind me.
Gen. George S. Patton, 1944

tommyboy on April 15, 2011 at 3:03 PM

Britain and France have had a challenge projecting and sustaining air power across an overgrown lake, even with the US providing most of the first waves of AA missile suppression and heavy ground attack, and augmenting the ongoing aerial refueling and surveillance.

If nothing else good come of this, perhaps these delinquents dependants will realize they need more effective military power of their own, and shouldn’t depend on the American taxpayer to always provide what they are lacking beyond their handfuls of quasi-modern jet fighters.

drunyan8315 on April 15, 2011 at 3:39 PM

“But which of the great countries can accept that that a head of state can resolve his problems in training cannon fire on his own population? No great power can accept that,” he argued.

China can and does. See Tianamin Square.

Theophile on April 15, 2011 at 6:26 PM