People power revolts and diplomatic problems for the European Union

BBC News reports that on Friday, the EU will look closely at its diplomatic strategy for ‘people power’ regions which include Libya and most of the Arab world.

A particular problem for the EU is that it will need to decide soon whether to acknowledge the rebel National Libyan Council (NLC) and put in a ‘no-fly zone’ so that Colonel Gaddafi‘s bombing attacks on the rebels will be curtailed.  If it does not act quickly, there will be most certainly increases in civilian deaths and injuries. However, if it does act soon, then it will certainly make other Arab autocracies worried about western interference giving comfort to ‘people power’ revolts a la Libya.  Furthermore, there is the problem that Libya is a major oil supplier to the west. For example, its crude oil supplies amount to a significant proportion of the oil imports of many European countries: Italy – 22%;  the Irish Republic – 23%, Austria-21%, France – 15.7%; Greece – 14.6%. In that regard, there is pressing urgency to bring stability to Libya.

However, the best way to go about stabilizing Libya and keeping its new masters to be and their Arab neighbours friends of the west whilst EU made weapons (supplied to the Gaddafi regime by France, Belgium and Italy a few years before the revolts) continue to fire upon the rebels,  remains a tricky diplomatic problem for the EU.

[Fanswar Sahid – Middle East & Africa Contributor]

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