The NATO Intervention in Libya: Implications for the Protection of Civilians and the AU’s Pan Africanist Agenda

"This policy brief explores external intervention in Libya within the context of civilian protection and its application. It further discusses the intervention and its implications on Gaddafi’s quest to champion African unity. The paper argues that the different approaches taken by the AU and the coalition forces in resolving the conflict in Libya has the tendency to prolong it, result in more civilian casualties and undermine the quest for a United Africa. Admittedly, the external aggression by NATO-led forces and apathy by the AU mark a remarkable moment in international relations discourse and also raises a number of significant questions in various theatres of diplomacy. First, are the different approaches being adopted by the AU on the one hand, and the coalition forces on the other hand appropriate for the resolution of the crisis? Second, are there varied interpretations of the concept and application of Protection of Civilians (POC) and the Responsibility to Protect? Third, is the intervention a display of ‘interest’ or ‘might is right’ attitude by the coalition forces or a demonstration of lack of political will on the part of the AU? How will the different approaches play out in the resolution of the crisis? What are the implications for AU’s quest for African integration arising from the Sirte Declaration? These are the nagging questions this policy brief seeks to explore."