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Opting for Second Best in Libya?


The looming stalemate in the Libyan conflict is likely to lead to more civilian casualties, a de facto separation of Libya, the under-use of the country’s energy resources, and an increase in illegal activities due to the legal and governance vacuum in the country. In addition, it risks denting NATO’s credibility as a security provider. To break the stalemate, the coalition is leaning towards intensifying military operations and/or arming the rebels. Both imply a number of risks and political costs. A way to contain such risks and costs would be for NATO and its partners to re-calibrate the mission so that, alongside military action, the mission would foresee also a national reconciliation process, mediated by an international team. Linking military operations to a credible plan for Libya’s political future would improve the odds for Gheddafi’s regime to collapse.