The Corner

NATO Seeking Libya Exit Strategy

Another “urgent exit strategy” to consider. This time in Libya. From UPI:

LONDON, July 26 (UPI) — NATO is seeking an urgent exit strategy from Libya that will end the fighting and decide the future of embattled leader Moammar Gadhafi, even if that means letting him stay in the country though out of power, it emerged Tuesday after British and French foreign ministers met in London.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague and French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said NATO and even members of the opposition Transitional National Council wouldn’t oppose Gadhafi staying in Libya as long as he gave up power.

In the only Libyan voice of dissent reported so far, activist Soliman Albrassi, living in London, said allowing Gadhafi to stay in Libya would be a recipe for civil war, the BBC said.

Hague and Juppe received support for the proposal from former British Foreign Secretary Malcolm Rifkind, who said it would be important to avoid a “blood bath in Tripoli” — seen as a likely outcome if a final military push to the Libyan capital triggered close combat.

Hague said: “What happens to Gadhafi is ultimately a question for the Libyans … What is absolutely clear, as Alain (Juppe) has said, is that whatever happens, Gadhafi must leave power. He must never again be able to threaten the lives of Libyan civilians nor to destabilize Libya once he has left power.”

“Obviously him leaving Libya itself would be the best way of showing the Libyan people that they no longer have to live in fear of Gadhafi,” Hague said.

“But as I have said all along, this is ultimately a question for Libyans to determine.”

Although neither William Hague nor Alain Juppe have made the Libyan leader’s leaving the country an explicit war aim, this is certainly a softening of rhetoric. It is hard to conceive that this has come about through a genuine change of heart, and easier to presume that NATO is tired of the conflict and wants out on the least worst terms.

The rest here.

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