Perhaps it’s time to scale back military talk and give diplomacy one more try.
By Stefan Wolff
1. The legal foundations for doing so are shaky.
UN Security Council Resolution 1970 (2011) of 26 February 2011 unequivocally states “that all Member States shall immediately take the necessary measures to prevent the direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer to the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya.” Exceptions to this rule may apply, subject to approval by a Committee consisting of all members of the Security Council, to “non-lethal military equipment intended solely for humanitarian or protective use”, “protective clothing, including flak jackets and military helmets, temporarily exported to the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya by United Nations personnel, representatives of the media and humanitarian and development workers and associated personnel, for their personal use only; or “other sales or supply of arms and related materiel, or provision of assistance or personnel.” The terms of reference of this arms embargo leave little room for interpretation.