Tuesday, March 22, 2011

What can the UN do to press for mercenaries to leave Libya?

Given the anxieties about the uncertain outcome of Operation Dawn Oddessy, I am looking for other non-violent options that might bring about a speedy victory for the free Libyans.

Here's one: the UN could press for the withdrawal of the many mercenaries Gaddafi is using to fight against the people of Libya.

They are thought to come from Chad, Mali (including Tuaregs from that country), and possibly Congo, Niger and Sudan.

They are said to be paid a $10,000 recruitment fee and $300-1000/day to fight.

It would be appropriate for the UN to bring diplomatic pressure on the Governments of these countries to do all they can to order their citizens to leave Libya and return home.

This is of course easier said than done. The extent of Government control will vary in the countries in question, and the mercenary operation will be run by small private enterprises. Neverthless, the attempt should be made.

Options open to the governments concerned would include:

  1. Identify the agencies who are managing the mercenaries: recruiting and arranging transport. Bring pressure on these managers to recall their recruits. Such pressure might include close inspection of ther tax affairs if they do not comply.
  2. Financial incentives to counterbalance the pull from Gaddafi's pay promises. It could be pointed out that when Gaddafi falls, they will not be paid. The UN could possibly offer financial reward for returning home. This reward could be taken from Gaddafi's assets that have already been seized.
  3. The case could be put to them that when Gaddafi falls, mercenaries will find themselves in the situation of criminal aliens in the new Libya, and liable for imprisonment or worse. There were reports of mercenaries being lynched by revolutionaries a couple of weeks ago.
  4. A threat to withdraw passports of those who do not return, even though it might help to acheive its primary purpose, might have unintended consequences in that the mercenaries might then try to emigrate to Europe.
  5. Other appropriate options could be doubtless be conceivedby UN professionals.
Whether or not ultimately successful, this is something that the UN can do itself to fulfil the aims of Resolution 1973.

It is an action that is potentially highly effective in protecting the people of Libya, and above all it has the advantage of being non-violent.

I have emailed to the UK United Nations Association, who will take it up. Please copy, customise and send this proposal to your MP to send on to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

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