Mr. Keeb’s government, formed Nov. 28, has found itself virtually paralyzed by rivalries that have forced it to divvy up power along lines of regions and personalities, by unfulfillable expectations that Colonel Qaddafi’s fall would bring prosperity, and by a powerlessness so marked that the national army is treated as if it were another militia.
The question underlines the issue of legitimacy, which remains the most pressing matter in revolutionary Libya. Officials hope that elections in May or June can do what they did in Egypt and Tunisia: convey authority to an elected body that can claim the mantle of popular will. But Iraq remains a counterpoint. There, elections after the American invasion widened divisions so dangerously that they helped unleash a civil war.
So Egypt and Tunisia are doing better than Iraq and Libya. What do Egypt and Tunisia have in common that Iraq and Libya don’t? Could it be the whole power-vacuum-caused-by-foreign-intervention thing?
How could we stand by and watch when we could violate our own law and another country’s sovereignty, and then be legitimately blamed for the resulting horrendous and long-lasting human rights violations?
But we had to do something!