EDITORIAL: Canada in balancing act in sky over Libya

Just what is a no-fly zone?
Canada finds itself flying fighter jets over Libya (including one from 19 Wing Comox) enforce a UN-led no-fly zone — at first escorting other nations’ planes and more recently, running bombing raids on an ammunition dump.

Just what is a no-fly zone?Canada finds itself flying fighter jets over Libya (including one from 19 Wing Comox) enforce a UN-led no-fly zone — at first escorting other nations’ planes and more recently, running bombing raids on an ammunition dump.The idea is to ensure government forces do not have the resources to wage war on civilians.It should also be to ensure the rebel forces in that country can’t do the exact same thing.Yet, the UN — and Canada — finds itself in an unenviable position.How far to enforce the so-called no-fly zone? Does it apply only to Libya’s — and their opponents’ — air forces?Or does it mean supporting one side over the other?The conflict in Libya went from citizens’ uprising to armed rebellion. What started out as a (relatively) peaceful potential government overthrow — as in the examples of Tunisia and Egypt — turned into potential crimes against humanity when Libya’s leader bombed his own people.The rebels, who obviously weren’t quite ready for an all-out battle, were then forced to act.The UN could have easily justified acting on behalf of Libyan citizens, but they face harder decisions when it comes to what is essentially a civil war.And here is where the no-fly zone and Canada’s actions as part of it can get murky.It’s important to ensure both sides in this conflict at least have equal footing and do not bring civilians into the fighting as targets or hostages or as victims in reprisal attacks.Where the UN will overstep its bounds is to side too much with the rebels, when the global community should let Libyans determine their own direction.Parksville-Qualicum Beach News