On Sunday 10th May, one of the F-16s of the Moroccan Royal Armed Forces involved in the international coalition led by Saudi Arabia intervening in Yemen went missing. For the following days, both sides- the Houthi and the coalition searched into what happened to this missing plane. The coalition concluded that the security and safety of the pilot is the Houthis’ responsibility. On Friday 15th May, the body of the pilot has been located and found dead and his body returned home later the same week. This incident highlights a broader question and issue in relation to current events in Yemen – whether the war in Yemen is an International Armed Conflict or Non-International Armed Conflict.
The historical background of the Yemeni situation is crucial to understanding the significance of this question. Yemen today is divided into a violent political struggle between two forces: the internationally recognized president Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi and his government and the Houthi militant forces, which pushed the president and his government from power and into exile and occupied the capital Sana’a. President Hadi announced his resignation and sent a letter of his resignation to the parliament stating that he could not continue in his office after the Houthis failed to honour a peace deal. Parliament has reportedly refused to accept the resignations.
These forces, few weeks later, dissolved the parliament and established what is called the revolutionary committee. Hadi had been under virtual house arrest in his residence in Sana’a for a month until he found a way to escape to Aden. Upon his arrival in Aden, Hadi withdrew his resignation and considered all the previous actions from the Houthi forces as a “coup d’état.”
On 25th of March, president Hadi asked the UN Security Council to authorize “willing countries that wish to help Yemen to provide immediate support for the legitimate authority by all means and measures to protect Yemen and deter the Houthi aggression,” and his Foreign Affairs Minister Riad Yassin requested military assistance from the Arab League based on the collective self-defense doctrine under the article of 51 of the UN charter.
Internationalizing the conflict
The following day after request, the Arab Coalition led by Saudi Arabia – backed with US strategic support – started launching airstrikes against Houthi bases in Yemen. The coalition insists on their right to respond to the requests and needs of president Hadi and to provide military assistance to the legitimate authority in Yemen. The intervention and the death of the Moroccan pilot raised the question of whether the Yemeni situation still is Non-International Armed Conflict or had it turned into an International Armed Conflict?
Bear in mind that all of the countries in the war including Yemen signed and ratified the four Geneva Conventions of 1949 and Additional Protocols I and II.
The situation in Yemen, before the coalition intervention, can be considered a civil war or Non-International Armed Conflict (NIAC) as per Common article 3 of the Geneva conventions and additional Protocol II. Common article 3 establishes the minimum standards of the laws of war, which are to be applied in an armed conflict taking place within the boundaries of a state, like the war between the government and a rebel group or two rebel groups. Common article 3 sets the minimum standards that each party in the conflict should be bound by during the conflict which focuses on treating non-combatants, the wounded and sick humanely and without any discrimination depending on race, color, religion or faith, sex, birth or wealth, or any other similar criteria. The other obligations under the four Geneva conventions are not applicable during this kind of conflict.
After the international coalition military intervention in the war, this protection is limited in comparison with the protection under the four Geneva conventions and additional protocols I and II, especially after the increase of the Yemeni civilians’ death. The international coalition intervention in Yemen changed the situation on the ground. Therefore, we should accept that the coalition intervention affected the Yemeni situation and turned it into an International Armed Conflict (IAC), where the Four Geneva Conventions and additional protocol I apply, especially between Houthi militias and the coalition forces. Despite the fact that, the coalition intervened in the situation on behalf of the internationally recognized government, the effective control over the Yemeni territory remains in doubt as Houthi militias control the Capital, in addition to the massive amount of the death and injuries, this pushes us to consider the situation a International Armed Conflict, which would increase the need to protect civilians from the damaging results of the crisis and work towards the International Humanitarian Law principles.
The consideration of the Yemeni situation as a NIAC will put the international community in contradiction with the object and purpose of the four conventions because the Geneva Conventions were adopted to guarantee the protection of the civilians and military personnel who are no longer taking part in hostilities. The spirit of the provisions of the Conventions pushes us to adopt the four Conventions and to increase the protection for the Yemeni civilians, who are facing a humanitarian crisis because of the war. Indeed, if we cannot stop the existing war and the humanitarian crisis, we should at least increase the protection for the civilians and the military personnel and adopt the wide scope of the object and the purpose of the four Geneva Conventions. I’m advocating towards the implementation of the four Geneva Conventions and Additional protocols, as way to protect the nation from a full blown crisis.
Moreover, the fighters from the Houthi’s and the coalition should be considered combatants and if they are detained. In this case, the third Geneva Convention relative to the treatment of Prisoners of War (POW’s) should be adopted. I believe that the Yemeni situation is critical and has transformed from a Non-International Armed Conflict into an International Armed Conflict, where the four Geneva conventions should be applied along with their protections. Therefore given that the Yemen conflict has become an international armed conflict, the countries involved in the Saud-led coalition and the Houthi militias need to act according to International Humanitarian Law and respect the rules of law, particularly the protection of civilians and POW’s.
I never thought I would be writing about an Egyptian military intervention into another country in my day and time, but the dramatic changes and developments in the armed conflict in Libya has posed the question of whether Egypt’s role in this situation was legal or not. At the same time, the question of which doctrine of the international law Egypt can use to justify the Airstrikes on Da’esh is raised – whether the self-defense and or protecting citizens abroad or assisting another state.
On 15 February 2015, a video was released showing images of 21 kidnapped Coptic Egyptians being killed by a militant group declaring their loyalty to ISIS or Da’esh. As a response to this video, which I don’t think is appropriate to share; the Egyptian president announced a week of mourning over the victims and called for an urgent meeting with the National Defense Council. A few hours after the meeting, Egyptian Air forces launched strikes against militant targets and fighters of ISIS in Derna, Libya.
These air strikes open the question again about the legality of the Egyptian Military intervention inside the Libyan territory especially after the different statements from the President Sisi and the Foreign Affairs Minister in UN Security Council meeting.
The historic background of the Libyan situation is significant in this context. Libya today has divided into a violent political struggle between two major powers: the internationally recognized, Tabruk parliament and Tripoli’s parliament. The Islamist groups cooperated with Misrata’s forces to stage a counterattack in Tripoli and occupy the capital. This forced the newly elected parliament into exile to Tabruk to be under the protection of general Haftar.
Alongside with this political struggle and declining situation, in June 2014, the jihadist group Majilis Shura Shabab Al-Islam (the Islamic Youth Shura Council) in Derna announced its allegiance to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). A few months later, the organized militant group in Egypt, Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis, which continually attacked the governmental buildings and military bases, also announced its allegiance to ISIS and changed its name into Wilayet Sinai or the Sinai State. This link between the groups increases the suspicion of cooperation between the two groups and increases military operations against the Egyptian government and Army.
The use of language
A few hours, after the president Abd El-Fatah El-Sisi’s speech on the killing of 21 Christian Egyptian in Derna by militant group loyal to ISIS, Egyptian Air forces launched strikes against militant targets and fighters of ISIS in Derna, Libya.
The Egyptian citizens reacted to the video of the killings with significant anger and asked for revenge and reprisal attacks. During his speech president Sisi used the word “the right of response” to the killing of the Egyptians in Libya. Also, the ministry of Foreign affairs issued a statement after the airstrike stating that the airstrikes were under legitimate right of states of self-defense individually or collectively and its right to protect its citizens abroad. The linguistics used in both statements refers to framing the airstrikes towards the Egyptian citizens and protecting the citizens. The president statement directed to the citizens, and to settle down the anger of the citizens, but at the same time, statements like revenge or reprisal are not appropriate to be used in the international law context.
Therefore, framing the argument and defense of the attack through “the right of response” is to legitimate the illegitimate act.
A few days later, the weakness of the doctrine of the right of response and the excuse of protecting of citizens abroad which had been used by the president and the ministry of foreign affairs was clear. The use of this doctrine in international law is rare and is not preferred. Therefore, during the UNSC urgent meeting in relation to the situation in Libya, the Foreign Affairs Minister instead commented on the Egyptian airstrike in Libya by using a different argument for the strikes, by stating “Egypt has decided to respond to the requests and needs of the Government of Libya and has provided military assistance”. The Foreign Affairs Minister’s statement framed the airstrikes as assisting the Libyan government in the war against terror after asking for help as part of consensual intervention, as the coordination and assistance of another country is not a violation against international law. Therefore, Egypt’s strikes over the Libyan territories were not in contradiction of the United Nations charter and customary international law. This new statement is directed to the international community, thus the language used must be the most appropriate to be accepted in doctrine and according to international law.
The word and framing used is important in international law and in strengthening the legitimacy of the Egyptian airstrikes in Libya. The justification of airstrikes based on the self-defense and/or protecting civilians abroad arguments or the right of response are weak in international law in comparison to the argument of the assistance of another country in the war against terrorism. The president used the phrase right of response to comment on the killing of Egyptians in Libya because he was directing the statement to Egyptian citizens while the Minister of Foreign Affairs could not use a weak legal argument in his speech to the international community justifying the airstrikes. Therefore, he used the argument of state requesting assistance of another state. The linguistics used by the president and foreign affairs minister differ because each one of them is talking to a different audience. Framing and language of law is just as important domestically as it is internationally.
The Arab Spring uprisings really did shake the region in many different ways. The first two countries, which were swept by protests, namely Tunisia and Egypt came out without need for, or suggestion of intervention. Libya and Syria, however, had quite a different experience. What looked like the beginning of an uprising, much like different Arab countries, quickly spiraled out of control and turned into a full fledged civil war, aggravated by international intervention whether through political recognition of rebel groups, materialistically supporting different factions, or physical use of military power. The reaction of many different states after the Arab Spring skewed away from the normative understanding of certain principles of international law. The most significant principle of these is recognition, particularly recognition of governments.
The principle of recognition is very important in this context, because International Humanitarian Law principally depends on the legitimate and recognized government to regulate use of force, and intervention from other states. Intervening on behalf of the recognized legitimate government, subjects the intervening countries to much less rigorous standards in the law of armed conflict than if countries intervened on behalf of a “rebel group”. That is why the issue of recognition and twisting the normative understanding of it, is an matter which needs to be understood from a legal perspective, not just as an issue of political support.
What is recognition?
The traditional, legalistic understanding defines recognition as “a method of accepting certain factual situations and endowing them with legal significance” as defined by Malcolm Shaw in his textbook, properly titled ‘International Law’ (6th ed. P. 207). Thus, it is fair to adopt the notion that the issue of recognition in international law had previously taken the form of recognizing the independence of newly formed states. International law was neutral to the dispute of changes in governments within states, as it was considered an internal matter. Recognition of states by no means a simple issue, nor does it take merely a legalistic position, without considering the political one as demonstrated in CGP Grey’s video on recognition of states. On the other hand, recently, recognition also came in the form of recognizing governments of states that are already established and independent, and this is what I intend to focus on in the post-Arab spring political moment.
Of course the two types of recognition can intertwine and it is important to keep that in mind. In 2010, the ICJ gave an Advisory Opinion on the Declaration of Independence by Kosovo. The court deterred from answering the awkward issue of secession, and opted to focus on the very action of declaration of independence by Kosovo by a minority group, and it deemed it legal under international law. However, they did not explicitly say whether Kosovo should gain independence and be recognized as a state or not by the international community in support of this minority group. This type of “intertwined” recognition status is quite important for issues of self-determination particularly internal self-determination. Internal self-determination is defined as “may refer to various political and social rights” as defined by the LLI of Cornell University Law School. This is critical in the discussion of the legal position of the Syrian rebel groups, as will be discussed in the section on Syria’s SNC.
Both types of recognition, whether it is the declaration of an independence of a state or recognizing rebel groups as the legitimate government of certain states have always been a sour note in international law, particularly by the Security Council. In1965, when Southern Rhodesia declared independence from the UK’s colonial domination, the Security Council issued multiple resolutions (Resolution 202, Resolution 216, Resolution 217), which “regard[ed] the declaration of independence by (the Rhodesian government) as having no legal validity”. The resolutions dismissed the entity that declared independence, as a “racist minority”, although that entity was the de facto government, as Southern Rhodesia had been self-governing since 1922 and had all four aspects, which qualified it as an independent state, under article 1 of the Montevideo Convention on the Rights and Duties of States. Independence was later granted in 1980 to what we now know as Zimbabwe.
Fast forward to 2001, state practice was still completely disregarding so called “rebel groups” as the representatives of a country, regardless of their actual control of the territory. The line between de facto control of a certain territory, and the international de jure government and diplomats did not always meet, particularly with Afghanistan. Ever since their emergence in 1994, the Taliban was effectively taking control of the country after the old soviet-backed regime collapsed. The Taliban went on to have de facto control over 90% of the country; however, they were not internationally recognized as the legitimate government or the legitimate representatives of the people, even though the Security Council obliged them to adhere to the Geneva Conventions, in article 12 of Security Council Resolution 1193 (1998).
“Legitimate representative of the people”
A certain practice seems to have been popularized post/during the Arab Spring where states and international organizations have been declaring that a certain rebel group is the “legitimate representative of the people” of a certain state. It started with the National Transition Council (NTC) in Libya, and then the Syrian National Council (SNC) was also recognized in Syria in the same manner as in Libya. What is surprising is not just that they recognized rebel entities, but that most countries recognized them as the legitimate representatives of the people, NOT the official government of the state. What does “legitimate representative of the people” mean without being the recognized government?
The first time this term was used was in the recognition of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) as the legitimate representatives of the Palestinians under UN General Assembly Resolution 3210 of October 1974. This was reaffirmed a month later in Resolution 3237 when the PLO was admitted as an observer entity in the UN. This status was given due to the fact that Palestine did not qualify as a state in accordance with the Montevideo convention, hence, it cannot be treated as a full sovereign government, yet they possess the right of self-determination. The term “legitimate representative” was used as an answer to an awkward situation, when certain groups of people clearly have the right of self-determination, but did not have the right to the status of statehood. Post 2011 however, it became the go-to term to express disapproval of regimes in states, and supporting a different entity in their claim to govern that state.
To break it down, recognizing an entity as a legitimate representative of the people, while not recognizing that they are the legitimate government of a territory, is reminiscent of colonial times. This is when liberation groups existed within a non-self-governing territory, which was under “colonial domination, alien occupation and…racist regimes in the exercise of their right of self-determination” as described in the ICRC Additional Protocol I, perhaps as the first step in recognizing the independence of these entities.
The problem in this description is that, even though Libya and Syria were confronted with serious rebellion, and the legitimacy of the regimes in both countries was and is seriously in question, yet placing the rebels within the same understanding of entities aiming for state recognition is a bit of a stretch, as their state is already recognized, here have been many “local” dictators before, yet the international community did not rally behind an armed faction for “Self-determination” unless succession was in question. This obviously changed in the cases of Libya and Syria, and in order to understand the reasoning behind this unconventional declaration, the events that followed this statement of the peoples’ legitimate representation, should be examined.
On 10th of March 2011, around a month after protests and armed civil unrest started in Libya against the country’s dictator, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, the French president, Nicolas Sarkozy declared the National Transitional Council (NTC) is the “sole legitimate representative of the Libyan people”. This came with a movement of support from the US and EU countries towards the NTC. The United States went as far as discussing with congress the possibility of allocating Libya’s frozen assets from Qaddafi’s regime to fund the NTC according to an official statement made by Mark C. Toner, the Acting Deputy of the US State Department. However, recognition of the NTC as the legitimate government was an issue, which the US was still concerned about from the legal point of view. On the 11th of April, the US Ambassador in Libya stated: “Recognition remains a legal and an international obligations issue that we’re still studying, and we have not made a definitive determination on that question. But that has not stopped us from doing everything that we could to support the NTC and the Libyans”.
On the other hand, recognizing an entity as a legitimate representative of the people does not need the rigorous criteria that are put forward when recognizing an entity as the legitimate government of a state, particularly when it was not a fully democratic process that brought that entity to power. One thing is certain though, once there was recognition that the NTC is the legitimate and sole representative of the people, any form of friendly relations with the (at the time) existing regime, were cut. This is based on the principle of sovereign equality of States as stated in UNGA Resolution 2625 on the principles of friendly relations among states.
There were many question marks over this step, like, what does this recognition mean from an international law perspective? Does the fact that the NTC effectively took the seat of Libya as the country’s representative in the UNGA equate to them acting in the name of the state on the international platform? And most importantly, does this give the NTC the right to invite another government to intervene militarily in Libya?
UN Security Council resolution 1973 called for a ceasefire from all Libyan entities and return to diplomacy, however, it was used as the pretext for the NATO intervention in Libya, which completely skewed the conflict in favor of what became the NTC. The legality of NATO’s intervention was not questioned. However, Professor Noam Chomsky argued in an interview that NATO clearly violated the resolution, as they were the first to break the ceasefire. On another note, the US Secretary of State during the crisis, Hilary Clinton, stated to CBS news channel that arming the NTC would be legal under resolution 1973, even though resolution 1970, article 9 clearly prohibits the arming of Libyans according to a BBC article. The question of whether or not the rebels (yet legitimate representatives of the people) are included in this arms embargo or not, had NATO split on the topic. It seems that the NTC fit whatever position was deemed appropriate at the time, and this was paved by such an ambiguous recognition.
The situation in Syria is still progressing daily, and it seems like the conflict has reached the point where the legality of any action would be placed into question. However, let us examine the situation from the beginning in order to understand the intention and gravity of what followed, and let to the current pandemonium. In October 2011, the Syrian National Council (SNC) was formed from the “internal and exiled opposition activists”, as reported by the BBC. This came after months of military brutality against opposition groups rallying against the Syrian president, Bashar Al-Assad.
By 2012, many countries, including the United Kingdom, recognized the NTC as the sole and legitimate representative of the people. Foreign Secretary of the UK, William Hague gave a speech in the parliament, in which he declared Her Majesty’s full support and recognition of the SNC as the sole and legitimate representative of the Syrian people. In the speech, he additionally established the bases by which their foreign relations will continue moving forward. He stated that, with recognition, comes the responsibilities of the SNC to “uphold their commitments”, though he did not say whether these included observing international conventions and treaties or not. He also stated that the SNC would have a political representative in the UK. Finally he pledged a large id package to the SNC controlled areas (with the Hear, Hear! of the parliamentarians in the background).
Now going back to the same starting point of the Libyan crisis of this odd recognition being reserved to peoples fighting for self-determination, even with the objection to Bashar Al-Assad’s regime, it would be stretching it to say that it is a racist regime, legally speaking (notwithstanding my personal opinion on the atrocities which were committed in Syria). However, for argument’s sake, let’s assume that this really is an issue of self-determination of a people within an established state. Firstly, we need to look at the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), in the first article, it states:
“All peoples have the right of self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development”.
The case of the SNC makes sense when the second article is examined, where it is stated that:
“Each State Party to the present Covenant undertakes to respect and to ensure to all individuals within its territory and subject to its jurisdiction the rights recognized in the present Covenant, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.”
Now it can be argued that the Syrians are seeking self-determination internally, and that is through the SNC as their representative. In that case, the principle of non-intervention does not apply in the same way that was presented in the ICJ ruling of the Nicaragua case, where it was it was deemed that any form of arming or supporting a rebel group is considered illegal. On the contrary, in UNGA Resolution 35/227 (1981), on the question of the self-determination in Namibia, Article 6 clearly encouraged other states to support South West Africa People’s Organisation (SWAPO), in “material, financial, military and other assistance”, in its pursuit of self-determination. It seemed that this is the direction other states have agreed to follow, since the US’s Military and the CIA have agreed to train and equip the Syrian opposition and the legality of this action has not been contested.
To conclude, it is safe to assume that 2011 onwards saw a swift change in the practice of international organisations, UN organs and Western states regarding the recognition of rebel groups. Furthermore, the arming of opposition groups has been a ‘right’ that many countries have maintained and argued strongly for, particularly in self-determination conflicts. However, as the conflicts in Libya and Syria linger, and the atrocities of war seem to be normalized every day, the question remains as to whether more intervention will actually end these conflicts any quicker.
In 2011, Libya became one of the countries that were quickly impacted by the Arab Spring. Yet, it has been going through a different path than its neighbours Egypt and Tunisia that have largely succeeded in their revolutions. As a result of the dire humanitarian situation in Libya in 2011, the UN Security Council decided to implement multilateral humanitarian military intervention.
Before the application of humanitarian intervention, one has to make detailed calculations and evaluation of the necessity of intervention. The legality of humanitarian intervention is a complex question: does sovereignty rule out intervention in order not to breach territorial integrity? Or does the international community have the responsibility to avoid gross and systematic human rights violations? Regarding sovereignty, “the legal rub of humanitarian intervention is the United Nations Charter, the foundational document of international law whose core principles are sovereignty and non-intervention” (Cronogue, 129).
The implementation of humanitarian intervention in Libya was arguably based on the prominent model of: the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) doctrine. It is argued that “the concept of R2P consists of three elements: the responsibility to prevent a population from suffering serious harm, the responsibility to react if such harm occurs, and the responsibility to rebuild after an intervention” (Gowers, 597). The R2P implies a collective international responsibility “exercisable by the Security Council authorizing military intervention as a last resort, in the event of genocide and other large-scale killing, ethnic cleansing and serious violations of humanitarian law which sovereign governments have proved powerless or unwilling to prevent” (Background Information on the Responsibility to protect, United Nations). “President Barack Obama—along with NATO—claimed that military action was necessary in order to prevent a bloodbath in Benghazi, where Qaddafi’s forces had surrounded a defenseless population” (Gillin, Libya Is Yet Another Reason to Be Wary of Humanitarian Interventions). However, the intervention implied the overthrowing of the leader Qaddafi who targeted civilian protesters, yet, the overthrowing of a government is not legally justified under international law, but is rather considered political. The timing was ideal to exercise humanitarian intervention as “leaders in the Middle East were still reeling from the Arab Spring” (Patrick, Libya and the future of Humanitarian intervention). The Libyan case was illustrated as “a textbook illustration justifying R2P principles, but its implementation also demonstrated the need for legitimacy criteria to guide decisions on authorizing and overseeing international military intervention” (Thakur, 61).
Libya has been perceived as a “failed” state that lacks the ability to protect its own citizens. Since Libya is considered as a “failed” state, the responsibility is seen to be extended to the international community. Although, the use of force in “failed” states is very debatable, humanitarian intervention seems to have been the first option in Libya. Therefore, the Security Council issued Resolution 1970 (2011), which underscored “the gross and systematic violation of human rights, including the repression of peaceful demonstrators, expressing deep concern at the deaths of civilians, and rejecting unequivocally the incitement to hostility and violence against the civilian population made from the highest level of the Libyan government” (Resolution 1970). It is also added in the Resolution 1970 that “the widespread and systematic attacks currently taking place in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya against the civilian population may amount to crimes against humanity” (Resolution 1970). The Resolution stressed the significant responsibility of the Libyan authorities to protect and respect its population. The Security Council accompanied Resolution 1970 with the Resolution 1973 that permitted Member States to legitimately take “all necessary measures” in carrying out humanitarian intervention in protecting civilians (Resolution 1973).
Humanitarian interventions are very expensive and their consequences cannot be predicted. However, humanitarian intervention is a significant instrument that is “claimed” to protect people and punish perpetrators of human rights violations. Humanitarian intervention does not seem to be a “pure tool” that aims to really save lives as it is highlighted that “the United States will remain selective about humanitarian intervention, because it must balance the goal of preventing suffering with other interests and commitments” (Patrick, ‘Libya and the future of Humanitarian intervention’). Actually, the United States always used the arguments of establishing democracy and eliminating human rights violations as a basis for humanitarian intervention. In the case of Libya, it seems that economic interests, more specifically oil reserves were the real interests of the United States. This intervention is reminiscent of the Iraq war in 2003. Moreover, the geographical location of Libya makes it strategically beneficial in the sense that it allows access to Africa.
The United Nations has justified multilateral, UN-authorized humanitarian intervention according to Article 39 of the UN Charter, which states that “the Security Council shall determine the existence of any threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression and shall make recommendations, or decide what measures shall be taken in accordance with Articles 41 and 42, to maintain or restore international peace and security”. Because this Article is broad and vague, the UN Charter does not contain any clear conditions for collective action. Nonetheless, it has been argued that humanitarian intervention goes against Article 2 (4) of the UN Charter, which stipulates that: “All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations”. Furthermore, the UN Charter underlines in Article 2 (7) that: “nothing contained in the present Charter shall authorize the United Nations to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state or shall require the Members to submit such matters to settlement under the present Charter”. However, when the situation reaches a perceived “high peak”, the Security Council gives itself the power to employ the humanitarian intervention with the use of Article 39.
The humanitarian intervention in Libya did in fact create a new “failed state”. The humanitarian intervention strategy was actually proven in the Libyan case as a total failure. The presence of a two rival governments makes the position of the country weaker. The existence and role of the militias including some Islamist extremists and ISIS over the country weakens the economic situation due to the constant contest over oil revenues. The creation of these Islamist extremists was the outcome of the continuous sustainment by the West aiming to succeed in the process of regime change. Security cannot be established due to absence of an army and an undrafted constitution. The intervention did not imply any kind of a process of active rebuilding aiming to put Libya on its feet. It is questionable whether the Libyan intervention was really an intervention to protect the population or rather another strategy to remove a political leader who constantly went against the West on the political, social and economic levels. The NATO intervention has succeeded in showing that it was a failure due to the presence of violence after the action. This could be seen with the increased number of deaths and human rights violations. R2P in the Libyan case did not include any kind of protection but rather a kind of violence and humiliation of civilians. Violence has spread all over the country. Saving lives is simply a justification to attack one nation’s territory and breach its sovereignty.
Humanitarian interventions are simply “lies”. They can never be trusted due to the constant hidden goals. Humanitarian interventions cannot function because they produce more negative consequences than good ones and this could clearly be seen in the Libyan case as mentioned above. There is no “pure” behavior of a humanitarian intervention. One has to mention the tremendous influence and control of the United States (U.S) over NATO’s actions. The U.S under NATO’s umbrella looks for its own benefits by trying to act as the “saviors”. Moreover, the humanitarian intervention does not offer any solutions. In other words, the intervention does not try to solve the causes of the conflict or deal with its consequences. If humanitarian intervention in Libya was really “pure”, then the employment of military action was not required. The fact that the use of force was included in the intervention breaches the whole aim and purpose of intervention as it continuously violates human rights.