Tac­tics: Libya not a blue­print for Syria, NATO says,

Mackay stresses act­ing with cau­tion

Ottawa Citizen - - FRONT PAGE -

HALIFAX • Libya is no par­a­digm for a sim­i­lar in­ter­ven­tion to stop the deadly crack­down in Syria, se­nior Cana­dian and NATO of­fi­cials said Satur­day.

The Libya cam­paign “le­git­imized the au­thor­ity of the broader com­mu­nity to act” to pro­tect civil­ians un­der at­tack by the former regime of mur­dered leader Moam­mar Gad­hafi, Cana­dian De­fence Min­is­ter Peter Mackay told a panel dis­cus­sion at the Halifax In­ter­na­tional Se­cu­rity Fo­rum.

“But we have to pro­ceed with cau­tion in the ap­pli­ca­tion of this (new) norm ... We should not charge in.”

NATO part­nered with Arab states ear­lier this year to stop Libyan strong­man Gad­hafi’s as­sault on civil­ians.

In Syria, “while there is ob­vi­ously vi­o­lence ... we’re not in a sit­u­a­tion where the re­spon­si­bil­ity to pro­tect ap­plies,” Mackay con­cluded, cit­ing an in­ter­na­tional le­gal stan­dard nor­mally ap­plied in cases of geno­cides.

Lt-gen. Charles Bouchard, who was com­man­der of the NATO mil­i­tary mis­sion in Libya, said “Libya should not be a blue­print for the fu­ture.”

“Syria is dif­fer­ent: it’s in the Mid­dle East, it’s got dif­fer­ent neigh­bours and it has dif­fer­ent re­gional sup­port,” he ex­plained, al­lud­ing to con­cerns that war in Syria would draw in Iran and oth­ers.

An Arab League dead­line for Da­m­as­cus to stop its lethal crack­down on pro­test­ers ex­pired a day af­ter Syr­ian se­cu­rity forces killed at least 15, in­clud­ing two chil­dren.

Syria is ruled by mi­nor­ity Alaw­ites, an off­shoot of Shi­ite Is­lam, while pro­test­ers de­mand­ing re­forms are largely from its Sunni ma­jor­ity.

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