Tactics: Libya not a blueprint for Syria, NATO says,
Mackay stresses acting with caution
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.