Yet current and former French foreign ministers today challenged the idea that Libya, which is not surrounded by other diverse and unpredictable states, and whose UN intervention was supported by Arab nations – is comparable to Syria.
“I am surprised that Mr. Sarkozy wants to stir up controversy on such a serious subject,” said foreign minister Laurent Fabius in the French press today. “One would expect something different from a former president. The situation in Syria is obviously very different from that of Libya.”
The issue goes to the heart of a wrenching debate over how to help Syria, even as the Kofi Annan peace plan has been put aside and high-level defections from Bashir al-Assad’s regime continue. Russia and China have continued to oppose Western answers to the crisis in the UN Security Council.
"In the Libyan case, there was a cry to help insurgents in Benghazi,” posits Hubert Védrine, a former French foreign minister. “This was supported by the Cooperation Council for the Arab Gulf States, and supported by the Arab League.” There was a “demand for action, meaning that … Russia and China in the Security Council were on the spot and did not dare to veto."