Leadership and the Libyan War
A current situation in which leadership has become questionable is the Western alliance’s (NATO and the US) attack on Libyan army. NATO’s mission in Libya is to protect civilians by preventing government forces from entering rebel-held areas, it undertakes this role by destroying weaponry, air and ground defense systems and airfields.
Although this is a noble mission, there has been a clear lack of leadership in the whole process since there is no single control center. For instance, the mission is referred to as Operation Odyssey Dawn, Operation Ellamy or Operation Harmattan by the various forces engaged in the war, namely US, Britain and France, respectively.
This is also evident by the fact that days after the joint mission began, the coalition cannot agree on who should take control of the campaign, and there is no likelihood of a clear answer to this impasse in the near future.
News from various quarters indicate that every army or political leader has a different stance on the issue. Additionally, indiscipline is common as no single army has a central role in the Libyan mission. Further indications of a lack of leadership stems from the fact that there is a lack of clarity on the role of the joint operation against Gaddaffi, how the mission will be fulfilled, and when the forces are going to leave Libya.
While the US, once seen as leading the operation, tries to scale down its engagement in the conflict, countries such as Britain and Italy want NATO to take charge, however, this opinion is rebuffed by some NATO members who say that a NATO-led operation would send the wrong signal to the Muslim world. This lack of leadership may hamper the success of the operation and raises concerns about the effectiveness of the political leadership.
Without a clear central command to head the mission now and in the future, or the possibility that NATO may not be the head, has caused many divisions in the joint mission. For instance, Italy and Luxembourg have expressed doubts about their continued participation.
Additionally, without a concise leadership structure, the kind of operations that are allowed in the course of protecting Libyan citizens is subject to differing interpretations, for instance, whether Gaddafi’s himself is a justifiable target under the UN decree that allows for “all necessary measures” is debatable since the statement is as ambiguous as the leadership structure and is subject to different interpretations by the various command centers.
Indeed, Turkey, the only Muslim nation in NATO, has already shown opposition to various proposals. Turkey was enraged at not being involved in the emergency meeting convened in Paris, and which ultimately led to French forces being sent to Libya.
A deficiency in leadership is seen in the lack of a clear mission for going into Libya. Are the nations going to protect civilians? or, are they going to depose Gaddafi? and, if they depose Gaddafi, who will fill the power vacuum, as the rebels also lack a concise leadership, with several small rebel groups emerging to fight against a common enemy. Hence, if Gaddafi is deposed or willingly leaves office, the effects would perhaps be more disastrous that during Gaddafi’s regime.
In conclusion, there is a reason for serious concern regarding the level of political leadership among nations participating in the Libyan war, and unless a common leader is chosen, or emerges from the group, the effectiveness of the war and eventual success will be hindered seriously.
Effects of leadership
The type of leadership, or the lack of it, exhibited in ant scenario has a great impact on the way a group performs its duties and acts. Leadership heavily influences ethical behaviors of a group, political, economical, and social perspectives. The role of a leader is to act as a role model, that is, exhibit a conduct that should be emulated by those around him/her.
Even though there are no unanimously agreed qualities, or attributes, that should be displayed by an effective leader, ethics plays a core role in leadership ability. Ethics and morality are inseparable and must be displayed by a leader so that he/she can succeed in being a role model to others.
Leadership is also important in political spheres as evident in the Libyan war described above. A political leader must have excellent leadership traits as hundreds, thousands or even millions of people depend on him for various reasons.
Failure would lead to dire local, national and international consequences, or importance is that most political leaders are elected by a large population and all of these people look up to him as their leader. Leadership in political spheres is also important as it could affect the economical facet of the people who look up to the leader.
An organization’s economical success greatly depends on the effectiveness of its leadership structure. Finally, leadership is important in social perspectives as it affects the way persons relate, for instance, in an organization. Since leaders manage people, a good leader should be able to motivate people to work together towards achieving a common goal.