Some NATO country politicians have called for Iraq style sanctions on Libya through an “oil for food” programme of the kind that was imposed on Iraq from 1991 to 2003, leading to the resignations of UN officials Dennis Halliday and Hans Von Sponeck due to the huge numbers of civilians killed by it due to lack of food and medical supplies. Defecting Libyan diplomats have told them in no uncertain terms that there is no need for that and they don’t want it (1) – (2).
Colum Lynch of Foreign Policy magazine reports that according to former UK Foreign Office official Carne Ross and other experts even the sanctions already implemented may have similar effects to the Iraq oil for food programme – particularly the Asset freeze on the Libyan Central Bank, the Libyan Investment Authority, Libya's sovereign wealth fund, and the Libyan National Oil Corporation. These will make it very hard for Libya to export oil – and the vast majority of Libya’s national income comes from oil exports. In the long term, if the sanctions continue, that means ordinary Libyans suffering food and medicine shortages the way Iraqis did - and many dying as a result. (3).
So UN Security Council resolution 1973 contradicts itself by authorising economic warfare which will result in huge numbers of civilian deaths if continued in the long term, while authorising military intervention by air to protect civilians from military attack (4).
(1) = Reuters 09 Mar 2011 ‘U.N. split on Libya no-fly zone; oil escrow mulled’,http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/03/09/us-libya-un-idUSTRE7285VI20110309
(2) = Guardian 29 Nov 2001 ‘The hostage nation : Former UN relief chiefs Hans von Sponeck and Denis Halliday speak out against an attack on Iraq’, http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,,608578,00.html
(3) = Foreign Policy 23 Mar 2011 ‘Is a Libyan oil-for-food program on the way?’, http://turtlebay.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2011/03/23/is_a_libyan_oil_for_food_program_on_the_way
(4) = UN Security Council Resolution 1973 (2011),http://daccess-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N11/268/39/PDF/N1126839.pdf?OpenElement