Can the African Union end the Libya war?

Moammar Gadhafi reportedly accepts a ceasefire plan proposed by African Union leaders. Is this just a ruse? And if not, would the rebels sign on?

Libyan rebels celebrate Sunday as word spread that embattled leader Moammar Gadhafi had accepted the African Union's peace plan to end the country's civil war.
(Image credit: Corbis)

South African President Jacob Zuma says Libya's Moammar Gadhafi has accepted an African Union "roadmap to peace," and his A.U. delegation is on its way to convince the anti-Gadhafi rebels to agree, too. Zuma's plan includes a ceasefire, a resumption of humanitarian aid, dialogue between the rebels and Gadhafi, and political reforms that "meet the aspirations of the Libyan people." Can Zuma's delegation actually get the two sides to sign on? (Watch an AP report about the ceasefire proposal.)

Gadhafi has cried wolf before: On the surface, a ceasefire "roadmap" looks like good news, says Anita McNaught at Al Jazeera. But "the devil is not in the detail, the devil is in the implementation." Gadhafi has accepted, and then immediately ignored, several ceasefires before, and it's worth noting that the A.U. isn't proposing to send in any kind of peacekeeping force to enforce any agreement.

"Gaddafi 'accepts' A.U. plan to end fighting"

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The details really need to be fleshed out: The details do matter, and at this point they're "sketchy," says Tim Marshall in Sky News. If the plan stops NATO's military intervention, the rebels will probably balk. And if the rebels insist that Gadhafi step down first, before the ceasefire, "that would probably collapse the process." Given Gadhafi's close ties to the AU, the rebels are especially wary, but they also "will not want to be seen as being intransigent," so expect lots of asking for "clarification."

"Dilemma for rebels in Libya peace process"

This is the AU's moment of truth: African leaders must try to stop Gadhafi from "visiting evil" on his people, says Mondli Makhanya in The Times of Johannesburg. "African inaction" forced NATO to intervene in the first place, yet once it did, even South Africa — which voted for using force at the U.N., in one of Zuma's "proudest moments" — "joined the anti-imperialist toyi-toyi." If the A.U. solves this, maybe then Africa will "earn the right to tell others to butt out of our affairs."

"We don't take charge in Africa, but get very prickly about those who do"

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