A war between political factions or regions within the same country.Clearly, the Libyan uprising is a civil war; it is, in fact a revolution which has developed into a civil war. Foreign nations are ill-advised to involve themselves in civil wars and, historically, simply don't.
Well, you might say, "wasn't the American Revolution a civil war and didn't France give us invaluable assistance against the British?". Actually, that's a whole different matter. The American Colonies were, well, colonies. The war was one of succession; we weren't trying to overthrow the British Crown, we were colonials attempting to succeed.
You might say "well, what about the American Civil War?" While the British were on the side of the South, there was no effective involvement by the British government. Besides, the American Civil War was a war of secession.
The Libyan conflict is the classic definition of a civil war and, again, I feel that the deeper we go in to this, the worse it will be. Sure, the "Arab League" is somewhat behind this, but they're fickle and likely to change their position on a moment's notice.
The bottom line her is that this is a Muslim country and the very fact that Muslims are dying by our hand means that we are the villain. In the end, it matters not to the Muslim world that Qaddafi is a ruthless tyrant, what matters is that he's a Muslim brother.
This is a wholly different situation than Iraq, where a threat actually existed, and the point of the exercise was to crush Iraq into submission, occupy it, remove the existing regime and build the place back from the ground up. We started that eight years ago, are we prepared to do the same in Libya?