Friday, March 18, 2011

Khaddaffi Still Advancing On Benghazi In Spite Of UN Resolution

The UN Security Council belatedly came up with a resolution that called for a ceasefire and authorized the use of "all necessary measures" to protect civilians in Libya. Pity they weren't so decisive after Lockerbie...or for that matter, after any number of terrorist attacks on Israeli civilians by the 'Palestinians.'

President Obama defined a very limited American military role, saying the U.S. would help set the stage "for the international community to act together," ( whatever that might mean) and emphatically ruled out the use of ground troops. He said that the 'necessary measures' would be focused on protecting civilians, not regime change.

That of course leaves open the question of why regime change isn't the objective if the US is going to commit military force against Khaddaffi, but I'm certain the establishment foreign policy mavens have an answer all ready.

Considering how confused and contradictory the early US response was, it's quite obvious that President Obama would have preferred much to simply vote present on this one. But that made him appear indecisive, which wasn't so good politically, so he simply attempted to have the best of both worlds - we'll intervene rhetorically and perhaps with a no fly zone that's still very much in the planning stages, including a great deal of diplomatic back and forth and uncertainty about whhat kind of military support the Libyan rebels will receive, if any.

A meeting is set for Saturday in Paris attended by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton planned to attend along with leaders from the European Union, the African Union, the Arab League, and Ban Ki-Moon Secretary General of the U.N. to continue planning and come to an agreement on exactly how to enforce the UN resolution.

The most frequent buzz word is a no fly zone, which itself is going to be an interesting endeavor.

To implement it, the 'International Community' would have to start by taking out Libya's air defenses, mostly Russian-built SA-6 surface-to-air missile sites, and radar installations.

Considering that Col. Khaddaffi has already moved most of his air force in to bases along the Sahara that are beyond the range of carrier-based planes, taking out his air defenses is likely going to involve mid-air refueling under combat conditions, a hairy endeavor at the best of times.

Once the air defenses are taken out, the 'International Community's' planes would start enforcing the no-fly zone and work on preventing Col. Gadhafi's army from advancing any further into eastern Libya. So far , President Obama trying to mollify his Leftist base by saying that the US will only provide support for those flights, but a senior defense official was quoted as saying off the record that the president hasn't ruled out using U.S. combat aircraft for enforcement missions. No surprise there!

In fact, I'd be very surprised if the US didn't provide most of the pilots and planes, rather than support.If,in fact, a no fly zone gets going at all.

Khaddaffi obviously senses the ambivalence and uncertainty.

After the UN Resolution was passed, Khaddaffi's Foreign Minister Moussa Koussa read a statement in Tripoli stating that a member of the U.N., Libya "is bound to accept the Security Council resolution and has decided an immediate cease-fire and the cessation of all military operations." He added that the government was willing to enter into "dialogue" with all parties.

The reality? There's been no ceasefire.Gaddafi's forces are continuing to shell the western city of Misrata, where 25 people were reported killed on Friday by a doctor in the city. All water has been cut off and the city is under siege and not expected to hold out much longer.

In the east, Khaddaffi's forces are continuing to advance on the rebel capitol of Benghazi, and there's very little in the way of resistance before they arrive on the outskirts.

Khaddaffi is obviously going to try and wrap things up on the ground while the 'International Community' is still debating its response.

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1 comment:

B.Poster said...

I would have to say that the US and its "allies" have handled the Libya situation just about as badly as one could possibly handle it. By publicly critisizing the Khaddafi government, he and his goverment have been angered. The critiscim of the Khaddafi government, has been followed by absolutley nothing concrete to assist the anti-Khaddafi forces. This has andered them.

With regards to foreign policy America's biggest problem is it is almost universally despised. By acting in this manner matters have only been made worse. As far a s a no fly zone, at this point it is to late. As you correctly point out, Mr. Khaddafi and his team have moved his Air Force to positions that would make it extremely difficult to enforce a no fly zone. Also, the media has coalesced quite strongly around the position that the US should not get involved. Given the level of support that would be needed to enforce a no fly zone, this makes it extremely difficult to be able to garner the kind of support that would have been necessary. The time to do a no fly zone would have been a month ago or so. The window of opportunity for this has long closed. It illustrates breathtaking incompetence that anyone is even seriously discussing that at this point.

I must say it would be hard to be this incompetent had one actually tried to be!! Had we and our "allies" simply stayed out of this and done nothing, at least the Khaddafi forces might not be enraged at us and European economic interests with Libya might not be threatened. As it is now, no matter who prevails we've managed to make an enemy who is even more enraged at us than before!! If this is not an all timre record for incompetence, its got to be close.