Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Libyan 'Coalition' Falling Apart

Who's in charge? And in charge of doing what? Nobody seems to know.

Amid squabbling by the 'allies' only six planes are aloft in th eno fly zone over Libya at any one time, which is enough to enforce a no fly zone over Benghazi - just.Monday, only a dozen Tomahawk missiles were fired – and only at Qaddafi's coastal compounds, a far cry from what happened over the weekend. Part of the reason is that the Brits are reportedly out of missiles!

The reaL problems started after a heated meeting of NATO ambassadors yesterday, which still hasn't decided whether NATO should run the operation to enforce the U.N.-mandated no-fly zone.

Germany, who abstained from voting on the UN resolution has abruptly pulled its ships and AWACS surveillance operations personnel out of the operation.

Italy said today that unless NATO heads the operation, they will take back control of the airbases the 'coalition' is using. meanwhile, the French are arguing against making Libya a NATO operation and are saying that the coalition led by Britain, the United States and France should retain political control of the mission, while the Turks, who initially opposed NATO being any part of the Libyan war now want severe limits to any NATO involvement.

As for the Arab states, the only Arab country that has sent anything is Qatar, which deployed a total of 4 planes. And those planes, based in Italy, have orders only to operate up to the point where the Libyan coast is visible, and not an inch further.If Italy follows through on its threat to take back use of its air bases, those planes will undoubtedly head back to Qatar.

Meanwhile the U.S. and Britain are at odds after the U.K. government claimed Khaddaffi is a legitimate target for assassination.

According to the Brits, assassinating the Libyan leader would be legal if it prevented civilian deaths as per the U.N. resolution.

But U.S. SecDef Robert Gates would have no part of that , saying it would be 'unwise' to target Khaddaffi but that the campaign should stick to the 'U.N. mandate'.

When asked today what the outcome of all this is, Gates replied that there were many possible outcomes and that it would be unwise to predict one...not the most decisive reply! And truthfully, I don't think he knows. Neither, perhaps, does US Africa commander Gen. Carter Ham, who announced from his base in Germany that ousting Khaddaffi was were not part of "our mission" and that the Security Council resolution addressed only 'protection of civilians' and not support for the rebels. The puzzle of how you do one without doing the other is not something the general seems overly curious about.

And President Barack Obama? Well, the president cut short his spring break vacay and returned to Washington earlier than he had planned. He apparently either isn't aware of the discord between what Der Speigel wittily dubbed 'The Coalition of the Unwilling' or simply figures things will iron themselves out somehow. He said on Monday that the US would cease control of operations against Khaddaffi's forces within days, letting NATO take over.In his news conference in El Salvador yesterday he said he had "absolutely no doubt" that control could be shifted from the U.S. to other coalition members within days.

"When this transition takes place, it is not going to be our planes that are maintaining the no-fly zone," the president said earlier at a news conference. "It is not going to be our ships that are necessarily enforcing the arms embargo. That's precisely what the other nations are going to do."

"The exit strategy will be executed this week in the sense that we will be pulling back from our much more active efforts to shape the environment."

And again, he reiterated that the US would not send ground troops into Libya.

"We'll still be in a support role, we'll still be providing jamming, and intelligence and other assets that are unique to us, but this is an international effort that's designed to accomplish the goals that were set out in the Security Council resolution," Obama said.

Since neither France nor Britain has the military resources to lead the coalition, you have to wonder what's in Obama's mind.

Did he merely want to establish this as a precedent for the future, as I wrote earlier? Or has he simply written this wag the dog effort off as a failed idea and wants to move on?

please helps me write more gooder!


louielouie said...

you have to wonder what's in Obama's mind.

that's a trick comment/question, right?

B.Poster said...

I would certainly hope this does not set a precedent. In fact, I would hope if the President should try something like this again, he would be impeached or perhaps removed by force by the military. With our military worn thin to the point that even basic national defense is problematic, I would hope the military commanders would have the b*lls to take matters into their own hands should Mr. Obama attempt to take matters into his own hands in this matter again and remove thie President.

These men and these forces need to be redeployed to America's borders where they will they have a fighting chance to defend America. They do not need to be squandered on operations on the other side of the world that neither advance America's national defense or its interests. I woudl hope the precedent that gets set is that these things simp0ly are not done again.