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30 March 2011


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The Twisted Genius


I don't think the rebel forces can take Tripoli by themselves or just with NATO air support. Qathafi could not take Misrata. I'm confident that the Qathafi regime and his security forces will continue to crack and the people of Tripoli will rise up when the time is right. It could still involve bloody street fighting against pockets of die hard Qathafi supporters. The rebels know that they either win or they die. Other than Qathafi and his immediate family, I doubt the pro-Qathafi supporters feel this way. That makes all the difference in the world.

The Twisted Genius


You are probably right. Things never go exactly as planned. There could be false starts and leadership challenges. Special Forces soldiers are trained to deal with those challenges. Many now have experience in doing just that. I think the knowledge that they either win or they die will tend to focus the minds of the rebels.

The Twisted Genius

WRC - More hit and run rather than island hopping.


So the CIA is on the ground? I wonder what Qathafi's mercs are being offered? Join us and get paid 2X, 3X etc. They are behind his lines, afterall. Then there is the alternative; afterall it is rather hard to spend your paycheck when you are dead. It worked for Scipio against Hannibal, no reason it won't work now.


"I wonder what Qathafi's mercs are being offered?"

Sliding pay scale I expect Fred. Depends how much Ghadaffi is paying rebel informants.

Byron Raum

I don't know whether it's just me, but I am getting the impression that MSNBC news hosts (Maddow, et al.) are feeling active disillusionment with Obama. If so, this leak would imply an attempt to stem that tide.

I also am one of those who feel that I should go back to voting Republican. Over the last decade, like many, I was chased out of the Republican party by the Tea Partiers. Ceding this ground was a mistake, allowing the fringe to control the center. Fortunately, there is no reason why this mistake cannot be redressed.


@Byron Raum, The tea-baggers weren't around a decade ago. If your are feeling confusion about politics I suggest it's from watching corporate media.


Would missions deeper into the desert be worth contemplating, to indict mercenary reinforcements? I would imagine that would be difficult to do purely from the air. Daily Mail UK is reporting continued African merc. recruitment.



I think informants can be left to the rebels. A company of mercs might think twice if they were in the sights of an AC 130 or a couple of A-10s, at least I'm sure the second company would.


I think the disillusionment has nothing to do with Libya and everything to do with Wisconsin, further tax cuts and no backbone in dealing with the current middle-class betrayals coming out of congress and multiple state legislatures.


Naval Academy prof of Leadership & Ethics advises "Fighting Mercenaries with Mercenaries." http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2011-03-29/news/bs-ed-libya-contractors-20110329_1_unita-angolan-forces-angolan-government

Beyond absurd.
Israel is supplying Qaddafi's mercenaries -- the ones that are killing the citizens the US should, apparently, hire mercenaries to protect.

The difference is what it's always been in the US-Israel relationship: Israel takes in money, US shells out money.


I guess I still don't get it -- why we are there and why we think that the Rumsfeld way of war will work this time around?

Over the past several months State has been actively courting Qadhafi, even pressuring US defense companies to sell him arms and build him a Command and Control system as payback for his "coming in from the cold." Now he is a monster who must go (maybe) and a rebel group, whoever they are, should replace him.

And on the tactical discussion, we think that CIA/SOF supporting the rebels with airpower will bring down MQ, like Kabul, allowing the unknown rebels to form a democratic government and re-establish basic services that won't be destroyed by the regime, like Saddam. But I guess this time is different because our European allies will step up (like they are in the air campaign) to fix the things broken by the death throws of the regime and the inevitable bombing mishaps.

Am I the only one who thinks this is ludicrous?

William R. Cumming

NATO has formally announced that it will NOT repeat NOT supply arms to the insurgents in Libya.


How about a 4 way civil war?

" Last week the issue came out in the open, as NBC's Richard Engel reported from Libya that one in five rebels was fighting Gadhafi because he believes the leader is Jewish."

Then there's the folks who will fight the "occupiers".

I was all for this in the beginning, now I'm not so sure, looks like a big mess forming.


A Republican could have leaked the covert op to the press. We don't know but as long as we're guessing, why not? Cheney/Libby proved they put party above national security when they outed Plame. G. Washington saw the dangerers of a party system where infighting took precedence over governing.

The desert horse race actually turned into an advantage for the rebels because it brought Quathafi's troops into the open when chasing the rebels, making them easy targets for NATO aircraft. The problem is the airstrikes seem to have dwindled since US took a backseat.


"A company of mercs might think twice if they were in the sights of an AC 130 or a couple of A-10s, at least I'm sure the second company would."

Right Fred. This is why the Libyan army likes to trust mercenaries with all the important jobs. They also like to travel in large groups in clearly marked vehicles to make things easier for the pilots.

The Twisted Genius


Mercenary convoys would be a good target of opportunity, but launching overland missions to do this would be a waste of resources. Better to target Qathafi's command and control, logistics and fire support assets.

clifford kiracofe

TTG and Col. Lang,

1. "Arming the rebels" is getting a lot of attention in the media. In the instance where additional weapons might be desirable, sympathetic non-NATO states could make them available.

But my impression is that the professional military assessment here at SST is that they do not need additional weapons.

Please clarify for policy types who, hopefully, read this blog.

2. Arguably, Special Forces on the ground, integrated into covert ops with other elements, do not constitute regular "boots on the ground" and still less "occupation forces."


They could probably be classed as temporary advisors or something. Plenty of wiggle room in 1973. But I do detect a certain reluctance among the rebels to embrace outside help.

William R. Cumming

Britain and France now arguing for supplying weaponry to insurgents!

FB Ali


Secretary Gates was quite emphatic that there were not (and wouldn't be) any "boots on the ground". Does that rule out SFODAs? If so, do the Brits and/or French have the same capability? What about the CIA?

The Twisted Genius

Clifford Kiracofe,

1. From everything I've seen and read from the comfort of my Virginia home, I can emphatically say that the rebels do not need more arms. They have a higher concentration of heavy weaponry than any unit I have every served in. There were times when I would have given my left nut for the array of weaponry that the Libyan rebels now possess. Colonel Lang can speak for himself. He may not be as generous with his body parts.

2. Special Forces would definitely not be occupation forces. As far as "boots on the ground" is concerned, that might be mincing words. They would be advisors. Of course that invokes memories of Viet Nam. Just tonight, while listening to Gates say there will be no "boots on the ground" my wife asked me if I wore boots when I was on the ground. Interestingly enough, I sometimes wore lightweight Adidas running shoes... a nifty royal blue nylon model.

The Twisted Genius

Brigadier Ali,

I'm pretty certain that if Gates has the final word, there will be no SFODAs in Libya. The Brits and the French may have some capability, but they are primarily commando units. The CIA Special Activities Division can train foreign paramilitary forces. Most of their officers and their contractors are former Special Forces.

FB Ali


Sorry to be so persistent. But would the CIA personnel or contractors normally try to act in the same role as SFODAs? Would they be capable of doing it?

My reason for asking is that the SFODA role that you have outlined appears to be very different from what the usual int or mil assistance/advisory role is.

The Twisted Genius

Brigadier Ali,

I never worked in the field with CIA Special Activities Division (SAD), so what I'm telling you is just my impressions and not policy. CIA/SAD officers are first clandestine case officers. Their approach to indigenous forces is as a recruited asset in service of the USG. The Special Forces approach to indigenous forces is different. An SFODA will organize, train and advise indigenous forces to assist those indigenous forces to attain their goals. Obviously the USG would support the goals of the indigenous forces before deploying the SFODA to assist them. Perhaps this is more of a philosophical difference, but if I were a rebel, I'd rather see the Green Berets than the CIA coming to help me.

Special Forces ase trained and organized to train indigenous forces in guerrilla warfare. That is different from the normal military assistance/advisory role.

You ask if the CIA could act in the same role as SFODAs. I'll give a qualified yes, but only because most of their paramilitary officers and paramilitary contractors are former Special Forces. That's where their core capability lies.


I believe that the CIA does not wear boots. Or is not thought to wear boots.

Remarkably, I believe that's the distinction. Seriously.

In addition, what I read in the MSM is that the CIA is there to make sure that the Libyan rebels are supporters of the US... which is an excellent cover for whatever their mission might be.

Obama, with Krauthammer screaming in his ear about Clinton's amazing characterization of Syria's dictator as a reformer (it must be the start of the baseball season for Clinton to have thrown that fat a pitch), simply cannot affort to lose this one. Simply cannot.

Lots of CIA, no boots.

Thank you, TTG, for your posts. Thank you.

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