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01 March 2011

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Jose

Col. Lang can correct me, but I read in a blog that 1st Battalion is preoccupied with the Hizbollah menace to Western Civilization.

WILL

The Shia of Lebanon still have a score to settle with Qa-tha-fi over the disappearance of Musa_al-Sadr.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Musa_al-Sadr

I would bet some have made their way to the Baqr (Cyrenaica) with the latest RPG's and Resistance know-how.

smoke

Baffling that such assessment teams are not already on the ground. Could it be that SAS or some other country has taken on the task?

Among SF skill sets, are there those whose specializations include assistance in organizing civil structures - like communications and distribution?

arbogast

Is it entirely incorrect to use the Falkland Islands as an analogy? The Argentine troops were accustomed to fighting civilians. Confronted with people who shot back, they only lasted week or so.

DanM

Comment from the ground (for whatever it's worth). The civilians playing house at the courthouse here in Benghazi, by and large, would not welcome an obvious US military presence. Don't know if that really matters.

In my more limited contact with officers, I get the feeling that what Col. Lang outlines would be very much welcomed, if handled deftly. They seem very well aware that low-levels of training leave there soldiers, as of now, no match for Qaddafi's people in Tripoli and definitely would view the shabaab marching on Tripoli as lambs to the slaughter, a true children's crusade.

The one thing I wonder about US involvement is the politics. In Eastern Europe, we were the enemy of the great oppressor. Here we're often viewed as pals with the oppressor -- and as kind of weak. (I had a Libyan doctor shouting at me the other day. "You forgave Qaddafi Lockerbie for money? What's the price-tag on forgiving Bin Laden?" Was the gist of it. Incredulous and scornful).
There's a billboard not far from where I'm sitting that says something like "No foreign intervention. Libyans can do this on our own." But when you talk to soldiers and youths eager to sign up, weapons and training would be viewed as "help" and not "intervention" it seems. As each day goes on, the reality that victory won't be quick is setting in, and my guess is that calls for "help" will get louder.
Dan, Benghazi

William R. Cumming

Who wrote this post?

Clifford Kiracofe

1. "The recapture of Brega came as rebel leaders in Libya called for international military intervention to help topple Gaddafi, saying they believe that people power alone may not be enough to dislodge the dictator from his last remaining strongholds."
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/03/01/AR2011030106071.html

2. So far, it seems to me among the "Libyan" voices for non-intervention there is a UK Twitter feed seemingly by some well-intentioned youth-students: @shabablibya for example.

Some folks on the ground in Libya now seem to be taking a rather different view. One would imagine this view will become more pronounced with further counterattcks from Q's side.

UK and German special forces have already been in Libya on rescue operations as reported in the press.


3. WWII? Irregulars and UW?

The level of understanding in Congress about WWII (or even WWI) was indicated by the removal of the "French Fries" signs in Capitol Hill food service areas during the Iraq War. This was in response to the French President warning against an invasion by the US. The Neocons screamed against "the French" but naturally Richard Perle was enjoying the pool at his French second home in the Dordogne.

The WWII French Resistance? Doubtful anyone on the Hill has the slightest clue or has met a genuine member of the authentic French Resistance.

Patrick Lang

WRC

One of our regulars. He can identify himself if he wishes to do so. pl

William R. Cumming

Thanks PL!

WP

The march across the desert from the east to the west seems impossible, but that growing fleet could pick up a few thousand Libyan rebel hitchikers and drop them off at a rebel established and fleet protected beachhead in a suburb of Tripoli after a reasonablel period of hunger and deprivation in the capital. We could loan them some onboard training and give them some guns for their adventure.

It is probably better that the Libyans do their own dirty work. Perhaps MQ's mercenaries are much like the Argentine troops mentioned by Arborgast. If the mercenaries use their brains, they will just go home with their gold rather than to fight to the last.

In the end, my guess is that MQ do a Mussolini and will likely end up with the same fate.

The Twisted Genius

WRC, I, The Twisted Genius, wrote this in response to Colonel Lang's call for papers on UW in Libya.

Douglass Schmacher

Aaron and DanM,

Thank you for these insights. Please keep writing.

The Twisted Genius

smoke,

The ODA organization includes specialists in medicine, combat engineering, communications, all manner of weapons and the full range of military staff functions. The knowledge, skills and abilities inherent in an ODA can raise and lead a regimental sized force and run a small city simultaneously... in my not so humble opinion. Communications and distribution (logistics) would be well within an ODA's capabilities.

The Twisted Genius

DanM,

Your comment from the ground is worth a lot. If I were leading a team into Benghazi, I'd be looking you up within hours. Stay safe there.

William R. Cumming

Thanks TTG! I was in mutual support of 10th SFGA while stationed in S. FRG! Interesting people. Used to go down the LECH river to the Danube in the middle of the night in rafts near the Kaserne I was on. Germans on base were shocked at that rigorous approach to training.
Of course we (US) forces often call the "new NAZIs" by their draftees since we polished our boots.

DanM

Update on the children's crusade: Spent the day touring military camps. A couple are regular army/paratroopers. They wouldn't let us in but spoke to a few low level officers. At all of them they said they were getting ready to "soon" move to Adjibiya, the town before Brega. In one they had about 5 tanks, an equal number of tracked troop carriers (Russian, dunno there names). They said they were going to load them up onto trucks and take them down today.

But at the April 7 military academy (where i was told Capt. Qaddafi received his training) they let us right in. Thousands of young men in sandals and sneakers were lining up to leave their names and numbers. 3-4 groups of 50 were clustered around one ex-soldier with either a single Ak47 or FN rifle being shown how they worked. No weapons were being handed out -- i'm told the regular army doesn't want to let the shabaab have rifles because they worry about what comes next.

The "trainers" seemed reasonably squared away. But a very ragtag affair. One finished his demonstration with the FN and wanted to fire a round into the air. Misfires. Strips. Reloads. Misfires. Repeat. Fires. Pulls triger again, nothing.

Later in the day, I reckon up to 2,000 of the better armed irregulars headed the Adjibaya in pickups. Most had 50 cals or something like it in the bed, usually carrying twice as many people as rifles.

It appears that folks in in Brega drove out the qaddafi people. An hour ago i was told the Qaddafi folks were holed up at the university there. Just now i got a call from one of the irregulars down there who said they'd been allowed to withdraw towards Sirte.

LeaNder

I thought it was you, TTW. Thanks for the contribution to SST.

and thanks DanM, for whatever it's worth ;)

Highlander

These suggested dynamic responses, to the situation in Libya seem to have some merit to me.

But in essence, they are the same type of imperial moves, that most of you started yelping about being "cowboy" like, when the Bushies did it.

In addition, over the years various bipartisan naive,liberal legislators, have made doing this sort of thing of dubious legality,if anybody actually cares about it(Jail anyone? Oh, I forgot, in today's America jail is only for us little people).

It's damn difficult, running a bastardized imperial grid, isn't it?

VietnamVet

Colonel,

Thanks to your Correspondents for the expert information.

An Operation similar to the one with the Northern Alliance in 2001 would work. However, Secretary Gates comments at West Point indicate that there are second thoughts. For good reason. There is still an infestation of creatures who make their living revolving through doors in DC who couldn’t carry 50 pounds five miles.

As soon as Muammar is overthrown, they will point out that the Libyan Provisional Government is filled with Muslims. Joint Base Wheeling will be activated, a third front opened, and more money will flow to think tanks and contractors.

Fred

"...after a reasonablel period of hunger and deprivation in the capital."

So once a sufficient number of people in a city of 2,000,000 starve to death we'll insert 2-3,000 rebels? That doesn't seem very reasonable.

Medicine Man

Smoke, et al.:

Are we sure that US Special Forces aren't already in Libya? If they were sent in, I would prefer that there was little fanfare; no public knowledge if at all possible. Perhaps the White House isn't playing up the situation for domestic advantage? What a novelty that would be.

SD

A map is necessary and a decent one is here:

http://www.elpais.com/graficos/internacional/revuelta/Libia/elpepuint/20110302elpepuint_1/Ges/

The regime is striking from controlled bases.

Although the immediate focus is Libya, what is the attitude and intention of Algeria. Surely the next 'domino' would be them, they
have no desire to go through a similar trauma, if the contagion can be contained in Libya.

C.f. http://counterpunch.org/prince03022011.html

The rapidity reminds me of Lebanon disintegrating in 1975, although the parallel is not comparable. Too bad commercial considerations have let Qadaffi survive. Will not miss him one bit.

U.S. has lost 2 Allies, (Egypt and Tunisia) and seems intent on at least on evening the score by taking out the unfriendly regime in Tripoli. How can you do that without endangering other allies (Oman, Bahrain, Morocco)? Interesting to watch how the US plays it, and how it plays out.
--------
-As always, immensely enjoy the blog and considered discussion on sic_semper_tyrannis

Fred

SD

Thanks for the map link.

VV

Very true concern.

What about France, Italy and Spain? They (and the rest of the EU) sure don't want a few hundred thousand refugees in their countries should things collapse. Any chance of them doing this without the the US?

As to contractors etc where are the boys of Blackwater?

William R. Cumming

Juan Cole reporting NO CHANCE of US intervention.

WP

"So once a sufficient number of people in a city of 2,000,000 starve to death we'll insert 2-3,000 rebels? That doesn't seem very reasonable."

My guess is that no one would ever starve to death or even get very hungry. When the people around MQ see that food is going to get short, it will simply be over for MQ. If MQ cannot keep a good bit of food on the table and a reasonable stock in the pantry, he cannot survive. No leader without the power to feed cannot keep the confidence of his pals. Food riots will start long before any real hunger sets in and once they begin, MQ's forces cannot resist them. The fear of impending hunger is a great motivator toward ending unsuccessful regimes. There are probably enough rebels in Tunis already to do the job. What is needed is sufficient fear on the part of the MQ forces to motivate their cowardice and desertion. A credible, present threat of a food shortage should be enough.

To have any hope of survival, MQ must keep supplies of all types coming in and if he cannot do that, then the people surrounding him will probably just fade into the environment and hope they are not held responsible for their killing and mayhem.

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