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01 March 2011

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Patrick Lang

WP

Well, first of all I don't think a siege of Tripoli is a real possibility. Nobody is going to sign up to starve out two million people. Secondly I don't believe that you are serious about such a thing. I would not participate in such a thing. pl

Patrick Lang

WRC

Well, I hope you all will remember some of this when MQ starts shooting the defeated rebels in sports stadiums. pl

Tosk59

"to make contact with the Libyan resistance"

Aye, well there's the rub. Which resistance? And which leaders?

The ones led by someone who mere weeks ago was a stalwart of the regime i.e. the ex "Justice" minister (of all things) that seems to have some sort of anti-Q leadership position?

The "doctors and lawyers" group?

Not real clear at this time, perhaps "insert" some few to figure this out first?

Another map: http://bit.ly/g777D7 90% of pop in small strip along the coast...

WP

We besieged Saddam's Iraq with the previous sanctions that included medical supplies and equipment. Thousands of innocents suffered from our actions. We can choose to allow a civil war that will result in thousands of deaths--or not.

MQ has already participated and backed genocidal civil wars in Liberia and promised to engage in another in Libya.

While a siege may not seem to be a humane alternative, MQ has already shown himself willing to kill thousands with impunity. The alternative is to allow the mad man to remain and fight him with a civil war. As long as his supporters see the chance of making money with impunity, they will support him. When they see he has no future, they will desert him.

A siege can be laid at little cost and minimal risk to life. Avenues of escape with plenty of food and other necessities can easily be set up at the periphery of the land controlled by MQ. As time passes, that periphery will probably rapdidly shrink. Tunis is easily isolated geographically as is it bounded by sea and desert, both of which can prevent his movement. Those who seek to escape MQ's domain by sea or desert can be rewarded. Once it becomes apparent that the World has laid siege, the cowards will render MQ up to his just reward. The citizenry will simply vote with their feet as they go for the abundant food and supplies made available beyond the boundary of MQ's writ that will quickly shrink.

As the siege is laid, the populous will act to protect themselves from MQ'a insanity. The citizenry will simply vote with their feet as they go for the abundant food and supplies made available beyond the boundary of MQ's writ that will quickly shrink. My quess is that really all that is needed is an expression of will to lay a siege and that the thing will end long before the siege has any real material effect on those within the periphery.

No shots need be fired to effectuate the siege. All that is probably needed is a few calls to the boatmen providing grain and imports and a blockage of the coastal highways. Supply from the south could be effectuated by a destruction of a few runways and fuel dumps and probably accomplished by a few brave Libyans.

Once even the threat of a long-term supply shortage becoms apparent, MQ will lose the confidence of his compadres and he will simply be arrested or executed by some "hero" of democracy. Few dictators ever go out heroically. Once there is a system break of confidence, they just get gone.

Already, the vaunted power of MQ is being exposed as impotence. All the forces he could muster against Brega was six jeeps. "10:15pm Al Jazeera's Evan Hill (@evanchill): "We were told the attack on Brega consisted of around six jeeps with troops firing pretty much indiscriminately inside Brega University." and all the vaunted Libyan air force seemed to be able to do was to bomb a sand dune. http://blogs.aljazeera.net/live/africa/live-blog-libya-march-2

It is time to turn around a few grain boats with fanfare. Bountiful food and supplies must be shown at the edge of MQ's area of influence. The rats will desert--or they will begin a Ruanda, in which case real action must be taken to stop a genocide. We must not forget that MQ is a mad man!

The people of Libya have a burning desire to be free and they will free themselves if given a chance. The Libyans just need a good quarantine to contain the infection and carrots to entice them to vote with their feet. Tunis is geographically quite small. A safe beach head can easily be established close by to where the Tunisians are concentrated. The people just need vote by literally walking away from MQ and they can be fed when they do. Is is a completely non-violent act.

We do not need a repeat of the myriad

WP

The last couple of sentences of my last post was cut off.

We do not need a repeat of the myriad terrors supported by MQ.

Yes, Col. I do believe a modern day carrot and stick siege is the right prescription to cure the MQ plague.

Sidney O. Smith III

Looks like a “TTG - J” kind of operation.

The danger -- and it is an immense one -- is that neoconservatives will steal the narrative after DOL does its job, and all will be for naught.

For more info, see Major Gant.

William R. Cumming

For better or worse PL I am with you all the way on this one. US policy looks to abandoning the insurgents to a madman. This is not nonfeasance,or misfeasance but malfeasance. But it should have been foreshadowed when the US let many in Haiti die in their muck and filth. Bill Clinton has stated on the record he regrets his performance or lack thereof in Rwanda. The regrets appear to be adding up fast for this administration IMO. Adding in the performance of George H.W. Bush with respect to the Shia around Basra in 1991 brings to mind the saying beware the trust of Princes.
Well FDR almost let Hitler win in 1940 and 1941. I often wonder what would have happened in Europe if Hitler had not declared war on US first in December 1941.

WP

My references to Tunis in the prior post should have read Tripoli. Tripoli is geographically small and isolatable.

Medicine Man

Hopefully Juan Cole doesn't know what he's talking about.

fanto

Mr. Cummings, thanks for the great observation about 'what would have happened in Europe...' - it is very much accurate. I am asking of the Arab nations (not all of them of course) could establish their own voluntary troops, to help their brethern - mutatis mutandis - like the troops of volutary fighters in Spanish civil war in the 1930's. (the outcome there was not good for the internatiolnal helpers though, but in Libya it may be very successful)

securecare

As WP suggests, the food weapon IS strong.

Not that I think the anti-MQ forces (however you consider them) are likely to use it in any way since it isn't likely congruent with their mindset.

*sigh*

Sidney O. Smith III

TTG-J. Sounds like a special myers briggs type.

But still concerned that after TTG-J do their job, then lo and behold, there is Sean Hannity interviewing Bill Kristol (and someone from the Pentagon?), live from Tripoli under a banner that says, “America to the Rescue”. Then American exceptionalism is extolled, all for promoting a clash of civilizations narrative behind the mask of spreading American virtue to the world.

At least that is the lesson I gleaned from Higgins who, I believed, listened to those with a TTG-J kind of myers briggs type.

WP

PL's concern about MQ's lining up resisters in stadiums for execution is real. Apparently, the executions have already started. "3:33am Some disturbing reports emerging from Tripoli, where a doctor has told Al Jazeera that government security forces have been "throwing patients from windows" into trucks at Tajura Hospital, starving prisoners to death, kidnapping children and detaining activists.
According to the doctor, who spoke on condition of anonymity, a 12-year-old boy, on his way to school in a neighbourhood near Gaddafi's Bab Aziz palace, was stripped naked, searched and then kidnapped. http://blogs.aljazeera.net/live/africa/live-blog-libya-march-3 Those who are being thrown into trucks, probably to be executed, are likely injured resisters.

While I have no military experience, I have long studied revolutions and there is a general rule as to how they progress--the most organized and ruthless usually win--at least in the short term. MQ has totally prevented the organization of any opposition groups in Libya and, therefore, his regime is the most organized and certainly the most ruthless. MQ's track record in sub-Saharan Africa and Libya shows he is well practiced in putting down resistances and his practices are not pretty.

The question is whether MQ or the civilized world is more organized and ruthless in this matter? As long as MQ's henchmen believe MQ will prevail, the executions will accellerated.

Something dramatic needs to be done and quickly or this mess will fester for years. It is time to quarqantine the bastard!

Or, a broader question, is the Northern Crescent of Africa part of the civilized world within the perspective of the West or just part of the rest of savage Africa. Should there be a new Mediterranian Doctrine established that guarantees all who have beaches on the Mediterranian a democratic way of life?

zanzibar

Why didn't Col. Aaron Bank get 3 or 4 stars?

What does it take to become a general in our military?

The Twisted Genius

zanzibar,

The U.S. Army as a whole does not like Special Forces and never has. Creating the Special Forces definitely did not endear Colonel Bank to the General Officer club. I'd like to think that Colonel Bank would rather have his green beret than 3 or 4 stars.

jr786

Arming and training the rebels is the best thing we can do. They don't seem to want any more intervention than that, although some judicious use of air support might be welcome.

Libya is a true revolution, unlike Egypt and Tunisia which amounted to long awaited political shake-ups. Revolutions take time. The rebels know what awaits them if they lose and are highly motivated to make sure that the bleeder ends up with his head in a noose.

Patience, patience and more patience.

LeaNder

this may be of interest: Report: Israel company recruiting Gadhafi mercenaries

toto

A reporter on the French radio (France Info, state-owned) claims that the "air attacks" on rebel towns are deliberately harmless: the pilots just drop their bombs "into the sand", well clear from buildings (including ammunition depots).

The rebels claim that the pilots are reluctant to perform their missions, but are being coerced through threats on their families. So they just make "pretend" attacks, without actually inflicting any damage.

Another possibility is that these attacks are just expensive warnings.

Can anybody confirm/infirm this?

tunde

the agency seems averse to meddling.
'“Let the Libyans sort it out,” advised another agency operations veteran, who said the CIA shouldn’t be helping overthrow Gaddafi, especially if it didn’t have somebody to replace him.

“I've yet to hear anybody putting forth a credible candidate to succeed the crazy colonel,” Art Keller, a former CIA case officer who spent years tracking down and trying to eliminate al Qaeda leaders in the wilds of Pakistan’s tribal regions. “Promoting the prospects of such a candidate is the only reasonable strategic goal worth getting U.S. troops or intelligence officers actively involved in Libya. Until and unless someone emerges as an opposition leader, getting involved will only muddy the waters.”

Such interventions carry the odor of colonialism to most Arabs, he noted.
http://voices.washingtonpost.com/spy-talk/2011/03/libya_what_should_cia_be_doing.html

Twit

The discussion on the Ray Davis thread got me thinking that institutions of international justice could actually help any UW campaign in Libya succeed.

Here is what I'm thinking:
Obama, who so far has said almost nothing about Libya in public, could a make a public pronouncement committing the US to seeking international justice for MQ and his cronies on war crimes and crimes against humanity, not through the ICC but via the establishment of a Special Court for Libya. Then the US could integrate some kind of evidence collection capability part of whatever UW operations were ongoing. I defer to the SF soldiers here about how to do this or if it's even possible, but I was envisioning an extra 5-10 soldiers or appropriately capable civilians (e.g. FBI/DEA) attached and subordinate to each ODA. These evidence collectors would attempt to document as much evidence as possible of crimes committed by the MQ forces (e.g. via photographs, video, documents, and interviews, interviews, interviews), and would do so very openly and publicly so as to underline the fact that the US was not 'intervening' but merely trying to help Libya rid itself of MQ once and for all.

The main benefits of this seems that it would be an easy way to gain even more credibility for the work ODA teams, and it would also answer suspicions about US motives. On a more strategic level, it would also commit the US to a pretty clear and strong course of action that wouldn't carry nearly the risks of a large scale intervention.

I assume the main question is whether this would be logistically possible, or whether such evidence collection attachments would get in the way too much.

Clifford Kiracofe

TTG,

This should be the policy per Libya.

Our problem is not with our range of military and other capabilities. Our problem is fundamentally political.

Our superficial and hysterical politicians inside the Beltway lack the competence necessary to effectively lead this republic.

William R. Cumming

jr786! Repectfully disagree that Tunisia was not a revolution.

tunde

some have wondered out loud whom these contact teams would reach out to, since it appears from Al-jazeera coverage, that the rebels are essentially leaderless. Charles Featherstone writes, ' A friend and I noted in a conversation a decade ago that Libya was the Arab state most like Mohammad Siad Barre's Somalia – a nation-state in which the dictator had either destroyed or co-opted all social structures and institutions with the state. There was no alternative to Siad Barre's Somalia.....except the clan structure, so when Somalis rose up and ousted Siad Barre, they by necessity had to destroy his state. No alternative structures quickly arose, and Somalia has been officially "stateless" for the last 20 years.

The risk, then, of Libyans ousting Qaddafiy......was the risk that in breaking the Libyan state, there would be nothing left except the clan structure of Libya, and the kind of perpetual struggle for control of the nation among the clans would arise. Libya would become a failed state.....'
the ODAs would contact clan leaders opposing the regime. we've learnt a lot from AfPak and Iraq about how clans/tribes play each other out and i'd have hoped we understand how to deal with clan dynamics so as not to get sucked in.

William R. Cumming

I haved studied the delegations from the SECDEF to various entities in DoD! Many anomolies.

The delegations to SOC are in particular to this thread. An entire history of SOF and SOC should be written.
Like the creation of the world of EMT and HAZMATS in the FIRESEVICE that I am much more familiary with, the culture of the basic FIRESERVICE was against new technology, tactics, etc. This is one reason why an entire federally subsidized Civil Defense cadre has to be built at STATE and their local Government level because the FIRESERVICE did not want to take on radiological hazards and threats since ionizing radiation could not be seen, smelled or whatever until too late. Even DoD with its 55,000 civilian firefighters has reluctance to train that cadre in CBRNE as DoD likes to call it instead of WMD. My guess is that some very very competent and alert soldiers, sailors, airmen (women) understand that SF may well be an important arrow in the quiver of National Security just not able to compete bureacratically with conventional forces.

To me asymetrical threats are all about SF and UW, but perhaps am wrong in that conclusion.

Twit

Col Lang or The Twisted Genius,

A question: Is it normal for SF to play a 'kingmaker' role in UW operations?

Tunde brings up a potentially interesting comparison re Somalia, a complicated place that has always been so. In Somalia - both in colonial times and post-1991 - outsiders from the Italians to the UN to the US military have always just chosen (or invented) for themselves who are (or are to be) the leaders, sometimes based on a thorough assessment of inter and intra-clan politics, but often based more on the outsider's political or operational expediency.

So, if Libya is analogous to Somalia as tunde says, then I would assume that any outsiders, including US SF, would probably have to play kingmaker as well.

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