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19 April 2011

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bth

"Give us the tools and we will finish the job." -- Churchill 1941

It is time to finish this matter.

RaphiRS

Airpower, of course, cannot depose Qaddafi. If I understand Pentagon's Shock-and-Awe doctrine, the air phase must be followed by massive ground assault. Now in Libya variant, this is not possible but advisers/trainers need some time (50 days?) while airpower degrades loyalist armed forces. As you said, it may not be too late.

TamBram

Good news!
I don't think it's too late--the rebels holding on in Misrata is really inspiring.

The Twisted Genius

There are other hopeful signs. The Libyan opposition gained a cellular phone network, called Free Libyana, on April 2. This story appeared in the WSJ on April 13 and reads like a modern techno-spy thriller. In addition to providing cellular communications secure from Qathafi's monitoring, it was a significant morale boosting propaganda coup. One of Qathafi's sons runs the entire Libyan cellular network… at least he did until April 2.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703841904576256512991215284.html

Today, the Qathafi government complained that NATO bombed three of its telecommunications sites around Sirte in a blatant move to help a feared rebel advance from the east. A NATO spokesman said that their recent air strikes have been aimed at degrading Qathafi's "capacity to command and control, facilitate and communicate with his forces". That's smart targeting. Keep it up.

The Feb17 Libyan Youth Movement reported that rebel supporters in Tripoli are starting to act. They hold small, flash mob-like, demonstrations in the streets and have attacked government checkpoints at night. Much of what the government reports as celebratory gunfire in Tripoli may be the urban guerrillas of the Libyan resistance. Underground operations… Moscow rules… part of me wants to be there. Of course I'd rather face Qathafi, all his sons and his revolutionary nun guards than face my wife for volunteering to do something this crazy again.

http://feb17.info/editorials/with-tripolis-rebel-underground/#more-13004

rick

This discussion suddenly puts me in mind of Ben Franklin in Paris, and now it is we who are the King of France. It took him two years...

William R. Cumming

Wish it was 200 and not 20!

jonst

You get the right amount of TRAINED 'boots on the ground', and the Col has been spelling out the kind I mean, and the necessary equipment, for a week or so, you will see...'leaders' will appear.

We look ridiculous as things now stand. And this is not a good region to look ridiculous in.

tunde

TTG,
I recall your very balanced assessment of the UW capabilities of the UK and the French as being a notch below that of USSOCOM due to 'combat lineage', for want of another phrase. How can their more DA capabilities help in such a fluid battlespace ? SMU-like assets such as the UK and France have can't engage in long contacts and are not really setup to hold ground. I don't buy this caveat that they will act solely as rear echelon JTACs. These guys (likely from Poole not Credenhill) will be advance force (rebels) operators. Maybe infil of teams to Tripoli and behind the lines raids to destabilise and demoralise regime 'dead-enders'.
WRC,
The UK can't afford 200. That'll be a major tasking (ie Iraq plus the 'ghan). 20 sounds like a 'troop' or so. LRDG heroics come to mind (sipping a cold beer in Tobruk whilst reading mention in dispatches in the Times) :)

William R. Cumming

Thanks Tunde! Did not realize how short the Brits are of a few good men (and woman)! Do you think these folks are all ARABISTS?

The Twistd Genius

tunde,

From the press reports, I don't get the feeling that these advisors are from either Poole or Credenhill. The talk of senior soldiers and officers sounds like they will be involved in logistics, communications and organizational duties. I see the French and Italians are also planning on sending about ten advisors each. Of course what is said to the media and what these advisors actually do may be two different things. This could be an advanced party/assessment team sent to prepare the ground for a more robust deployment. Announcing this first step is a radical departure from the line of a few weeks ago of absolutely no boots on the ground.

The idea of armed escort of relief supplies into Misrata, now being bandied about in the press, is a round about way of saying a military lifting of the siege on that city. That could effectively cut Qathafi's LOC to his forces in the east.

Perhaps the U.S. government is also involved in a little media misdirection and is quietly either putting or planning to put Green Berets into the mix. If this is the case, I don't mind being lied to.

Norbert M Salamon

Sorry off topic:

Whereas someone has pointed to the last issue of this forecasting team, aqnd now the new edtion is published, I wish to bring it to your attention:

GEB B54 at

http://www.leap2020.eu/GEAB-N-54-is-available-Global-systemic-crisis-Autumn-2011-Budget-T-Bonds-Dollar-the-three-US-crises-which-will-cause_a6340.html


The content is very disturbiing, especially re USA.

READ AND WEEP!

bt

"take a hard look at who and what is "pushing" that line"

Curious: who do you see in the shadows there?

BillWade

thanks for that article NM.

" The Washington political scene will increasingly resemble a psychiatric hospital"

So true. I'd like to say more but we are off-topic.

William R. Cumming

NMS thanks for this link!

Thomas

Sir,

A video from this weekend showing 3 tanks in Misrata.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=NKw4VO-IZL0

If the Bengahzai Banzai Brigade could smuggle some anti-tank rockets to their cousins in the Misrata Miltia, and a LaFayette Independence Volunteer expert with them, then imagine the possibilities.

Colin Cuskley

I agree that sending advisers to help the rebels is the right thing to do. I agree air-power was never going to be enough to defeat Qaddafi.
However, I do not think it was clear from the beginning that the ground presence would require NATO or western participation. The hope initially was that the rebels were more capable and would provide competent and sufficient forces on the ground. This has proven to be untrue so far. In addition the loyalist forces were thought to be less resilient and professional and would break under air strikes accompanied by competent rebel ground assaults; another mistaken assumption.
I do not believe the last six weeks have been wasted. The time was needed to test the assumptions of rebel strength and loyalist weaknesses. The NATO allies, UK, France, and Italy also needed the time to get to this step.
I think the US should match this effort by increasing some of our air support. There are conflicting reports about whether our best ground attack assets (A-10 Warthogs, AC-130 Spectres) are available or being used especially where close-in support is needed in Misrata. I am not a military expert but assume these weapons would require special forces or CIA units on the ground to direct their attacks. If so, let’s do it. The US should also supply more material support, as has just been announced today.
But for now I think the Europeans who are willing should be the ones to help train the rebels in the east as the ground forces needed to complete the job.

Patrick Lang

bt

At the risk of the usual cries of "anti-Semitism," it is very clear that the Israeli government has favored the retention of the existing Arab governments as the devils they know... Does anyone here think that Obama does not have a large political IOU list? pl

The Twisted Genius

Thomas,

The rebels are way ahead of you. This was reported today in the Financial Times:

"A rebel official revealed that the anti-regime forces in Libya’s east had covertly inserted into the city a team tasked with neutralizing Libyan leader Muammar al-Qaddafi’s heavy weaponry. “We have provided [the anti-Qaddafi forces in Misrata] with 10 people,” Kamal Hodaifa, the liaison between the civilian and military wings of the rebels’ Transitional National Council, told me. “We’ve provided them with 164 anti-tank weapons, and they’ve all been trained for only one week.” Hodaifa said that the team’s primary purpose was to train the Misrata rebels in anti-tank tactics. He also claimed, however, that they have made progress in destroying Qaddafi’s military assets on their own."

I wish NATO would start using attack helicopters against Qathafi forces in Misrata. They'd be very effective there.

bth

I can see not risking AC130 or helicopters.Why we aren't putting our UAVs with Hellfires to work on those tanks? Would it really take very many to finish off
the armor?

William R. Cumming

PL! President Obama like all modern Presidents is his political IOU list!

Fred

Obama's IOU's should start with 300,000,000 American citizens, not with the AIPAC directors and donor list members.

Medicine Man

PL: I very much like your observation about "...the carping, whining incessant propaganda drivel about the "unkown" nature of the rebels...".

Of all the possible responses to the Libyan intervention, it is whinging about the rebels "maybe being bad people" that annoys me the most. It would be one thing if one could demonstrate that the rebels were fanatics or some such, but to simply carp about the "unknowns"? Has anyone ever pointed out to these people that armed conflict tends to require some tolerance for unknown or uncontrollable outcomes? What is ever certain in war?

While one can make an honest argument for not intervening in Libya at all, I strongly suspect that many of the critics are simply uncomfortable with the entire premise of intervention, not just *this* intervention in particular.

Norbert M Salamon

OFF TOPIC, follow up on my previous posting::

Sovereign debt SP rating for numerous countries {IMHO the ratings' rationality is questionable when comparing debt/GDP ratios and respective ratings]:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703789104576272891515344726.html?mod=WSJ_hpp_MIDDLE_Video_Third

omen

pl @ 6:44pm

even a former cia chief has attested to this reality you've pointed to:

It is important to remember that Israel has never wished to see democracy among the Arabs, whether in Palestine or anywhere else. Given the opportunity to exert pressure in favour of Palestinian democracy after the Oslo Accords, for example, the Israelis did much the opposite: Far better to deal with leaders relatively immune from popular pressures, with whom cynical deals could be cut, rather than with genuine politicians who are constrained to be responsive to their constituencies.

http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/opinion/2011/03/2011391283253851.html#

The beaver

Col. & WRC

Have you seen the latest?
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/21/world/middleeast/21prexy.html

Brendan Buck, Mr. Boehner’s press secretary, said that staff members had received no pushback from the White House about the invitation to Mr. Netanyahu. “Obviously, it’s a troubled time for the region,” he said. “Our members have been very interested in demonstrating that we stand with Israel.”

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