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10 April 2015


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Charles I

Thanks Patrick, this kind of reporting is why I come here.


Absolutely fascinating.

The Twisted Genius


Very enlightening and much appreciated. I always wondered what help the Berbers received. I knew there were airdrops and I knew a brigade of rebels came from eastern Libya. I had not a clue that they came via Qatar. I just assumed they came across the desert. Nor was i aware that the French went all in. A wonderful example of "système D" or "démerder." It's a shame and a tragedy that the demobilization phase didn't stand a chance.

Can you share any insights on Mali?

Ishmael Zechariah

Patrick Bahzad,

Thanks for the analysis. In your opinion what did the West, and particularly the French, expect to realize in return for their investment?

Ishmael Zechariah


What is the evidence for this analysis?


Here, here. Well done Patrick.

Patrick Bahzad

If you can't find any, I'm afraid you gonna have to take my word for it :-)

Patrick Bahzad

TTG, regarding Mali I did some kind of AAR for friends in the US. I can share some of those results online I think. Related mostly to regional alignment, brigade level modularity and force protection on which there is too much emphasis - in my view and experience - in US operations. This can be counterproductive and too high a level of force protection means more civilian casualties and hence on the long run stronger opposition and less cooperation from local population.
I'll see what I can find and how to draft it so nobody's gonnabe bored to death about it ;-)



"...the number of the groups and forces present on the ground, the diversity of their sponsors and interests would prove too much for the victorious revolution of Libya" Amen. pl

FB Ali


A clear and succinct account of what presumably happened. However, I wonder what the French motivation for this much increased involvement was. Just to end the quagmire into which the West was being sucked? Or, to just get Qaddafi? (Because he had lavishly funded Sarkozy?).

In any case, Libya serves as a good example of brute military force creating more problems than it solves in limited and complicated conflicts. As do Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, etc.

The Twisted Genius


I'm right there with you on our overemphasis on force protection. In my day it consisted mainly of taking advantage of "the minute folds in the terrain"as it was often described. I don't remember hearing the term until the Balkans. It's, indeed, a false god.


Thanks to SST, I still learn something new every day. This is an enlightened explanation of the Libyan take down. The new world order clearly can’t plan beyond today’s destruction. To paraphrase Sun Tzu “Inadequate men become leaders and wage war for no reason at all”

This article reinforces the maxim that air power alone cannot conquer an enemy. It takes men and guns on the ground. With a limited volunteer army and mercenaries for security and logistics, the American Empire has to rely on fanatics from jihadists to neo-Nazis, and local mountain societies from the Hmong to the Berbers to provide the troops. Without a people’s army fighting to defeat an existential enemy and return home to peace, the end result are these forever religious wars.

Patrick Bahzad

A all too familiar feeling right ? Imagine what Syria could be like ... Libya times ten !



I think it is unfair to refer to logistics contractors as "mercenaries." And what is wrong with arming and helping tribesmen in warfare that concerns them. Would we have been independent from Britain without French help? pl

Patrick Bahzad

That's a difficult question to answer ! I think there was a combination of factors that encouraged the west to chose military action. Some of these reasons were humanitarian, others more political.
However, as I wasn't present at the top meetings in which these reasons were discussed, I can't give you any final or founded answer.
I don't think though that a financial return on investment was a decisive element. Getting gaddafi however definitely was !

Patrick Bahzad

As mentioned above various reasons for getting involved, although I always thought it was a wrong move that would do more harm than good.
Not sure about the lavish funding but getting gaddafi was something many French troops were comfortable with. Some of what he did has never been forgotten and ultimately, he ended up in the gutter, which is where he belonged.
Now of course achieving this result at the cost of breaking up a country and destabilizing a whole region wasn't worth it !



Contracting out logistics has downsides. The owners of the contracting business make money from war and will always push for more. Contractors are not a force multiplier. Paid cooks, clerks and mechanics cannot be forced into the line to fill gaps facing the enemy. Mercenaries will hightail it out of Dodge City when the pay stops. Logistics wins wars.

Mountain tribes didn’t end up in the highlands by choice. They were forced there by lowlanders. In the short term it may worthwhile for highlanders to get arms and training and fight the oppressors. But the foreigners are using them and will always leave. If at war, sooner or later, the lowlanders will get their revenge until there is no more land or tribe left.

Washington, Franklin, Jefferson or Adams were not mountaineers. They were very much the Colonial Elite leading a revolt for their own benefit and used the French to their advantage.

Yesterday was the 150th anniversary of the Surrender at Appomattox. I have been around almost half of that time. I do not think I will see America at peace again in my lifetime.



"Logistics wins wars." You think I don't know that? Where have you been for the last ten years? Would it be better to have in service logistical people up and down the line? Of course it would, but to call logistical contractor employees "mercenaries" is just awful. You don't like tribesmen and you were in VN. Ah, another big army guy heard from. pl



"17 February Brigade" Who trained these bozos in Qatar? pl

Patrick Bahzad

I'm afraid it was the French and the UAE.
Together With the "tripoli brigade", the "February 17 martyrs" were the best trained rebel forces in the field. Unfortunately they got picked by people everybody knew had strong ties to AQ and these fighters also came from Benghazi derna and Tobruk, which is - outside of Saudi arabia - the area in the Arab world that sent the highest per capita number of jihadis to Iraq and Afghanistan (1 jihadi per 1000 inhabitants in east libya). That is huge ! Also these Libyan jihadis were known for their determination as measured through a much higher propensity for suicide bombings than other nationals.
In short, "February 17" were made up of many former AQ men who had fought the U.S. in Iraq or Afghanistan and were then given a "green light" when the business at hand was to get rid of gaddafi. Military and political leadership in the US knew it although the operational responsibility for putting them into the filed lay mostly with the French. As I said cynical and short sighted but achieved tactical success in the short run ... Also one of the reasons i had bad feeling about this whole libyan operation Right from the start.

Patrick Bahzad

Just to give you an idea of the caliber of individuals I'm talking about their leader is abdulhakim belhadj: fought against the soviets in Afghanistan in 1980s as an 19 year old, in 1990s back to Libya to plot overthrow of gaddafi. In Iraq with Abu Musab as zarkawi until his arrest by U.S. in 2004. Imprisoned and tortured at Bangkok black site. Rendition to libya, prison and torture again. Released in 2010. Moves out to Qatar ... Maybe in preparation for events to come.
About 1500-2000 men part of his brigade in tripoli now. But other Islamist jihadi brigades as well in particular Ansar al Sharia which didn't take part in insurgency but is a conglomerate of smaller militias mostly in eastern Libya. Several thousand men under arms.

ex-PFC Chuck

I dimly recall once reading that, "Amateurs talk strategy and tactics, professionals talk logistics."

Babak Makkinejad

One could ask what was their motivation in Rwanada.

I think the French were acting - in both cases - just like Mussolini did in Libya and Ethiopia - living a fantasy and going through the motions of being an empire.



"Would we have been independent from Britain without French help?" Probably not, especially given the number of colonials opposed to the war for independence and the naval superiority of the British.


Patrick Bahzad:

Have you any information on Gaddafi's old power structure and their role in the new Libya. In particular the sub-tribes of the Warfalla and the Magarha who constituted a large part of the officer corps.

Have they been shut out of any political influence or are they part of the new power structure?

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