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Thread: And Libya goes on...

  1. #321
    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    - On the military level, how feasible will it be to defend Benghazi without committing foreign ground forces? What is the likely mix between land/air/sea, and between direct intervention and aid/supplies/training?
    I would like to ask the guys with experience a technical question. How feasible is it to stop the advance on Benghazi by disrupting the coastal road supply line with multiple small groups of pickup trucks mounted with heavy machine guns? The road is very long and very open to the south so it would seem difficult to protect even if adequate forces are available. The dictator doesn't seem to have a surfeit of reliable troops.

    The rebels may be more capable of that kind of action also. It wouldn't involve standing and taking artillery fire and air strikes. It would involve driving through the desert a long way and falling upon supply convoys when they were weak. How much training would it require?

    There aren't a whole lot of airplanes to hunt them down, you can't see much from jets anyway.

    Anyway, if anybody could comment on that I would be very interested.
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

  2. #322
    Council Member jcustis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Entropy View Post
    I suspect the two main factors are lack of expertise combined with a lack of time due to the rapid retreat.

    I need a rolling on the floor emoticon, as if I could show you video of how fast the Afghans are able to put them in, you'd be a little shocked.

    And as for expertise, a pressure plate is ridiculously simple, in both construction and materials, and emplacement.
    Last edited by jcustis; 03-18-2011 at 04:29 PM.

  3. #323
    Council Member Stan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcustis View Post
    I am honestly surprised we haven't seen the employment of several well-placed, simple IEDs, to give the tankers reason for pause.
    JC, good point. Beginning to wonder who and when. The neighbors will eventually help with that though

    Quote Originally Posted by Fuchs View Post
    There's nothing channelling on the terrain. Where should the mines be laid? Almost all vehicles can quite easily travel off-road, especially the military ones. No mountains or hills, thus no narrow valley. No irrigation channels limiting choice of route, nor drainage channels.

    A couple wadis and the streets in settlements offer the only canalized terrain afaik.

    Mines only played a significant role in Africa during 1940-1942 in the defence of fortified settlements (Tobruk) and at the natural bottleneck El Alamein.
    Not mines, Fuchs, but everything else is fair game. How about dead bodies, bicycles, live bodies, animals ? Ever spent a tour in Africa?
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  4. #324
    Council Member Fuchs's Avatar
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    I don't get what you mean. Do you suggest to reduce the loyalist morale with graphic displays?

  5. #325
    Moderator Steve Blair's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fuchs View Post
    I don't get what you mean. Do you suggest to reduce the loyalist morale with graphic displays?
    I think what Stan means is that they would use anything to conceal an IED.
    "On the plains and mountains of the American West, the United States Army had once learned everything there was to learn about hit-and-run tactics and guerrilla warfare."
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  6. #326
    Council Member Stan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Blair View Post
    I think what Stan means is that they would use anything to conceal an IED.
    Exactly !

    Quote Originally Posted by Fuchs View Post
    There's nothing channelling on the terrain. Where should the mines be laid? Almost all vehicles can quite easily travel off-road, especially the military ones. No mountains or hills, thus no narrow valley. No irrigation channels limiting choice of route, nor drainage channels.

    A couple wadis and the streets in settlements offer the only canalized terrain afaik.

    Mines only played a significant role in Africa during 1940-1942 in the defence of fortified settlements (Tobruk) and at the natural bottleneck El Alamein.
    JC made reference to Improvised Explosive Devices, not AT mines. As far as your reference to the use of mines in Africa, I think you should check what happened as late as 2005 in Chad (with some slight German support I might add).

    BTW, a mine does not necessarily need to be underground to function effectively. In fact, before the real IEDs were born, most were little more than purpose-build military ordnance used in very unconventional ways. Something like thinking outside of the box !

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  7. #327
    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcustis View Post
    I am honestly surprised we haven't seen the employment of several well-placed, simple IEDs, to give the tankers reason for pause.
    How would you keep the wrong people from driving over them and blowing themselves up?
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

  8. #328
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcustis View Post
    I need a rolling on the floor emoticon, as if I could show you video of how fast the Afghans are able to put them in, you'd be a little shocked.

    And as for expertise, a pressure plate is ridiculously simple, in both construction and materials, and emplacement.
    You're right about Afghanistan, but Afghanistan is not Libya. Afghans have a decade of experience. Afghans have an established training and supply network. Afghans are more organized. The Libyan's are a ragtag bunch who are starting from square zero. Afghans are emplacing in the context of an occupation against a force that largely operates in a predictable fashion from known positions, not as a consequence of retreating from superior forces, etc., etc., etc.

    Set your wayback machine to 2001-2003 in Afghanistan. Why didn't we see many IED's (a total of 7 ied fatalities from 2001-2003 and none in 2001) from retreating Taliban forces?

    I'm not completely confident in my assessment (hence use of the word "suspect") so if you have an alternative then by all means, let's hear it.
    Supporting "time-limited, scope limited military actions" for 20 years.

  9. #329
    Council Member Stan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carl View Post
    How would you keep the wrong people from driving over them and blowing themselves up?
    Carl,
    Sadly, 70% are innocent victims (55% are children).

    If we just employed Anti Tank mines, then the worst case scenario of an innocent victim would be a tractor-trailer driver.

    The remainder are idiots that place the IEDs, and those are for some strange reason, not counted in the stats

    Entropy is dead on the money... a very high learning curve for Libya and the consequences for making a single mistake are usually fatal
    Last edited by Stan; 03-18-2011 at 06:15 PM. Reason: fixed my stats, too many people !
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  10. #330
    Council Member M-A Lagrange's Avatar
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    About IED, I believe the best answer is lack of skills. Don't forget that Lybian army was divided into 2: the regular with old WW2 material and 45 days training. And the special forces that were affected to G and his sons.

    Anyways, as planed G is pulling back at the announce of air strikes. Which was the aim of it.
    Now he is asking for discussions.
    With a crowbar strike on his knees i'll advice!

  11. #331
    Council Member jcustis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carl View Post
    How would you keep the wrong people from driving over them and blowing themselves up?
    You tell them as you are putting it in the ground,

  12. #332
    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcustis View Post
    You tell them as you are putting it in the ground,
    In that case you could only lay it if there were people living full time very close to the point of emplacement. If you did that perhaps the dictator's forces would figure it out and tell the people living near all the places they were going that if any of their vehicles were blown up, everybody in a say a 1000 metre radius would be killed. They don't seem concerned about their pr.

    I think it an impractical plan.
    Last edited by carl; 03-19-2011 at 12:37 AM.
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  13. #333
    Council Member Ron Humphrey's Avatar
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    Question Have to leave the heavy analysis to

    those with more experience but just curious why explicitly targeted attacks against both kad affi and others seen to be key partners inthe last two weeks crackdown coupled with assistance humanitarian and otherwise would not be a good strategy?
    exactly who does anyone think he would actually become a martyr to.
    and one last question if history is meant to be a guide to inform not rule why exactly would anyone "have" to do anything. it seems the choices are what to do when and by whom in what manner to what ends.
    all of which will only be answered only once something is done?
    i realize the past has many examples of how something like this can go wrong, does that have to mean thats what will happen here?
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  14. #334
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Humphrey View Post
    those with more experience but just curious why explicitly targeted attacks against both kad affi and others seen to be key partners inthe last two weeks crackdown coupled with assistance humanitarian and otherwise would not be a good strategy?
    exactly who does anyone think he would actually become a martyr to.
    and one last question if history is meant to be a guide to inform not rule why exactly would anyone "have" to do anything. it seems the choices are what to do when and by whom in what manner to what ends.
    all of which will only be answered only once something is done?
    i realize the past has many examples of how something like this can go wrong, does that have to mean thats what will happen here?
    It is already going wrong.

    The moment to have acted on a low risk - high return basis has passed.

    It is clear the US Administration (I add this because it is the Keystone Cops like Administration who are the idiots and not the American people) got the strategy all wrong... pathetically wrong.

    Read the following from the New York Times: Obama Takes Hard Line With Libya After Shift by Clinton

    They got this wrong of course:

    The shift in the administration’s position — from strong words against Libya to action — was forced largely by the events beyond its control: the crumbling of the uprising raised the prospect that Colonel Qaddafi would remain in power to kill “many thousands,” as Mr. Obama said at the White House on Friday.
    This garbage is merely face saving from an Administration who failed to anticipate (or were not so briefed by the less than competent CIA) that Gaddafi could strike back. The world will have to wait to see how many Libyans were killed by Gaddafi in the last few weeks to see how much blood this dithering (and most likely ill-advised) president has on his hands.

    This is a case of the US waking up late to the issues at stake and then wanting to push/muscle the French and the Brits out of the way.

    Its going to get worse.

  15. #335
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    Default Round one to Gaddafi...

    35 hours after the UNSC resolution there is still no action (other than from Gaddafi).

    First Mistake: The Brits and French should not have threatened imminent action when they were in no position to do so. (such an elementary error)

    Smart Move: Gaddafi announces a cease fire which will give the impression of compliance with the UNSC resolution and will lead the weak and fainthearted to question why armed action is needed if there is a cease fire. He then calls on potentially neutral countries to monitor the cease fire. There is no cease fire (does anyone think there ever was to be one?)

    Second Mistake: Instead of a private ultimatum to be followed by non-telegraphed air strikes Obama chose to grandstand and make a public ultimatum on TV. This will now require US action to force compliance with that referendum. Not smart to conduct such negotiations in public.

    So 35 hours on the US, Britain and France has a foot in its mouth while Gaddafi forces are attacking Benghazi. Round one to Gaddafi.
    Last edited by JMA; 03-19-2011 at 07:28 AM.

  16. #336
    Council Member Fuchs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JMA View Post
    The world will have to wait to see how many Libyans were killed by Gaddafi in the last few weeks to see how much blood this dithering (and most likely ill-advised) president has on his hands.
    This is more than just a little stretch. There's no obligation to intervene, the U.S. is on a different continent, it has no close relations to the people of Libya.

    An intervention is an option, not an ethical obligation.

  17. #337
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Pro-Gaddafi forces enter Benghazi

    The latest BBC report includes:
    Our correspondent saw the government tanks on a bridge inside Benghazi at around 1030 (0830 GMT), and reports suggested hundreds of people were fleeing the city eastwards as the fighting continued.
    Link:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-12793919

    Plus a reported, wide bombardment and civilians fleeing eastwards:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-12776418

    Note the footage of the shot down fighter is reported by the BBC as belonging t the rebels.
    davidbfpo

  18. #338
    Council Member jcustis's Avatar
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    Ghadaffi is certainly getting a powerful IO message out there that throws this action right back in everyone's face. I think it is fairly effective.

    From the Yahoo News article:
    "Libya is not yours. Libya is for the Libyans. The Security Council resolution is invalid," he said in the letter to French President Nicolas Sarkozy, British Prime Minister David Cameron, and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon. To Obama, the Libyan leader was slightly more conciliatory: "If you had found them taking over American cities with armed force, tell me what you would do."
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/ap_on_re_af/af_libya

    Either way, the fabric of Libya has been rent so badly that it will never be the same, and a simmering rebellion seems likely. Shadow government in exile? Does the coalition support it and pick a figure to toss our weight behind? Strange times indeed...
    Last edited by jcustis; 03-19-2011 at 12:44 PM.

  19. #339
    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    Default Will we have to help the dictator

    I wonder if we will end up in the very odd position of having to help the dictator in some way. An Egyptian commenter at Tom Ricks' blog raised that point.

    If the dictator wins and drives out all the open opposition but does not crush the spirit of the opposition, then an insurgency of some kind might begin. That would require a clandestine organization or assistance to establish one. The people in the region who have the most experience with clandestine organizations are not people we like much but because of their experience, organization and money they might gain a lot power within any continuing anti-dictator resistance. If that happened, then what do we do? (I know there are a lot of ifs there.)

    Like jcustis says, this will be very messy. But, by doing nothing but talk for so long, this is what we signed up for.
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

  20. #340
    Council Member jcustis's Avatar
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    The people in the region who have the most experience with clandestine organizations are not people we like much but because of their experience, organization and money they might gain a lot power within any continuing anti-dictator resistance.
    Are you referring to the Iranians?

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