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Thread: And Libya goes on...

  1. #41
    Council Member M-A Lagrange's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TROUFION View Post
    MA Lagrange-

    I think you may have misunderstood me a little. I was not thinking 'arranged peace' I was thinking more along the lines of Libiyan Democracy and freedom garaunteed by Eygptian force of arms. In other words Eygpt with an UN mandate intervenes forcefully and takes out Mummaur. Then helps stabilize the country. If we want democracy to succeed this would be a good option. Far better than US forces going to help. -T
    I well understood you from the beginning and I do agree with the idea that a ground US intervention is not needed and may be dangerous. Not needed because it will only serve the US to finaly fight a just war after several years of feeling missused. And that's not a good reason to interviene. Also because I believe that the populace in Libya is not willing. And that's a good reason to not intervening.
    But unlike Bob, I do believe that and air strike that would destroy G air capacities and a logisticall support for the rebels is the right solution.

    The problem with the UN is that they do not know how to do stabilization. Very few people know it and most of the time it is due to context. The UN have no idea of what context means and most of them even less of what stabilizing means.

    What is important, and I will support Bob on this is to send a message, the right one this time. Not only to Libya but to the whole region: we support the people against crazy evil dictators. That would be the best PSYOP ever.
    Last edited by M-A Lagrange; 03-07-2011 at 10:52 PM.

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    The 1st of September marks the anniversary of the opening of the major stage of Libya's Great Man-Made River Project. This incredibly huge and successful water scheme is virtually unknown in the West, yet it rivals and even surpasses all our greatest development projects. The leader of the so-called advanced countries, the United States of America cannot bring itself to acknowledge Libya's Great Man-Made River. The West refuses to recognize that a small country, with a population no more than four million, can construct anything so large without borrowing a single cent from the international banks.
    http://poorrichards-blog.blogspot.co....html#comments
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    Default Imposing a No-fly Zone in Libya

    Imposing a No-fly Zone in Libya

    Entry Excerpt:

    Imposing a No-fly Zone in Libya - WTOP radio interview with Robert Haddick, managing editor for Small Wars Journal, who wrote the "This Week at War" column at Foreign Policy concerning the 'Jawbreaker' option.



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    Read the full post and make any comments at the SWJ Blog.
    This forum is a feed only and is closed to user comments.

  4. #44
    Council Member CrowBat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fuchs View Post
    Judging by news reports, I'd rather suspect a small battalion equivalent is skirmishing near that city. A multi-brigade assault would produce other results.
    I said "three brigades in and around Tripoli", of which "large parts" are attacking az-Zawiya.

    These three brigades have around 6,000 troops: the population of az-Zawiya is differently reported at between 250,000-300,000 people, majority of whom sided with rebellion, and about 1,000 of whom might be armed (including up to nine T-72s they have captured so far; six of these when part of the locally based battalion of the Kuwelidi "Brigade" sided with them). A single attack on Sunday included 35 T-72s attacking them from the East (Tripoli side), and other 11-12 simultaneously from the West (foreign reporters confirmed the presence of similar numbers of MBTs in the area), plus BMP-1s and ZSU-23-4s. If only 30% of rebel claims can be trusted, they destroyed over 20 MBTs and a similar number of APCs so far, plus caused around 300 casualties to the regime.

    I'm really not that good in ground forces, but isn't 35 the usual complement of an armoured battalion equipped with T-72s? Well, at least that sounds rather like slightly more than a "small battalion" in my ears.

    Quote Originally Posted by Presley Cannady
    The secular assumption smacks of whistling in the dark due to the absence of polling data to the contrary--or whatosever, for that matter.
    Yes, there is no polling data, but I trust myself to conclude the uprising in Libya is definitely no "al-Qaida-launched insurgency" aiming at establishing some "Qaliphate", as claimed by the regime and some of the media in the West. The essence is the same like that behind the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, as well as unrests in Algeria, Bahrain, Morocco, Oman, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere - i.e. the economy, human rights and power-sharing, not religion.

    *********

    BTW, the regime troops captured by the rebels in az-Zawiya told their interrogators their superiors told them they "must" take that town "by Wednesday". Any ideas why should Wednesday be important?

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    Default UN support

    M-A L,

    I look at the UN as a tool to provide legitimacy. The UN doesn't do much on its own. It does however in old west terms have the capacity to deputize a military force and provide it legitimacy. Any action taken against Mummaur should if possible be done with UN support in this manner. Again if a duly deputized African force, perhaps Eygptian and Tunisian (maybe Morrocan too), directly supported the rebels against Mummuar and provided forces to liberate Libya, under UN deputization it would work far batter than any US intervention. Nothing would prevent the US from shaping it, helping with SF and $. The more help the rebels can be given to end it fast before Mummuar can recover or other less reputable elements get involved the better.

    -T

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    Council Member RTK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CrowBat View Post
    I'm really not that good in ground forces, but isn't 35 the usual complement of an armoured battalion equipped with T-72s? Well, at least that sounds rather like slightly more than a "small battalion" in my ears.
    You're right. IIRC 3x companies of 10, plus HQ tanks. 35 is right around the number of T-72s in a tank battalion under the old order of the battle.

    Ken White, a better scout than I, will be sure to correct my math if I'm wrong.

    Recall that Qadafi restructured the Libyan army in the 80s to Bde and Bn centric organization because he was paranoid of organized assassination attempts.
    Example is better than precept.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CrowBat View Post
    These three brigades have around 6,000 troops: the population of az-Zawiya is differently reported at between 250,000-300,000 people, majority of whom sided with rebellion, and about 1,000 of whom might be armed (including up to nine T-72s they have captured so far; six of these when part of the locally based battalion of the Kuwelidi "Brigade" sided with them). A single attack on Sunday included 35 T-72s attacking them from the East (Tripoli side), and other 11-12 simultaneously from the West (foreign reporters confirmed the presence of similar numbers of MBTs in the area), plus BMP-1s and ZSU-23-4s. If only 30% of rebel claims can be trusted, they destroyed over 20 MBTs and a similar number of APCs so far, plus caused around 300 casualties to the regime.
    Excellent details, CrowBat. What's your sourcing on the number of MBTs deployed? KOed?

    I'm doubtful about claims of 20 MBT's destroyed, unless they're counting all AFVs.
    They mostly come at night. Mostly.


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    Default Strategy for Libya?

    The media has a lot of coverage lately regarding the possibility of NATO military action in Libya. A no-fly zone is the most commonly discussed option; however, providing arms to the “rebels” is also mentioned as being a more likely course of action.

    Yesterday, however, “The Secretary General said NATO has no intention to intervene in Libya. However, he said, ‘as a defence Alliance and a security organisation, it is our job to conduct prudent planning for any eventuality.’ The Secretary General stressed that NATO is in close coordination and consultation with other international and regional organisations, including with the United Nations, the European Union, the Arab League and the African Union.” http://www.nato.int/cps/en/SID-07D13...news_71277.htm

    Something I find curious about all this is the dearth of information about the opposition forces/rebels in Libya. (I’m not sure which term is appropriate. “Rebels” seems to imply more coherence and cohesion than has been apparent thus far.) I’ve seen no profiles in the major media on the leaders or anything indicating their objectives beyond the overthrow of Qaddafi. Has anyone else?

    Among the reasons US White House Press Secretary Jay Carney gave for not supporting arms transfers at this point: "it would be premature to send a bunch of weapons to a post office box in eastern Libya." Kori Schake reports: “As [US] Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell judiciously pointed out, we know little about the anti-Qaddafi rebels. We're still combating weapons we gave the mujaheddin to fight Soviets in Afghanistan, and dealing with the radicalization of that society from civil war. Libyan rebels do not appear lacking in weaponry, as military units have defected bringing their equipment, and Libyans are creatively using the means available to them (like bulldozers).” http://shadow.foreignpolicy.com/post...rid_of_qaddafi.

    Sadly lacking in all the public discourse is any strategic sensibility. This is normal in the major media but currently seems to be the case even among public policy/national security/foreign policy blogs that are normally more analytical. And, it also looks like many political leaders have yet to read General Rupert Smith’s The Utility of Force. I suppose one could stretch things and argue about 24-hour flights for surveillance of Libya, but I’d like someone to explain how enforcing a no-fly zone would not be military action.

    So, what is the best strategic case for any US or NATO intervention in Libya?

    As for ENDS, for the sake of argument let’s say that stopping the killing is a vital interest (whether or not we include this really doesn’t matter if we accept the next premise.) More tangibly, we all know about oil and it’s importance to the economies of NATO members. The following link has an illuminating chart regarding the effect of Middle East unrest upon the price of oil: http://oilandglory.foreignpolicy.com...ming_oil_ports.

    Also see the following charts on who imports oil from Libya: http://oilandglory.foreignpolicy.com...ap_feb_25_2011.

    I would argue that getting rid of Qaddafi per se is not a vital interest. Whether such a result would benefit the people of Libya, and the populations of NATO member states, would depend upon what came in the wake of an overthrow. But: #1 The nature of the Libyan opposition forces/rebels is too uncertain to project any idea what life would be like under their rule should they defeat Qaddafi; and #2 At least within recent history, the ability of certain NATO members (if not NATO in toto) to build a stable, peaceful, and prosperous state after deposing a government is also highly uncertain. (See: Iraq, invasion of, 2003.)

    At least superficially, outlining the ENDS is the easy part. But, what about WAYS and MEANS? (To save space, I’m consciously comingling WAYS and MEANS but argue this is not critical in this particular instance.) Simply put, I cannot find a balance between ENDS, WAYS, and MEANS that meets the criteria of suitability, feasibility, and acceptability.

    Diplomatic pressure is being brought to bear on the Qaddafi regime by individual nations and the UN. As a political-military alliance, statements by the NAC can add to the total diplomatic effort, but it’s hard to see how this will have much effect on a government willing to kill so many of its own citizens in order to stay in power.

    The Informational element of national and international power/influence is generating wide public outrage at the actions of the Qaddafi regime. (It appears that Al-Jazeera’s coverage is even getting favorable reviews among some American elites: http://www.thewashingtonnote.com/arc...ident_obama_6/ & http://www.theworld.org/2011/02/al-j...act-on-libya/#)

    Yet, any the impact on the current Libyan regime would be indirect at best. Unmentioned in the media thus far, a related effort would be to provide information/intelligence to the opposition forces/rebels. If the right leaders can be found, information on the disposition, capabilities, and vulnerabilities of Qaddafi’s armed forces could be very useful to them. Such action would very likely be on a national basis rather than by NATO as a whole. While presenting a lower risk than the employment of military force, the wisdom of supporting the opposition forces/rebels in this manner is questionable given the caveat previously mentioned: we have little idea regarding the long-term intentions of the people trying to overthrow Qaddafi. These efforts could easily turn out to be enabling the replacement of the Qaddafi regime by something as bad or even worse.

    As for the Economic element of power, on February 26, the UN Security Council voted to impose and arms embargo and financial sanctions on Libya. Most nations are following suit, some unilaterally imposing stronger measures. http://online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-...07-715800.html. However, the history of sanctions indicates success is rare, and never quick.

    This obviously brings us to the Military element of power, possibly wielded by NATO. The imposition of a no fly zone by NATO (or a coalition of the willing) may initially seem attractive as an alternative that is relatively low risk to friendly forces. However, enforcement of a no-fly zone still entails risk. There is little doubt that NATO air forces could easily overmatch those of Libya, but Libya’s surface-to-air missile systems are sufficient to give pause when considering ground attack: http://www.foxnews.com/slideshow/wor...ences/#slide=1 (Additionally, the history of no-fly zone enforcement probably includes as many, if not more, incidents of fratricide as enemy aircraft successfully shot down.)

    While the opposition forces/rebels would benefit somewhat from the elimination of the air threat, Qaddafi’s artillery and tanks are much more problematic. What happens next if Qaddafi parks his airplanes but increases his use of artillery, armor, and mechanized infantry against opposition forces/rebel and unarmed protestors? Would NATO throw its hands up and say “we’ve done all we can, you are on your own again” or would the temptation to go from air superiority to ground attack missions be too great? Qaddafi’s air defenses are reported to include SA-2, SA-3, SA-5 Gammon, and SA-8b Gecko, SA-7 Grail, and SA-9/SA-13. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_of_Libya).

    Suppressing most of these may require the use of pre-emptive missile attacks and would probably cause NATO aircraft to fly at altitudes that make ground attack less effective and greatly increase the odds of accidental civilian casualties and collateral damage. Furthermore, many of the opposition forces/rebels appear to be members of the Libyan armed forces who switch sides and took their military equipment with them. Telling “friend” from foe in ground attack missions will be extremely difficult for NATO air forces. We also don’t know what use opposition forces/rebels will make of their own military equipment if freed from an air (and possibly ground) threat. How would they treat unarmed pro-Qaddafi civilians? In terms of stopping the killing, it is not clear that a no-fly zone will have much of an impact.

    If a no-fly zone evens out the odds between the Qaddafi and the forces fighting him, the result could easily be freezing or extending the conflict. This could have the unintended effect of taking Libyan oil off the market for an extended period.

    Given these risks, the odds are low that the imposition of a no-fly zone would produce either a net reduction in civilian deaths or stabilization of the oil markets.

    What about committing NATO ground forces? As they say, “Never Say Never,” but in no particular order: #1 if NATO can’t meet requirements in Afghanistan, where will it get troops for Libya? #2 Historically, this is unlikely to occur without trying something less drastic such as a no-fly zone first (which is a bad idea for the reasons above). #3 This would require a UN Security Council Resolution and some of the permanent members are unlikely to endorse the precedent of intervention against a sovereign government merely because it kills a lot of its own people.

    Nonetheless, even if the predicted utility of actually employing military force is low there may be some value in threatening its use. I think Qaddafi is too cagey to fall for this but it might encourage him to exercise more restraint but this may be what we are seeing.

    My prediction is that a no-fly zone will be proposed to show solidarity with the opponents of the Qaddafi regime, but in the full knowledge that such a resolution will be vetoed certainly by China and probably by Russia.

  9. #49
    Council Member CrowBat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rex Brynen View Post
    Excellent details, CrowBat. What's your sourcing on the number of MBTs deployed?
    I'd say, "all possible". From local contacts and contacts in neighbouring countries (established in course of my research; see here why, as example), to careful scanning through all sorts of media, particularly so in Arab states (there is a small Lebanese newspaper that has a team in Ras Lanoof: they are reporting fantastically detailled info about local rebels).

    When all of that is carefully cross-examined, a very good picture comes together: after all I can't afford escort by seven SAS and a helicopter ticket to Benghazi...

    Anyway, bellow are two from many photos taken in az-Zawiya at the start of the uprising there. One shows a big gathering of the Local Council during the Friday prayer, on 26 February. I guess all of these people went fighting the regime in the days ever since. Another photo shows one of six T-72s brought to them by the Libyan Army Col commanding the locally-based battalion, who defected to their side.

    The good Col and his deputy are meanwhile dead (both KIA during the regime's attack on Saturday) and one of these T-72s (probably the one on this photo, since it's the only one that was ever photographed on the Martyr's Square in "downtown az-Zawiya") was meanwhile shown on an Euronews or RT video, with a 120mm hole in the turret... although the edges of the hole in question were still smoking, I doubt it was there in order to improve the ventilation.

    BTW, in the same fashion, one can "confirm" at least seven ex-No.1070 Squadron MiG-23BNs out of 16 reportedly "captured" by the rebels at al-Abrak AB (none was flown since 2006 at least), on 20 February...
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CrowBat View Post
    IMHO, only two things would make sense for the international community to do in this situation:
    - saturated and permanent jamming of all means of communication in the hands of the regime (also cutting off all of its sat comms);
    - total blockade of aerial traffic to and from Libya (impossible until last foreigners are out, and there are currently still more than 1 Million of them there).
    What do you think about adding small groups of people equipped with SA-18s who would co-operate with the rebels? The people could come from any number of organizations from any number of countries. Probably enough Arabic speakers are available. The SA-18s could come from any number of friendly countries who have them. That way you could establish a "no fly zone" for tactical jets and helos over the only place it really mattered, whatever was passing for the front line, without a big spectacle.
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

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    Council Member CrowBat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carl View Post
    What do you think about adding small groups of people equipped with SA-18s who would co-operate with the rebels? The people could come from any number of organizations from any number of countries. Probably enough Arabic speakers are available. The SA-18s could come from any number of friendly countries who have them. That way you could establish a "no fly zone" for tactical jets and helos over the only place it really mattered, whatever was passing for the front line, without a big spectacle.
    Depends on the troops that would operate these SA-18s: if they can cope with plenty of people who have quite a few very personal "bills" to pay back, bunches of youngsters firing their AKs - or ZPU-4s - into the air any time they are bored because of all the waiting (and a few other, smaller bunches of youngsters that smoke hashish when there is nothing better to do)... I think they would do well.

    Just, somehow... I doubt one might find such troops in the West.

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    Quote Originally Posted by carl View Post
    What do you think about adding small groups of people equipped with SA-18s who would co-operate with the rebels? The people could come from any number of organizations from any number of countries. Probably enough Arabic speakers are available. The SA-18s could come from any number of friendly countries who have them. That way you could establish a "no fly zone" for tactical jets and helos over the only place it really mattered, whatever was passing for the front line, without a big spectacle.
    The would stick out like a sore thumb, so don't assume any sort of plausible deniability. And they would have to maintain very close custody of the SA-18s, given how much harm a modern MANPADS on the open market can do.

    The recent SAS experience near Benghazi is a useful lesson in getting too clever by half on the special forces front.

    On top of that, so far the LAF hasn't been a decisive factor.
    They mostly come at night. Mostly.


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    Default No-Fly Zone...

    In reference to some of the discussions above on a no-fly zone:

    A NFZ over Libya would require some work, but is definitely do-able- see Danger Room's analysis.

    It would require some airstrikes on SAM sites, if they are operational. Unless significant civilians have encamped on the SAM sites, it wouldn't involve too much risk of collateral damage.

    As Secretary Gates has pointed out, you would have to be prepared to rescue downed pilots, and this does increase the risk of getting pulled into the conflict, however.

    As for killing friendly aircraft, that risk has been over-hyped. The only incident of this that I am aware of is the 1994 Blackhawk shootdown. This incident wasn't due to the NFZ being ineffective, but due to negligence on both the E-3 and F-15C crews involved. We have operated extensive no-fly zones over the United States for the last 10 years with 0 friendly fire incidents; this would not be a big issue.

    All my opinions of course, but having done a lot of NFZ work, it's not rocket science tactically. As to the strategic wisdom of doing it, that's a different can of worms.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cliff View Post
    In reference to some of the discussions above on a no-fly zone
    What do we do if Libya continues internal civilian air flights? Shoot them down? Qaddafi is certainly capable of putting up civilian aircraft for the purpose of luring NATO into an embarrassing incident.

    I support some sort of NFZ, but it's useful to work out some of the regime's possible response beforehand.

    Frankly, given that Libya has perhaps thirty SAM, EW, and associated C3I and infrastructure facilities left to the regime—many of them colocated with each other or other military facilities, SEAD would provide a useful fig-leaf for what could actually be a rather more ambitious bombing campaign.
    They mostly come at night. Mostly.


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    Libyan SAMs are not really an issue. Their IADS was never completely constructed, never overhauled since Libya "opened" again and thus hopelessly obsolete (no pice of equipment there is "younger" than 30 years, except if they've got some more modern MANPADs, recently). There are currently only a few SAM-sites in Tripoli and Syrte areas that are active. The SA-5 sites in Syrte look on the ground exactly like that SA-2 site near Tobruq which can be seen on some of the photos that surfaced the last few days: rusty missiles, abandoned who-knows-how-many years ago, and goats in between...

    So, that's not really that much of a problem.

    But, something like NFZ over Libya makes next to no sense if not the entire country is covered, particularly its borders to (Libya-friendly) countries like Chad and Niger, but also these very long borders to Algeria, Egypt and Sudan.

    The area that would have to be covered by such a NFZ would be huge, and require much more assets - and foremost bases. Sigonella, Suda Bay, Akrotiri would be a literal "drop of water on hot rock": even if Algeria and Egypt might cooperate, Sudan would definitely not work with the UN.

    But...it's from Chad, Niger, Mali and Sudan that the regime in Tripoli is still hauling plenty of foreigners into the country, via its southern borders (there is at least one flight every day into every of these countries, launched from Mitiga AB, in Tripoli). Yet, it's also only from there that any coalition enforcing such a NFZ could reach crucially important places like the large Sebha AB, in SW Libya, which is another - and as of yet entirely untouched - Qaddaffi's stronghold.

    Theoretically, the French could "take over" in Chad (they run the country any way), and use such places like Faya Largeau, which has a well-developed airfield. Perhaps even clean up the mess left after the Libyan defeat at (Libyan-constructed) Ouadi Doum in 1987, further north, and make use of that airfield. But that would still require Deby's agreement - and plenty of tanker assets. And, any base in northern Chad would be not only extremely isolated, but also vulnerable to long-range raids of Sudan-supported Chadian opposition, based in Darfur (read: potential for spread of the conflict in Libya).

    Countries like Mali and Niger are that only by names: the government of Mali, for example, is entirely unable to exercise control over its entire territory, and thus the country became a safe heaven for this "al-Qaida of Magreb" in recent years. So, "going in" there, just in order to base a few AWACS and support assets for example, would be quite messy (as much as it would probably please Algerians). The situation in Niger might be slightly better, but only "slightly", then good airfields in the north of that country are as scarce as water...

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    Quote Originally Posted by CrowBat View Post
    Libyan SAMs are not really an issue.
    My argument, paradoxically, is that they're potentially a bit of a liability for Qaddafi, since SEAD can be used as an excuse to hit a much larger target list, especially when other military facilities are proximate to air defences.

    For those interested, the approximate deployment of the Libyan SAM network can be found here (you can also download the KMZ file for Google Earth). It doesn't show the operational readiness or functional capabilities of systems, of course--but it does show what might be hit where.
    They mostly come at night. Mostly.


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    I spent much of the 1990's supporting the Iraq NFZ's and did the same in the Balkans.

    Regarding Libya, yes, tactically, it's pretty easy as far as the threat goes. Practically, it's very resource intensive. But what's the point? What's the objective? If we want the rebels to win, there are lots of ways to do that with a lot more surety than a NFZ. To me, cynical bastard that I am, it looks like something from the good intentions fairy - a low risk way to be seen as "doing something."
    Supporting "time-limited, scope limited military actions" for 20 years.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Entropy View Post
    I spent much of the 1990's supporting the Iraq NFZ's and did the same in the Balkans.

    Regarding Libya, yes, tactically, it's pretty easy as far as the threat goes. Practically, it's very resource intensive. But what's the point? What's the objective? If we want the rebels to win, there are lots of ways to do that with a lot more surety than a NFZ. To me, cynical bastard that I am, it looks like something from the good intentions fairy - a low risk way to be seen as "doing something."
    I think it is partly that, but it is also 1) some folks talking up the idea without any sense of the requirements or likely military impact on Qaddafi, and 2) other folks wanting to do more, but recognizing that given current political constraints a NFZ might currently be the most that is possible.

    What I am suggesting (but not necessarily recommending) is that you could use a NFZ as political cover for a rather more ambitious set of airstrikes intended to degrade the regimes core capabilities, and not simply the LAF and Libyan SAM network.

    This doesn't eliminate the risk, however, from the regime's possible unconventional responses (holding foreigners hostages, flying civilian human shields, etc).
    They mostly come at night. Mostly.


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    Rex,

    I understood your point and you're right, we could make the target list pretty wide if we wanted to and use a NFZ as a cover. But again, what's the objective? Is it our intention to militarily assist the rebels in overthrowing Qaddafi and forming a new government? Well, what if a NFZ and additional strikes aren't enough? What do we know about these rebels - are they worth our support? If they are what happens if/when the NFZ fails to dislodge Qaddafi? In that case we have to either escalate or we end up with Iraq circa 1993 - an endless NFZ that accomplishes nothing.
    Supporting "time-limited, scope limited military actions" for 20 years.

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    Default No Fly Zones...

    Quote Originally Posted by Rex Brynen View Post
    What do we do if Libya continues internal civilian air flights? Shoot them down? Qaddafi is certainly capable of putting up civilian aircraft for the purpose of luring NATO into an embarrassing incident.
    Rex, this is not a showstopper tactically. Iraq had airliners flying fairly routinely, and as I pointed out we've been enforcing NFZs over the US for 10 years with lots of civilian traffic. Yes we could use the NFZ as cover for other bombing, but as Entropy points out, why - the strategy for the NFZ is the biggest issue.

    Crowbat-

    I agree, Libya is a pretty big country. Still, only slightly larger than Iraq, it's do-able. All the significant infrastructure and the entire IADS is on the coast as has been pointed out, so that helps. You don't really need to patrol to the southern border even if you're trying to interdict the flow of folks/supplies from the south - open desert most of the way so you could hit them downstream.

    Entropy-

    I agree, the why is the big question... what would our strategy be? The objective would mostly seem to be to try and help in some way or another... But what is our desired outcome?

    Finally a point for all-

    I disagree strongly that the NFZs in Iraq were a failure. The NFZs not only prevented Saddam's air force from gassing more civilians, but it also let us monitor his army and deterred ground action. The northern NFZ in particular basically kept Saddam from attacking the Kurds, and the result is that Kurdistan is the most stable and functional part of Iraq. The objective was to contain Saddam- and it worked. I may be partial due to having played a part, but I think the results were positive.

    V/R,

    Cliff

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