Prospect of Hot War Near Libya

The “no-fly zone” proposal seems to be growing legs at the UN security council. There is a liklihood of its approval within a few hours.

Al Jazeera quotes Gaddafi’s ministry of propaganda:
“7:21pm
The official Jana news agency reports that Libya is warning it could target air and sea traffic in the Mediterranean if a foreign military intervention is staged.”

In the early hours of the no-fly zone imposition we are likely to see general attacks on anything of value in the area by Gaddafi to make use of his air-force while it can still fly. Normally it could take days to eliminate ground-based radars but if Gaddafi continues attacking civilian targets like shipping, airports and built-up areas, I expect interceptors to engage Gaddafi’s planes in the first instance.

Talk is that air-strikes at certain targets on the ground will also be carried out. I can see the coast-road becoming a no-drive zone for Gaddafi’s heavy equipment.

I can see some arms and training projects going on within days. If the Libyans don’t want boots on the ground Libyans could be shipped to a friendly territory or even ships at sea to take a crash course in using the toys of war. There are now thousands of Libyans who have been in battle. A thousand of those could be serious students, making the Libyans much more effective in short order. They seriously need communications, tactics and weapons training. If I were the Libyans I would turn the airport into a military base and push through thousands for training. Even a little knowledge added to their bodies and enthusiasm would make a huge difference. Imagine some of those guys with AK-47s being able to designate a tank with a laser…

I expect to see a few air-strikes in the next 24 hours and major mobilization of resources accomplished within days. If I were a military planner, I would try to set up a base in Tunisia and threaten advances on Tripoli. That would pressure Gaddafi to call his troops back to base. Naval pressure could do similarly but there is nothing like the proximity of a growing threat to change perceptions. Knowing a bit about Gaddafi, I image his command and control system is very centralized. I would bet his command and control centres are the number 1 or 2 targets on the lists that must already be made…

I expect to see fire-works shortly but Gaddafi will by able to hang on a long time until ground forces actually invade Tripoli. Air-strikes can pull his teeth but it does take boots on the ground to actually root out evil. The bunker at Tripoli is so large that unacceptable collateral damage would result from attacking it from the air. I expect a siege of months will take care of that.

UPDATE The no-fly zone resolution was passed by the Security Council. I expect some flights tonight, if for no other reason than to probe air-defences of Gaddafi. If there are sorties by Gaddafi against Benghazi, I expect the world will take action. The resolution includes actions to protect civilian populations. Gaddafi has promised to eliminate “rats”. That should be covered by the rules of engagement. If I were in charge, I would advise the Interim Council to ground its fighter jets and treat everything in the air as hostile.

UPDATE Just a coincidence, I am sure, but the countries that abstained from voting on the resolution are some of the strongest countries with respect to using GNU/Linux on the desktop, officially:
“12:56am
Germany, Brazil, India, Russia and China abstained from voting on the UNSC resolution.”

UPDATE
Al Jazeera reports:
“3:16am
The Wall Street Journal, citing US and Libyan officials, is reporting that Egypt’s military has begun shipping arms over the border to Libyan rebels, with US knowledge.

The shipments – mostly small arms such as assault rifles and ammunition – appear to be the first confirmed case of an outside government arming the rebel fighters. Those fighters have been losing ground for days in the face of a steady westward advance by forces loyal to [Gaddafi].”

Alright! There’s nothing like a rifle and ammunition in the hands of the citizens to keep invading hordes in check. If Gaddafi’s boys step out of their tanks, they will be minced meat. I hope the rifles come with an instruction manual.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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8 Responses to Prospect of Hot War Near Libya

  1. We’ll just have to disagree. While the Americans may have once supported Mubarak, they also forced him out by applying diplomatic pressure.

  2. Dann says:

    There are so many factors that you cannot see, Linux apostate, so how can you speak for all the egyptions for booting Mubarak?

    You do realize that America helped prop him up so they could have influence in Egypt, right?
    Without him, the US is probably much less involved in giving money to Egypt now so they are probably seeing it in their economy. Once they can become self-suistaining, it will be different. The problem is that the Middle East is in the middle of East/West influences, a la cold war.

    Again, even I don’t have all the facts, we only have speculation.

    Was the Iraq war wrong? I think so. WikiLeaks proves that.

  3. Doesn’t matter. The Iraq war would have been wrong even if the UN had approved it, and the Coalition of the Willing had been more than the USA and Britain.

    The problem is not America.

    The problem is the West, getting involved in other people’s fights. It makes a terrible mess. We do these things from a desire to do good, but somehow we always make things a million times worse. Every time, people say it will be different. And it never is.

    Egyptians are already wishing they never booted Mubarak. It’ll be the same in Libya.

  4. This is not about the USA. UK, France, Italy and some Arab nations will contribute. There is a strong determination to prevent this from becoming another Iraq. Lots of lessons have been learned. There has been lots of practice.

    Even Canada is sending a flight of CF-18s.

    It may well be that USA has the largest contingent on hand. That is natural with multiple fleets in range.

    It will be interesting to read the rules of engagement. I expect the new regime will flourish with less fear of the skies. I hope “collateral damage” is minimized. It sounds like the plan might actually restrict the new regime to a defensive posture. I think that will be temporary. It will require boots on the ground to get rid of Gaddafi but they will be Libyan boots.

  5. “Team America: World Police” gets a sequel. Will we ever learn?

  6. Ray says:

    “War is the Enemy.”

    Agreed.

  7. I doubt many Libyans would agree. They have been very patient but nothing else seems effective to get rid of the problems. They should be a very wealthy and comfortable nation. Instead they are killing or being killed.

  8. Richard Chapman says:

    War is the Enemy.

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