Libya–about that UN mission …
You probably remember it – it was to have a coalition of UN members establish a no-fly zone to keep the Libyan government under Gadhafi from using aircraft to kill civilians. Right? Then it was to hit tanks and artillery that were being used to kill (or endanger) civilians.
And what did Gadhafi’s forces do? Adapted. Made it much more difficult to do by using similar vehicles as the rebels and by moving into the urban areas.
So, now where are we? Well, NATO’s having a bit of a problem. In fact, NATO has discovered what any good infantryman could have told them:
NATO Brig. Gen. Mark van Uhm said his forces have destroyed more than 40 tanks and several armored personnel carriers in Misrata. However, there’s always concern of inadvertently harming civilians in such airstrikes, he said.
"There is a limit to what can be achieved by airpower to stop fighting in a city," said van Uhm.
Ya think? I have to wonder what they expected Gadhafi’s forces to do.
So, what’s a defensive alliance chartered to come to each others defense in case another members is attacked to do? Oh, here’s a good idea:
“We need a force from NATO or the United Nations on the ground now,” committee member Nouri Abdullah Abdulati told reporters Tuesday.
Abdulati said that the Judicial Committee’s signed request had been sent to the Transitional National Council in Benghazi, the de facto capital of the opposition-controlled east, but that no reply had been received. The council, the only link between Misurata and NATO commanders, has said that it does not want foreign troops in Libya.
“We did not accept any foreign soldiers on our land. But that was before we faced the crimes of Gaddafi,” Abdulati said Tuesday. “We are asking on the basis of humanitarian and Islamic principles for someone to come and stop the killing. The whole Arab world is calling for the intervention of the West for the first time in history.”
What a deal. But here’s my question – where’s the Arab League? Surely they could send in soldiers. In the past they were able to whip up any number of Arab forces to attack Israel. What, do “rebel” Libyans fear them more than the West? Is this a case where the West is actually the lesser of two evils?
Of course now, if the West and NATO don’t respond it will be because the West chose to desert these people and let them die. And if they do help, it will only be a matter of time before the same people demanding their presence to save their bacon are demanding the infidel soldiers quit their country post haste.
In the meantime, the UK is actually considering sending in troops to escort humanitarian relief convoys to Misurata. What happens when Gadhafi forces pop one of them?
Yeah, this is looking much like a “days not weeks” campaign.
Oh, one other little quote that caught my eye:
Adm. Giampaolo Di Paola, chairman of NATO’s military committee, said that even though the military alliance’s operations have done "quite significant damage" to the Libyan regime’s heavy weaponry, what Gadhafi has left is "still considerable."
Asked if more airpower is needed, Di Paola said any "significantly additional" allied contribution would be welcome.
Any question as to what ally Di Paola is referring?