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ARAB LEAGUE CALLS FOR A NO-FLY ZONE IN LYBIA

 
 
Setanta
 
Reply Sat 12 Mar, 2011 03:13 pm
A spokesman for the Arab League has called for the United Nations to impose a no-fly zone in Lybia. Read the story here.

It's about goddamned time. I hope those clowns in Europe and Washignton will get off their dead asses and take positive action, and take it soon. On a moral basis at the least, we owe it to the Muslim world to do something positive for their aspirations of national self-determination, given the amount of mealy-mouth blather we've been pumping out about democracy in the Arab world for the last decade.
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Type: Discussion • Score: 18 • Views: 10,704 • Replies: 204

 
contrex
 
  1  
Reply Sat 12 Mar, 2011 03:34 pm
All these goddam raghead countries. They multiply like flies. First Libya, now Lybia. How many more before the US acts?

0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Sat 12 Mar, 2011 03:42 pm
Ha, bloody fuckin' ha ha . . . i suppose you'll now allege that you don't know what i meant. Do you have anything pertinent to contribute?
0 Replies
 
georgeob1
 
  2  
Reply Sat 12 Mar, 2011 04:15 pm
I agree it is welcome, if belated, news. However, the fact is they don't need our help in doing this at all. There are available airfields on Libya's eastern and Western borders in Egypt, Tunis & Algeria: Saudi Arabia, Syria, Egypt, and Algeria all have modern air forces with lots of available fighters.

The news report I read indicated the Arab League has petitioned the UN to establish the No Fly zone. It isn't clear whether they want someone else to do the legwork for them, or if they are willing to do it themselves. What the UN will do with this request is uncertain, however, I doubt that anyone would object if The Arab League just went ahead and did it on its own . They can consider themselves to have been unleashed.
Butrflynet
 
  3  
Reply Sat 12 Mar, 2011 04:22 pm
@georgeob1,
Wow, I agree with George. Another positive for them doing it themselves is it would put the leaders in good standing with their own citizens as being believable when they say they are eager to make democratic changes in their own countries.

The last thing the US needs to do is lead another military action in yet another mid-eastern country.
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Sat 12 Mar, 2011 04:23 pm
@georgeob1,
I agree that members of the Arab League have, notionally, the assets. But this would be a sophisticated mission which would require the suppression of Got-Daffy's air defense system prior to enforcing the no-fly. I am less convinced that the Arab League members possess that level of expertise.

After the **** we've done in Iraq, and the way Pappy Bush encouraged an uprising in Iraq in 1991, then left them hung out to dry, i see no reason why we wouldn't be making amends by sending a carrier task force in there to at least deal with his air defense system. Reagan was quick enough to take that route when Got-Daffy got out of hand in the 1980s. I'd just be happy to see evidence that the U.S., the U.N. and NATO actually possess some testes.
georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Sat 12 Mar, 2011 04:42 pm
@Setanta,
Not much sophistication is required for air-to-air intercept: basic stuff. Air defense suppression is only to reduce your own casualties. However, once air-to-air combat begins the folks operating the SAMs lose their ability to discriminate friend and foe.

Militarily the job is simply not that hard, and doing it from bases in Egypt, Tunis and Algeria is a lot easier and cheaper than doing it from a carrier. I agree we could do it easily, but I don't think it is worth either the candle or the grief we would get from the hand-wringers in the vaunted "international community".

I also believe our military is very seriously unwilling to embroil itself in yet another conflict in the Muslim World, and that was what was behind Sec. Gates' comments. I doubt that any of our European friends are interested either. It is a matter of very interesting irony to note the eagerness of those who so bitterly opposed our earlier interverntions to get us involved in this one. I think the world could use a little American indifference.
georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Sat 12 Mar, 2011 04:48 pm
@Butrflynet,
Butrflynet wrote:

Wow, I agree with George. Another positive for them doing it themselves is it would put the leaders in good standing with their own citizens as being believable when they say they are eager to make democratic changes in their own countries.


Very likely that is one of the key reasons they are unwilling to do it themselves. They are all very accustomed to importing foreigners to do their dirty work - time for them to do some of it themselves.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Sat 12 Mar, 2011 04:53 pm
@georgeob1,
You're unlikely to get Tunisia or Algeria involved, especially Algeria, which has been sitting on its own populist powder keg for many years now. As for that snide remark about those who "bitterly opposed" earlier interventions, nobody asked us to invade Iraq. These people are begging for a no-fly zone, and generals and admirals are paid to follow orders, just like private soldiers and sailors.
georgeob1
 
  0  
Reply Sat 12 Mar, 2011 05:17 pm
@Setanta,
It wasn't a snide remark at all - merely pointing out a very intriguing irony.

The generals admirals soldiers & sailors do indeed take orders, but the fact is they have been very busy out there for a long time, and there aren't any carriers to spare right now. On the other hand, the relatively unstressed armed forces of Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Spain have the nearby capability and available forces to do the job themselves - right now. However, reports to date strongly suggest they aren't willing (Bismark's caution of 1903 appears to remain in their minds). Do you advocate we act without them?

Even with all this, I believe that, if the Arab League is serious, they have ample ability to do this job themselves - even with the associated political risks. I certainly don't think the enterprise is worth the cost and risk to ourselves.

I also believe the world could use the example of American indifference.
Robert Gentel
 
  5  
Reply Sat 12 Mar, 2011 05:34 pm
Here is my take on it from an argument I had elsewhere:

First of all dude, **** you for making me type this much on Facebook of all places, such a vapid and transitive medium for debate. But I miss shooting the **** with you about politics enough to put up with even this indignity, so here goes...

Do you really disagree that if the no-fly zone does not work, and the situation escalates (this is what I meant by "go south" in case it was unclear) that we should not automatically be willing to put boots on the ground?

If we declare war against the current regime (which you agree that the no-fly zone is) then I think we are no longer neutral bystanders and have a responsibility to try not leave Libya worse off than prior to the whole declaring war on the other country thing.

Doing that (declaring war) would embolden the rebels, and while it may increase the odds of defection on the side of the regime it will also lend it strong nationalistic narrative that might have the opposite effect. So sure, maybe all we need to do is declare war to hasten the demise of the regime, but I can just as easily imagine that we might galvanize both sides in this conflict of attrition and if we aren't wiling to put our boots on the ground and risk a bit more then I think it's irresponsible to encourage the rebels to take up armed resistance.

This is my first central point about the "no-fly zone", that if we aren't willing to commit to a "real" war if the situation escalates and calls for it that we should be very wary of encouraging this civil war. If there is real political will for more nation building I'm all for it, but I don't want us to once again encourage people to take up armed resistance against a tyrant only to decide we aren't going to have their backs when push comes to shove. And when people like Kerry talk about it like it's a video game I find it alarming. He says things like that we could just "crater" runways, which is pretty silly. We can't stop the regime just by cratering some runways (as a simple example that the administration has already noted, this would not preclude the use of helicopters, which are the best aerial assets Gaddafi has.

Secondly, our main disagreement seems to be about the urgency of action here. I feel a strong sense of urgency, but not to prevent "slaughter" (which was the case in the historic examples you cited) but to take advantage of this revolution to topple a brutal madman. At this point I just do not think that the level of intensity of the violence taking place outweighs the lives that declaring war might easily cost. You argued that the air and naval assets being used make it arguable that this is validly described as a low-intensity conflict but from what I hear these assets are often not being used with their typical effectiveness. Even the rebels have openly wondered if pilots dumping ordinance in the desert are doing so on purpose and as far as I can tell the aerial campaign simply isn't responsible for enough deaths for me to find it clearly beneficial to cause the deaths that declaring war on Libya could cause.

However if this were to escalate into genocide or slaughter I would obviously feel very differently, right now it is at a point at which I think that encouraging the rebels to sit tight and not openly engage the regime might be the best option. The things the international community has already done may be enough to topple the regime anyway (it certainly would be if they were willing to completely stop buying oil from Libya until such time as it does) and right now I do not think we should rush to go to war. You mentioned that implementing a no-fly zone takes time but the assets are being put in place for such a contingency so I do not think that we need to rush the decision due to that particular reason.

Here is how I read this conflict as it stands now:

- This regime has a better than 50% chance of short-term survival (this year) without intervention from without.
- This regime has a worse than 30% chance of long-term (5 years) survival just on the basis of what the international community has already done. Particularly painful to the Gaddafi family are the travel bans and asset seizures but if the international community is willing to put up with a bit of turmoil in the oil market (something it may not even be willing to given how much whining about this I have already heard) this regime will eventually fall.
- The biggest danger of the regime not falling is that it manages to secure enough control over Libya to prevent its fall and in the process brutally subjugates the rebels.
- The biggest danger of the regime falling is that it does not prevent genocide or a protracted civil war.

So by that read, if we aren't willing to *ensure* that the regime falls, we should not be willing to declare war on it. I personally haven't seen US leaders truly arguing that we should take on this responsibility in earnest and there is not a lot of appetite for this in America (much of the resistance from Gates, for example, is speculated to be that he simply does not see Libya as a vital interest and is not interested in risking the lives of his soldiers on that basis).

I don't want to sign America up for nation building when it's so unclear whether we are really ready to do it (just the whining about oil prices so far make me doubt that seriously). If the matter becomes one of genocide prevention it's a horse of a different color, and I think this may be our central disagreement. I think the rates at which lives are currently being lost are below the thresholds at which I am willing to declare war (and my ratiocination on this can be simplified to basic arithmetic on total lives lost and I think that declaring war has a decent enough chance of representing an escalation in the rate of violence as measured by lives lost at this time).

Of course, the facts on the ground are very fluid right now, and by this time tomorrow this could be a very different animal.
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Sat 12 Mar, 2011 07:07 pm
Got-Daffy is basically a robber baron, and is not supported by an organized political party such as was the case with Hussein in Iraq. Nor was he promoted from a rationalized corporate military as was the case with Egypt, in which Nassar, the Sadat and finally Mubarak succeeded based on the political developments within the Free Officers movement.

Sadam Hussein al-Tikriti represented the tribal faction around Tikrit in central Iraq, but he was also a member in good standing of the Ba'ath Arab Socialist Party, and even if he had fallen without an invasion, the Sunni minority which controlled that party would have survived and erected a new administration.

Got-Daffy represents a tribal minority, but he is not the product of an already existent political party or a movement like the Free Officers in Egypt, Syria and Iraq. He's basically a jumped up brigand who has used oil money to prop up his regime. After the fiasco in Chad, he could no longer trust the loyalty of the army, and that's why he's hired mercenaries.

These rebels say they don't want us to come in on the ground, and i think they're sincere, and i think their attitude is justified. They just want the western powers to level the playing field. Right now, a good deal of the "loyalty" of the Libyan military is predicated upon Got-Daffy looking like he'll win. If that changes, the army may begin to melt away, even if they don't join the rebels.

It's going to be a power vacuum if he goes, and that's going to mean turmoil, but it doesn't mean disaster, it doesn't mean fundamentalist jihadist taking over, and it doesn't mean western troops have to go in on the ground. Personally, i think this might be the one occasion upon which we could intervene in a reliably limited fashion, and do so, if not to the applause of the Muslim world, at least not to their condemnation either.

I haven't said we should indulge in "nation building," and that's not what the Libyans are asking for.
0 Replies
 
georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Sat 12 Mar, 2011 07:31 pm
I think the risk of being drawn into a morass in Lybia, more or less as Robert described it, is very real - particularly if a major Western power is involved. I also believe that establishing a formal No Fly zone with the intent of making it last over time would require a fairly costly and extensive operation - about what I described earlier on another thread. However, it also appears clear that prompt action to take out a few of Ghadaffi's aircraft would likely have broken (or if done soon could still break) the morale of his forces at a critical moment. The opportunity for this sort of light interdiction is probably passing quickly now.

It appears to me that no one in the "international community" has calculated that its interests would be well served by doing any of this - the evidence being that it hasn't happened; and that nation after nation has eagerly been making excuses.

The recent expression of the Arab league is interesting on several levels - (1) It is coming rather late in the day; (2) it is not accompanied by any action on their part ; or (3) even any concrete proposal for action - merely appeals to the one organization in the world that can surely be counted on to do nothing - the United Nations. Hard to tell now what is the motivation for this, but we can all speculate.
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Sat 12 Mar, 2011 07:41 pm
@georgeob1,
georgeob1 wrote:
However, it also appears clear that prompt action to take out a few of Ghadaffi's aircraft would likely have broken (or if done soon could still break) the morale of his forces at a critical moment. The opportunity for this sort of light interdiction is probably passing quickly now.


This is the best reason for this action--and i agree that the "window" of opportunity is small and will soon close.

Quote:
It appears to me that no one in the "international community" has calculated that its interests would be well served by doing any of this - the evidence being that it hasn't happened; and that nation after nation has eagerly been making excuses.


France and Italy are Libya's biggest petroleum customers, and no reasonable operation by NATO could do this from land bases unless they were French or Italian. The Italians are saying they are already in too bad an odor in Libya because of their World War Two history--which sounds suspiciously to me like a justification for not doing what they are loathe to do for economic reasons.

To my mind, something should be done right away, or nothing should be done at all. Tunesia doesn't have the assets, i seriously doubt that Algeria wants to get involved. That leaves only Egypt, or a naval aviation operation. I doubt that Egypt wants to get involved either.
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Sat 12 Mar, 2011 07:46 pm
In this thread and the other i started, the assumption seems to be that we would be intended to invade Libya. That's not what is being proposed and that's not only not what the rebelling Libyans want, they've said they don't want western military intervention on the ground. I see no reason to assume that we would need to send in troops. I am also heartily sick and tired of that goofy insider-speak that calls that "boots on the ground." Please use a little more discretion or imagination.
0 Replies
 
georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Sat 12 Mar, 2011 08:16 pm
@Setanta,
Setanta wrote:

[To my mind, something should be done right away, or nothing should be done at all. Tunesia doesn't have the assets, i seriously doubt that Algeria wants to get involved. That leaves only Egypt, or a naval aviation operation. I doubt that Egypt wants to get involved either.


Well the EU nations have conferred and, apart from expressions of sorrow at what is happening, have pretty clearly indicated that they don't want to get involved either. Surely their rights in this respect are the equal of those of the Arab league countries.

I think that, as you suggested, we, in principle, could have rather easily conducted the quick operation you described and with good effect. Prior to 2004 we kept two carrier battle groups almost continuously in the Mediterranean, which could merely by their presence have inhibited Ghadaffi's air forces (we did so many times before) - now there are none - the Sixth Fleet consisted only of a flagship when the uprising started.

A decade ago I would have advocated the speedy intervention you called for, Today, no. There are too many bad side effects; too much uncertainty surrounding the result; too little gratitude on the part of the recipients; and too much self-serving back-biting on the part of other, spectator nations. I strongly believe the world wants and needs a little American indifference, and I am happy to oblige.
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Sat 12 Mar, 2011 08:25 pm
I don't care about other nations' backbiting--we've been in the "damned if you do and damned if you don't situation" for 40 years or more. As i've said, i suspect EU unwillingness to intervene is cynical, and based on their reliance on Libyan oil. I think they'll find that that source is highly unreliable and will remain so for a long time to come. Even if Kaddahi prevails, it's not going to be over soon. With his record, the rebels aren't likely to lay down their arms and trust his mercy.
dlowan
 
  4  
Reply Sat 12 Mar, 2011 08:27 pm
@Robert Gentel,
The other thing that worries me is the possibility that, if the west were to enforce a no-fly zone...and I doubt Gaddafi would not force that into being a shooting war...it could enhance feelings of anti-west, especially anti-US, nationalism, which people like the Muslim Brotherhood could use to turn their fundamentalist Islamic outlook into an expression of said nationalism. I think this is partly what happened in Iran for instance.
0 Replies
 
georgeob1
 
  0  
Reply Sat 12 Mar, 2011 08:32 pm
@Setanta,
Setanta wrote:

I don't care about other nations' backbiting--we've been in the "damned if you do and damned if you don't situation" for 40 years or more. As i've said, i suspect EU unwillingness to intervene is cynical, and based on their reliance on Libyan oil. I think they'll find that that source is highly unreliable and will remain so for a long time to come. Even if Kaddahi prevails, it's not going to be over soon. With his record, the rebels aren't likely to lay down their arms and trust his mercy.

Yeah, but a lot of us are getting tired of it.

Perhaps we could persuade Msolga to go there and scold Ghadaffi to death. It might work !

I am really struck by the very odd correlation of people and political groups that so bitterly criticized our intervention in Iraq who now appear to be eaager to intervene in Libya to overthrow a relatively small time and rather comic tyrant compared to Saddam.
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Sat 12 Mar, 2011 08:34 pm
Jeeze, here we go again. There seems to be this automatic assumption that the Libyans are going to hate us if we do this. Fer chrissake, they're the ones asking for this.
 

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