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1:33PM

A scenario for Libya

Map from The Guardian.

Based on what I'm reading, here's how I might gin up the desired exit glidepath:

  • By most accounts, Qaddafi is down to Tripoli and a couple other chunks of the country.
  • We fear he'll go out Gotterdammerung-style with chem weapons.  He also has some air capacity to bring significant pain to rebel-held territories (how very Saddam-like, yes?).
  • So you establish the no-fly-zone (NATO, preferably, but mostly USN in practical terms, although one assumes flying across the Med is no big deal logistically speaking) and lock up the Tripoli and Sidra with naval blockades, committing no troops for now.  You do let the people flow (outbound) proceed, especially whenever it's countries like Turkey trying to get workers out.
  • You also lock down Qaddafi's financial network (I assume this has proceeded apace already) and essentially starve him out, taking the hit on higher oil prices in the meantime. 
  • They guy survives primarily on a praetorian guard dynamic, so . . . You do your best to signal inward to his forces that there is only one ending and it would be nice if somebody took care of the meddlesome colonel.  Or maybe the rebels simply finish the job with acceptable civilian losses.
  • If Qaddafi does go to chem, well then, there's your more vigorous intervention made to order, the justification shifting to humanitarian protection and inevitable roundup of the ICC-indicted war criminals.

To me, this is an ideal sort of SysAdmin intervention opportunity: keep it small and proportional and elevate in response to events. Big point:  not pre-emptive but responsive.  You want to ride with globalization's natural tide as much as possible, letting the "new map" tell you where to apply pressure next, thus making local demand your primary guide.

Naturally, the fearful and paranoid will see the usual Western plot to grab oilfields, but denying the bottom-up nature on this one reduces them to sheer lying.

Me? I see a beautiful, globalization-driven process at work here. Let it roll!  Because I like our longer-term odds versus those of the Iranians, al-Qaeda and the Wahhabist Saudis.  Then again, victory was never in doubt--just timing and cost.

References (1)

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  • Response
    If you look at the whole map then it’s is quite hard to locate this place. But you have already cut that specific area that is able to give the exact location of Libya on the world map.

Reader Comments (8)

So what are the alternative scenarios? The worst one would be force-on-force civil war in Tripoli (like what played out in Beruit...), with large civilian casualties. I can't see any external ground force intervention, with the remotely possible exception of air defense units if we do see air-deployed chem weapons.

A more optimistic scenario would have Qaddafi fleeing to a third country (where? Daily Mail at one point had him flying to Venezuela...).

The recent apparent agreement on the former Justice Minister I think makes an 'inside job' more likely, since the Justice Minister presumably has substantial contacts in Qaddafi's ruling elite.

February 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDavid Emery

Saw a video of the Libyan Special Forces Commander who was urging his men to join the "people" and not to take part in any government attacks on their fellow citizens. Now I don't know much about Libyan Special Forces but if they are even remotely similar to ours then they are probably men of above average intelligence, motivated and well trained. They would have contacts in Libyan Intelligence Units and very likely knowledge of "safe houses" and "doomsday" sites that government leaders might use. Certainly they would know who to contact in a foreign intelligence service or military. Did I hear someone say "GPS coordinates?"

February 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTed O'Connor

Where is the Egyptian Air Force and Army in this?

It would be a more interesting role of NATO to support a no fly zone enforced by Egypt. The Egyptian military would gain support from its democracy advocates and might be able to lessen disruptions in Egypt.

If Qaddafi goes chemical, it would seem that the Egyptian Army would be the most able actor to deliver the knock out.

February 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDaniel Adkins

I heard a bit more (NPR All Things Considered, 28 Feb) about that one Libyan plane that crashed outside of Benghazi. Pilot declined to attack, co-pilot pulled a gun on the Pilot, Pilot ejected. That scenario makes sense...

February 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDavid Emery

While I think a no-fly zone is in order, we need to proceed with caution if we plan to put any boots on the ground. How many regional experts in Libyan tribal politics do we have? Probably as many Afghan ones we had before we thundered into that country.

March 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSteve

Read entry about possible Bierut style violence...isn't this LESS likely bc of lack of multiple religious factions with power as Lebanon had in the early 1970's?

March 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterR. Little

Well let´see what the new goverment of Lybia will look like. This is a nice piece of Pepe Escobar from the ASIA TIMES qzestioning the character of the new revolution. Let´s see how the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group of Belhaj will serve Western intersts:

The late July killing of rebel military commander General Abdel Fattah Younis - by the rebels themselves - seems to point to Belhaj or at least people very close to him.
It's essential to know that Younis - before he defected from the regime - had been in charge of Libya's special forces fiercely fighting the LIFG in Cyrenaica from 1990 to 1995.
The Transitional National Council (TNC), according to one of its members, Ali Tarhouni, has been spinning Younis was killed by a shady brigade known as Obaida ibn Jarrah (one of the Prophet Mohammed's companions). Yet the brigade now seems to have dissolved into thin air.(…)Muammar Gaddafi's fortress of Bab-al-Aziziyah was essentially invaded and conquered last week by Belhaj's men - who were at the forefront of a militia of Berbers from the mountains southwest of Tripoli. The militia is the so-called Tripoli Brigade, trained in secret for two months by US Special Forces. This turned out to be the rebels' most effective militia in six months of tribal/civil war.(…)Hardly by accident, all the top military rebel commanders are LIFG, from Belhaj in Tripoli to one Ismael as-Salabi in Benghazi and one Abdelhakim al-Assadi in Derna, not to mention a key asset, Ali Salabi, sitting at the core of the TNC.(…) Crucially, still in 2007, then al-Qaeda's number two, Zawahiri, officially announced the merger between the LIFG and al-Qaeda in the Islamic Mahgreb (AQIM). So, for all practical purposes, since then, LIFG/AQIM have been one and the same - and Belhaj was/is its emir.
http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/MH30Ak01.html

September 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRalf Ostner

Forget your pipe-dreams of NATO-boots on the ground in Libya or Egyptian army joining the NATO and the Libyan rebels.At the moment Israeli flags are burning in Kairo, the Muslim Brotherhood calls for a review of the Camp David treaty, Turkish Prime minister Erdogan wants to go to Gaza on the 12-13. September, Turkey will send military vessels to accompy new Gaza-Aid-flotillass and Iran is crossing the Suiez channel with its war shiphs and sending submarines to the Red Sea.In Spetember the Palestinians want to announce the creation of a Palestinan state--the whole issue will be about Palestine/Israel and not about Libya in the Muslim world.This could have severe consequenses for NATO. What will happen oif the Israelian army attacks an Turklish warship? Is this the case for NATO to intervene on the side of its NATO-partner Turkey?And what about Libya: What do you think about the Libyan Islamic Fighting Forces who killed General Younis and are now the dominant factor in the Libyan scenario?

September 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRalf Ostner

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