NATO Fumbles in Libya

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The rebel forces found themselves in retreat as the see-saw battle with Qaddafi continued. One rebel fighter in Brega attributed NATO’s weakness to a desire to seek a ceasefire. “Ever since Qaddafi started looking for a way out, negotiating for an end, NATO has backed off. Our question for NATO is this: are you with us or against us?”

The government of Turkey is being loudly blamed for NATO’s ineffectiveness by the rebels. The Turkish government initially opposed NATO intervention and once it began, complained that the operations went beyond what was authorized by the U.N. The Turks have been a leading player in trying to broker a ceasefire. Prime Minister Erdogan won a Human Rights Award from Qaddafi last year, which he accepted.

The rebels claim that Turkey is using its membership in NATO to impede operations. They have gone so far as to attack the Turkish Consulate in Benghazi and forced a Turkish ship delivering humanitarian aid to return home. The Transitional Council claims it has information that Turkey is selling fuel to Qaddafi’s forces in Tripoli and Az-Zawiyah. The Turks have also refused to seize the assets of the Qaddafi regime.

These problems have led Senator John McCain to demand that command over the war in Libya be returned to the U.S., U.K. and France as “our allies neither have the assets or the will.” Lt.-General James Dubik, who led the training of Iraqi forces from 2007 to 2008, also has similar concerns.

“In war, leadership is not exercised from the rear by those who seek to risk as little as possible. Washington must stop pretending that we’ve passed the leadership for the Libyan operation on to NATO,” he wrote in an editorial. Dubik noted that command over operations in Bosnia was handed over to NATO and the Srebrenica massacre followed.

NATO has had similar problems in Afghanistan with many countries placing burdensome restrictions on their military forces. Secretary of Defense Gates said in 2008, “I worry a great deal about the alliance evolving into a two-tiered alliance, in which you have some allies willing to fight and die to protect the people’s security and others who are not.” He used strong language again in February 2010, stating, “The demilitarization of Europe…has gone from a blessing in the 20th century to an impediment to achieving real security and lasting peace in the 21st.”

NATO’s involvement is escalating. France has said it will increase its air strikes. The U.S. is now using armed Predator drones and is giving $25 million in non-lethal aid to the rebels. European military advisers are being deployed and the European Union is discussing sending in ground forces to protect shipment of humanitarian aid.

As the conflict grows and becomes more complex, the fissures in NATO will grow. The U.S. should not outsource command over a war it initiated to an alliance uncommitted to paying the price.

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  • tre

    tell nato to halt air attacks on libya, to allow time for nato to talk to people, that have guns or heaviery weapons, that do not call themself rebels, or nato, in misurata,libya.
    immediatly talk to people, that have guns or heaviery weapons, that do not call themself rebels, or nato, in misurata,libya.

    Broadcast messege on there tv, radio, send radio,phone, dialog tools to non-nato, non-rebel, armed people in misurata libya. could drop it from plane, send on ship, unmanned vehical(rc robot), lrad(heard from 3000meters away) blimp seen from 3miles away(4823meters) put phone in bullet like case that wont explode when it lands, than launch from launcher. Light hologram messege in sky.

    dont continue or stop shooting at people that are not gaddafi and his sons, based on if Gaddafi and his sons leave power.
    do not fire agianst or attack gaddafi and his sons, if gaddafi and his sons, are not physcially abuseing, pointing/useing/shooting weapons at people.
    dont base if you will or wont immediatly cease hostilities agianst people that are not Gaddafi and his sons, based on if Gaddafi and his sons depart.

    • welldoneson

      can you post that again in English?

  • Skandinav

    Denmark has been bombing with F16s since the beginning of the campaign.

  • welldoneson

    Kumar, the "rebels" in Libya are Islamists.
    Don't believe me? Look at Egypt.
    Renewed diplomatic ties with Iran, broke off relations
    with Israel, want to tear up the treaty with Israel.
    The tragic part of that is that the Egyptians will surely
    get their heads handed to them if there is a war.
    You see, Moslems don't fight so good.
    Something about being told they'll go straight to
    Allah's side if killed in battle.
    Back in medieval times, these creeps depended on
    sheer numbers. That don't work no more.

  • welldoneson

    “This crime will be hanging from the necks of the international community until the end of days”, sez the rebels, who are solidly backed by Islamists.
    That's why lefties constantly refer to the war against Islamists as "endless war"; because that's what Islamists say.
    John McCain needs to STFU! It's his utterly inept and milktoast campaign that allowed the Moslem quisling to steal the White House. What an a$$hat.

  • exchangerates

    Our tourist president will no doubt address this mess right after he checks his NCAA brackets now that he’s back from checking on his boss’s Brazilian oil investments ….oops look like pappa george might be pissed off about something ….he locked Barry out of the whitehouse.

  • Fred Dawes

    This war Is madness but in a time of nuts its normal, And we may not really know who is on the right side or why it has happened. and think obama is doing us all once more.

  • crypticguise

    Hey, hey, ho, ho, Muammar Khaddafi has to go! Hey, hey, ho, ho, NATO is a "no show". Hey, hey, ho, ho, humm. What do Obama, Clinton, Rice and that other ditzy women saw about this "cluster fiasco"?