High Noon in Libya

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Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi showed, once again, on Tuesday that he is far from defeated when he sent loyal troops on the attack for the second time in three days.

Tuesday’s offensive targeted the important coastal oil port of Brega. Although opposition forces successfully repelled what was the regime’s first major attack in eastern Libya, the hotbed of the anti-Gaddafi uprising, pro-government troops succeeded in retaking two towns close to Gaddafi’s western Libyan stronghold of Tripoli.

The other pro-regime offensive took place on Sunday when pro-Gaddafi soldiers launched an attack that resulted in the recapture of Ras Lanoof, a town near Tripoli. On both days, the Gaddafi forces employed warplanes, against which the opposition had little defense except outdated anti-aircraft guns.

But help for the anti-Gaddafi forces may be on the way. While Gaddafi’s troops were returning to rebellious eastern Libya, American warships were meanwhile entering the Suez Canal en route to the North African country. The USS Kearsage and the USS Ponce, carrying a contingent of about 1,000 marines, are equipped with a fleet of helicopters. An aircraft carrier will also join them in Libyan waters.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates was also discussing help for the anti-Gaddafi opposition in the form of a no-fly zone over Libya before the House Appropriation’s Defense subcommittee on Wednesday. Although Gates sounded cautious about an air assault by American and NATO aircraft, he said if the president ordered the military to support the Libyan opposition forces, the Pentagon could do it. The Defense Secretary did voice concerns, however, about the over-extension of American air assets and the political effect their employment in Libya would have, saying a UN mandate for the operation would be needed first.

“If we move additional assets, what are the consequences of that for Afghanistan? For the Persian Gulf? And what other allies are prepared to work with us in some of theses things?” Gates said. “We also have to think about, frankly, the use of the U.S. military in another country in the Middle East.”

But the Obama administration may have little choice but to get involved militarily in Libya, if it wants a speedy resolution to the conflict. The Libyan opposition forces cannot defeat Gaddafi quickly without outside help due to their ramshackle condition.

A story in the New York Times described the anti-Gaddafi force involved in the Brega fight as a “ragtag collection of rebel fighters.” While one observer praised the enthusiasm of the 15,000 men in Benghazi, from which the Brega fighters came and who have volunteered to fight Gaddafi, he also noted that they are military novices who still have to be trained.

“On Tuesday at a basketball court behind a local high school [in Benghazi], soldiers were teaching marching techniques to new recruits-ranging from 18 to 60 years old. An officer at a nearby desk jotted down the names and the blood types of the volunteers,” he said.

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  • flaedo

    Yeah right. Best of luck trying to find the good guys in that muslim hellhole.

  • Viking

    “The form this intervention should take is air cover for opposition forces battling Gaddafi, like the air cover NATO forces provided Albanian fighters in Kosovo against the Serbian dictator Milosovic.”

    Yes, supporting the Muslims in Kosovo was a huge success. Muslims all over the world now love the USA for that, right?

    “NATO aircraft should establish dominance quickly over the Libyan air force, since it is also in poor condition. Unlike Kosovo, however, Marines may have to land to protect the oil facilities.”

    What a brilliant idea. You want to give air cover to support opposition groups you know nothing about and land American soldiers in a country where the USA hated by absolutely everyone. At least a long civil war may be avoided, since everyone would shoot at the Americans.

  • Viking

    “The form this intervention should take is air cover for opposition forces battling Gaddafi, like the air cover NATO forces provided Albanian fighters in Kosovo against the Serbian dictator Milosovic.”

    Yes, supporting the Muslims in Kosovo was a huge success. Muslims all over the world now love the USA for that, right?

    “NATO aircraft should establish dominance quickly over the Libyan air force, since it is also in poor condition. Unlike Kosovo, however, Marines may have to land to protect the oil facilities.”

    What a brilliant idea. You want to give air cover to support opposition groups you know nothing about and land American soldiers in a country where the USA hated by absolutely everyone. At least a long civil war may be avoided, since everyone would shoot at the Americans.

    • Ex-European

      "Yes, supporting the Muslims in Kosovo was a huge success. Muslims all over the world now love the USA for that, right?"

      Kosovo was a HUGE mistake the West still doesn't want to admit. Creating a muslim state in the hearth ot Europe at the expense of a christian nation, what a stupidity!

      • Viking

        "Kosovo was a HUGE mistake the West still doesn't want to admit. Creating a muslim state in the hearth ot Europe at the expense of a christian nation, what a stupidity!"

        Yes. And what goodwill was one able to buy from the Muslim world from spending millions and millions of the taxpayers' money and defending Muslims in the Balkans? They hate the USA no matter what.

    • coyote

      I know Ghadaffi is what he is, but like you, I am not exactly orgasmic about these popular uprisings in any of these countries. One thing is for certain. They will not have "democracy", i.e., a republic as we know it. These countries are sheetholes, and have always been sheetholes. It has always been one despote after another. Their best times were when the British and French had them as colonies. At least when the British and French had enough cajones to use .303 and 7.5, respectively, and generously to keep a lid on the monkeys. They don't know anything about democracy. All they know is they got this "toy" of "social networking" to play with. That was Ghadaffi, and the others big mistake, to even allow them to have access to it. I may be wrong, but I don't really see any good coming from this, at least as far as our interests are concerned.

  • Hoh

    The rest of the world should stay out of this conflict and allow Gadafi to take the country back, this is the best solution for all.
    Otherwise Libya would become either a new Sudan or Somalia. Egypt is already on the way to becoming a new Sudan as the post Mubarak army attacked churches without any reason.

  • http://apollospaeks.townhall.com ApolloSpeaks

    MOSLEM RAGE AGAINST KADDAFI'S UN-ISLAMIC REGIME

    !Muammar Kaddafi runs a brutal, oppressive pan-Arab national-secular-socialist regime which came to power in a military coup that fell on the 30th anniversary of the Nazi invasion of Poland*-a meaningful coincidence on account of Kaddafi having more in common with Hitler's race based National Socialism than with Islamic supremacists like Bin Laden and the Moslem Brothers-who curse him as a hypocrite and enemy of the faith, like they did to Saddam. Indeed, because of the unIslamic character of Kaddafi's regime Imam Saleh Al-Lehaydan, a leading member of the Saudi Council of Ulma (senior religious scholars), the Kingdom's top Islamic body, said of the Libyan leader that he's not an "Imam or true Moslem."

    continued

  • http://apollospaeks.townhall.com ApolloSpeaks

    Muammar Kaddafi runs a brutal, oppressive pan-Arab national-secular-socialist regime which came to power in a military coup that fell on the 30th anniversary of the Nazi invasion of Poland*-a meaningful coincidence on account of Kaddafi having more in common with Hitler's race based National Socialism than with Islamic supremacists like Bin Laden and the Moslem Brothers-who curse him as a hypocrite and enemy of the faith, like they did to Saddam. Indeed, because of the unIslamic character of Kaddafi's regime Imam Saleh Al-Lehaydan, a leading member of the Saudi Council of Ulma (senior religious scholars), the Kingdom's top Islamic body, said of the Libyan leader that he's not an "Imam or true Moslem."

    continued

  • http://apollospaeks.townhall.com ApolloSpeaks

    !Indeed, with an Islamic revival ominously sweeping over the Middle East and into Libya much of the discontent and rage aimed at Kaddafi is over his failed, outmoded, unIslamic pan-Arab revolution. With good reason a MidEast analyst in Egypt recently predicted that anti-Western, pro-Sharia Islamists (the best organized force in Libya) are likely to determine Libya's direction when Kaddafi's gone. For those who are calling for US military intervention in Lybia to help rebel forces, or to supply them with arms and aid, if this is done and the rebels prevail don't expect to see any gratitude or good will from an Islamist state in the post-Kaddafi era. The conflict in Libya is not between good and evil but between evil men fighting for the triumph of their evil dreams.

    Click my name and read my piece Terrorism in Frankfurt, Kosovo Independence and War Torn Libya.

  • William_Z

    The sad fact of the matter is if Libya didn't have oil no one would care. The US does buy oil from Libya, but only 3%, which the US could easily recoup if the president would stop getting in the way.

  • BLJ

    I say let them kill each other off. We have bigger fish to fry.

  • coyote

    What is kind of humorous is the logic of reporters. The Dailey Mail, British newspaper, has a picture of one the ill trained, ill equipped mercenaries, reportedly hired by Ghadaffi. He has been captured by rebels. In another picture, there are reportedly two rebels with RPG rockets. The caption talks about one of them smoking a cigarette "inches" from the rocket. As if this is some danger of the rocket ingniting from the cigarette. You could smoke a whole truckload of cigarettes while sitting on top of a pile of RPG rockets, smoke a truckload of cigarettes, put the butts out on the rockets, and they would not ignite. Now, I realize people might say, "so what?" Well, the point is not that "someone" thinks the cigarette could ignite the rocket (although I would question their sanity as well), but that a reporter in a war zone doesn't enough firearms acumen to know the difference. You would think that they would at least choose reporters who know something about combat, at least some technical expertise. Makes you wonder how ignorant they are about other things they are reporting.

  • http://www.currentlocaltimes.com/ localtimezone

    Isn't like gaddafi has been a nice guy his entire reign.
    people coppin less than fortunate ones up in tripoli

  • Sergey

    Looks like our dear ultra-liberals found in both Democratic and Republican parties learn ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. YOU DO NOT AID ONE GROUP OF THUGS AGAINST THE OTHER !!! Both Gaddafi and his opponents are ISLAMIC THUGS. Well, in case of Gaddafi, it's more (Islamo-Socialists). If the US will intervene (either unilaterally or as a part of NATO) on the part of anti-Gaddafi rebels, it may only aid the likes of Al-Qaeda, Iranian Ayatollahs, Muslim Brotherhood and other thugs. US SECURITY WILL ONLY SUFFER IF ANTI-GADDAFI ISLAMISTS WILL WIN.

  • http://www.balticstagparty.com Baltics Tag Party

    Tilmann,What an incredibly helpful comment that is. “We lack a culture of sharing our knowledge” is the first explanation I’ve heard for why blogging didn’t take off in Germany and I ask Germans every time I’m there. You’ve cracked the code for me.Vielen Dank!jeff