News / Africa

Analysts Debate Success of NATO Mission in Libya

Smoke rises above buildings following a NATO air strike in Tripoli, Libya, April 14, 2011.
Smoke rises above buildings following a NATO air strike in Tripoli, Libya, April 14, 2011.
TEXT SIZE - +

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization has been a big factor in helping anti-Gadhafi forces gain the upper hand in Libya.

Since March of this year, NATO planes have been attacking forces loyal to Colonel Moammar Gadhafi. The international coalition is acting under a United Nations resolution authorizing member states to take “all necessary measures” to protect civilians and civilian-populated areas under threat of attack.

Analysts say by attacking Gadhafi’s forces, NATO has in essence become the air force of the anti-Gadhafi fighters and has helped turn possible defeat into an apparent victory.  

“There is no doubt that military advisers from the West and reconnaissance as well as NATO bombings helped turn the tide," said Marc Ginsberg, a former U.S. Ambassador to Morocco and a NATO expert. "There is no way that the rebels would have achieved this victory, or at least appear to be on the verge of victory, without NATO’s active involvement.”

Anti-Gadhafi forces have taken control in most of Libya. And experts are now asking whether the NATO mission there was a success.

Weak alliance

Ambassador Ginsberg says the NATO operation in Libya showed weaknesses in the military alliance.

“The lack of coordination without United States actively providing front and center leadership," he said. "The fact that NATO countries didn’t have sufficient military resources to provide the rebels. We’re talking about a regime that was not particularly militarily strong. And it took six months to get to this point. So that says a lot about the lack of force on the ground and perhaps, to a certain degree, how long it took for NATO to get its act together.”

Sean Kay, a NATO expert at Ohio Wesleyan University, agrees.

“It’s way premature to call this anything like a success for NATO and in fact, I think the institution itself is going to come under some very significant questioning here in the United States, in Europe as well. Here we are, 60 years after World War II, and Britain and France, combined with other European allies, could not handle a war like Libya on their own, without the United States. That really raises some basic questions in America as to why are we subsidizing this organization. And I think that NATO comes out of this actually far weaker than it did going in,” said Kay.

Rebel fighters search for Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's forces in Tripoli, August 26, 2011
Rebel fighters search for Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's forces in Tripoli, August 26, 2011

Mission a success

But Charles Ries, NATO expert with the RAND Corporation, disagrees. He says the NATO mission is a success because, first of all, the alliance responded to a call for help from civilians being attacked by Gadhafi's forces.  

“Secondly, it’s the first NATO armed mission in memory in which the Europeans have taken the operational lead," he said. "And this is something that has been much hoped for by the United States and has felt that it always has to take the lead and bear the disproportionate burden. In this case, France and Britain have taken the lead and press accounts have it that the French have flown a full third of the sorties. And I think that that is very good for the evolution of NATO.”

Ries says the Obama administration has been adept at mobilizing an international coalition.

“And allowing various countries to step forward and do what they could do and wanted to do," he said. "In years past, often times various allies would have ideas and the United States would listen to those ideas and then step all over them - and say this is what we’re going to do and you all fall in line.”

Ries and others say the Libyan example, where NATO nations other than the United States take a leading role, could be the way forward for the western alliance as it continues to redefine its role in a changing world.

You May Like

Multimedia Relatives of South Korean Ferry Victims Fire at Authorities

46 people are confirmed dead, but some 250 remain trapped inside sunken ferry More

War Legacy Haunts Vietnam, US Relations

$84 million project aims to clean up soil contaminated by Agent Orange More

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid