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.

    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

    US, Allies Discuss Next Steps in Islamic State Fight

    Meeting comes a day after US Navy SEAL was killed while fighting Islamic State forces in northern Iraq

    In China, Traditional Banks Fight Challenge From Internet Firms

    Internet companies lent more than $150 billion to customers in 2015, which is an extremely small amount compared to the much larger lending by commercial banks last year

    Trump Faces Tough Presidential Odds Against Clinton

    According to analysts, early indications are that Republican front-runner faces daunting contest against likely Democratic candidate, former secretary of state Hillary Clinton

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

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limitedi
    X
    Katie Arnold
    May 04, 2016 12:31 PM
    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limited

    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Taliban Threats Force Messi Fan to Leave Afghanistan

    A young Afghan boy, who recently received autographed shirts and a football from his soccer hero Lionel Messi, has fled his country due to safety concerns. He and his family are now taking refuge in neighboring Pakistan. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from Islamabad.
    Video

    Video Major Rubbish Burning Experiment Captures Destructive Greenhouse Gases

    The world’s first test to capture environmentally harmful carbon dioxide gases from the fumes of burning rubbish took place recently in Oslo, Norway. The successful experiment at the city's main incinerator plant, showcased a method for capturing most of the carbon dioxide. VOA’s Deborah Block has more.
    Video

    Video EU Visa Block Threatens To Derail EU-Turkey Migrant Deal

    Turkish citizens could soon benefit from visa-free travel to Europe as part of the recent deal between the EU and Ankara to stem the flow of refugees. In return, Turkey has pledged to keep the migrants on Turkish soil and crack down on those who are smuggling them. Brussels is set to publish its latest progress report Wednesday — but as Henry Ridgwell reports from London, many EU lawmakers are threatening to veto the deal over human rights concerns.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.
    Video

    Video Elephant Summit Results in $5M in Pledges, Presidential Support

    Attended and supported by three African presidents, a three-day anti-poaching summit has concluded in Kenya, resulting in $5 million in pledges and a united message to the world that elephants are worth more alive than dead. The summit culminated at the Nairobi National Park with the largest ivory burn in history. VOA’s Jill Craig attended the summit and has this report about the outcomes.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora