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

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Video Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus 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.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid