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

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

John the XXIII and John Paul II will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square on April 27 More

Thailand Reacts to Plots Targeting Israelis

Authorities hope arrest of two Lebanese suspects will disrupt plot to attack young Israeli tourists More

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

'Once Upon a Forest' takes viewers deep into heart of tropical rainforest 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.
Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Churchi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 22, 2014 4:14 PM
On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Robotic Mission Kicks Up Lunar Dust

A robotic mission to the moon was deliberately crashed onto the lunar surface late last week, but not before scientists had collected data gathered by the spacecraft which was designed to self-destruct. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports on the preliminary findings of the craft, called LADEE - an acronym for Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer.
Video

Video Boko Haram Claims Responsibility for Bombing in Nigerian Capital

The Nigerian militant group known as Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for a bombing in the capital on April 14th that killed 75 people. In the video message, Abubakar Shekau, the man who says he ordered the bombing, says nothing about the mass abduction of more than 100 teenage girls, most of whom are still missing. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Abuja.
Video

Video Ukraine Developments Hang Over Obama Trip to Asia

President Barack Obama's trip to Asia this week comes as concerns over Beijing's territorial ambitions are growing in the region. Those concerns have been compounded by Russia's recent actions in Ukraine and the possibility that Chinese strategists might be looking to Crimea as a model for its territorial disputes with its neighbors. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid