News / Africa

Libya Stalemate Could Draw Stronger Action

A rebel stands atop a destroyed tank, belonging to forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, after a coalition air strike, along a road between Benghazi and Ajdabiyah, March 21, 2011
A rebel stands atop a destroyed tank, belonging to forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, after a coalition air strike, along a road between Benghazi and Ajdabiyah, March 21, 2011

A coalition of Western and Arab nations has jumped into the conflict in Libya under the authority of a U.N. Security Council resolution.  But some analysts say that in doing so, the West may be creating a situation in which neither Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi nor the anti-government rebels win. A prolonged stalemate could push the coalition into more aggressive but politically risky action to oust Colonel Gadhafi.

Speaking on Fox News Sunday,  the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Michael Mullen, noted that the U.N. resolution only stipulates the protection of civilian areas and does not call for Colonel Gadhafi’s ouster.

"The focus of the United Nations Security Council resolution was really [the rebel stronghold of] Benghazi, specifically, and to protect civilians.  And we have done that, or we have started to do that.  This is not about going after Gadhafi himself or attacking him at this particular point in time," he said.

But some analysts are voicing concern that by giving the rebel forces only limited backing, a stalemate may be in the offing in which neither side wins decisively.  A former Defense Intelligence Agency Mideast analyst, Jeffrey White, says that even with the establishment of the no-fly zone and attacks on some Libyan military facilities, the outcome is not clear.

"The government has been weakened, or government forces have been weakened, by the no-fly zone and the ground attacks that have occurred so far. But they’re certainly not out of it, and they’ve demonstrated that they do have some adaptive qualities and that they may be able to weather this unless the attacks are pressed home hard enough," White said.

A worst case scenario might force a de facto partition that leaves Colonel Gadhafi in control of Tripoli and parts of the west, and a breakaway rebel administration based in Benghazi in the east.

Former State Department intelligence analyst Wayne White says the prospect of such a scenario might push the coalition to take stronger action in support of the rebels. "Gadhafi is shaky, even back in the west [of Libya]. And the extent to which his regime is isolated and the international community provides support to a coherent opposition might actually undermine him in the west [of Libya], might actually bring fractures in his own regime.  And I don’t think anyone who participated in advocating action at the U.N. was interested in anything that would preserve a divided Libya.  They’re interested in getting rid of Gadhafi," he said.

But, as Admiral Mullen noted, the U.N. resolution does not call for regime change, and it specifically bars any "foreign occupation force" in Libya.  Former DIA analyst Jeffrey White says there are other actions the coalition can take, such as attacking communications lines and giving the rebels arms.  But, he adds, that would be perceived in some nations as taking things too far. "But any of those actions, though, will be seen or interpreted as dramatically changing the balance in favor of the rebels and preparing conditions for a regime change," he said.

Military analysts have said that the rebels are poorly armed and equipped, but that the Libyan army is hardly a crack fighting force.  Wayne White describes it as "the worst military of any of the major states in the Middle East."

Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Thousands of Ethiopian Israelis Rally Against Racism

PM Netanyahu says he will meet Damas Pakada, the Ethiopia-born Israeli soldier who was filmed being beaten by two policemen More

Multimedia Ten Migrants Drown in Mediterranean, 4,800 Rescued

All of those rescued are being ferried to Italian ports, with some arriving on Italy's southernmost island, Lampedusa, and others taken to Sicily and Calabria More

HRW: Saudis Using US Cluster Bombs in Yemen

Human Rights Watch says photographs, video and other evidence have emerged indicating cluster munitions have been used in 'recent weeks' in airstrikes in Houthi stronghold in northern Yemen 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.
From Aleppo To Berlin: Band of Brothers Escapes Civil Wari
X
Henry Ridgwell
May 03, 2015 1:12 AM
Hundreds of thousands of Syrians have fled the civil war in their country and journeyed to Europe by boat across the Mediterranean. It is a terrifying ordeal with dangers at every turn. A group of Syrian brothers and their friends describe their ordeal as they try to reach Germany. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports. ...
Video

Video From Aleppo To Berlin: Band of Brothers Escapes Civil War

Hundreds of thousands of Syrians have fled the civil war in their country and journeyed to Europe by boat across the Mediterranean. It is a terrifying ordeal with dangers at every turn. A group of Syrian brothers and their friends describe their ordeal as they try to reach Germany. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports. ...
Video

Video Rural Nepal Suffers Brunt of Quake’s Devastation

Nepal is still coming to grips with the full extent of the devastation and misery caused by last Saturday’s magnitude 7.8 earthquake. Some of the hardest-hit communities have been cut off by landslides making it difficult to assess the precise toll. A VOA News crew has been among the first to reach a few of the smaller, remote communities. Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Sindhupolchak district, east of Kathmandu, which suffered greatly in Nepal’s worst quake in more than 80 years.
Video

Video Black Families Use Baltimore Case to Revisit 'Police Talk'

Following Freddie Gray’s death in police custody this month, VOA interviewed black families throughout the eastern U.S. city of Baltimore about how they discuss the case. Over and over, parents pointed to a crucial talk they say every black mother or father has with their children. Victoria Macchi has more on how this conversation is passed down through generations.
Video

Video Middle East Atheist Channel Defies Taboo

In Egypt, a deeply religious country in a deeply religious region, atheism is not only taboo, it is dangerous. It is sometimes even criminal to publicly declare nonbelief. Despite the danger, one group of activists is pushing back with a new online channel that defends the right not to believe. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Nepal Quake Survivors Tell Their Stories

Against all hope, rescuers have found a few more survivors of the devastating earthquake that hit Nepal last Saturday. Mountain climbers and hikers trapped in remote places also have been airlifted to safety, and aid is finally reaching people in the areas closest to the quake's epicenter. Survivors and rescuers are now recounting their experience. Zlatica Hoke has this story.
Video

Video Lessons for Germany, Europe Remain on Anniversary of WWII's End

The 70th anniversary of the end of World War II will be marked May 8-9 in all European countries except Germany, which lost the war. How is the war viewed there, and what impact is it still having? From Berlin, VOA’s Al Pessin reports.
Video

Video 'Woman in Gold' Uses Artwork as Symbol of Cultural Identity

Simon Curtis’ legal drama, "Woman in Gold," is based on the true story of an American Jewish refugee from Austria who fights to reclaim a famous Gustav Klimt painting stolen from her family by the Nazis during World War II. It's a haunting film that speaks to the hearts of millions who have sought to reclaim their past, stripped from them 70 years ago. VOA's Penelope Poulou reports.
Video

Video Nepal Town Destroyed By Quake Counts Itself Lucky

Foreign search teams on Wednesday began reaching some of the communities outside Kathmandu that suffered worse damage than Nepal’s capital from last Saturday’s massive earthquake. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman is in Sankhu - a town of about 10,000 people - where there is relief the death toll is not higher despite widespread destruction.
Video

Video First Surgical Glue Approved for Use Inside Body

While medical adhesives are becoming more common, none had been approved for use inside the body until now. Earlier this year, the first ever biodegradable surgical glue won that approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on the innovation and its journey from academia to market.
Video

Video Somali Hotel Chain Owner Strives to Make a Difference

Many in the Somali diaspora are returning home to make a new life despite the continuing risks. Since 2011 when a military campaign against Al-Shabab militants began making progress, members of the diaspora community have come back to open hospitals, schools, hotels, restaurants and other businesses. Abdulaziz Billow in Mogadishu profiles the owner of a chain of hotels and restaurants who is helping to bring change to the once-deadly Somali capital.
Video

Video Study: One in Six Species Threatened with Extinction

Climate change is transforming the planet. Unless steps are taken to reduce global warming, scientists predict rising seas, stronger and more frequent storms, drought, fire and floods. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, a new study on species extinction underscores the need to take action to avoid the most catastrophic effects of rising temperatures.
Video

Video Taviani Brothers' 'Wondrous Boccaccio' Offers Tales of Love, Humor

The Italian duo of Paolo and Vittorio Taviani have been making movies for half a century: "The Night of the Shooting Stars," "Padre Padrone," "Good Morning, Babylon." Now in their 80s, the brothers have turned to one of the treasures of Italian culture for their latest film. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver reports.
Video

Video Child Migrants Cross Mediterranean Alone, Face Unknown Future

Among the thousands of migrants making the deadly journey by boat to Europe, there are unaccompanied girls and boys. Some have been sent by relatives to earn money; others are orphaned or fleeing war. From a shelter for young migrants in the Sicilian town of Caltagirone, VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Baltimore Riots Shed Light on City’s Troubled Past

National Guard troops took up positions Tuesday in Baltimore, Maryland, as authorities tried to restore order after rioting broke out a day earlier. It followed Monday's funeral of a 25-year-old black man who died while in police custody earlier this month. VOA's Chris Simkins reports.
Video

Video Challenges Await Aid Organizations on the Ground in Nepal

A major earthquake rocked Nepal on Saturday and killed thousands, injured thousands more and sent countless Nepalese outside to live in makeshift tent villages. The challenges to Nepal are enormous, with some reconstruction estimates at around $5 billion. Aid workers from around the world face challenges getting into Nepal, which likely makes for a difficult recovery. Arash Arabasadi has the story from Washington.

Poll: Baltimore Police Charged

Poll archive

VOA Blogs