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

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the US are seeing gas prices dip below $3 a gallon More

Afghan Women's Soccer Team Building for the Future

A four-team female league was recently set up in Kabul; It will help identify players for the national team More

Video Koreas on Edge Amid Live-fire Drills

Pyongyang threatens nuclear test as joint US, S. Korean exercises show forces’ capabilities 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.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid