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

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

US Urges Restraint in Hong Kong Protests

Protesters angered by Beijing's decision to only approve candidates that it sanctions for Hong Kong's leadership elections in 2017 More

Archive of Forgotten UCLA Speeches Offers Snapshot of History

Recordings of prominent voices in social change, politics, science and literature from 1960s, early 1970s now available on YouTube 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.
Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenyai
X
Gabe Joselow
September 29, 2014 6:20 PM
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 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.
Video

Video Reconstruction? What Reconstruction? Life After War in Gaza

It’s been a month since Israel and the Palestinians agreed to a ceasefire to end 52 days of an air and tank war that left 60,000 homes in Gaza damaged or destroyed and 110,000 homeless. Sharon Behn reports that lack of reconstruction is leading to despair.
Video

Video US, Saudi Arabia and UAE Hit Islamic State's Oil Revenue

The United States, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have bombed oil facilities operated by Islamic State militants in Syria. It was a truly collaborative effort, with the two Arab countries dropping the majority of the bombs. The 12 refineries targeted were estimated to generate as much as $2 million per day for the terrorist group. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb has the story.
Video

Video Russia's Food Sanctions Raise Price Worries, Hopes for Domestic Production

Russia retaliated against Western sanctions imposed for its actions in Ukraine by halting food imports from the West. The temporary import ban on food from Australia, the European Union, Norway and North America has Russian consumers concerned that they could face a sharp increase in food prices. But in an ironic twist, the restrictions aimed at the Kremlin have made Russia's domestic food producers hopeful this can boost their business. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Washington to Pyongyang: 'Shut This Evil System Down'

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is calling on North Korea to shut down prison camps and other human rights abuses following a United Nations Commission of Inquiry into "widespread and systematic human rights violations." VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
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