Right Wing Nut House

5/16/2011

Stalemate in Libya

Filed under: FrontPage.Com, Middle East — Rick Moran @ 11:51 am

My latest at FrontPage.com is up and it concerns the continuing stalemate in Libya despite recent rebel successes.

The taking of Misrata may have relieved the population of constant artillery and tank bombardment but it did not change the strategic situation; the rebels aren’t strong enough to militarily defeat Gaddafi and the dictator dare not mount the kind of offensive that could defeat the rebels lest NATO planes smash his forces.

A sample:

As the war in Libya enters its third month, forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi have finally been pushed out of the rebel-held city of Misrata after a siege lasting for most of the conflict. But the fact that a reversal might take place at any time highlights an emerging truth about the NATO-led action: the only decisive blow that could be struck by the UN forces to end the conflict is the killing of Gaddafi.

Meanwhile, members of the Obama administration will meet with the leadership of the Libyan National Transitional Council in Washington on Friday to underscore American support for the rebels. At the UN, Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has called for a ceasefire to address the massive humanitarian crisis caused by the war, especially in the city of Misrata. And despite claims from NATO that they are only hitting “military targets” in Tripoli, another air strike smashed an underground bunker in Gaddafi’s compound just hours after he made an appearance on Libyan television.

The dictator had not been seen in two weeks – since the reported death of his son after a Tomahawk cruise missile struck his living quarters in Tripoli on April 30. This led to speculation, both official and unofficial, that Gaddafi may have been badly injured or killed in the same action.

But Gaddafi appeared in a news clip on Thursday taken at a downtown Tripoli hotel meeting with tribal leaders. While there was no sound from the clip, the camera panned in on a desk clock that read “Wednesday, May 11.” NATO refuses to say whether the air strikes a few hours later were the result of Gaddafi’s appearance. “NATO is not targeting individuals,” Brigadier General Claudio Gabellini was quoted as saying.

While there are reports of unrest in the Gaddafi stronghold of Tripoli, the dictator’s forces appear to have a firm grip on the population and there is little chance that a revolt that might overthrow Gaddafi could erupt in the capitol.

A negotiated solution that leaves Gaddafi in power is becoming more likely as time goes on. About the only thing that would dramatically alter the situation would be the death of Gaddafi - something NATO swears they are not trying to accomplish despite several well placed strikes inside his fortified compound.

One can always hope that the dictator will end up in the wrong place at the wrong time…

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