Tuesday, March 22, 2011

European Coalition Cracking?

Europe is showing the cracks over the UNSC no-fly zone implementation as the US withdraws from its “leadership” position. Despite the hysterical, and in the case of Dennis Kucinich in the US, downright stupid, comments from US critics of the UNSC mission, the US has performed its stated policy perfectly and will vanish from the news as it has fired its last cruise missile. Now comes the interesting part in Europe.

France wants to continue to lead the charge in Libya and really is aiming to remove Qaddafi, one way or another. It does not want NATO involved as the operational structure of NATO would restrict French military activities – which are bent on regime change. Although a NATO lead would provide significant organizational assets, it would be a political mistake as that would make this purely a Western intervention despite the Security Council resolution. Italy wants NATO because it knows this will slow the regime change meme and result in a stalemate so it could continue to deal with Qaddafi. No one has asked how Qatari or other Arab forces would operate under NATO, whether wise or not, or if they would even agree to that arrangement.

So the maneuvering begins. Germany, as ever, is showing its inability to take part in anything with a combat role – making it more useless to NATO than ever except for base facilities. The German government will be suitably shocked at Qaddafi’s staged atrocities (something al Jazeera has already revealed as fake but credulity - deliberate or not - in some quarters rules). Like Italy, but for different reasons, it would support the lead role for NATO - if for nothing else than putting the brakes on France. As yet, it is unclear what positions Norway, Canada and the Arab League have on who should control the campaign, although in the case of the latter, getting rid of Qaddafi is high on the “to do” list.

Although I think that delivering the command and control to NATO is a bad idea on any number of levels, the decision of who will run the continuing campaign will be decided in a week or so – hopefully giving the French additional time to complete their agenda. If they are unable to take out the regime, and with the Libyan armor and artillery pretty much decimated, the regime will likely revert to an insurgency campaign involving urban terror campaigns and exhibits, when possible, of Western atrocities suitably staged with moveable military bodies dressed as civilians. This would mean a long haul campaign for which many (but not all) Europeans have never had any stomach and which will require a different approach.

Fortunately, very, very soon, the US will be out of the picture. Then little, if anything will be covered in the US because limited activities of logistical support to its allies is not exciting or controversial – unless critics on the left and right feel that support to US allies is not in its foreign policy interests. President Obama’s policy will have worked and other events will receive more play. Faux News can then go back to covering those nasty union people and any other pet anti-democratic project Murdoch and the Koch brothers have on their minds while CNN (in the US, not Europe or Asia) will simply get bored and go back to its normal useless news coverage of the latest flower shows. I suggest that people start viewing al Jazeera for continuing coverage if they so desire.

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