Jewish World Review March 21, 2011 / 15 Adar II, 5771
Now that U.S., allies have attacked Libya, what are the goals?
By Mark Seibel, Nancy A. Youssef and Roy Gutman
ONDON (MCT) With U.S., British and French forces now fully engaged in attacking
And, Obama said, "Humanitarian assistance must be allowed to reach the people of
But whether such a cease-fire could leave Gadhafi in power remains an open question. Neither the U.N. nor Obama have said explicitly that Gadhafi must be removed from power, though Obama had previously called on Gadhafi to step down.
Still, Flournoy was unwilling to say explicitly that Gadhafi had to go in order for the U.S.-led campaign to end. "It's too early to speculate as to where this ends up," she said.
Describing the military objective as "limited," he dodged a question about whether the no-fly zone over
That troubles some military analysts, who worry that the West's urgent action over the weekend isn't backed by planning for what sort of
It also troubles leading lawmakers on
"Before any further military commitments are made, the administration must do a better job of communicating to the American people and to
"I think we're seeing the opening shot of a fairly long campaign," said retired Royal Navy Rear Adm.
The U.N. resolution "only takes us so far," he said. "Some thought has got to be given to what comes next."
That could certainly happen, Pillar said. "A central fact is the disunity of
The specter of an
"The political goal has got to be a stable
"What did I say?" Jackson asked. Told he had said
Jackson said he had no inside knowledge of what is under consideration for
Jackson went on to outline a scenario that included a diplomatic arrangement in which Gadhafi remains in power.
But he also raised the prospect that the U.N.-sanctioned operation could move beyond the current aerial bombardment if airstrikes fail to topple Gadhafi or bring him to some acceptable accommodation with his armed opponents.
Noting that the U.N. resolution that authorized the attacks prohibits a foreign occupation, Jackson said that doesn't mean no ground troops. "'Occupation' is open to interpretation," he said. "Another interpretation you could make is that limited ground operations could take place."
Obama has said no U.S. troops would be used in such an action, but aerial campaigns have had little success in toppling authoritarian leaders. The no-fly zone set up in 1991 over
To date, the rebels — largely untrained civilians carrying weapons looted from military stores in the east or captured in battle — have been unable to hold territory they took in the days when they optimistically started a march toward Tripoli from their bastions in the east.
Their knowledge of the weapons systems they have is limited: On Saturday, the rebels apparently shot down one of their own planes over Benghazi.
While Benghazi was back under rebel control Sunday, Gadhafi's forces were besieging Misrata, a city in the west that has been under rebel control for nearly a month, and it was not clear, to outside analysts at least, that the Western aerial campaign could help.
Gadhafi apparently was not using aircraft in the assault and, with his forces inside the city, Western bombing could be risky.
"Gadhafi's forces are inside urban areas and that makes it difficult to conduct operations that don't hurt civilians," Jackson, the former British army chief, noted.
"It didn't seem the air force was responsible for an enormous amount of warfare," Gelbard said. "There was much more artillery and infantry."
There's another worry. Gadhafi vowed Sunday to open arms depots and provide weapons to a million sympathizers, suggesting the prospect for a long-term civil war. That's a real possibility that Western airstrikes could do little to prevent.
While the West often talks as if Gadhafi faces opposition from the whole Libyan population, that overstates the case.
Geriani also said there'd been no coordination between the rebels and Western forces before Saturday's airstrikes, which began with 20 French aircraft attacking Gadhafi tanks outside Benghazi. Had there been, he said, rebel leaders wouldn't have fled to Tobruk so quickly. Most had returned to Benghazi on Sunday, he said.
As for the future, Geriani said rebel leaders, too, are wondering what comes next, now that the no-fly zone has been imposed.
"Now that Gadhafi cannot use his airplanes, our needs have changed," he said.
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