Canthe‘no

608 2020-08-13 211

<>As rebels have taken back the key oil town of al-Egila and pushed toward Tripoli, the North Atlantic Treaty Organizationis expected to agree to take over command of military operations in Libya from the coalition forces mandated by the United Nations to enforce a “no-fly” zone over the strife-torn North African country. The U.S. took the lead in forming the coalition, which also includes the UK, Italy, France and Canada. NATO is willing to do so after coalition attacks succeeded in neutralizing Moammar Gadhafi's powerful air force and stopping his army from recovering Benghazi and other key towns now in rebel hands.

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<>When NATO takes over command, an “impartial” no-fly zone will be enforced. It will be impartial because flights both by the government forces of Gadhafi's and his opponents shall be equally banned. Then, one question arises. Can the enforcement of the no-fly zone end the Libyan civil war?

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<>The answer is an emphatic no. The no-fly zone enforced in former Yugoslavia failed to end the war between Serbia and Bosnia. It's simply impossible to end the civil war in Libya.

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<>The reason is simple. Though his air force may have lost its striking power, Gadhafi has well-trained ground forces and more than enough money to keep them fighting the rag-tag army of the rebels as long as he wants. The arms embargo NATO is enforcing makes it next to impossible for the rebel army to replenish its weapons and ammunition, while the coalition is banned from sending in ground forces to stop Gadhafi's soldiers without air cover. Needless to say, the rag-tag forces are no match for the much better disciplined troops and Gadhafi's mercenaries.

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<>Of course, the rebels are not going to surrender. As a matter of fact, they can't, because the Western powers that support them won't let them lose the civil war. That's the very reason why the no-fly zone is being enforced. Gadhafi's tanks and artillery may have been rendered useless, but his infantry is capable of fighting on without them, as neither are available to the rebels either.

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<>With or without the no-fly zone enforced, the ground war in Libya will go on and on unless Gadhafi is removed. Like a cat with nine lives, he can survive air attacks and assassins' bullets. And chances are he won't step down just to fulfill Washington's wishes.

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<>The only hope the U.S. now entertains is to have Gadhafi negotiate his own downfall with the rebels. But that requires them to build up a formidable fighting force that can threaten him into negotiation.

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<>Is Gadhafi a man who can be easily threatened? He isn't. When threatened, he chooses to fight. And if he were losing the civil war, he would order his loyal mercenaries to set all the oil facilities under his control on fire. He vows to fight to the death. When he is ready to die, he will strip Libya of oil to carry it with him as company to the other world. That will touch off an oil shock ten times as devastating as the first one following the Six-Day War of 1973.

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<>Then the world will blame the West for getting rid of Gadhafi for oil. Just like many war strategists did when U.S. President George W. Bush launched an American invasion of Iraq, from where the American forces have yet to totally withdraw.

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<>Even if the Libyan civil war were to end in a satisfactory manner for Western powers, they would have to deal with a great deal of issues. Should they attempt to intervene in the anti-government turmoil in other Arab countries? Saudi Arabia is taking care of the turmoil in oil-rich Bahrain, but would Western intervention be needed in Jordan, Yemen, and Syria? Or Egypt or even Oman, possibly?

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<>We hope that the political turmoil in the Arab world comes to a conclusion as soon as possible to make any consideration of further Western intervention totally unnecessary. Another intervention will compel the entire Arab world to claim that the Christian world powers are launching another Crusade.

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