March 22, 2011

This whole dying thing is getting old

From the LA Times:
An uneasy stalemate settles in eastern Libya as rebel units hold back until troops loyal to Moammar Kadafi run out of supplies or allied airstrikes destroy their weapons advantage.

... For now, though, the fighting here has reached an uneasy stalemate, with Kadafi's forces retaining just enough firepower to beat back sporadic rebel attacks. The ragtag rebel units seem content to wait until the government troops run out of supplies or allied airstrikes destroy their weapons advantage.

Thus far, rebel fighters, many of them civilian volunteers, have been unable to exploit the airstrikes that have crippled forces loyal to the Libyan leader. Government forces holed up in Ajdabiya, a city of 120,000, continued to punish the rebels with volleys from tanks and rocket batteries. ...

Troops manning government tanks and rocket batteries are now trying to hide from allied warplanes by setting up next to homes and shops, rebels said. But the opposition forces seemed inadequate to the task of driving Kadafi's men out of the city unless airstrikes first pave the way.

The U.S. has a couple of options to help the Eastern rebels: provide close-air support or declare that they will blast vehicles heading east from Gaddafi's hometown of Surt toward the oil fields to starve out Gaddafi's frontline forces. Since the Obama Administration hasn't yet done either one, I suspect they don't particularly want the Eastern rebels to win and are instead hoping for a nice quick little coup back in Tripoli so they can declare victory and the Libyans can get back to selling oil. 

But who knows? They're just making it up as they go along, assuming that U.S. air supremacy will let them get away with whatever they come up with. They're probably right.

23 comments:

Thrasymachus said...

I think the point originally was not to help the rebels to win, but to keep them from losing, under the assumption that if they were kept from losing they would win. But they appear to have no military training or organization and Qadafi is in firm control of at least half the country. I'm guessing the next step is "peacekeepers"- it's going to get uglier than anyone imagined.

Anonymous said...

I hope this doesn't turn out to be as big a fiasco as ISHTAR.

Anonymous said...

I guess the Eastern Alliance isn't up to the job as the Northern Alliance was in Afghanistan. But then, the US used a lot more bombs in Afghanistan.

Anonymous said...

" Since the Obama Administration hasn't yet done either one, I suspect they don't particularly want the Eastern rebels to win and are instead hoping for a nice quick little coup back in Tripoli so they can declare victory and the Libyans can get back to selling oil."

This would be the most sensible thing.

Hence, I doubt it's true.

Tom in Va said...

But Susan Rice and Samantha Power and Hilary Clinton are really smart, so they must know what they're doing, right? They went to Harvard and Yale and Stanford and Oxford and Harvard Law! SURELY they must know more than this guy, who didn't go to any of those places

http://dailycaller.com/2011/03/21/webb-critical-of-obamas-libya-operation-this-isnt-the-way-that-our-system-is-supposed-on-work/

But seriously, since the end of the draft fewer of our elites have any kind of military experience. The Clinton administration expected the Kosovo war to last three days--it lasted 79--and this crowd clearly has no idea what they're doing.

eh said...

US involvement should've been limited to making book on the outcome in Las Vegas.

Ray O said...

What gives? You post pictures of transgender feminist professors, but not pictures of Khadaffi's hot model bodyguards? I gotta suggest, as a fan of this blog, that you work a bit more on the accompanying pics. But don't go overboard like Derb the other day- he had a Japanese porn pic with one of his articles at Takimag. Some of us like to read at work, that doesn't go over too well...

Chicago said...

I saw Mrs Clinton on the news last night where she stated to the cameras that she had received reports that Gaddafi was searching for ways to exit and that Gaddafi's son was reportedly killed. She tried to say it in a neutral sounding way but I felt I detected a note of smugness and triumphalism in her manner. She seemed self-satisfied as though the death of Gaddafi's son was the cherry on top of the cake, a real score. These initial reports might not be true, of course, but there was something obscene in the way she gloated over this. The Clintons always were a personally repulsive couple. Now she seems to me to be a mean little sadistic witch who is good at giving shabby acts a high minded sounding cover. When the devil walks in through the door it's always in disguise.

John Seiler said...

The military is busy indoctrinating the troops on the end of DADT: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/mar/22/military-set-to-train-for-end-of-dont-ask/

The Anti-Gnostic said...

A jolly, slapdash affair indeed, Steve-o!

Air supremacy's great but I think if they want to control events like, say, making sure there are actual engineers running the refineries, they will have to put boots on the ground. Then there's all the payola to the local tribes but hey, it's a small price to pay for $1/gal gas. Right?

Veracitor said...

That reminds me of the First Gulf War joke:

Q: What is the marching song of the Saudi armed forces?

A: Onward, Christian Soldiers!

Anyway, what else can you expect from an Arab militia* which is obviously some kind of CIA front anyway? Of course they're going to hang back and let the splendidly-equipped foreign devils do all the work. No rational "rebel" would risk getting his own head blown off when there are Americans willing to take the risk on his behalf!

*Or any third-world militia. See any one of a plethora of "War Nerd" columns for details.

Anonymous said...

The Libyan situation is good and may get better yet. Not for Libyans of course. Who really knows which side should triumph? Better for America's domestic politics.

Obama when presented with this crisis managed to do just about everything wrong.

First he procrastinated and dithered. When it was tine to act, he played golf or went abroad on holidy. This is consistent with his pattern during the Gulf oil spill crisis too.

Secondly he spoke loosely. He said unprompted that Qaddafi must go. Only then did he realize that he was therefore expected to do something about it. He had spent his entire career as a critic from the backbenches. He was surprised again that he couldn't just say anything that suddenly came into his mind. This may be the real reason his handlers tried to keep him on the teleprompter.

Third he acted not as a constitutional officer but as some kind of UN representative. After waiting too long he acted too precipitously. No congressman or senator will ever forget how they were by-passed as he followed the dictates of some "international consensus".

If I had planted a mind control device in his skull and made him take disastrous actions that would ruin him, I could have hardly have done more damage than he did to himself.

I'm well pleased.

Albertosaurus

Jon Claerbout said...

I suppose the rebels are getting training now on how to use laser pointers to guide the smart bombs coming next week.

Whiskey EvilNeocon Testing99 said...

A dozen casualties forces the rebels to fall back and wait it out? Perhaps our media and government oversold the revolutionary zeal of rebel cause to get the plebs inline.

So Quadaffi imports sub-Saharan Africans and the rebels are importing Westerners to do the fighting the locals won't do. Why do they even need Libyans for this kind of knife fight? The world really is flat.

No doubt, the rebels hope if they wait long enough to let the Whiskey/EvilNeocon propaganda machine do it's magic, they'll also get American boots on the ground, more aid and easier immigration chains to the West. What's not to like?

Whiskey said...

US Air supremacy fails all the time Steve. See my latest post. It failed in Serbia (ground action was required), it failed to get rid of or even moderate Saddam. It failed against Hezbollah in Lebanon, or making Iran moderate its policies.

Yes US Airpower is awesome. But it CANNOT hold ground. In Afghanistan a reasonably competent tribal militia was at hand. The Libyan rebels are a mob, basically. Obama has not a clue.

Whiskey said...

And YEs Anti-Gnostic, that $1 a gallon gas does cost American blood and treasure? Think it comes for free? Happy with oil at $100-$115 now? Want it higher?

If you don't want to be involved in conflict in the ME, be prepared for sky-high gas prices, and the social conflict of a stalled, declining economy it produces.

Henry Canaday said...

Perhaps we are applying Cass Sunstein's Nudge Theory to war now. It could work out, if Europe deploys an Italian division with a German general.

green mamba said...

"I hope this doesn't turn out to be as big a fiasco as ISHTAR."

I love the internet.

Anonymous said...

"She seemed self-satisfied as though the death of Gaddafi's son was the cherry on top of the cake, a real score."

And Kaddafi's son was probably the country's best hope for a move towards modernization and Westernization. God are we stupid.

The Anti-Gnostic said...

And YEs Anti-Gnostic, that $1 a gallon gas does cost American blood and treasure? Think it comes for free? Happy with oil at $100-$115 now? Want it higher?

Dude, you're an idiot. Oil isn't free under ANY circumstance. It has to be purchased on the world market, and 100% of the cost of production must be borne by its consumers in order for anybody to have the incentive to extract and refine it. Add in the conquest/occupation costs for the Middle East rather than just bidding on COMEX and let me know what price/bbl you come up with. So far it's running about $4 billion a month to keep it ekeing out of Iraq.

Also, what do you think powers military logistics--rainbows and unicorn farts? Ever occur to you that the private sector has a huge competitor in a five-sided builing in D.C. outbidding it for oil consumption?

Anonymous said...

Veracitor,

Arab militias seem to do pretty well against the Israelis in 2006. Even with all that fancy Boeing/Lockheed hardware.

TGGP said...

My recollection is that the price of gas went up with the Iraq war. After all, they starting producing and shipping less out.

Randall T said...

Hard to say that gas prices spiked from the Iraq war. Maybe short term, but longer term I know the price did drop in a major way for the mid-late 90s through the early to mid 00s. I remember buying gas for ~$1.00/gallon near DC on a trip in 1998 and thinking, "man, has this is cheap". I think that was one of the major reasons why giant trucks and SUVs became so popular around that time.