War aims

Would it be too cynical to say that, with yesterday’s French close-support air mission, Nicolas Sarkozy’s war aims in Libya have been fulfilled in their entirety? After a string of false starts – such as re-announcing the Union for the Mediterranean, having to dispose of his foreign minister, and sending the amphibious-assault ship Mistral to pick up Egyptian refugees who turned out to have already left by air – he’s finally managed to assert himself. And the Libyan rebels certainly benefited from the air support, probably more than the 110-odd Tomahawks last night. Further, specifically European will and capability have been demonstrated. It’s probably worth noting this UK-French air exercise last week, which may have been a final rehearsal or just as well, a final warning.

4 thoughts on “War aims

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  3. Depends.
    The French Presidential elections are next year, quite a bit of time till then.

    Seem to me that the new “coalition of the willing” were / are hoping for the best case scenario.

    As in air attacks will quickly discourage Qaddafi loyalists who will then desert. And the rebels then will topple Qaddafi. Time overall less than a month. Glory for Sarkozy and Cameron.

    But what happens in a not so nice scenario?
    The loyalists / militia / mercenaries just retreat into the cities. Difficult to attack them there with airplanes. High probability of civilian victims. Maybe followed by rebels not being able to conquer most of said cities.

    (Fun for Qaddafi. When the rebels reach a city, ask the “UN airplanes” to help defend the city. After all armed rebels trying to conquer that city are a danger to civilians, aren´t they? When the coalition denies that request, accuse them of not following the UN resolution.)

    What then?
    Country effectively partitioned? No-fly-zone for months on end (with no end in sight)? Arm the rebels? Send military trainers and advisors in? Double down or step away?

    Seems they didn´t think it through.
    Which is possibly why the USA administration doesn´t want to be perceived as the leader here.

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