Gaddafi seems to have stepped up his siege of Zawiya and taken a few city blocks, and has launched three or four sorties against Las Ranuf.
I’ll use this as a chance to expand and summarize my thoughts of yesterday towards the end of that entry. Let’s talk about Libyan Air Power, it’s effects, and the consequences of the so-called “no fly zone” option.
Gaddafi’s air raids on Las Ranuf today did very little damage. At this point, I’m beginning to suspect Gaddafi wants the no fly zone:
- Perhaps he is smart and sane enough to realize that these bombing runs are only solidifying Rebel determination. It takes a lot of air power to bomb a population into submission with air power alone. Only a few air strikes, such as today, and you’ve accomplished little but increasing the determination of your enemy. Gaddafi realizes this, but he estimates that the benefits of a foreign-imposed no fly zone outweigh the costs.
- A NATO-imposed no-fly zone will inevitably kill Libyans in Gaddafi-held territory.
- “NATO” will be seen simply as “American” to the people in Gaddafi-held cities. In many cases, perhaps all cases, they will be right.
- Americans killing Libyans will result in many Libyans currently on the fence picking a side – and that side will be Gaddafi in many cases. Especially in areas where Gaddafi controls much of the flow of information. Tripoli, for example. Think of the propaganda value of the no fly zone to Gaddafi: “People of Libya, look at Iraq. That started with a no fly zone, too. Do you want your city to become like Baghdad? Join me!”
- The people of Tripoli deciding to side with Gaddafi “against the Americans” will free up Gaddafi’s forces currently garrisoning/policing that city to operate elsewhere.
- Gaddafi may lose what remains of his air assets, but they aren’t doing much damage anyways. Not as much damage as freeing up troops from police activity would do.
I hate to break it to you, but Air Power is not the end-all-be-all solution folks. A no fly zone will encourage common Libyans to side with Gaddafi, not against him. If large numbers of Libyans choose to side with Gaddafi as a result of a NATO no fly zone, this may become a protracted civil war.
If anyone reading this is a person of influence or knows someone that is a person of influence in any NATO, EU, AU, or Arab League nation, please advise them of the consequences of the course that is being laid in. Foreign aircraft in Libyan air space is going to strengthen Gaddafi’s position and draw this mess out.
The Libyans can take care of Gaddafi themselves, all they need from the international community is medical supplies and food delivered to the eastern city of Benghazi.
Barring significant events between now and tomorrow evening, I will briefly go over the history of Libya in the last 100 years or so and discuss possible results or prospects regarding the Return of the King.