Monday, April 4, 2011

Libya - Stalemate?

"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. The world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children" - Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1953
Jasmine revolution bring many changes to Africa and Wet Asia, it removed the fear from people's mind. After its first emergence in Tunisia, many Arab countries are facing the heat of revolution in one way or another. Even if we can't say Tunisia and Egypt switched to democracies (till now) at least there was a change in the government that too without a prolonged civil war.

But in the case of Libya many predictions went wrong. In this North African country - stage for historic tank battles in WW II- revolutionaries are yet to break in Tripoli.

But this prolonged battle already taken its toll in across the coastal area - both rebels headquartered in Banghazi (aided by international coalition air strikes) and pro-Qaddafi forces with superior artillery are unable to capture the whole country from opponents hands. Major cities and oil towns in the country like Zawiyah, Misrata, Sirte, Ras lanuf, Brega, Ajdbiyah etc are facing the heat from both sides.

There is no doubt that continuing air strikes (even if US opted out of active strikes) and freezing the assets will cripple the pro-Qaddafi army. But is it enough for the rebels to capture Tripoli? Events till now doesn't suggest that, what rebels lacking is a proper command and control structure, strategic organization, military skills etc. Without which it will not be easy for the rebels to capture Tripoli.

The limited air strikes from coalition didn't cut much ice. It stopped pro-Qaddafi forces from capturing the rebel capital Banghazi, but at the same time it didn't enabled the rebels to reach Tripoli. This effectively created messy situation, where the country is divided into two. Now if US is handing over the command to NATO and pulling out from air strikes, who will continue it under NATO's banner? Its to be remembered that wars can't be win solely by air strikes. If that was the case then US doesn't have to continue in Afghanistan, Iraq, Vietnam etc for such a long period. It has to be fought and won in the ground also. Now if nobody is focusing on regime change they what was the need for the air strike? It may extended the conflict but didn't take it into a logical end.

But the strength in international coalition front seems to be waning - US already ruled out the possibility of sending ground troops to Libya (US already overstretched their operations by prolonged conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq and the recent nuclear crisis in Japan) and other nations too may follow the suit.

The continuing war between the rebels and government in Tripoli will effectively wipe out the existing infrastructure in the coastal towns (if there is anything remaining) and destroy the oil facilities. The possibility of a split or a prolonged civil war can't be ruled out. We already know what will happen after decades long civil war - situations in Sudan or Somalia are more than an example.

If International forces are not ready to send the ground forces (the possibility is very low) and the rebels or pro Qaddafi forces are unable to gain the control of the nation in a specified time frame, then it will be better to have a UN brokered peace talks between Tripoli and Benghazi, at least they can look for a solution acceptable to each other.


1 comment:

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    A Seeker