Friday, March 18, 2011

Qaddafi's Cease Fire

Couple of thoughts on the cease fire that Qaddafi has called.  First, it showed that European forces should have had a command structure in place and planes ready to go instantly.  They've had a couple of weeks to prepare and the British and French were both onboard early.  Reminds me of the disorganization that made Suez a fiasco.  Still early and things seem to be moving far more swiftly than that mess so I doubt things will get that bad.

From Qaddafi's point of view I see two advantages.

The first is that him calling a cease fire gives diplomatic cover to try to split the alliance.  If bombing proceeds some states may waver in supporting the coalition that will give him breathing room and turn Arab support against the west.  It certainly raises the risk but too much uncertainty to say how it will go.

The second advantage is that if we resist bombing for fear of alienating allies it may occur that he can organize his forces for a quick blitz.  It takes time to put forces in place and it's unlikely we'll put assets in play that will be effective against ground units such as tanks and artillery until anti-aircraft missiles as well as his air force is eliminated.  This means that a blitz to eliminate the rebels may work if his air force and anti-air ground weapons can keep our planes busy long enough for his ground forces to overrun the rebels. 

So we're left with a tough choice, if we bomb in advance so he can't blitz this may alienate our allies.  If we wait he may blitz and snatch a win out from the jaws of defeat.  I hope that the Arab League makes this call for us since that will weaken the costs of early bombing.  We will see.

What I really hope will happen is that we called his bluff and he'll accept asylum somewhere.  Not impossible since he knows he is overmatched, but I wouldn't bet on it.

No comments:

Post a Comment