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For a month UN/NATO gave Gaddafi absolute freedom to apply maximum violence to suppress the rebels. Meanwhile they kept buying his oil and if he had been successful all would have been forgiven they they would have kept buying the oil from him.

They made overtures to the rebels and those overtures were rejected. They landed British SAS forces in a rebel area and the rebels arrested them. That probably delayed NATO air strikes by more than a week.

Most of all NATO wants oil from Libya and they can get that from Gaddafi or the rebels but they can't get that without stability. NATO did not act until they had determined Gaddafi would not prevail quickly. His promise to do to Benhgazi what he had just done to Ajdabiya, saying "Libya will clean house to house if the protesters do not surrender", meant that as many as a hundred thousand civilians could have been slaughtered and that whole oil producing area would be in great turmoil for a long time. So they finally acted.

Once NATO started bombing they had already determined that Gaddafi must go and they have every intention of removing him. But they still have not received the concessions they want from the rebels. That's why they have backed off. That is why they have been slow to resumed air strikes to stop Gaddafi's murderous bombardment of Misratah. They are using Gaddafi to discipline the rebels in an attempt to force them to beg for NATO's support on NATO's terms.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Remember history, Clay Claiborne, Director Vietnam: American Holocaust - narrated by Martin Sheen

    by Clay Claiborne on Wed Apr 06, 2011 at 11:36:18 AM PDT

  •  I don't disagree, but (0+ / 0-)

    it would help if you could provide cites that back up your impressions.  

    "How did you go bankrupt?" "Two ways. Gradually, then suddenly." - Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises.

    by weasel on Wed Apr 06, 2011 at 11:41:49 AM PDT

  •  Well, to begin with, it wasn't exactly NATO but (0+ / 0-)

    Sarkozy and Cameron who first intervened, and then managed to drag only part of NATO along with them (Germany refused to go along, Turkey and Italy are doing so with little enthusiasm, the US itself is being ambivalent...)

    And when Sarkozy and Cameron jumped the gun they probably thought the rebels had practically already won and the whole episode would be over in a couple of days, a week at the most.

    And now it looks like another quagmire.

    We're shocked by a naked nipple, but not by naked aggression.

    by Lepanto on Wed Apr 06, 2011 at 12:03:26 PM PDT

    •  If you want to nit pick, so be it. (0+ / 0-)

      I was using NATO as a kinda shorthand for US/UK/EU, and yes I didn't get into the contradictions within that community which also deserve analysis but I don't think Sarkozy and Cameron thought the rebels were about to win.

      The rebels were and still largely are "the gang that couldn't shoot straight". [When the rebels ask for more weapons, I say they already have more weapons than they can handle.] Mind you, I don't fault the rebels cause or courage, only their fighting capability. Fortunately, this appears to be changing now.

      And Gaffafi may well be crazy but he ain't no fool [dn]. He's been playing the rebels militarily with great success. He withdraws without actually being beaten and the rebels rush forward, stressing their lines of communication. Then Gaddafi opens up with heavy weapons, having already mined and sent flanking forces to harass the retreating rebels. The rebels are making rookie mistakes but they are learning.

      And Sarkozy and Cameron knew that Gaddafi still had a very large weapons store because they sold them to him.

      Remember history, Clay Claiborne, Director Vietnam: American Holocaust - narrated by Martin Sheen

      by Clay Claiborne on Wed Apr 06, 2011 at 02:31:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Fascinating analysis. (0+ / 0-)

    I'm just catching up -- and it certainly sounds like the playbook.

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