The Flawed NATO Strategy in Libya
In recent days, more news has come out about how NATO is prosecuting the Intervention in Libya. Frankly, their strategy doesn’t make much sense to me.
The biggest issue here is the fact that the strategy seems to be exclusively towards trying to make an outright rebellion in Tripoli possible. This is evidenced by the fact that Tripoli has been receiving the lion’s share of the airstrikes, with an uptick only in the past few days in Misrata.
The logic for the is particularly mind-blowing in how circular it is, along with it’s stupidity and self-fulfilling nature. The logic of this is the fact that NATO bureaucrats have apparently decided that the rebels, particularily in Misrata and the Nafusa Mountains cannot break out and get Tripoli to end this war.
However, much of the reason the Rebels are having problems advancing is because they can’t deal with the artillery the Qddafi has. And they cannot get to it because it is some distance from where they are fighting. Combined with the fact that the this artillery will move around, and the rebels often have to dig in to protect themselves, slowing done or outright stopping their advance. In addition, as stated before, the focus of Tripoli in terms of airstrikes means that they tend to be fewer in number in other areas in particular the fronts and Misrata and the Nafusa Mountains.
Also, NATO had a policy of telling the rebels to stay behind certain “red lines” The reason was ostensibly to prevent friendly fire, but that means NATO created the exact problems leading to this strategy. The Red Lines are shown on the map below, represented as a red hatched line. This is only an estimation based on accounts over the past few weeks. The map was made by a Tweeter called FunGuerillaz.
Essentially, NATO’s intervention seems to have started well, but become bogged down not on the field, but in Bureaucracy, with different things being said by everyone causing a fiasco. After the recent collateral damage incident, Italy wanted to stop the airstrikes. However, France wants to increase them, a good sign if they are done in the right places. If NATO can catch some of this artillery, the rebels can advance.
A useful analogy for Tripoli maybe 1944 Paris, where an unpopular, occupying force was holding the city through sheer numbers of men, while many resistance cells, did some hit and run operations. However, the city would not be liberated until forces from came close to the city, causing the city to revolt, and throwing the Nazis out.
NATO must take a page from history, and facilitate the rebels in getting to Tripoli, instead of the bureaucratic slog. Doing so will save lives and money.