Report: Libyan rebel leadership may request UN airstrikes to dislodge Qaddafi

posted at 8:37 pm on March 1, 2011 by Allahpundit

We all know what this means in practice — there are no UN aircraft carriers, needless to say — but you know how the imprimatur of international legitimacy brightens Obama’s day. And the request for help isn’t as unlikely as it would have seemed just a week ago. Read this NYT assessment of the stalemate in and around Tripoli. Qaddafi isn’t strong enough to recapture nearby cities, but the rebels aren’t strong enough to break his hold on the capital, which appears to have quieted down. If he keeps resupplying via air, at the very least he can hold on in his corner of the country for a good long while. At worst, he can build up to the point where he’s steamrolling people again.

It’s 3 a.m. and the phone is ringing.

By invoking the United Nations, the council, made up lawyers, academics, judges and other prominent figures, is seeking to draw a distinction between the airstrikes and foreign intervention, which the rebels say they emphatically oppose.

“He destroyed the army. We have two or three planes,” said Abdel-Hafidh Ghoga, the council’s spokesman, speaking of the rebels’ military disadvantage. He refused to comment on the council’s deliberations or any imminent announcement, but said: “If it is with the United Nations, it is not a foreign intervention.”…

There was no indication that the United Nations Security Council members would approve such a request, or that Libyans seeking to topple Colonel Qaddafi would welcome it. Russia has dismissed talk of a no-fly zone to curb Colonel Qaddafi’s still-active air force, and China has traditionally voted against foreign intervention.

Even so, the discussions signaled a rebel movement both impatient with a military stalemate that has crippled the country, and out of good options.

The worry, supposedly, is that Qaddafi will demagogue the airstrikes as evidence that the protests are a foreign plot. Really? Who, exactly, is still undecided on the uprising and waiting to hear from Qaddafi before determining how they feel about it? Wouldn’t a televised statement on Al Jazeera from the rebel leadership in Benghazi be proof enough that the intervention was requested, not imposed?

If the White House wants to worry about something, they should worry that imposing a no-fly zone would be …. not so easy:

If a no-fly zone is implemented, one of the biggest worries for U.S. planners will be Libya’s surface-to-air missile batteries along its coastline, especially its so-called SA-6 missiles, which, though designed years ago by the Soviet Union, remain able to shoot down U.S. and European fighters, several analysts said.

Libya is believed to have about 50 SA-6 missiles, which are easy to move to avoid detection. Pentagon planners probably would seek to neutralize the SA-6s by warning Libya’s military not to target NATO aircraft but also with airstrikes against batteries that took threatening actions, such as activating their radar, the officers said…

To carry out patrols over Libyan airspace 24 hours a day, the U.S and its allies would need hundreds of aircraft, including fighters and refueling tankers, Dunn said. The U.S. could reduce the number of aircraft required by flying only during the day, when attacks on anti-government rebels are most likely, or by going after only Libyan airplanes, not helicopters, he said.

On the other hand, Danger Room notes that Libya’s surface-to-air batteries didn’t perform so well against the U.S. 25 years ago and, er, that they haven’t been upgraded since. (It’s also unclear how many batteries still function at all and how many are in rebel hands.) Nonetheless, the Pentagon seems unenthused about a new military operation, likely because of the logistics involved rather than the threat to U.S. airmen, and as J.E. Dyer pointed out earlier, U.S. officials are privately conceding that talk of a no-fly zone is an empty threat — for now. What happens, though, if the rebel leaders call the west’s bluff by formally requesting one, for the express humanitarian reason that they fear a massacre if Qaddafi hangs on much longer? There’s no way Obama, Cameron, Sarkozy et al. will say no and risk the public backlash if Qaddafi ends up using chemical weapons. If the request comes, it’ll be honored. I think.

The alternative, of course, is to stay out and start arming the rebels instead, but if even a hawk like Lindsey Graham is leery of that, you can imagine what the White House is thinking. Exit quotation from Hillary, who’s cool to the idea of leaving any U.S. fingerprints on any intervention: “You see a constant drumbeat [on Middle Eastern websites] that ‘the United States is going to invade Libya to take over the oil and we can’t let that happen.’ And we are not going to do that.”


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Not gonna happen. Any military action sanctioned by the UN would require the approval of Russia and China. They’re not going to approve.

amerpundit on March 1, 2011 at 8:42 PM

Allah-
Did you see that ABC is reporting that Mullen and Gates don’t have any independent confirmation about air strikes on the Libyan protesters? (aside from the media reports) It’s at Political Punch

MayBee on March 1, 2011 at 8:43 PM

It’s a shame we don’t have an actual adult in the White House.

gary4205 on March 1, 2011 at 8:47 PM

Arrange a meeting with Qaddafi and then kill him with an air strike.

sharrukin on March 1, 2011 at 8:48 PM

MayBee on March 1, 2011 at 8:43 PM

Interesting, but I think the real goal of a NFZ would be to stop Qaddafi from sending in reinforcements. The air attacks are horrendous, but he can survive and thrive without those as long as he’s shipping in mercenaries.

Allahpundit on March 1, 2011 at 8:48 PM

It’s 3 a.m. and the phone is ringing.

and it ain’t Bo Diddley or Donna Summer singin’ you a nightie night tune from MoTown’s K-Tel special.

ted c on March 1, 2011 at 8:49 PM

I am sure The Won would be thrilled to be guided by the military not to get involved with this.

Cindy Munford on March 1, 2011 at 8:49 PM

If they don’t want them to fly, then crater the airfields and be done with it.

ted c on March 1, 2011 at 8:51 PM

Interesting, but I think the real goal of a NFZ would be to stop Qaddafi from sending in reinforcements. The air attacks are horrendous, but he can survive and thrive without those as long as he’s shipping in mercenaries.

I agree.
I do find it a bit distressing that once again, our admin doesn’t know more than what they hear on tv.

MayBee on March 1, 2011 at 8:53 PM

Ogabe is probably asking the pentagon to draw up a railstrike plan where we use high speed trains.

Caper29 on March 1, 2011 at 8:53 PM

If the White House wants to worry about something, they should worry that imposing a no-fly zone would be …. not so easy:

It’s easy relatively, but why tell the world about it.

Better to say “It’s hard , but Ok , if it has to be done , we will help you”, create some goodwill , make them beg.

The west should make an implicit “What’s in it for us if we help you out here” outreach to the anti Qaddafi crowd.

the_nile on March 1, 2011 at 8:54 PM

If they don’t want them to fly, then crater the airfields and be done with it.

ted c on March 1, 2011 at 8:51 PM

That would work and take out the transports he is using to bring in the mercs.

sharrukin on March 1, 2011 at 8:56 PM

01.03.11
U.S. moves warships closer to Libya to ramp up pressure on ‘delusional’ Gadhafi
***************************
In the hardest-hitting U.S. denunciation yet of Gadhafi, the U.S. ambassador to the UN says Gadhafi is ‘disconnected from reality’ and is ‘slaughtering his own people.’
(more…)

http://www.haaretz.com/news/international/u-s-moves-warships-closer-to-libya-to-ramp-up-pressure-on-delusional-gadhafi-1.346425

canopfor on March 1, 2011 at 8:56 PM

The UK papers are reporting a humanitarian crisis on the borders with 140,000 people stranded between point of exit/entry into Tunsia. No food, no water, no shelter, no sanitation.

And it looks like Qadaffi will use food (lack of) as a siege weapon against rebel held territory.

Skandia Recluse on March 1, 2011 at 8:56 PM

NO! They don’t want foreign intervention, so let them fight this on their own.

I don’t like cherry-pickers.

OldEnglish on March 1, 2011 at 8:57 PM

I’m sure there are some FB-111′s still around that can be used…

Gohawgs on March 1, 2011 at 8:57 PM

Libya Military Guide
====================

http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/libya/index.html

canopfor on March 1, 2011 at 9:00 PM

Not gonna happen. Any military action sanctioned by the UN would require the approval of Russia and China. They’re not going to approve.

amerpundit on March 1, 2011 at 8:42 PM

If the west plays this right , they can force Russia an China to sanction it. Line up nato forces standing by on the Libya border , let Al Jazzira broadcast the civil war. For how long can Russia and China deny the anti qaddafi forces help?

the_nile on March 1, 2011 at 9:01 PM

I’m sure there are some FB-111′s still around that can be used…

Gohawgs on March 1, 2011 at 8:57 PM

Nope. They got rid of them and the only ones left are in storage. B-52′s and B-1′s could do it though.

sharrukin on March 1, 2011 at 9:02 PM

How cool would it be to have American aircraft take out K’Daffy and his foreign executioners?

I’ve been waiting 20 years for this … pleasepleasepleasepleasepleeeeease!

Tony737 on March 1, 2011 at 9:03 PM

I’m sure there are some FB-111′s still around that can be used…

Gohawgs on March 1, 2011 at 8:57 PM

Gohawgs:)
===============================================

THE LIBYAN STRIKE:
HOW THE AMERICANS DID IT
*************************

At 01.00 hours on the 15th April, 1986 F-111Fs of the 48th Tactical Fighter Wing thundered over the Libyan capital of Tripoli at 200ft in a precision strike which demonstrated both the resolve of the Reagan administration in dealing with state sponsored terrorism and also the capabilities of a new generation of weapon systems.
(more…)

http://www.ausairpower.net/Eldorado-Canyon.html

canopfor on March 1, 2011 at 9:03 PM

Nope. They got rid of them and the only ones left are in storage. B-52′s and B-1′s could do it though.

sharrukin on March 1, 2011 at 9:02 PM

At least they could show up with USS Ronald Reagan.

the_nile on March 1, 2011 at 9:04 PM

At least they could show up with USS Ronald Reagan.

the_nile on March 1, 2011 at 9:04 PM

That would be poetic.

sharrukin on March 1, 2011 at 9:05 PM

THE LIBYAN STRIKE:
HOW THE AMERICANS DID IT

canopfor on March 1, 2011 at 9:03 PM

They “accidentally’ dropped a few near the French Embassy. LOL…for France not letting us use their airspace.

Caper29 on March 1, 2011 at 9:07 PM

The UN can always be counted on to make a bad situation worse.

RedRedRice on March 1, 2011 at 9:07 PM

Meanwhile,the Fro,er French!!
=================================

France:

No-Fly Zone Over Libya – Only With UN Approval
Diaa Bekheet March 01, 2011
****************************
(more…)

http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/news/2011/03/mil-110301-voa10.htm

canopfor on March 1, 2011 at 9:07 PM

canopfor on March 1, 2011 at 9:03 PM

Not only that but one of the strike aircraft “accidentally” dropped a bomb on the grounds of the French embassy in Libya, coincidentally enough after France denied the use of their airspace for the U.S. planes.

Reagan. That dude was gold.

Bishop on March 1, 2011 at 9:08 PM

It won’t happen. The US has already said it isn’t looking seriously at a military engagement. Does anyone think the French will strike?

Non-starter.

BKeyser on March 1, 2011 at 9:08 PM

canopfor on March 1, 2011 at 9:03 PM
===============================
They “accidentally’ dropped a few near the French Embassy. LOL…for France not letting us use their airspace.

Caper29 on March 1, 2011 at 9:07 PM

Caper29:Hehe,ahem,they were ask’n for it,and want UN
approval for “No Fly Zone”,which means,they’re
asking for it…..again!

canopfor on March 1, 2011 at 9:10 PM

NO! They don’t want foreign intervention, so let them fight this on their own.

I don’t like cherry-pickers.

OldEnglish on March 1, 2011 at 8:57 PM

There is something a bit offputting about a beggar refusing any contribution below a twenty dollar bill, isn’t there?

a capella on March 1, 2011 at 9:12 PM

For how long can Russia and China deny the anti qaddafi forces help?

the_nile on March 1, 2011 at 9:01 PM

It’s Russia and China we’re talking about. China is battling its own internal dissent, and that battling will become quite brutal if need be.

amerpundit on March 1, 2011 at 9:12 PM

Not gonna happen. Any military action sanctioned by the UN would require the approval of Russia and China. They’re not going to approve.

amerpundit on March 1, 2011 at 8:42 PM

You think they approved the last strike on Libya? Russia was a lot stronger back then, and an ally of Libya, and we did it anyway. China won’t fuss, because the rebels control a source of Chinese oil, and they just let a tanker set sail for China.

unclesmrgol on March 1, 2011 at 9:12 PM

canopfor on March 1, 2011 at 9:03 PM
Not only that but one of the strike aircraft “accidentally” dropped a bomb on the grounds of the French embassy in Libya, coincidentally enough after France denied the use of their airspace for the U.S. planes.

Reagan. That dude was gold.

Bishop on March 1, 2011 at 9:08 PM

Bishop:Yes,and that was a “Message”,that I think,
the French got!:)

canopfor on March 1, 2011 at 9:12 PM

a capella on March 1, 2011 at 9:12 PM

Indeed! Beggars can’t be choosers.

OldEnglish on March 1, 2011 at 9:16 PM

Another thing. We don’t carpet bomb any more, so who lases the target? No one, obviously.

As for a no-fly-zone: If it puts one American soldier or Marine under greater threat, than we shouldn’t do it, even if we had the notion.

BKeyser on March 1, 2011 at 9:17 PM

You think they approved the last strike on Libya? Russia was a lot stronger back then, and an ally of Libya, and we did it anyway. China won’t fuss, because the rebels control a source of Chinese oil, and they just let a tanker set sail for China.

unclesmrgol on March 1, 2011 at 9:12 PM

We did it in response to a direct attack on American citizens, ordered directly by the leader of Libya.

It wasn’t going to matter what the UN said, and besides — Article 51. We acted largely alone in a single strike.

We’re in a different neck of the woods. We’re now talking about a UN-sanctioned attack on Gaddafi’s forces and a continuous no-fly zone.

amerpundit on March 1, 2011 at 9:19 PM

The UN would agree to take a strongly worded letter, fold it into a paper airplane and launch it from a slingshot. This would constitute the Smart Power version of “air support”

kringeesmom on March 1, 2011 at 9:20 PM

It’s Russia and China we’re talking about. China is battling its own internal dissent, and that battling will become quite brutal if need be.

amerpundit on March 1, 2011 at 9:12 PM

But at some point Russia/China either need to fold for the “world opinion” , or Nato can go it alone to support the uprising if it’s in the name of the Libya people.
It’s a good play against china and russia too if it can increase the support of US in arab opinion. Let it boil and “call us when you want our help”..

the_nile on March 1, 2011 at 9:21 PM

Two U.S. amphibious assault ships head to Med via Suez
Tue Mar 1, 2011 3:16pm EST
*******************************************************

(Reuters) – Two U.S. amphibious assault ships, the USS Kearsarge, which can carry 2,000 Marines, and the USS Ponce, will pass through Egypt’s Suez Canal on Wednesday morning, an Egyptian official said on Tuesday.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/03/01/libya-usa-ships-idUSLDE7202MQ20110301

canopfor on March 1, 2011 at 9:23 PM

But at some point Russia/China either need to fold for the “world opinion” , or Nato can go it alone to support the uprising if it’s in the name of the Libya people.

It’s a good play against china and russia too if it can increase the support of US in arab opinion. Let it boil and “call us when you want our help”..

the_nile on March 1, 2011 at 9:21 PM

I don’t see NATO intervening if the UN won’t do so much as lift a finger.

As for good will, intervene if you wish for moral reasons. But don’t expect America supporting an insurgency to improve opinion of the US in the Arab world. Not gonna happen.

The second an American intervention results in even one accidental death, we’ll be the devil again. Just like we’ll be the devil again as soon as we support Israel, continue our fights in Iraq and Afghanistan, and overall continue fighting terrorism.

amerpundit on March 1, 2011 at 9:28 PM

Land based missile systems are not reliable when there are opposition forces ready to coordinate with air assault.

anikol on March 1, 2011 at 9:29 PM

This is a civil war that does not concern our own security and there is no reason to believe the rebels will be any better than Qaddafi. If Qaddafi were still a terrorist threat I would support it. But he has not been a mover in those circles for years, even choosing to cooperate with the US after Saddam’s capture. Our interests in this affair are nil.

NotCoach on March 1, 2011 at 9:31 PM

You see a constant drumbeat [on Middle Eastern websites] that ‘the United States is going to invade Libya to take over the oil and we can’t let that happen.

yeah, cuz look at all this cheap oil we gots goin’ on over here that we’s up and took from thems workers in Iraq…..

oh…forgot/

ted c on March 1, 2011 at 9:33 PM

oh…forgot/

ted c on March 1, 2011 at 9:33 PM

Oh and Haliburton – don’t forget that everything is always about feeding Haliburton..

msmveritas on March 1, 2011 at 9:39 PM

Air strikes? From the holder of the Nobel Peace Prize? Surely you jest! He’s only got two more years and has yet to do anything to EARN the prize.

Look for Barry to just sit and fiddle. It’s what he does best.

GarandFan on March 1, 2011 at 9:40 PM

“…the U.S and its allies would need hundreds of aircraft, including fighters and refueling tankers, Dunn said.”

” “You see a constant drumbeat [on Middle Eastern websites] that ‘the United States is going to invade Libya to take over the oil and we can’t let that happen.’ And we are not going to do that.””

It’s a good thing we are drilling again…

… Oh, wait!

Seven Percent Solution on March 1, 2011 at 9:43 PM

Exit quotation from Hillary, who’s cool to the idea of leaving any U.S. fingerprints on any intervention: “You see a constant drumbeat [on Middle Eastern websites] that ‘the United States is going to invade Libya to take over the oil and we can’t let that happen.’ And we are not going to do that.”

… and just why the @#$% not? After Iraq, it’s pretty obvious that if America is imperialist, we pretty much suck at at. Empires are supposed to extract tribute from conquered countries, not pour resources into those conquered countries to be rebuilding them. The US has acted as a reverse-empire now in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Since that hasn’t worked out so well, I say it’s time to screw the niceties and behave as the imperialists they accuse us of being. Cheap oil for the US from Libya, we’ll sell what we don’t need to the rest of the world at market price.

/sorta sarc

AZfederalist on March 1, 2011 at 10:03 PM

How far little Bammie has fallen; now the photogs stage pictures of him not only with the halo turning to brown crap, but it’s not even centered behind him. It looks like a film projector burn.

slickwillie2001 on March 1, 2011 at 10:03 PM

Find Khadaffi’s GPS phone signal.

Call in a drone.

Launch Hellfire.

Repeat until he is couscous.

profitsbeard on March 1, 2011 at 10:52 PM

See no reason to intervene – After all, the last time we intervened on behalf on those in the Muslim world (Kosovo), we were thanked with 4 hijacked airliners and 3000 dead.

Let the whole bunch rot.

JFS61 on March 1, 2011 at 11:04 PM

After all, the last time we intervened on behalf on those in the Muslim world (Kosovo), we were thanked with 4 hijacked airliners and 3000 dead.

Let the whole bunch rot.

JFS61 on March 1, 2011 at 11:04 PM

It was specifically al qaeda that we allied with in that war. They called it the “KLA” back then but it was “al qaeda in the Balkans” just like we have “al qaeda in Iraq”, etc. now. The ground soldiers under Wesley Clark’s command were all trained in bin Laden’s camp in Albania. We armed them and they are killing US troops with those weapons today.

Buddahpundit on March 1, 2011 at 11:21 PM

nother thing. We don’t carpet bomb any more, so who lases the target? No one, obviously.

As for a no-fly-zone: If it puts one American soldier or Marine under greater threat, than we shouldn’t do it, even if we had the notion.

BKeyser on March 1, 2011 at 9:17 PM

JDAM…no lase-ing needed.

soundingboard on March 2, 2011 at 6:50 AM

Do not like Qaddafi, but the US and the rest of the world should stay out it.
Why isn’t the US sending air cover to support anti-government rebels in other trouble spots in the world? The Ivory Coast, Nigeria…how about finding some anti-govt. people in North Korea then put a no-fly zone over that country?

And freezing the assets of Qaddafi just because of an uprisizing in the country? There has been an uprising in Spain for decades (Basque separtists), is the US providing air cover for those rebels, freezing the assets of the Spanish King?

Who says the rebels leading the opposition in Libya is any better than Qaddafi? What if it is alQueda setting up an Islamic state in Libya?

albill on March 2, 2011 at 9:12 AM

The French and Italians could fly over from French soil. Why is it always the United States that has to do the dirty work?

SC.Charlie on March 2, 2011 at 9:39 AM

UN airstrike? What do they fly, baby blue Piper Cubs? No it’ll be US assets, of course. Maybe now Predators since the admin is not shy about push-button war, like Clinton. Target information for Qaddafi’s tent should be in a file somewhere. Don’t forget the Chinese Embassy.

curved space on March 2, 2011 at 10:31 AM

Exactly. The UN doesn’t have a military arm, by design. Any air strikes will be done by national military.

And why exactly are we taking orders from the rabble?

mojo on March 2, 2011 at 11:11 AM

‘Obama for Supreme Leader of Libya!’

Sherman1864 on March 3, 2011 at 6:51 AM