NATO admits it can’t stop Qaddafi from shelling Misrata as rebels call for foreign troops

posted at 5:07 pm on April 19, 2011 by Allahpundit

Turns out air power’s not enough in heavily populated urban areas, a development that was … totally foreseeable, actually. And since no one’s eager to send in ground troops, we appear to be stuck. “We rushed into this without a plan,” a retired Army general told the LA Times. “Now we’re out in the middle, going in circles.”

Says Eli Lake, the Washington Times’s national security reporter, “At this point if NATO was in a fight with the Broadway production of CATS, would you bet on NATO or CATS?”

NATO officials acknowledged that they are having trouble destroying Gadhafi’s mortars and rocket launchers from the air, for fear of inadvertently harming civilians in such strikes.

“There is a limit to what can be achieved by airpower to stop fighting in a city,” said NATO Brig. Gen. Mark van Uhm…

He said his forces have destroyed more than 40 tanks and several armored personnel carriers there.

Adm. Giampaolo Di Paola, chairman of NATO’s military committee, said that even though NATO operations have done “quite significant damage” to the Libyan regime’s heavy weaponry, what Gadhafi has left is “still considerable.”

Rebels trapped in Misrata grumbled yesterday to WaPo that they feel “let down” by NATO’s unwillingness to bomb buildings where Qaddafi’s snipers are holed up. One of them, referring to the UN mandate to protect Libyan civilians, said, “If they cannot do it, they should say they cannot do it.” Today they’re taking a different tack, calling on the coalition to do the one thing no one wants to do:

“We need a force from NATO or the United Nations on the ground now,” said Nouri Abdullah Abdulati, of the city’s 17-member judicial committee, speaking to a handful of reporters…

“We did not accept any foreign soldiers on our land. But that was before we faced the crimes of Gaddafi,” Abdulati said Tuesday. “We are asking on the basis of humanitarian and Islamic principles for someone to come and stop the killing. … The whole Arab world is calling for the intervention of the West for the first time in history.”

Abdulati said the committee would want British or French troops to fight alongside rebel fighters in Misurata, both to protect civilians and to fight off Gaddafi forces.

Believe it or not, the EU’s actually toying with the idea of sending in ground troops — but only to escort humanitarian relief convoys, which isn’t quite necessary yet since the port of Misrata remains open for shipments. (Qaddafi’s promising to fight any such force that shows up.) France and the UK are also sending very small squads of military trainers to Benghazi to help the rebels get better organized. It’s escalation by inches, in other words, but escalation all the same to preserve what little remains of European military prestige. A simple question, then, per Lake’s snarky comment up top: At this point, is there any way to really preserve European prestige? The best possible outcome for the EU would be to get cracking on that larger “humanitarian escort” force and send it in to try to intimidate Qaddafi into choosing exile. But that’s a huge gamble: If, as he’s said, he chooses to fight and manages to hold off the European advance for awhile, it’ll be even more crushing to their prestige. He might relish the idea too, given his own ideas of himself as an African king and the European legacy of colonialism on the continent. A gloss:

“By the U.S. taking a back-seat role, it has a psychological effect on the mission,” said Dan Fata, a former Defense Department official who was responsible for overseeing NATO issues during the George W. Bush administration. “If I’m Kadafi, I’m thinking I can probably wait the Europeans out.”

The U.S.’s stake in this mission is comparatively low since no one doubts American military superiority, whatever the outcome in Libya. Not so for the EU. Exit question: What’s their next move?

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Obama was henpecked by Hillary and the Powers Irish Utopian idealist chick, and turned into a chicken.

Nice for NATO and nice for the weakened U.S.

Eunuch in Chief, with a very, very thin skin.

Schadenfreude on April 19, 2011 at 5:09 PM

Also, the “humanitarian disaster” was fabricated and the U.N. commission knows it.

Schadenfreude on April 19, 2011 at 5:10 PM

When did James Cromwell take over military ops at NATO?

PackerBronco on April 19, 2011 at 5:10 PM

What an effing joke this all is.

Badger40 on April 19, 2011 at 5:11 PM

Is it too late to join the Warsaw Pact…?

/

Seven Percent Solution on April 19, 2011 at 5:12 PM

When did James Cromwell take over military ops at NATO?

PackerBronco on April 19, 2011 at 5:10 PM

Yeah, the resemblance is striking. As for the next move, uh, prayer?

Doughboy on April 19, 2011 at 5:12 PM

Exit question: What’s their next move?

NATO’s – going in circles

Obama’s – to continue to play chicken. He’s good at it.

The rebels’ – to beg for money, which in good part will go straight to Al Qauida.

Quadafi’s – to be an even more flamboyant Lawrence of Arabia in our time.

The world’s – to continue to laugh its combined ars off at the U.S. under Obama.

Schadenfreude on April 19, 2011 at 5:13 PM

Also, the “humanitarian disaster” was fabricated and the U.N. commission knows it.

Schadenfreude on April 19, 2011 at 5:10 PM

As I’ve said before, Obama’s state senate district is more dangerous.

flyfisher on April 19, 2011 at 5:13 PM

At this point if NATO was in a fight with the Broadway production of CATS, would you bet on NATO or CATS?”

CATS, but NATO may be able beat the Spiderman production on Broadway. So they got that going for them…which is nice.

WashJeff on April 19, 2011 at 5:13 PM

The situation is laughably insane. The rebels criticize NATO airstrikes, call for more/better close air support, and now call for foreign ground troops. That’s chutzpah. They have accurately taken the measure of the Euros and Obama and so they try to take charge of running their war. This is what happens when a Beta male is Prez: the rag tag chumps think they can order him around.

JimP on April 19, 2011 at 5:15 PM

NATO was meant to be a defensive alliance. Once it got into the business of extraterritorial invasions and picking sides in civil wars it was bound to go wonky.

Allah, no post on the destruction of “Piss Christ” by French Catholics?

aengus on April 19, 2011 at 5:19 PM

No duh. Didn’t we learn anything from the clusterfark that was Bosnia? We had one hell of a time trying to destroy mortars, artillery and tanks and were unable to prevent the constant shelling of the safe havens and such. Same shyte, different hellhole…

rcpjr on April 19, 2011 at 5:19 PM

What’s their next move?

Obama is waiting for the Iranian army to arrive and takeover the job that he started….

And then next Obama will blame Israel for the unrest in Syria…

albill on April 19, 2011 at 5:20 PM

This has been one gigantic cluster-fark since the beginning.

irishspy on April 19, 2011 at 5:22 PM

I seem to recall a few years ago that the White House was being criticized in the media about such things as:

No Exit Stratagey
No plan to win the peace
Quagmire
Unwinable war

What happend to those oh so nobel ideas?

MikeA on April 19, 2011 at 5:27 PM

Obama now has us in wars for muslim in 3 counties. Isn’t he great? 54 muslim countries to go.

Heckle on April 19, 2011 at 5:27 PM

“We rushed into this without a plan,” a retired Army general told the LA Times. “Now we’re out in the middle, going in circles.”

A lot like Iraq then and a whole lot like Afghanistan.

Heckle on April 19, 2011 at 5:29 PM

We rushed into this without a plan,” a retired Army general told the LA Times. “Now we’re out in the middle, going in circles.”

That pretty much describes the entire Obama presidency.

amerpundit on April 19, 2011 at 5:29 PM

A lot like Iraq then and a whole lot like Afghanistan.

Heckle on April 19, 2011 at 5:29 PM

Say what you want about Iraq but we didn’t have time to waste with Afghanistan.

amerpundit on April 19, 2011 at 5:30 PM

Quadafi’s – to be an even more flamboyant Lawrence of Arabia in our time.

Schadenfreude on April 19, 2011 at 5:13 PM

I always did kind of like that name.

Heckle on April 19, 2011 at 5:31 PM

What’s their next move?

Total capitulation (let the French lead; they have experience)followed by demands for a new Marshall Plan, funded by QEs as far as the eye can see.

Did I miss anything?

karl9000 on April 19, 2011 at 5:32 PM

Did I miss anything?

karl9000 on April 19, 2011 at 5:32 PM

Yes. Obama’s plan to grant asylum and citizenship to 2 million Libyans by November, 2012.

Heckle on April 19, 2011 at 5:35 PM

what…an…embarassment.

NavyMustang on April 19, 2011 at 5:42 PM

Code Pink strangely absent from the national dialog this time around…

Scrappy on April 19, 2011 at 5:43 PM

Next move:

Send Samantha Power and Susan Rice to convince the supplicant “Arab world” to send in their own soldiers.

If “the whole Arab world” won’t respond, then Sam and Susie need to put on some high heeled sneakers (no boots) and deploy.

As the authors and pushers of R2P, they need to go to Libya and responsibly protect those rebels.

marybel on April 19, 2011 at 5:45 PM

Air strikes against Kaddafi’s military infrastructure would be the easiest and simplest approach.

exhelodrvr on April 19, 2011 at 5:51 PM

Did I miss anything?

karl9000 on April 19, 2011 at 5:32 PM
Yes. Obama’s plan to grant asylum and citizenship to 2 million Libyans by November, 2012.

Heckle on April 19, 2011 at 5:35 PM

Will they come with their own absentee ballots?

kringeesmom on April 19, 2011 at 5:58 PM

When he said “days not weeks” he meant that we would only measure the length of our involvement in days not weeks.

CWforFreedom on April 19, 2011 at 6:01 PM

Bomb the frikkin’ artillery and mortars!

If there are “civilians” hanging around artillery and mortars, they’re going to get hurt.

Tough shi’ite.

It’s a war not a quilting bee.

These ROE’s are simply suicidal.

profitsbeard on April 19, 2011 at 6:30 PM

The One is really pathetic when he can’t even start a war right.

GarandFan on April 19, 2011 at 7:03 PM

We rushed into this without a plan,” a retired Army general told the LA Times. “Now we’re out in the middle, going in circles.”

That pretty much describes the entire Obama presidency.

amerpundit on April 19, 2011 at 5:29 PM

That pretty much describes my latest bowel movement when I discovered that we were out of toliet paper.

PackerBronco on April 19, 2011 at 7:35 PM

The NATO forces have done quite well in A’stan, particularly the Canucks and surprisingly the Danes and Dutch.This cannot be about ability to move against Qadaffy.It must be about the intent and willingness to move.

xkaydet65 on April 19, 2011 at 8:10 PM

LMAO — the general is a dead ringer for James Cromwell.

Jaibones on April 19, 2011 at 8:40 PM

Now these people, who on any other given day would probably be cursing the Great Satan and mocking America and burning the flags of the infidels, want an infidel invasion force?

lulz.

Aquateen Hungerforce on April 19, 2011 at 8:42 PM

Operation Unified Protector (was Odyssey Dawn) explained (Day 31) April 19, 2011
***********************

Previous debriefings: Archive

My Day 30 debrief,

with some simple statistics about the number of air strikes conducted by NATO in Libya, opened a debate with the readers of this blog and Twitter followers. Someone asked me to compare the Allied Force strike sorties breakdown with the Unified Protector trends, just to have an idea of how the alliance is performing in respect to the previous involvement in Serbia and Kosovo war. The only possible answer is “better not trying to compare” since you’ll get a clear idea of a different strategy and an overall clear vision of the aims of the air campagn and the ways to achieve them.

In 78 days of air strikes, NATO flew 38.004 sorties (of 45.935 planned ones….in that area, in that period – March – June, the weather was a factor), 14.112 of them strike sorties. On average 487 sorties were launched each day, 180 being strike sorties, even if during the beginning phases of the war and towards the end, when the air strikes against the Serbian ground forces became more intense, the alliance flew more than 700 sorties every day with roughly one third being bombing missions. Some 20.000 PGMs were used along with some dumb bombs. Regardless the figures (for sure the Serbian military was a dangerous opponent), the operation in former Jugoslavia was focused on a quick achievement of the air superiority and a subsequent instense use of the air power against the ground targets.
(more….)
==============================

Anyway, the “air strikes debate” urged me to extend the yesterday’s graphs including also the data I could recollect from the first US DoD press briefings on Odyssey Dawn, during which some figures about sorties and air strikes were released by Pentagon.
———————————-

Air Operation Sortie Count
***************************

http://cencio4.files.wordpress.com/2011/04/trends-3.jpg

++++++++++++++++++++
++++++++++++++++++++

2) Giuliano Ranieri, after checking on Google Earth the location of a NATO air strike asked me what are the shelters almost hidden in the desert around coordinates 31°41’44.48″N 12°19’54.25″E. I wonder if they could be related to the underground storage facilities I wrote about yesterday and, while I hope that some of those OSINT experts reading this blog will be able to explain me what’s stored inside those shelters, I suggest you reading another old article that Richard Clements found and brought once again to my attention: Libya’s “Secret tunnels of death”.
—————————–

http://cencio4.files.wordpress.com/2011/04/shelters-1.jpg

http://cencio4.files.wordpress.com/2011/04/shelters-2.jpg

http://cencio4.wordpress.com/

canopfor on April 19, 2011 at 9:01 PM

“We rushed into this without a plan,” a retired Army general told the LA Times. “Now we’re out in the middle, going in circles.”

Rushed? I thought there was mucho gnashing of teeth over Obama’s dithering and delaying on whether to do anything.

I just don’t see any suggestion that the pseudo-intellectuals of the Obama administration can formulate effective policies. Their leftist templates don’t fit, their silly models bear no relationship to reality and offer them no useful guidance. They are lost in the woods, clueless, and making decisions on an ad hoc basis with predictable results.

novaculus on April 19, 2011 at 9:02 PM

This will be funny right until we get one of our own killed. Obama had better watch out.

Fortunata on April 19, 2011 at 9:04 PM

Not so for the EU. Exit question: What’s their next move?

…..Time for another “speech” from Obama.

Baxter Greene on April 19, 2011 at 10:55 PM

And then next Obama will blame Israel for the unrest in Syria…
albill on April 19, 2011 at 5:20 PM

Only because blaming Palin, Bush or Global Warming would sound stupid.

DSchoen on April 20, 2011 at 1:35 AM

Islamic principles for someone to come and stop the killing.

That’s rich. They don’t want foreign trooops on Arab lands, now they do. Mohammed, which one is it?

TulsAmerican on April 20, 2011 at 1:42 AM

coordinates 31°41’44.48″N 12°19’54.25″E.

Could be! There’s a lot of em, all about the same size.

In fact it kinds sorta looks like what ya see at
33deg 21′ 57.72”N
117deg 16′ 55.96”W

only not as green.

DSchoen on April 20, 2011 at 2:25 AM

The NATO forces have done quite well in A’stan, particularly the Canucks and surprisingly the Danes and Dutch.This cannot be about ability to move against Qadaffy.It must be about the intent and willingness to move.

xkaydet65 on April 19, 2011 at 8:10 PM

They do quite well under the huge logistical and support arm of the US. None of those countries could conduct those operations without it. I’m not bagging on the troops. The point is most of our allies have no projection capability unless we get involved. That is a big deal. They are struggling with a country right across the pond from them.

gator70 on April 20, 2011 at 7:59 AM

Please, someone tell me what is going on with the sign behind the NATO Brig. Gen. Mark van Uhm?

Does NATO now stand for New Alliance of Tanning Organizations.

MSGTAS on April 20, 2011 at 9:10 AM

Past time to start hammering home the message that Powers’s R2P is just a cover for European neo-colonialism aimed at keeping The Duck from selling Lybian oil to China instead of Europe.

Best of all, it’s true.

LarryD on April 20, 2011 at 9:33 AM

NATO cant stop Qa-daffy, then how in the name of common sense were they supposed to stop the Russians from coming across Europe?

abcurtis on April 20, 2011 at 10:46 AM

Imagine if a small group of “rebels” wanted to overpower our leader? They attack government establishments. The government uses force to stop the “rebels”. Those poor “rebels” dont have a chance. Should Nato or other countries help these revolutionaries overthrow our government?

Greed on April 20, 2011 at 11:50 AM

Ya know, this smells like a Clinton era ‘wag the dog’ episode. Who’s dog got wagged, hm?

{^_^}

herself on April 20, 2011 at 12:02 PM