Libya – where next?

In the first of a series of articles this week on Operation Odyssey Dawn, Left Foot Forward’s Frank Spring looks at various aspects of what happens next, starting with an introductory overview of the current situation.

In the first of a series of articles this week on Operation Odyssey Dawn, Left Foot Forward’s Frank Spring looks at various aspects of what happens next, starting with an introductory overview of the current situation

International operations against Libyan forces loyal to Colonel Muammar el-Qaddafi began last weekend and continue to escalate.


As more partners contributed forces to the coalition, US Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, announced that the international force, led in fact by the United States at the moment and in rhetoric and principle by Britain and France, had established the No-Fly Zone and effectively stymied the advance of Qaddafi’s army on the rebel town of Benghazi.

In the face of this, Qaddafi issued a defiant statement on Sunday promising a “long war”, claiming that he had opened military depots to arm the civilian populace and vowing that his supporters on the ground would ultimately be victorious against the “crusader aggression”.

Qaddafi’s words were in stark contrast to his recent pledge to institute a ceasefire, but the Libyan despot has a strong history of speaking out both sides of his mouth. They do, however, raise an interesting question – if the No-Fly/No-Drive Zone has, in fact, been established and the civilian population of rebel territories preserved from massacre, now what?

The leadership of the international coalition is quite reasonably minding the sequences of its horses and carts for the moment. Admiral Mullen declined to comment specifically on the political resolution of the conflict. UK defence secretary Liam Fox was also vague, emphasising that the coalition’s current priority is simply to deny the Qaddafi regime the ability to use the military against its own population.

That should keep the international coalition intensely active for many days (if not weeks). What happens next is less clear. I’ll address the options in a series of posts this week, starting with Qaddafi’s promised Long Civil War.

4 Responses to “Libya – where next?”

  1. gwyn bailey

    RT @leftfootfwd: Libya – where next? http://bit.ly/fEmRjg

  2. Mike Guillaume

    Although usually not the undecided type, I have to admit that I’m -still- wavering between the pros and cons of intervention and non-intervention.
    Just a few questions:
    – Why has French president pushed so hard and so fast? We should suspect domestic political considerations, before any other?
    – And why has it taken so long for the US to move, and do it carefully, if not reluctantly?
    – Why an intervention there and full laisser-faire on Saudi Arabia and Yemen? It smells like oil out there.
    – Won’t the intervention speed up outlows of refugees to Europe, which is precisely what some -not least Berlusconi and Sarkozy- would like to avoid?

    That said, besides rejoicing about peoples fighting for (more) freedom and democarcy, let’s also face the possible outcome of an islamic winter following the spring. Intervention or not. And that wouldn’t be funny, either for those people of for Western democracies.

  3. Frank Spring

    RT @leftfootfwd: Libya – where next? http://bit.ly/fzsR0F by @FrankSpring #Libya #FreeLibya

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