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Turmoil in Libya (2011) and post-Gaddafi blowback

Air strikes target rebel-held Benghazi, media reports say
AFP - Libya's rebel stronghold of Benghazi came under attack on Saturday morning, with at least two air strikes and sustained shelling of the city's south sending thick smoke into the sky.
Multiple explosions could be heard from the centre of the city, as a military plane flew low overheard, and the southern skyline was dominated by  plumes of black smoke.

Retaliatory mortar fire sounded, and on the roads pick-up trucks mounted with machine guns could be seen, after a night in which explosions and gunfire sounded continuously.
The first air strike came at 7:20 GMT (0520 GMT) and the second followed around 20 minutes later, but the identity of the planes carrying out the strikes could not be immediately identified.
At 8:17 am local time, a series of several small explosions, possibly from Katyusha rockets, produced at least seven smaller columns of black smoke south of the city.
At 8:40 am local time, a military plane could be heard flying low over the centre of the city, and several loud explosions were heard shortly afterwards.

Video, with audio of Moussa on the phone with AFP denying everything


I like the Libyan's use of the "Delay" in talking about a ceasefire, while meanwhile continuing to push forward into Benghazi  :piper:

Any good attack needs a deception plan after all
From Twitter Breaking News;

"French planes enter Libyan airspace, Al Arabiya reports, citing military source"
Apparently, the insurgents shot down their own plane...CTV....
Im a jumper para paul said:
Mr Gadaffi's days are numbered for sure. Really needs to happen to stabilize the area to bring the price of oil back down.

People are making too much money off the price of oil, it won't drop. Libya had no real oil influence on North American markets, speculators just drove the price up when they had an excuse to do it.
I think Matthew Fisher of Postmedia News is on the money:

Canada's contribution to the no-fly zone will be modest and largely symbolic. The half dozen or so CF-18 Hornets being sent are most likely to be based in Sicily, which is only about 450 kilometres north of Tripoli...

It was not for want of trying that Canada's fighter pilots have been the only ones from a major NATO country to have not had a chance to fly in Afghanistan. Fact-finding visits to the big airfield at Kandahar were conducted as far back as 2006 to verify that Canada's refurbished 30-year old Hornets were suitably equipped to be based there. But Ottawa never came close to sending them.

In explaining why they were not sent, the Harper government has repeatedly stated that NATO had never asked for them. This explanation was disingenuous in the extreme. NATO never formally asked Ottawa for such a contribution because every time the alliance put out feelers, as it always does before making "official" requests, it was loudly told to forget it.

According to government and military sources, Ottawa's skittishness over committing "fast air" assets to the UN-sanctioned mission in Afghanistan, while sending thousands of ground troops into harm's way there, was largely based on the Harper government's reluctance to face the political fallout from "collateral damage," if Canadian jets killed Afghan civilians.

A second consideration was that operating a squadron of fighter jets in Kandahar would have cost nearly as much again as the billions of dollars that Canada was spending on ground forces there [that seems rather excessive].

The reservations that the Harper government had regarding sending fighter jets to Afghanistan, apparently do not apply in Libya, where Prime Minister Stephen Harper said on Friday that the situation had become "intolerable."

However, having decided to only send a few aircraft, Canada's role in what will be a politically and militarily complex Anglo-French-led operation in North Africa will, perforce, be peripheral.

As I wrote elsewhere in early January:

Our government, for its part, has not been willing to employ our CF-18s in Afghanistan to support the CF and allied forces there even though urged to do so by our allies. Too fearful of political and media reaction if a bomb or missile killed some civilians accidentally, don’t you know...

One might add that no-one yet seems to have thought much about bombs going a bit astray in Libya; in any event the likelihood of much negative media coverage from that is pretty minimal at this time.  Who cried when Col. Gadhafi's infant daughter was killed by a US bomb in 1986, along with some other civilians?  By the way the French were not exactly co-operative at that time--autres temps, autres moeurs.

As Mr Fisher suggests, our Hornets' participation is largely symbolic: to show Canada is "doing something" for the domestic audience, and to seek favour with the big boys by joining the game (F-16s are coming from Denmark, and maybe Norway).
The government may also, perhaps to be overly cynical, have in back of mind a demonstration of possible future need for the F-35's stealth strike capabilities.

The Liberals and NDP, for their part, support the government's actions (see end here), giving full political cover:
they would have opposed strenuously deploying  CF-18s to Afghanistan.

Meanwhile it's early days for foreign intervention in Libya.  Where it will all end knows only God.

How soon can CF-18's be in the fight?
.... In a statement the PMO said in an e-mail that the jets still needed time to get ready.

"Canadian fighter jets have just reached the region and will require two days to prepare for any missions."

This should take approximately 48 hours

From BBC Live coverage:
# The first shots have been fired in Libya by French military jets enforcing the no-fly zone voted for by the UN
# French aircraft are preventing forces loyal to Libyan leader Col Gaddafi from attacking the rebel-held city of Benghazi, French President Nicolas Sarkozy says after a meeting of world leaders in Paris
# French aircraft also flew over "all Libyan territory" on reconnaissance missions, according to French military sources
# Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte tells journalists he believed British, French and Canadian aircraft would launch the first airstrikes, a BBC correspondent reports
# Earlier, Pro-Gaddafi forces launched an assault on Benghazi, a BBC journalist witnessed. A jet appears to have been shot down over the city

This from the French Defence Ministry (Google English - original in French here):
The Paris summit brings together leaders of the March 19 European, Arab and North America, opened the way for an international military intervention.  Air operations involving French aircraft are already committed.  Following the summit, held March 19 at the Elysee Palace in Paris to support the Libyan people, with representatives of Arab and Western countries, the President of the Republic, Nicolas Sarkozy, paved the way for international military intervention on Libyan territory.  "Together, we decided to enforce the Security Council resolution," said the French head of state. "Our air force will oppose any attack aircraft of the Kadhafi cons the people of Benghazi. Already our planes prevent air attacks, already had other, French, are ready to intervene against armored threaten unarmed civilians, "he added.  According to Nicolas Sarkozy, Colonel Qaddafi may "still avoid worse," according to resolution 1973 the Security Council of the United Nations, adopted March 17, 2011.  "The door of diplomacy will reopen when the attacks cease," he said.  The French defense minister, Gerard Longuet said in a statement, said he, on behalf of the President of the Republic, army chief  initiated the implementation of military air operations over Libya. "The commitment, today, of French military forces, must protect the civilian population from attacks by forces of Colonel Gaddafi, for the establishment of a particular fly zone in airspace Libya, "the statement said.
French planes attack armored vehicles in Libya

The French air force is said to have destroyed several armored vehicles today in the first attacks launched against pro-Gaddafi forces. French aircraft had been the first to be sent over Libya after the no-fly zone was put into operation earlier today.
The announcement was made by the French Defense Ministry, says Le Figaro, which added that the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle is to set sail on Sunday from Toulon on France's Mediterranean coast.
These attacks are the first since the French air force began overflying Libyan territory earlier today. Another Defense Ministry source says that African Union negotiators were preparing to discuss the situation with the now-embattled Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. News channel Al Jazeera had said that those vehicles destroyed were tanks, that which the Ministry refused to comment.
The BBC reported that the French air force was being used to take out tanks and artillery and that France had also deployed a surveillance aircraft and two frigates to help to enforce an "exclusion zone."............

Agency France Press Live feed

AFP: the US is launching a cruise missiles strike on Libya, according to media reports.

Operation Odyssey Dawn
What the US military may have for Libya, March 19:

Obama said that the United States will use its "unique capabilities" to help the enforce a no-fly zone over Libya. These include cruise missiles, radar jamming equipment and high-tech AWACS radar planes that can gather intelligence and coordinate air traffic.

But some diplomats and defense experts have said they believe it will nonetheless be difficult for the Pentagon to avoid broad involvement in many aspects of the operations, including in the use of fighter aircraft.

Many aircraft are likely to be needed to take out Libya's air defenses. The round-the-clock air patrols needed to enforce a no-fly zone also require many aircraft...

The U.S. Navy announced Friday that it is sending a group of assault ships to the Mediterranean.

The three ships, lead by the assault ship Bataan, will ferry a unit of Marines, helicopters and surgical teams from ports in Virginia.

Air missions could be flown from U.S. and North Atlantic Treaty Organization bases in the southern Mediterranean.

U.S. ships in the Mediterranean include an amphibious assault group, three destroyers and a nuclear-powered submarine, the Providence, capable of launching Tomahawk cruise missiles.

There are no U.S. aircraft carriers in the Mediterranean at the moment. The carrier Enterprise is currently out of combat range from Libya, conducting air support operations in Afghanistan from the Arabian Sea.

The Bataan is in effect an aircraft carrier for the Marine Corps and deploys 6-8 Harrier fighter bombers.

As many as the number of Hornets we are sending.  Note also that 6 Danish F-16s have arrived at Sicily, along with 4 Spanish Hornets to Italy.
Norway is sending 6 F-16s too. 
So far it seems no combat aircraft contribution from Italy.

57Chevy said:
Germany on the other hand is simply an embarrassment to the European Union.
Germany has already done enough in Libya, many would argue:

The days of zerstörte amerikanische panzer at Tobruk (via galea hortus):

U.S., Coalition Attack Libya Air-Defense Systems With `Operation Odyssey’
By Tony Capaccio
19 March 2011

U.S. and coalition vessels and aircrafts attacked Libya’s air defense systems in the opening phase of “Odyssey Dawn” the international operation to establish a no-fly zone, military officials said today.

A coalition of as many as 25 U.S., Canadian, and Italian vessels, including the USS Mount Whitney command vessel, led an attack that included U.S. Tomahawk cruise missiles and aerial jamming, according to a Pentagon official who spoke on the condition he not be identified.

The military armada includes three Navy submarines, the USS Florida, USS Scranton, and USS Providence, according to the Pentagon. The Florida is also equipped to carry Navy Seal commandos for ground operations.

Targets included four Libyan airfields near Tripoli and air defense sites in the east, the official said. The official declined to speculate on the duration of the air defense suppression operation.
Germany's shameful abstention :facepalm:
by Iain Dale / 18 Mar 2011

Membership of the UN Security Council comes with responsibilities. It's time for Germany to stop abstaining and shoulder their share of the burden

I am a complete Germanophile. I studied German, I speak the language and have lived in the country, albeit many years ago. German culture is to be admired, and the German people are among the nicest and kindest I have ever met. But the country as a whole still carries the burdens of the past upon its very broad shoulders. It shrinks from any hint of aggressive military involvement, knowing that the sight of German soldiers marching to war is something some would find difficult to stomach.

But at some point, Germany needs to understand something. It can’t be a leading member of the international community if it abstains on the big questions. Its economic size and population give Germany international responsibilities which it ought to have the courage to meet. But on Thursday night it abstained on the UN resolution for a no fly zone over Libya, and at the earlier EU Summit it prevented the EU coming to a united position.

Germany is a member of the UN security council at the moment. To abstain on a motion like the one on Thursday ought to be seen as a national embarrassment. Instead, Angela Merkel will probably receive domestic plaudits. If the international community needed proof that Germany has become an intrinsically pacifist country, this provided it. Some may see that as a good thing. I don’t.

Britain has acted in its own national interest, but also provided international leadership. Germany has acted in cowardice and sent a message to the world that it doesn’t feel it has any international responsibilities.

A third of the German flag is taken up by the colour yellow. Perhaps that proportion should be expanded.

Prime Minister David Cameron said on Saturday to news “Tonight, British forces are in action over Libya”

source: http://news.lalate.com/2011/03/19/operation-odyssey-dawn-u-s-tomahawk-cruise-missiles-strike-libya/

More to come no doubt

You can bet the old Kadaffi claim of attacks hitting civilian areas are being made.
How long till he pretends to have another daughter that was killed ?
Libya: Coalition launches attacks

More than 110 missiles have been fired by the UK and US, officials at the Pentagon say.

UK Prime Minister David Cameron has confirmed that British planes are in action over Libya. Earlier, French planes destroyed Libyan vehicles.

Western planes bombed targets in the capital, Tripoli, said the AFP news agency, quoting witnesses and state TV.

US President Barack Obama, speaking during a visit to Brazil, said the US was taking "limited military action" as part of a "broad coalition".

"We cannot stand idly by when a tyrant tells his people there will be no mercy," he said.

He repeated that no US ground troops would take part.

A British submarine has fired a number of missiles at Libyan air defence targets, the Ministry of Defence said.

Mr Cameron said that launching military action against Libya was "necessary, legal and right".

Libyan state TV reported that what it called the "crusader enemy" had bombed civilian areas of Tripoli, as well as fuel storage tanks supplying the western city of Misrata.

Sources in Tripoli told BBC Arabic that the attacks on the city had so far targeted the eastern areas of Sawani, Airport Road, and Ghasheer. These are all areas believed to host military bases.

The action came hours after Western and Arab leaders met in Paris to agree how to enforce the UN resolution, which allows "all necessary measures" to protect civilians from forces loyal to Libyan leader Col Muammar Gaddafi.

A French plane fired the first shot in Libya at 1645 GMT on Saturday, destroying its target, according to a military spokesman. .....