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Turmoil in Libya (2011) and post-Gaddafi blowback

57Chevy said:
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.
I, Technoviking, share something in common with Mr. Dale.  I am a complete Germanophile.  I too studied German.  I too speak the language and I too have lived in the country, and yes, many years ago.  But in the quote below, in which he mocks the nation, I figured that any person who studied German (technically, Germanistik, or a study of the German Language and Literature at the University of Western Ontario in my case, I'm suprised that his German influence failed him in this:
57Chevy said:
A third of the German flag is taken up by the colour yellow. Perhaps that proportion should be expanded.
He's wrong, of course.  That part of the flag, referred to as "yellow", is in fact gold.  Any student of German History and its repeated attempts at unification of the many German States that existed prior to Germany ought to know this.  You see, the Schwarz, Rot, Gold of the flag is a two-hundred year old symbol of German unity (as opposed to Prussian, Bavarian, Saxon, etc).  These colours come from the Lützow Free Corps, who fought against the French.  Their uniforms were black, with red trim and gold buttons.  These colours then became representative of German unification efforts throughout the 1800s, and was first chosen as the colours of Germany during the Weimar Republic, replacing the more familiar Black and White of Prussian influence of the "second Reich". 

So, Mr. Dale may feel that Germany ought to do more, and he may be right.  But his childish attempt to call the Germans "yellow" is ill-placed and mocks the history of those soldiers from some 200 years ago.
More tidbits from Al Jazeera English's live blog (highlights mine):
.... #

The Pentagon says that the UAE and Qatar will also be involved in military operations in Libya, but will announce their involvement themselves.

The operation falls under the operational command of the US African Command, under General Carter Hamm. Tactical execution is being run out of the USS Mount Whitney, Admiral Sam Locklear commanding.

Off the coast of Libya, there are: 11 vessels from Italy, 11 from the US (including three submarines, each with 100 missiles on board), one from the UK, one from France and one from Canada.

The no-fly zone will encompass Tripoli, Sabha, Natoura, Misurata and Benghazi.


Barack Obama, the US president, has just made short comments on the initiation of military operations. He says that the US is "proud that we are acting as part of a coalition", and that the coalition was "answering the calls of a threatened people".

Reuters reports that no major coalition strikes have been initially planned around the opposition stronghold of Benghazi.

Operations in the first phase are currently aimed at degrading the Libyan government's air defences.


Al Jazeera's correspondent Kimberly Halkett was present at a Pentagon briefing on operations in Libya. She reports that the US is targetting Integrated Missile Defence Systems along the Libyan coast.

Those strikes are the first wave, where the US is in the lead of coalition efforts which involve France, Italy, the United Kingdom and Canada.

The US will be in control for an unspecified period of time, but then will transfer control to coalition forces. Currently operations of the Joint Task Force are being run from the USS Mt Whitney. There are about 25 ships and submarines present in Mediterranean that will be taking part in operations ....
I suspect there are a lot more ships there, or enroute than the Al Jazeera article lists.  I can count 3 RN ships from this article in The Telegraph.

Tomahawk missiles were launched from a Trafalgar class submarine off Libya. .................

Over the next few days more Nato ships will begin to converge on Libya with the aim of enforcing a naval blockade.

Royal Navy frigate HMS Westminster is already off the Libyan coast while HMS Cumberland, also a frigate, is in the Mediterranean.

From the AFRICOM web page here:
At the direction of President Obama and Secretary of Defense Gates, U.S. Africa Command is commanding U.S. military support for the international enforcement of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973 to protect the Libyan people.

Earlier today, coalition military aircraft began entering Libyan airspace to enforce UNSCR 1973. This evening, U.S. military forces under my command began conducting operations in support of this multi-national effort.

The U.S. military joins international partners who are seeking to halt the aggression in Libya. Our goals are simple: We want to protect innocent civilians, prevent attacks against civilian communities, and deter mass atrocities.

Our national civilian leaders and their international counterparts have defined clear objectives for our military actions: A cease-fire must be implemented and all attacks against civilians must stop. Troops must stop advancing against Benghazi and must be pulled back from Ajdabiya, Misrata, and Zawiya. Water, electricity, and gas supplies must be turned on to all areas. Humanitarian assistance must be allowed to reach the people of Libya.

In support of the above objectives, our immediate military goals are to prevent further attacks by regime forces on Libyan citizens and opposition groups, especially in and around Benghazi, and to degrade the Qadhafi regime’s capability to resist an internationally patrolled no-fly zone.

I have directed everyone in my command to take all available steps to reduce and minimize the potential for harming civilians in our operations, and I want to emphasize again that we have no intention of deploying ground troops to Libya.

The men and women of United States Africa Command and those serving with Joint Task Force ODYSSEY DAWN are amazingly dedicated and are serving with great distinction. It is my honor to serve alongside them. Our nation as well as the many nations represented in our coalition, are, indeed, fortunate to have such dedicated professionals in our ranks.

General Carter Ham
Commander, United States Africa Command (AFRICOM)
Samuel J. Locklear To Command Operation Odyssey Dawn In Libya

U.S. Navy Adm. Samuel J. Locklear will command Operation Odyssey Dawn, according to the American Forces Press Service.
CNN reports that Locklear will command the initiative aboard the USS Mount Whitney in the Mediterranean Sea. The ship is reportedly joining vessels from Italy, Canada, the United Kingdom and France to carry out the operation.

More here :
Moammar Kadafi's thinning human shield
'We never get scared,' says one of the supporters in Tripoli speaking of allegiance to Libya's leader in the face of international threats. And then the rumors start.

By Borzou Daragahi, Los Angeles Times

Reporting from Tripoli, Libya—
It was to be a human shield, a massive gathering of Moammar Kadafi's supporters at his Bab Azizia compound, and the Libyan leader was to give a late-night speech of defiance against the international forces arrayed against him.

They would stand by their beloved Brother Leader at the same compound destroyed by President Reagan's airstrikes in 1986. Even if the bombs came sailing down. Even if the entire place went up in flames.

"I'm here to support Moammar Kadafi and to oppose the threats of the West," said Ghazal Muftah, a 52-year-old grandmother in a camouflage army jacket and hijab, or head scarf, among about 400 or so gathered around the ruler's vast and well-protected residence. "If they want to hit Moammar Kadafi, they have to hit us. We are all Moammar Kadafi."

Rap music slamming Al Jazeera and BBC's coverage of Libyan events blared from loudspeakers. Men and women danced and swayed to African and Arabian rhythms. A line of security officials formed to hold back the crowds as they pressed forward. Young men waved green flags denoting support for Kadafi's Libya. A banner showed a crowd of men wearing green bandannas spraying pesticide on rats, the term Kadafi uses to describe rebels in the east.

"Colonialism will never be back again in Libya," said one poster in English.

It was a bizarre and somewhat macabre celebration, given that Western forces had already dropped a couple of bombs to halt Kadafi's attacks on Libyan rebel strongholds.

But to those in this crowd, only terrorists had been killed in the weeks of civil strife across the country, and the threats of the Westerners were just empty rhetoric.

"I'm here because I love Moammar Kadafi," said Fatih Mohammad, a 17-year-old high school student with a toothy smile. "I'm ready for war. Anyway, they won't dare to challenge us."

None of those gathered admitted to taking part in the panicked preparations that people the world over take ahead of war. There was no talk of stocking up on rice or water. No plans to leave the city for a relative's home in the countryside.

These people, explained shopkeeper Mohammad Hadi, were brave people. He had even brought his 10-year-old daughter, Hadeel, for the human chain.

"So what if they bomb?" he said. "We never get scared. If there was any fear, these people would never come here."

"We are here," said medical student Salah Mohammad, 24, "to be with the leader of our revolution, even if we die."

Cellphones began to ring. A hush fell over the crowd. People began to whisper to one another. Cruise missiles were being fired at Tripoli. Those sitting in a grassy area quickly got up and began heading for the exit.

More followed, until the human chain thinned out to a few dozen people standing in the chill before the balcony where Kadafi was supposed to address them.

But the Brother Leader was nowhere to be seen. He would address Libyans later by telephone, from an undisclosed location.

Edit to add in the following article:

Libya crisis: Gaddafi's regime arranges Tripoli crowds to denounce foreign military intervention

An interesting read about staged protests and the junk appearing on libyan t.v.

They're hitting Tripoli again...CNN is calling it breaking news, but all you can see is a few AAA tracers, and a lot of shooting....al la Bagdad......
TECHNOVIKING: I share your concern about dumping too much on the Germans, esp. after all the rest of the West has done, or tried to do, to achieve the current results.  I think though that this was the official flag of the Zweites Reich, with red:


More here:

MarkOttawa said:
TECHNOVIKING: I share your concern about dumping too much on the Germans, esp. after all the rest of the West has done, or tried to do, to achieve the current results.  I think though that this was the official flag of the Zweites Reich, with red:


More here:

Yes, forgot the red.  I was thinking the prominence of black/white.  Yes, red in there as well, which is why the third Reich went with those colours as well, I suppose.

But though we like to joke about the Germans, let us remember that until rather recently there was a piecew in the German constitution that forbid the use of the Bundeswehr "overseas" (im Ausland).  I believe that the Balkans was the first operational deployment of German troops outside of Germany since 1945.  It is still an issue for them to employ their own troops: see Afghanistan.

So, had they supported the resolution, they would then fully expect to deploy forces to support.  That is something that still affects the German psyche, especially since this is in a former operational theatre of German forces.

The Pentagon said that 110 Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles (TLAM) fired by British and US forces were supported by a French air strike on tanks and armoured vehicles in what has been described as the “kinetic” phase of the operation – bombing to take out Libya’s anti-aircraft defences.

Further attacks by British Tornado GR4 ground attack aircraft, based at RAF Marham in Norfolk, were expected over the night. RAF Marham is home to 9 and 31 Squadrons, which are equipped with air-launched anti-radiation missiles, which home in on the radiation emitted by enemy radar, and Storm Shadow missiles, used to target command and control bunkers and radar stations.

Detailed targeting of Libya’s military infrastructure has been taking place all week using satellite imagery and sorties flown by British and US surveillance aircraft, which have been monitoring movement and communication between Gaddafi’s forces. The commander of the multi-national operation was last night named as Adml Samuel Locklear, pictured, the commander of the Allied Joint Force based in Naples, Italy. Adml Locklear gave the order to crush Col Muammar Gaddafi’s military machine and enforce a no-fly zone after a summit of world leaders in Paris. Striking at Libya’s radar systems and anti-aircraft defences is the first phase of the attack.

During this part of the operation, combat sorties will also be flown by US Navy aircraft, including F-18 Super Hornets from the carrier USS Enterprise, which is in the Red Sea, and by aircraft from the French carrier Charles de Gaulle, which was in the port of Toulon.

USS Mason, the guided missile destroyer, and USS Providence, a submarine also armed with TLAMs, and a range of anti-radiation missiles, are expected to be called into action during this phase of the operation, shortly before the RAF goes in.

CNN live blog

Britain's Royal Air Force the RAF has launched Stormshadow missiles from a number of Tornado GR4 fast jets as part of a series of coordinated coalition strikes against Libya, the Ministry of Defense said.

"We made clear that if Gaddafi did not comply with the UN Security Council Resolution 1973, it would be enforced through military action. Our Armed Forces have therefore participated in a co-ordinated international coalition strike against key military installations," defense secretary Liam Fox said in a statement.

"The fast jets flew 3,000 miles from RAF Marham and back making this the longest range bombing mission conducted by the RAF since the Falklands conflict," he said. "HMS Westminster is off the coast of Libya and HMS Cumberland is in the region ready to support operations. Typhoon aircraft are also standing by to provide support."
Clarification of who's in charge, via Defense.gov:
.... Operation Odyssey Dawn is under the command of Army Gen. Carter F. Ham, commander of U.S. Africa Command. Navy Adm. Samuel J. Locklear III is the commander of Joint Task Force Odyssey Dawn aboard the command ship USS Mount Whitney. Locklear commands U.S. naval forces in Europe and Africa, as well as NATO Allied Joint Forces Command.

“We anticipate the eventual transition of leadership to a coalition commander in the coming days,” Gortney said. Still, even with the transition, the U.S. military will continue to provide support, communications and logistics to coalition forces.

“Our mission now is to shape the battle space in such a way that our partners can take the lead in execution,” he said.

Forces will assess the results of the strikes in the coming hours, and that will shape operations for the future, Gortney said. This will take some time, he added, with Global Hawk unmanned aerial aircraft and national technical means providing the information needed.

......"We should treat with some caution some of the things we see on Libyan state television," Finance Minister George Osborne told BBC television. "The targets last night were very specifically military targets" linked to air defences.

UN chief Ban Ki-moon said on Sunday that Kadhafi was feeling the "unified will" of the international community through the military campaign.

"He has been killing his own people. He declared that he will search house to house and kill all the people. That is unacceptable," the UN secretary general told AFP in Paris..............

WASHINGTON — Three US B-2 stealth bombers have dropped 40 bombs on a major Libyan airfield, CBS News reported early on Sunday.
There was no immediate official confirmation of the attack.

.....Later Sunday morning, Kadafi returned to state television airwaves to vow "we will win the battle," and "oil will not be left to the USA, France and Britain."

"You are transgressors, you are aggressors, you are beasts, you are criminals," Kadafi continued. "Your people are against you, there are demonstrations everywhere in Europe and the U.S. against this aggression on the innocent Libyan people. The people are with us. Even your people are with us.".....

Tripoli, Libya (CNN) -- Libyan ruler Moammar Gadhafi promised "a long-drawn war" Sunday after an international coalition hammered the nation's air defense as part of an operation to enforce a no-fly zone.

Gadhafi said the strikes were a confrontation between the Libyan people and "the new Nazis."...........

[8:23 a.m. Sunday ET, 2:23 p.m. Sunday Libya] A military convoy near Benghazi in eastern Libya was destroyed by multiple airstrikes, leaving charred bodies, tanks and trucks, CNN's Arwa Damon reported from the scene.

– A no-fly zone in Libya is "effectively in place," U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen told CNN.

[6:53 a.m. Sunday ET, 12:53 p.m. Sunday Libya] Forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi were shelling the city of Misrata on Sunday, using tanks, artillery and cannons, a witness said. Rebels in the city were fighting back, the witness said. There was no immediate word on casualties.

[6:36 a.m. Sunday ET, 12:36 p.m. Sunday in Libya] Nineteen U.S. warplanes, including stealth bombers and fighter jets, conducted strike operations in Libya on Sunday morning.  The warplanes included Marine Corps Harrier Jets, Air Force B-2 stealth bombers, and F-15 and F-16 fighter jets, according to Lt. Cmdr. James Stockman of U.S. Africa Command. It is the next phase in the operation that started Saturday with the launch of more than 110 Tomahawk Cruise missiles from U.S. and British warships and subs.


PARIS (Reuters) - France sent an aircraft carrier toward Libya on Sunday and its warplanes carried out further operations over the north African country, armed forces and defense officials said.
The Charles de Gaulle carrier, the flagship of the French fleet, left the southern port of Toulon at around 1200 GMT, carrying around 1,800 crew members and some 20 aircraft.

The carrier was accompanied by an attack submarine, several frigates and a refueling ship, defense officials said.
"The French operations continue," said a source at armed forces headquarters. "French planes are in place (over Libya)."

President Nicolas Sarkozy's government, alongside Britain, was at the forefront of a campaign to win U.N. backing for a no-fly zone over Libya and to build an international coalition for military strikes to enforce it.

French planes fired the first shots on Saturday in the campaign to force Muammar Gaddafi's troops to cease fire and end attacks on civilians.


France's leadership in the diplomatic and military arenas appeared to have rallied public opinion behind President Nicolas Sarkozy, whose approval ratings have been languishing near record lows ahead of presidential elections early next year.

Elections for local councilors this Sunday and next will provide the last litmus test before the 2012 vote [ID:nLDE72F0ID].

Even former prime minister Dominique de Villepin, one of Sarkozy's bitterest political critics, applauded the government's role.

"France has, in these circumstances, been true to its ideals," he told the Journal du Dimanche newspapers.

Some cautioned, however, that the attacks could bring repercussions in terms of domestic security.

"We're preparing for all eventualities," Britain's ambassador in Paris, Peter Westmacott, told Europe 1 radio. "He (Gaddafi) has been involved in a lot of terrorist activities in the past. We can't rule anything out."

(Writing by Daniel Flynn; editing by Mike Peacock)

I like to think I'm a pretty good reader and I'm not so old that I cannot understand the news, etc, but: can someone tell me "who," in Libya, are the "good guys?" What is the programme of the provisional government? What do they plan to do for the people of Libya, all the people of Libya? Do they plan to establish the rule of law? fundamental individual rights for all? property rights? equality at and under the law?

Or will it (the provisional government) just devolve into another North African/Arab dictatorship/kleptocracy?

Why, in other words, are we fighting?
I am assuming that the threats from Gadhafi about wholesale murder on the streets of Benghazi prompted the action. Don't need another Rwanda on our hands.
I agree though, what is going to replace the current regime?
Things are already going as "planned" according to this report from the Associated Press via the Globe and Mail:

"The head of the Arab League has criticized international strikes on Libya, saying they caused civilian deaths.

The Arab League's support for a no-fly zone last week helped overcome reluctance in the West for action in Libya. The UN authorized not only a no-fly zone but also “all necessary measures” to protect civilians.

Amr Moussa says the military operations have gone beyond what the Arab League backed. Mr. Moussa has told reporters Sunday that “what happened differs from the no-fly zone objectives.” He says “what we want is civilians' protection not shelling more civilians.”"

I'm glad to see the Arab League is operating true to form: two faced.

E.R. Campbell said:
Why, in other words, are we fighting?
We are fighting the government of Libya in order to teach them a lesson: that it's not right to use force to support your....

Oh, wait.  That's not it.

It's because he's a middle eastern tyrant using force against innocent people and.....

Nope, that can't be it either, or all these countries would have joined in on removing Saddam Hussein from power in early 1991.

I don't really know why "Libya" and not (insert country name here).