2011 March 30 Wednesday
Obama Sends CIA Into Libya To Help Lame Rebels

You might have expected the CIA was already on the ground in Libya. Maybe so. But now the Obama Administration is at minimum using CIA agents in Libya to gather intelligence and coordinate with rebels. The New York Times reports British MI6 and British special forces are in Libya with the special forces calling in air strikes and tracking Libyan government troop movements.

Obama so far denies he wants to overthrow Khadafy and he's just trying to protect the civilians. So he's lying, boxed in by his desire to portray his foreign policy as less aggressive and more respectful of the sovereignty of other nations than George W. Bush's. Yet Obama does not want Libya to become yet another long running American war in the Middle East with lots of chaos and decay. Therefore he needs Qadafi's regime to fall - and quickly before his coalition falls apart. So, all his rhetoric aside, the US and its allies are going to help the rebels in more ways.

The Brits (who are running low on pilots for the air campaign) and probably the French as well are already using spies and special forces to topple Gaddafi. Plus, Qatar and Saudi Arabia will probably provide weapons to the rebels.

The US voted for a UN Security Council resolution that authorized the air war while at the same time disallowing outside support for either side in Libya. But now it looks like the US, France, Britain, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar will violate the the very Security Council resolution they are currently using to legitimize the air war. Is that cool, or what?

Hypocrisy in the service of what? The rebels are lame. In spite of impressive air support and capture of a number of tanks and Grad rocket systems, the rebels are once again in retreat, abandoning cities they had just recaptured yet again. With massive air superiority they can't even hold ground? Lame, lame, lame.

Remember when the White House was trying to portray the US role in the air strikes as minimal? As recently as March 19, 2011 Obama tried to portray US involvement in Libya as a support role which would not involve US troops on the ground. So he'll have to use mercenaries.

Good afternoon, everybody. Today I authorized the Armed Forces of the United States to begin a limited military action in Libya in support of an international effort to protect Libyan civilians. That action has now begun.

...

As a part of this effort, the United States will contribute our unique capabilities at the front end of the mission to protect Libyan civilians, and enable the enforcement of a no-fly zone that will be led by our international partners.  And as I said yesterday, we will not -- I repeat -- we will not deploy any U.S. troops on the ground.

If Obama sticks with that promise either the Brits and French will have to send in many more special forces or it is time for professional mercenaries to get paid to fight for the rebels.

Here is an incredible irony: By trying to avoid leading a coalition Obama managed to create the smallest coalition out of any US intervention of the last 20 years. His very attempt at multilateralism made the coalition must less multi.

President Obama has touted his emphasis on multilateralism in the U.S. military intervention in Libya, but — for political, operational and legal reasons — his “coalition of the willing” is smaller than any major multilateral operation since the end of the Cold War.

Half-hearted commitment to half measures leads to failure.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2011 March 30 09:37 PM  MidEast Insurgencies


Comments
Red said at March 30, 2011 11:32 PM:

Why would the Saudi's provide support to the rebels? They might be next on our democracy hit list. I bet you anything they are trying like crazy to form an alliance with Iran or Turky and getting out of the US sphere of influence as soon as possible. It's become clear after Egypt that being a US ally is a death sentence. Israel might try to stick it out hoping Obama looses in 2012 but frankly they should tell us to go fuck ourselves.

bbartlog said at March 31, 2011 6:35 AM:

Khaddafi pissed off the Saudis at some point in the past (didn't he try to kill the king or something?). So for them this is simply payback. Or I suppose they wouldn't mind seeing a long-drawn-out civil war take Libyan oil off the market for a while.
As for the rebels, yeah. Steve Sailer commented on their feeble numbers a little while ago (something snarky about 'dozens' of rebels fleeing). I don't think half-hearted Western involvement is actually going to help their recruiting that much, either. If we intervened decisively they would at least gain fair-weather recruits who wanted to be on the winning team, but with our kinda-sorta support they get all the baggage of working in league with the imperialist/crusader/infidel Western powers while not really getting much of an assurance that Khaddafi won't be able to blow them up before all is said and done.
All that said, Khaddafi must really have some personal and leadership shortcomings in light of the numerous defections from his inner circle. Either he doesn't know how to pick loyal people or he's sufficiently batty that anyone who's around him for a while starts thinking 'wow, this guy really needs to go'. One wonders whether his sons are competent.
Oh, and as for the Saudis being on our 'hit list', dream on. There are deep ties between the power elite of the USA and the Saudis. We aren't going to do a damn thing to them.

Matra said at March 31, 2011 8:33 AM:

By helping the US out of a jam the Saudis will get extra brownie points ensuring they get a pass in Bahrain and if the so-called democracy movement arrives in Saudi they will get the US go ahead to put it down.

Lou Pagnucco said at April 1, 2011 11:13 AM:

We shouldn't blame Obama - he is doing the best he can with bad material.

A great power needs a great enemy, and Obama is desperately seeking one.
Libya may fall a bit short, but what other choice does he have?

Rather than criticizing Obama, we should be feeling sorry for Jon Stewart.
How will he parody a speech that already is one?

Wolf-Dog said at April 1, 2011 8:07 PM:

But there are news reports that Al Qaeda is infiltrating the opposition in Libya. In the end, the rebels in Libya may ultimately become like the Taliban who took over Afghanistan after the old government was overthrown there. Maybe the US is better off with Gaddafi.

Incidentally, the southern part of Yemen is declaring an independent Islamist country. Egypt will probably be ruled by the Muslim Brotherhood ultimately.


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