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INSIGHT - US/UK/French view on Libya operation

Released on 2012-03-06 07:00 GMT

Email-ID 233212
Date 1970-01-01 01:00:00
from a closed door mtg with a few US, one UK and one French air force
USAF could not be more thrilled with the resolution. They are practically
jumping out of their seats to do this operation --- it's a dream op, as
they call it - flat terrain, close to the coast, easy targets. no prob.
What's funny is they're only looking at the 'op' as preventing Ghadafi
from retaking Benghazi. These guys aren't the decision-makers, obviously,
but the US guys are simply not looking at the 'what's next' question. They
brush it off as, we'll get the rebel forces into a mean fighting force,
they'll handle the rest. We took a group of rag tag Afghans who were
repressed into nothing and turned them into fighters, why can't we do it
with Libyans. (uhh...) They were amazed at my skepticism.
The Egyptians are on the ground, arming and training the rebels.
From their perspective this whole operation is a UK-French-driven
campaign. The US was in many ways pushed into it. The resolution was
almost completely drafted by the Brits.
The UK guy says UK is driven by energy interests in this campaign. BP
post-oil spill is suffering in US< other options are to expand in Siberia
(problems with Russia), Vietnam and .. libya. They see a Ghadafi ouster
as the best way to meet their energy interests.
The French are more complicated. They dont' need the energy. The French
had a multi-billion dollar contract signed with Ghadafi for 40 Rafale
jets, that was going to be the saving grace for the French defense
industry. Then the French (so he claims) hear about AQIM threats backed by
Ghadafi on French targets, and they got pissed. Sarkozy painted himself in
a corner. More than that, though, (and this is what the british and the
french guy agreed on,) was that this was France really, really wanting to
show that it can DO this. To prove its relevance.
The Germans are opposed, but they all commented on how Germany abstained.
Germany has the stigma of being too close to Russia these days and they
think Merkel is trying to balance a bit more with the US and plus wanted
to look good in a leadership position in the UNSC (acting responsibly,
etc. instead of flat out voting against.)
The French guy was pissed b/c, as they claim, the French and the Brits and
the US air force all ready to go. They can start bombing within hours.
But, they started bitching about the petty bureaucracy. The US Navy now
wants to make sure it gets involved and are saying Tuesday to get into
position, maybe Wed start the operation
** Note - George believes this is the US deliberately buying time and
tryign to bluff ghadafi into a negotiation. They don't want this war.
Certainly Gates doesn't.
This has to be a US=-led operation. No question. All their excrcises and
the way NATO is configured only allows for a US-led operation. They have
yet to sort out all the ohter command and control issues. It sounds like
it'll be a giant mess.
There's also some fighting going on over what anti-air defense systems to
employ since the US has some new fancy stuff and they want to 'give it
away' or reveal their capabilities in something like this. This is all
central European air defenses anyway. They seem extremely confident in the
intel they have on EADs. Not so much about who's who in the opposiiton
(but let the agency, SF guys, allies like Egypt worry about that.)
So, all in all, a lot of stereotypes confirmed. The Air Force is trying to
jump the gun, saying piece of cake, we got this, who cares about what
happens next. I'm sure the army is thinking you're out of your mind.
we're not getting ourselves into this. US appears to be buying time and
NATO unity on this operation is not assured. NATO may deploy a few jets -
keeping close to the mandate of 'protecting civilians' - if Ghadafi
doesn't shoot, NATO won't shoot (french guy seemed to be pretty clear that
the French wouldn't act if Q held to the ceasefire.)
So... maybe we'll have a weekend? I probably just jinxed us.