|A mourner rects next to the grave of a rebel killed in Ajdablyah, during his funeral|
"Muammar al-Qaddafi, The Libyan superstar, who is one revolutionary leader who is no fan of wannabe rabble-rouser Julian Assange. WikiLeaks revelations of Qaddafi's excesses and his fondness for buxom East European nurses have raised questions about whether he will bring this storm that started in North Africa to another destination in the greater Maghreb. The U.N. and the rest of us might miss his flamboyantly deranged speeches, but it is clear many closer to home in the downtown Tripoli area would not. And that's why he is among those watching so closely to see which way the winds are blowing from Tahreer Square."
Later, I commented that the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt seemed to depend on an educated class, connected to the rest of the world. Everyone acknowledges the role of "social media" in the success of those revolts.
I really thought, though the Libyans were truly oppressed, propagandized and victimized by the despotic Gadaffi regime, a revolution wasn't in the immediate future. I was really surprised at the rapidity of the events that led to the Libyan uprising. Gadaffi seemed to be totally caught off guard as well.
When he finally rallied, brutally slaughtering his people, swift intervention by the world seemed to be a natural reaction.
But, you have to ask, who is suppose to be in charge of this war, non-war, no-fly zone, whatever?" That's right, it's not NATO or the EU, that would really complicate getting authorities to actually bomb something. It's not USAFRICOM, there is no Coalition Air Force command here. Best I can tell is that this is a loose multi-lateral coaltion between France, UK, and United States, with potential involvement by other supporting nations. That is to say, the United States is in the lead (despite comments to the contrary by SecState Clinton), and may someday soon hand over responsibility to a joint Franco-British coalition. You know, after we run out of legitimate ground targets.
Most of the arguments for why the U.S. should be seen as “taking the lead” seem to hinge on little more than the fact that so doing would be emotionally satisfying to those who have been agitating for intervention in Libya since hostilities began. On the other hand, the U.S. multilateral approach facilitates a “caution that shades into tactical incompetence.” But since the U.S. is still extricating itself from President George W. Bush’s unilateral invasion of Iraq, which didn’t exactly amount to “tactical competence,” this too is less than persuasive.
There are several reasons why the U.S. shouldn’t be seen as taking the lead. For one thing, the U.S. is already occupied with the aftermath of one war in Iraq and attempting to bring a more than decade-long operation in Afghanistan to its conclusion. The U.S. does not have unlimited military resources, and other countries that demanded intervention should take responsibility and offer contributions rather than free-riding off of the United States. The statements from the Arab League — which asked for intervention but then wavered when operations started — suggest that there really is a short shelf-life for the legitimacy for this operation in the Arab world, even though intervention initially had global support. If the operation goes badly, or takes far longer than advertised, it’s frankly in the U.S. interest not to be seen as having led the attack on a third Muslim country.
I would say that this intervention has reached a "now what?" point. Can civilians ever be safe with out the two worlds Obama never wants to utter- Regime Change?
Of course we are, in fact, leading the attack on a third Muslim country, and the interesting thing is that there were those on the National Security Staff who warned the President that there were no vital national security interests in Libya and that we really didn't understand what the rebels would do or expect after the fighting stopped. No, our government went into Libya because of remorse from a few key players that we didn't send military troops into Rwanda to stop the genocide there. Not that there's any remote connection between Rwanda and Libya, but hey, they reasoned, at least there's a better case for international intervention than the Bush administration had. Because "Better than Iraq" is the new low bar that all of our foreign policy adventures are now judged.
One caution in the structure of this rather fragile coalition is the assumed role of Nicolas Sarkozy and his desire to seem to be the flag waiver here. His decision has to be seen more as part of internal French politics. For him it was a true case of the tail wagging the dog. He is the lowest polling president in the history of the 5th Republic. His party is facing a certain disaster in the next presidential election. Even with Frances involvement in the Libyan intervention, the regional elections this weekend were a disaster for his UMP Party. Many UMP Candidates even left their party affiliation off of their posters and literature. He is still smarting from his legitimization of Gadaffi 3 years ago, when the Libyan dictator destroyed the lawn of the L'Elysee Palace with his tents. Sarkozy boasted of selling Libya Nuclear Power plants and a new autoroute system. All of those deals have fallen through.
More so, Gadaffi was a heavy contributor to Sarkozy's UMP Party and the propriety and very legality of the contributions may really cause huge problems for a government reeling from the embarrassing connections revealed with the Mubarak and Ben Ali regimes. The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Michele Alliot-Marie, recently had to resign because of a collapsing house of cards based on her involvement with the Tunisian dictator. I want to see this over as fast as I can. I would like to see Gadaffi eliminated but, America might be wise to let this be Sarkozy's war, because lately, Sarko has been infected with the Shit Finger Syndrome. Every thing he touches...........