About Time for the UK-French Entente to Apply Decisive Force Against Quaddafi

The grown ups will awaken shortly with more informed responses, but even if we could/should scrape together a UK ground contribution of a Division(-), who is going to pay for it?

Futhermore the armour isn't going to be much use in Tripoli so by your calculations that leaves 8 infantry battalions to take a city of over 1 million souls. Assuming that such a super human performance was possible - and drawing on the model of Baghdad - what then?

It was my understanding that the 'light footprint' approach of Rumsfeld had been totally discredited and applying the rule of 'you broke it, you own it', the UK+ have neither the will nor the resources to commit to such an operation.

If ground troops were going to be used I'd suggest that landing around Misratah and going the other way to Benghazi (where they embark and foxtrot oscar) would be more sensible, allowing the rebels to advance and cut off the enclave of Tripoli. G's conventional forces would get a good kicking, he loses all access to oil revenue and no EU green army remains on the ground to be stuck in a counter insurgency nightmare.
I assume ya feeling lonely as you where the only arrser not invited to the wedding.
Upstringing, we hung a Traitor to his Lawful King, there was no USA just Rebel colonies and he was dealt with iaw the Law of that Day.

Short answer Mr Hale is, ehm no we can't. Following adventures in Iraq and Afghanistan the UK presently does not possess the political will (nor the military capability it had 6 months ago) for such an expedition.
Well if the Arab League or African Union don't want to do it, why should we? Oh, and we probably can't anyway unless we withdraw combat units from Afghanistan first.

Bet that'd go down well.

Oh, this is what a short post looks like, Mr Hale. I didn't even copy & paste things from other websites.

Hint hint.
Unless the european oil majors start throwing their weight around I'd expect this thankless humanitarian intervention to move slowly. There'll probably be an awful lot of legal nit picking, arse scratching and attempts to shift the burden before any serious action happens. It'll be a little embarrassing but NATO is used to that.

The Pentagon and Barry's electorate for his shaky second term has sod all interest in the very peripheral Libya beyond conserving their tax dollars. With Cairo tilting towards Hamas, Syria and Bahrain in turmoil DC's eyes will be on their rapidly collapsing wider ME strategy.

Dave just wants costs kept low and (like his electorate) for someone else to do the heavy lifting. He could be hoping to get lucky with a smart bomb well into 2012.

That leaves Sarko, he's made the running on this one. After a corrupt reign he's the least popular French President ever but not up for election for nearly a year. He has had the strongest approval over the Libyan intervention of any of the NATO leaders, in the mid sixties. I'd expect he'll be playing to Le Pen's base and grandstanding on this and other efforts against immigration all summer. The French like a bit of towel head hammering, but really aren't much moved by a few thousand extra dead arabs. They go torpid around August. Provided the cost are kept fairly low and the rebels suffer just steady attrition rather than an embarrassing Hama type defeat it might suit him to wait till autumn to administer a coup de grâce with ground troops.
Could we? Technically, probably yes, if it was in our urgent national interest, and someone was paying for it.

Should we? Definitely no. Just on the principle that whilst poking about in other state's internal affairs to effect regime change and get rid of nasty people we don't like is tempting;

(a) it's against international law for good reasons. Where do you draw the line? Shall we invade Italy to get rid of Berlusconi? What if Britain elects Milliboy next - should the French and Americans invade to get control of the last of our oil?

(b) such exploits usually bring more grief than they are worth. Vide Iraq and Afghanistan.

As a rule I believe war is such an expensive (cash and human terms) act that is usually the worst solution to any problem. Invading Iraq and Afghan were not the best way to deal with the threat of Al Quaeda. In essence they have been counter-productive, making it easier to radicalise young Muslims by convincing them there is a war between the West and Islam. Putting a fraction of their cost into hearts and minds ops, intelligence, and very limited special ops would have achieved far more. Large scale warfare should be employed only when it is the only option available to defend ourselves.

Otherwise, soldiers should be left to go on nice safe exercises and come home to drink tea in the mess {wink}
C, if it was in our urgent national interest,

Its becoming in our national interest to find a way to end the mess, otherwise we look increasingly stupid (or at least our politicians do) for starting a fight that we can't finish - and against a(nother) third world rabble.
Britain has the combat arms force structure capacity to do it -- in league with the French ..... You only have 6 Infantry Battalions committed to Afghanistan boots on the ground -- or a 18 maneuver Battalion rotational force requirement ...... Unless the remaining 32 Infantry, RM Commando, Armor and Recce Bns/Rgts are manned at 75 % strength .....I copied the other articles (with attribution) because I thought you guys would be interested ......
You can't just deploy infantry battalions without the requisite combat service support. Also, the UK doesn't really have the logistical capability to do it at the moment.

We would have to withdraw almost completely from Afghanistan and then spend a few months gathering equipment and troops before we could deploy a force large enough to actually make it worthwhile. It's a sad state of affairs but it's the fault of politicians, not the men on the ground.
we look increasingly stupid (or at least our politicians do) .
Nothing new there I'm afraid, and nothing to be done that would remedy that,
I'd not overstate the difficulty of ending the Qaddafi regime, it's pathetically weak and might well not even offer much direct resistance if faced with invasion. One well supported combat brigade might do the job. Barry could probably be persuaded supply the logistics and plentiful air if someones else provides the troops. Unlike sending in the USMC this wouldn't harm his prospects in Nov 2012 indeed it might even play well in the Red States, a smart POTUS finally getting those sniveling surrender monkey's to pull their weight. It's really a question of will not means.

As with Iraq the big question is what comes after regime change? Given the old regime has a base of support there is liable to be an insurgency in Tripolitania and a failed rebel regime centered in Benghazi with slender legitimacy. Elections won't change this much. It will be a Takfiri magnet. The only neighbor that might be supportive is little Tunisia. Who owns and pays for this expensive tar baby behind the vener of NATO?

It ain't going to be DC. Rome (ENI) actually has the largest exiting energy interest by a large degree, followed by Paris (Total) with it's longterm North African energy focus, London (BP) is actually tail end Charlie in the Maghreb. None of these economies are robust enough to support an expensive nation building exercise, but the oil majors involved have plentiful resources and stand to gain in the long term, they perhaps should not expect the usual free ride.

I'd add the other option is probably partition also with some level of occupation which looks worse. The Sirte basin could be in chaos and out of production for a decade. A bigger cache of sophisticated arms has spilled onto the black market than has been seen since the fall of Baghdad, something needs to be done about that. Sub-Saharan migrants headed for the EU will likely become a primary instrument of punishment. If I was Qaddafi I'd be busing the poor and huddled masses up to Tripoli docks. The key european elderly racist demographic will be enraged by all the new hungry black folks scratching their arses in the High St. The resulting wave of troll like populist politicians of preternatural stupidity will wreck our economies.

If we entered this war on opportunistic realist grounds we were bloody fools. We did not, this was an ill informed humanitarian operation undertaken on a whim by a deeply unpopular French President. Dave titled towards Paris against the wishes of the management in DC and that was a mistake. On the same grounds it would be better to end it quickly and start dealing with the mess. However I suspect we will dither embarrassingly for sometime.
Surely any intervention would need Nato authorisation?
The Suez war was unleashed without NATO's approval. Moreover ever without USA's participation.

So now it is sufficient to invite Israel and to send troops .... with probably the same result.

How strong is popular support of Gaddafi? What if armed sitizens would resist UK/French forces in Tripoli? Suppose that Gaddafi hides among his own tribe in the endless Libyan desert. Would each tent be bombed in this case?

Nobody is able to predict how it would end. It is too risky business.
"Its becoming in our national interest to find a way to end the mess, otherwise we look increasingly stupid (or at least our politicians do) for starting a fight that we can't finish - and against a(nother) third world rabble."

How True.


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