Libya: Disunited We Stall


Several NATO nations have intel operatives on the ground in Libya, and the information coming back about the rebels is not encouraging. While most Libyans want Kaddafi gone, there is little unity beyond that. There are dozens of armed factions, and no unifying higher command. The good news is that the Islamic radical groups are a small part of the resistance groups. The bad news is that the Islamic radical groups (including some openly allied with al Qaeda) are in play at all. But Islamic radicals were always among those who continually resisted Kaddafi’s tyranny. The worse news is that there is slow progress on rebel formation of a unified military (or political) command. This greatly complicates any efforts to supply weapons or training. Some of the rebel factions are for this, others oppose it. How do you decide who (among the willing groups) gets the weapons and training? Meanwhile, politicians of NATO countries are divided over how much aid to give the rebels. This makes NATO efforts along these lines difficult. NATO is an organization that only acts when there is a lot of consensus. Right now, there is not a lot of consensus within NATO about how far to go in supporting the Libyan rebels. At this point, it looks like individual NATO nations are likely to supply and train the more likely (to be successful) rebel factions. Since no good deeds go unpunished in this area, this support will be followed by accusations of favoritism and unwarranted intervention in Libyan affairs. But the only alternative is a long (perhaps years) of bloody stalemate between Kaddafi and the rebels. That would be accompanied by lots of stories about very bad behavior by Kaddafi’s secret police, and accusations that NATO nations could have done more to aid the rebels.

Libya: Disunited We Stall


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