Saturday, March 19, 2011

Libya: Too Little Too Late?

The UN must have read my blog.
It finally voted yesterday to authorise a no-fly zone over Libya, plus "all necessary measures" (that's UN-speak for military action) to protect the civilian uprising. But just when will this aerial umbrella open?
The good ol' US of A says "no immediate action" is expected. I dunno how long it will take to actually organise the enforcement of a no-fly zone: last week the Pentagon said it could do it "within a couple of days", but yesterday the US Air Force Chief of Staff reckoned it could take "upwards of a week".
Also yesterday Qaddafi bombarded Misrata, the last big opposition stronghold in western Libya, with heavy artillery and tanks. So you think he gives a damn about a UN resolution? You think he's going to stop? Think again! Jeez, it'll be all over in the next few days, let alone "upwards of a week"!
Yet the bulk of Libya's air force is obsolete by Western terms: about 80 operational aircraft - helicopters, transports and fighter jets - with technology behind the times. Surely no real challenge?
USAF F-16 kick-arse
So how hard can this "slam-dunk" be? Well, they're talking about surveillance and aerial refueling planes, satellite comms and jamming gear, logistics, all to assist strategic strikes by bombers and fighters.
Do they need to roll in every conceivable piece of military might before hitting the "go" button? I'd have expected a carrier fleet to be steaming to the Mediterranean long before now, so it was ready at a moment's notice...or maybe the redeployment of some planes from the Middle East to bases in Italy. It can't be too hard - after all, the UN has watched this coming for three weeks. But as I've blogged before, the UN seems to have no balls, no drive to be the global peacemaker it's supposed to be.
The sooner this is started, the sooner it's all dealt with...but leave it for another week, and there'll be no bloody point!
PS: 20 March 2011 - Qaddafi gets a taste of his own medicine...and not before time!

No comments: