I wrote and scheduled this post last night and literally at the same time as it went up, the UN Security Council voted for the No Fly Zone, which authorises air attacks on ground forces. I’m still worried it’s too late.
The Arab League turned against Gaddifi this week, calling for a no-flight zone. But the UN Security Council voted it down. The US voted against that proposal but is now talking about possibly talking about air strikes. As the West dithers the crucial moment, to borrow from the Bard, is now, very now. The Battle for Benghazi will start any day.
When it does, the pro-Gaddifi military will inevitably over-run the rebels. There’s a small hope that the Gaddifi forces will over-stretch their supply lines as the rebels did a week ago but it doesn’t look likely.
Simply, the failure of Tripoli to rise up in force was the turning point. Everyone expected that the population there would follow the lead of the other cities. But there were too few protesters and Gaddifi’s forces massacred them. Rebel forces tried to advance from the East but became over-stretched while Gaddifi, once his capital was secure, was able to send out forces to take back the lost cities. Too much of the supposedly rebel military has sat on the sidelines and let amateurs do the fighting. They, foolishly, think that will save them if and when Gaddifi wins.
When Benghazi falls, it won’t only be thousands of civilians and rebels that will die. So, will the dreams of reformers and revolutionaries across the Arab world.
The US knows this, of course. That’s why they will still be talking about doing something to stop Gaddifi when the rebels are finally crushed.