Air strikes, Day 3. Much ado about nothing?

All too predictably, this happens after the long-delayed vaunted airpower finally arrived. This people’s uprising is just that, a people’s uprising, which means it’s essentially a mob. The problem has been exacerbated by three main factors:

  1. There’s now a permanent fear in the mindset of the rebel forces after that immense asskicking they received all the way from Bin Jawad back to the outskirts of Benghazi. In fact, for all the talk of months of hard urban fighting in Benghazi the city nearly fell in a few days when Gaddafi’s forces went for broke and tried to replicate the Misurata situation where they were entrenched within the city itself. Short of having a hard-fought major victory for new recruits, nothing is going to break that mentality, and it’s not possible to have that kind of victory when you have no command and control to speak of and rout at the slightest setback. It’s becoming a chicken and egg issue.
  2. Most of the civilian veterans are either dead in that long retreat or have become stuck behind enemy lines essentially, forming the small but generally ineffectual pockets of resistance within captured cities, possibly due to having families in them. Without those as the core of the rebel force the militia approach has to start from scratch using the smaller Benghazi manpower pool.
  3. That civilian pool of the rebel recruits is a major part of the problem, because once they have been armed they showed little sign of obeying any kind of central orders and will hare down the road west in little groups, with predictable outcomes. The only way this can be rectified is to hold them in Benghazi for a month of training before doing the major offensive, because dribbling green recruits out as soon as you get them is complete suicide against a proper military. There’s the added bonus that the Western air powers will start hitting the logistics chain of the Gaddafi in the weeks ahead, and it’s possible most of the mercenaries will think twice about sticking around once ammunition (and more importantly, the pay) starts running out.

If the international forces expect the rebels to topple Gaddafi as things stand now, the best they’re going to get is a partitioned Libya east of Sirte. They could reload this saved games a million times and the outcome will stay the same. Considering the political pressure internationally with just three days gone, this operation is unlikely to last a month. Either a cruise missile has to find Gaddafi as he’s sitting on the crapper, or the “advisors” on the ground for the West has to run the whole show for the Libyans. Nothing else is going to work, unless the US is willing to commit ground troops, and that’s just not going to happen.

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