Libya – 2 or 4 or 7 days until US hands Control & Command to Britain & France?

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    Or –

    20th March 2011



    A senior US Naval officer at a Pentagon briefing said this evening that the US is preparing to hand over Command & Control to the allies (Britain & France) “in the next few days”.

    Sounds like Messrs Cameron & Sarkozy are about to have their hands full, if they’re not already sufficiently busy. Is this what our PM expected or warned us of when he pushed for this “legal” no-fly zone? That his time would be consumed by a conflict in the Middle East? So early in his premiership? With so many pressing domestic issues?  A conflict that could be just as challenging as anything we have seen in Iraq or Afghanistan?

    The American Admiral did not say that the Americans will pull out if things get extended, but … well, call me sceptical.


    When asked that reports say an attack on Tripoli tonight may have hit Gaddafi’s residence, the US admiral said that Gaddafi himself was not on a target list, but if he was in a particular place,  we weren’t to know. In other words, he IS a target. He is their Number One target.

    With the initial phase of the no-fly zone operation successfully over and word that the coalition is “stepping up” its operation I’m beginning to wonder if the US will be in this AT ALL at the end of this month, apart from providing back-up.  If so, and not to put a too fine a point on it, I imagine there are two western leaders nervously mulling over the present position in Libya.


    Gaddafi called a “second” ceasefire at 7:00pm GMT this evening, which is clearly a contradiction in terms. The first ceasefire 48 hours ago didn’t come to much. An hour later  – just after 8:00pm GMT land to air anti-aircraft missile fire could be seen and heard. It can be seen here at Sky.

    Downing street has made a statement this evening saying “we will continue to enforce the UN no-fly zone resolution. We judge him on his actions, not his words, and we will do so again.” It seems, btw, that the meeting this evening was not a Cobra meeting but was a new sub-committee meeting of the National Security Council.

    So is there some room for manoeuvre on Gaddafi’s part, and if there is, is this a sign of our strength or his weakness? Or vice versa?

    You won’t need to be reminded that President Obama was hesitant, very hesitant on committing the USA to any action at all on Libya.  It is suggested that the only reason Obama agreed in the end to the no-fly zone proposition at the UN was that politically he didn’t dare allow Britain and particularly France to relegate the USA to the back seat as the World’s First Responder on great international issues, particularly of war and peace.

    After the denial from the spokesman of the Arab League that he had criticised the action as it was resulting in Libyan deaths – (he said that had been a translation misunderstanding, which is odd, since he spoke in clear, perfect English)  – Obama, Cameron and Sarkozy will all have been kicking the furniture today.

    Amr Moussa, the Arab League’s Utterly Predictable Leader (source)

    “As James Fallows has noted, who could have guessed that Amr Moussa and the braver-than-brave Arab League might now have doubts about military action against Libya? Well, just about anyone who has ever dealt with the Arab League. Does anyone believe that the Arab League, whose members include Bashar al-Assad, the Saud family, Yemen’s Ali Abdullah Saleh, Muammar Qaddafi (now suspended for non-payment of dues and an overly-gauche defense of his regime) and until a few weeks ago Tunisia’s Ben Ali and Egypt’s Mubarak, is a force for progressive politics and humanitarianism? That it would ever stand with the West when it was uncomfortable to stand with the West?


    Moussa, according to my notes of the conversation, was adamant that no, suicide terrorism would not become widespread. “The circumstances of the Israeli occupation are unique in the world,” he said. “The cruelty has no parallels.” In any case, he said, Muslim leaders “have made it very clear that this form of resistance is to be used only as an absolute last resort.”

    A year later, of course, suicide terrorists attacked the World Trade Center. And since then, Muslim suicide terrorists have made their primary targets other Muslims, most notably in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. I tell this story only to illustrate the point that Amr Moussa lacks many of the qualities one would like to have in an ally.”



    I tweeted this at 19:45 –


    blairsupporter Blair Supporter
    Cobra meeting @ No 10 extended 45mins, now over. Agenda changed halfway thru with AOB from “apologies for absence” – (M Gaddafi.)


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