The Grinding War in Libya Favors Gaddafi

(Washington Institute for Near East Policy) Jeffrey White - Despite appearances, the Libyan civil war is not a stalemate. Gaddafi's forces have adapted to NATO's control of the air and have continued offensive operations. Rebel forces in the east are far from being able to gain and hold ground against even depleted regime forces. Their offensive operations have consistently failed amid chaotic scenes of flight and disorder. Allied forces have not broken the regime's willingness or ability to continue the fight, and NATO is reluctant to take the military steps needed to turn the tide rapidly. The staying power of regime forces has been surprising after nine weeks of fighting and NATO airpower has not swept these forces from the field. Limited strike assets, lack of precise and timely information on mobile targets, low risk tolerance for collateral damage, and differing rules of engagement among contributing militaries have resulted in a less-than-decisive application of force. War is largely about willpower, and Gaddafi currently holds the upper hand on this front. The writer is a defense fellow at The Washington Institute.

2011-04-27 00:00:00

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