NATO's plans became lucid after the passing of Resolution 1973 by the UN Security Council. By the time Gadhafi's forces began to prevail in Libya and the taming of the mutiny seemed to have entered the final phase. The UN Security Council produced the Resolution just hours before the storm of Benghazi, the opposition's stronghold, was due to begin, and the document otherwise centered around the no-fly zone issue contains passages shedding light on the international community's far-reaching plans. The Resolution affords additional measures against ground targets in Libya, leading experts to believe that airstrikes against Gadhafi's regime are on the agenda.
The only way to rescue the rebels now locked up in Benghazi is to attack the government forces from the air. Suppose that NATO puts the plan into practice after overwhelming the Libyan air defense which comprises around 15 early-warning radars and some 30 air-to-air missile bases. Once the Libyan army is scattered and the armed rebels counted as civilians by the UN Security Council are saved and sold to the media as true democrats, what are we going to see next?
If the mutiny was backed by a political movement with at least some level of organization and enjoyed at least minimal support among the population, the intervention could enable the movement to gain control over the whole situation in Libya, to take Gadhafi and his family in custody, and to start putting together an elections campaign. The questions arising in the context are:
– Do the rebels represent the majority or a considerable part of Libya's population?
– How tightly-knit is the opposition and – even with the outside assistance – can it take control over the political situation in the “liberated” Libya?
– What will the soldiers and offices from the routed Libyan army do?
– How will the Muslim world react to the rape of Libya by the US and NATO?
There is an impression that so far Brussels, Washington, and London lack clarity of vision. NATO is launching an offensive based on time-tested but nevertheless imperfect principle upheld by Napoleon: start fighting and then you will see.
It is likely that – absent an overland intervention – the rebels will fail to establish themselves as the dominant political force in Libya, and the new Anti-Gadhafi administrations will plunge into chaos shortly as the remnants of the Libyan army switch to guerrilla warfare.
Gadhafi's son said in a recent interview: “We have Plan A, B, C. Plan A, we are going to live and die here; Plan B, we are going to live and die here; Plan C, we are going to live and die here”. It appears dubious at the moment that the rebels in Libya can count on considerable public support. It is also improbable that NATO will risk to dispatch ground forces to Libya. Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) already indicated that fighting against Libya under the flags of particular countries would be a better option than fighting them under the NATO flag. There are explainable concerns that another tide of anti-americanism in the Arab world can affect the situation considerably. Therefore, a likely scenario is that NATO will charge its Arab world allies – Saudi Arabia and Qatar – with the mission on the ground in Libya. It is relativity unimportant that the force will be staffed with US and European advisers – if the Gulf countries with their modest military potentials dare to step in, the world will be offered to buy the idea that Muslims are helping Muslims. If they don't dare to step in, however, Washington and Brussels will face a serious problem.
The offensive that is beginning to materialize resembles to an extent the 1999 NATO war against Yugoslavia, which the alliance had no difficulty winning. The difference is that popular and well-organized opposition to late S. Milosevic existed in Belgrade at that time, while nothing of the kind is found in today's Tripoli. In Yugoslavia, the “humanitarian” airstrikes which cost thousands of civilian lives served – with notable complicity of Russia's president B. Yeltsin and premier V. Chernomyrdin – to propel the opposition to power in Serbia, which was a priori susceptible to the “Western values”. For Libyans, the values mean little, and NATO's direct involvement with several clans in Libya will neither provide a justification for the Western offensive globally nor leave Muslim radical groups unperturbed.
Under any possible scenario, NATO will be pursuing policies promising escalations not limited to Libya. The process will span vast geopolitical areas and those seeking to ignite global chaos will surely get what they desire.