Obviously Libya is just a piece on the chessboard. All that hoopla about democracy and evil ol' Gaddafi. Like WMD's NOT and evil ol' Saddam. Or the evil Taliban (who were busy minding their own business). I would be embarrassed to tell that stupid of a lie let alone keep repeating it!
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report April 21, 2011, 12:11 PM (GMT+02:00)
Both of Libya's fighting camps are taking delivery of a surging influx of weapons shipments and military personnel – each hoping to use the extra aid for breaking the military standoff in its own favor, debkafile's military sources report. The British, French and Italian military officers bound for rebel headquarters in Benghazi are part of a package that includes arms and military equipment from the US, Britain, France, Italy and Qatar.
On the other side of the Libyan divide, China, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Serbia are keeping the pro-Qaddafi camp's arsenals stocked with new hardware along with combat personnel from Eastern Europe and the former Yugoslavia.
Building up in Libya is a confrontation that recalls the 1999 war in Yugoslavia (Serbia today) when NATO's four-month Operation Noble Anvil hammered Yugoslav forces to force their retreat from Kosovo. The Serbs were backed then by clandestine Chinese-Russian support in tactical advice, intelligence, fighting men and arms.
Just like 12 years ago, our military sources report that from mid-March, hundreds of "volunteers" - professional soldiers ranking from colonel down to corporal - have joined the army loyal to Qaddafi. Calling themselves "nationalists" operating in paramilitary organizations without the knowledge of their governments, these foreigners claim they have come "to repulse the Western-Muslim onslaught on Qaddafi's regime."
Of course, they are handsomely paid from Muammar Qaddafi's plentiful war chest.
One group says it is in Libya for unfinished business with the West, especially the United States, for their role in the Bosnia and Kosovo conflicts.
China is helping him with arms, mostly through African neighbors, and intelligence on NATO strikes in order to limit the damage they inflict (a service like that performed for Serbia in the 1990s). Beijing thinks it has a stake in helping the Libyan ruler after being informed that the Obama administration seeks to sever Chinese-Libyan oil ties before Beijing sinks tens of billions of dollars in tranforming Libya into its primary oil and gas supplier on the African continent.
The NATO bombardment of a large ammunition dump near Tripoli on April 14 aimed at destroying the latest Chinese arms shipments. However, debkafile's military sources point to four major difficulties still confronting the next, intensified, round of Western coalition operations in Libya:
1. Pushing Qaddafi too hard could split NATO between West and East European members;
2. The alliance is short of fighter-bombers for blasting the arms convoys destined for government forces in western Libya, and lacks the precision bombs and missiles for these attacks. These shortages have forced NATO to limit its air strikes for now.
3. It is not clear that UN Security Council resolutions provide a mandate for this kind of attack. The Russians criticize the Western alliance almost daily for exceeding its mandate.
4. In view of this criticism, Washington, London, Paris and Rome are careful to label their war aid to Libyan rebels as "non-lethal military aid" and the military personnel helping them "military advisers" – raising memories of the euphemisms used in previous wars.
The trouble is that all the additional military assistance the West is laying on is barely enough, say debkafile's military experts, to maintain the current stalemate against the Qaddafi regime's boosted capabilities - certainly not sufficient to tip the scales of the war.
Qaddafi holds one major advantage: His army can absorb foreign assistance without delay and almost seamlessly, whereas Western aid drops into a pit of uncertainty with regard to the rebel groups and their chiefs. The military advisers arriving in Benghazi first need to guide the opposition's steps in fighting Qaddafi's forces, then form the rebels into military units and teach them how to use the weapons they are receiving.
It could take months for regular rebel units to take shape under the direction of British, French and Italian military personnel who, too, are not necessarily working in harness.