It was supposed to have been over in a few days. World powers would go in with fighter jets and the world's most sophisticated precision-guided weapons to render Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi powerless.
But that's not the way things happened.
As NATO's airstrikes crossed the 100-day mark, analysts blamed a host of faulty assumptions, including success based solely on surgical airstrikes, for a protracted war that some fear could drag on for more months. (...)
The basic problem, McGregor said, stemmed from presuppositions about the fortitude of the Libyan opposition. (...)
"This revolt never really had the strength to succeed," McGregor said. "There was this feeling among the rebels that all we have to do is show up. But you should take a couple of years to get it organized first. If you're just going to run out on the streets, the results will be predictable."
Four months on, the rebels are not capable of supporting themselves, McGregor said. They are out of fuel, oil production has shut down, and they have few available resources. They will soon face even shortages of food and water, McGregor said. (...)
Part of that failure was a lack of consideration of the makeup of the Libyan population, said University of Texas political scientist Alan J. Kuperman, author of "The Limits of Humanitarian Intervention."
"The fundamental error by the White House and NATO was to imagine that the Libyan people were united in opposition to Gadhafi," he said.
"In reality, Libya is divided along lines of clan and tribe, some of whom benefit greatly from Gadhafi, and therefore defend him fiercely," he said. "Any expert on ethnic conflict and intervention could have told the White House that ahead of time."
In that respect, said Thomas Donnelly, director of the Center for Defense Studies, the Libyan war has the potential for fallout that is worse than what happened after President George W. Bush declared "mission accomplished" weeks after Saddam Hussein's 2003 ouster in the Iraq war.
"To imagine that Libyans are going to come together -- is a hope, but not a plan," Donnelly said. "It was a mistake to get involved in such a feckless way."
Behind the rhetorical rallying cry of protecting civilians, Donnelly said, has always been the real aim of NATO -- to kill Gadhafi. (...)
The Libyan regime has also proven itself to be more robust and resilient than anyone imagined. It would be a mistake, said Donnelly, to assume that killing Gadhafi would mean a collapse of the entire system.
The Libya conflict has sometimes been compared to NATO's air war in the Balkans in the 1990s. Many people thought the Serbs would go down instantly once NATO began bombing. They didn't. And eventually, it was the threat of a ground invasion that led to the capitulation of then-Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic.
Gadhafi, however, faces no such threat. And some believe the arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court this week will only help strengthen his resolve to stay in power.(...)
Thursday, June 30, 2011
Publicada por Miguel Madeira em 09:39