Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Continuing Observations about Campaign against Qadaffi, part two

The campaign continues to demonstrate that multilateralism is really, really hard.
  • Germany is taking its ships out of NATO's Mediterranean force "Because there is a component to the arms embargo that envisages the use of force if necessary." This is a bit deceptive, as Germany has been involved in similar ops where their ships had responsibility for detecting/signaling but not firing.  The parallel action of pulling the airmen and woman from NATO AWACS planes reinforces the basic German stance--we are not involved in this at all.  Germany is being more aggressive in stepping aside than in previous efforts (excluding Iraq 2003).  Is Germany war-weary or is Merkl more worried about elections?
  • Canada is now in campaign season as the new budget is going down in flames.  The election will likely take place in May and result in the status quo being confirmed, including that Ignatieff is a dork.  How will this effect the Libya mission?  Not much.  The Liberals are big fans of responsibility to protect, so it will be hard for them to attack the government on this.  Instead, they are depicting the purchase of F-35's as anti-family.  Good luck with that.
  • Sometimes stealth is too stealthy.*  US F-22s are not over the skies of Libya as they cannot communicate with the allies' planes or most American ones for that matter. In developing its comm systems, apparently there was a tradeoff between communicating easily and being stealthy (F-35 will have this solved).  Given how much the US badgers others on developing interoperable weapons systems, this is a major oops and hypocrisy.
* I used pink here because this is pretty darned embarrassing.  Imagine the US blushing.
  • Al Jazeera Rocks.  Really.  I said that.  They seem to be the folks behind this really cool google doc (H/T to for the link).  Lists the various forces in play over and around Libya and what they are doing.
    • Includes links to videos like this.
    • Funny that the pattern seems to be four to six planes from each smaller country (Canada, Norway, Denmark, Spain).  I guess that is critical mass enough for the logistics package but not so large that there would be problems for finding space for them at southern European bases.  Plus it lessens the risks of any one of these countries standing too far out.
  • France is seemingly even more gutsy/insane than we realized.  Nice post here about how the first attack on tanks was in daylight, before any air defense suppression.  Whether France was on its own or trying  to provide the Libyans into over-reacting is not clear.  But those pilots were very much in harm's way.
  • Obama is working the phones to get the coalition to include Arab countries and for command and control to move from US to NATO.  Good luck with that.
More thoughts on this stuff as events and other analyses spur them.


Jacob T. Levy said...

"US F-22s are not over the skies of Libya as they cannot communicate with the allies' planes or most American ones for that matter"


I can just about imagine the leftover Cold War mindset in which it seemed to make sense that you'd just be sending the B-2s and the F-22 fleet into a theater, without allies or support, and communication would be pointless. (See: Dr. Strangelove.) But... jeez.

Steve Saideman said...

Plus they cannot carry that much ordnance so they are lousy if you want to bomb places. Not even sure they are that good air to air.

Steve Greene said...

NATO, Libya, Nato, Afghanistan, Libya, blah, blah, blah. Where's all that trenchant pop culture commentary and miscellany that your non IR-interested readers have come to depend upon? :-)