Thursday, March 24, 2011

No Fly Zone Update: Busy Day

Mediterranean March Madness continues:
  • NATO has taken over the arms embargo, which is still distinct from the No Fly Zone and enforcement of the UN decision.  For now.  Thanks to a tweet from SACEUR. His message on this.  He has appointed an Italian admiral--probably because that officer was heading the NATO command in Naples.  But does not hurt the effort to keep Italy on board the NFZ as well if Italians are given big and visible responsibilities.
  • Turkey has agreed to participate in this effort, again not the NFZ.
  • The embargo fleet includes Italy, UK, Greece, US, Canada, Spain and Turkey, which, of course, raises the question of how well the Greeks and Turks play with each other.  Not a huge issue as long as they are led by somebody else....
  • The NFZ plus has racked up a few wins.
  • A moment to consider France: I was talking with a student about xenophobia and nationalism (related workshop this weekend) and the conflicted French approach came up.  Sarkozy had spent his first few years in office taking a radical turn towards NATO, including making the French among the more flexible forces in Afghanistan.  But now, with a deep loss in popularity at home, he is putting France in the lead (which fits with French sense of the nation) and blocking NATO taking over command and control as it would be unfriendly to the Arab world?  Or is it that blocking NATO fits more comfortably with traditional right-wing political stances?  
  • Richard Lugar is right to ask the big question: who are these guys we are supporting?  LA Times suggests they are not as pure as the driven snow sand.
Favorite quote in the SACEUR-recommended piece:
"The force generation process is still under way. It is still in the build-up phase." He added: "I confide that we will have enough assets to carry out our mission."
Given that force generation is still incomplete regarding Afghanistan and, hee, hee, Kosovo, so the idea that the force generation process "is still under way" is funny to me since it never ends.

Good times.  Tomorrow and Saturday will be light blogging days due to aforementioned workshop on Nationalism and War.  Good news for xenophobia fans--the Libya conflict allows me to stretch my previous book's logic further still!

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