Monday, March 21, 2011

Where is NATO?

I have been wondering about who is commanding this operation.  Yep, command.  Coordination is not going on, someone is doing some leading, as it requires decisions to be made.  There is definitely a division of tasks, a sequencing of attacks, and so forth.  Apparently, the relatively new US Africa Command is taking the military lead, although other reports have the French and British leading.  I think only the US and NATO apparati (apparatuses?) have the technical ability and the experience to run an operation with more than a few countries.  We see US, UK, France, Italian, Danish and perhaps Canadian planes taking part.  If there are any non-NATO participants, such as Qatar, then again the US seems to be the likely leader.

What about NATO?
The coalition is not operating as a NATO mission, Gates said, because of sensitivity on the part of the Arab League to being seen to be operating under a NATO umbrella. He added it may be possible to “work out NATO’s command and control machinery without it being a NATO mission and without a NATO flag.” (US govt source)
Or, just perhaps, it might be that a NATO mission requires a decision out of the North Atlantic Council (the NAC), where a consensus rule operates.  Easier to get the Germans to abstain at the UN than perhaps at NATO.  Other NATO members (Greece or Turkey, depending on which one is trying to piss the other one off) may also be willing to break silence (stop a document from getting passed), and as a consensus-based organization, that is all that it takes.

Still, it seems pretty clear that there is some metaphoric NATO oil lubricating the processes here.

And for those who are interested in red cards (as one component of how countries operate multilateral military efforts [see the Dave and Steve book when it comes out]), at least one bombing mission was aborted when the pilots felt there would be significant civilian casualties.

No comments: