Guess the million dollar question is if the US, UK and French bombing will help the rebels overthrow Gaddafi and institute regime change a la Iraq and Afghanistan.
Below by George Friedman founder of STRATFOR the world's largest private intelligence and forecasting company excerpts of an article that discusses the issues of regime change in Libya. Also excerpts from a NY Times article.
Basically Friedman argues, the rebels are a "cluster of tribes and personalities" having only one common agenda, i.e. get rid of Gaddafi. Other than that the rebels have no common ideology. Friedman goes on to argue, if Gaddafi is to be overthrown a troop invasion by the US UK and France is needed and the occupying force will have to remain if they dont want to Libya to be engulfed in civil war.Libya, the West and the Narrative of Democracy By George Friedman
The NY Times says there are only about 1,000 military trained men in the rebel army and are having to rely on the young people who are being provided with arms.
The West has been walking a tightrope of these contradictory principles; Libya became the place where they fell off. According to the narrative, what happened in Libya was another in a series of democratic uprisings, but in this case suppressed with a brutality outside the bounds of what could be tolerated. Bahrain apparently was inside the bounds, and Egypt was a success, but Libya was a case in which the world could not stand aside while Gadhafi destroyed a democratic uprising. Now, the fact that the world had stood aside for more than 40 years while Gadhafi brutalized his own and other people was not the issue.
As we have pointed out, the Libyan uprising consisted of a cluster of tribes and personalities, some within the Libyan government, some within the army and many others longtime opponents of the regime, all of whom saw an opportunity at this particular moment. Though many in western portions of Libya, notably in the cities of Zawiya and Misurata, identify themselves with the opposition, they do not represent the heart of the historic opposition to Tripoli found in the east. It is this region, known in the pre-independence era as Cyrenaica, that is the core of the opposition movement. United perhaps only by their opposition to Gadhafi, these people hold no common ideology and certainly do not all advocate Western-style democracy. Rather, they saw an opportunity to take greater power, and they tried to seize it.According to the narrative, Gadhafi should quickly have been overwhelmed — but he wasn’t. He actually had substantial support among some tribes and within the army. All of these supporters had a great deal to lose if he was overthrown. Therefore, they proved far stronger collectively than the opposition, even if they were taken aback by the initial opposition successes. To everyone’s surprise, Gadhafi not only didn’t flee, he counterattacked and repulsed his enemies.This should not have surprised the world as much as it did. Gadhafi did not run Libya for the past 42 years because he was a fool, nor because he didn’t have support. He was very careful to reward his friends and hurt and weaken his enemies, and his supporters were substantial and motivated. One of the parts of the narrative is that the tyrant is surviving only by force and that the democratic rising readily routs him. The fact is that the tyrant had a lot of support in this case, the opposition wasn’t particularly democratic, much less organized or cohesive, and it was Gadhafi who routed them.In fact, the West is now supporting a very diverse and sometimes mutually hostile group of tribes and individuals, bound together by hostility to Gadhafi and not much else. It is possible that over time they could coalesce into a fighting force, but it is far more difficult imagining them defeating Gadhafi’s forces anytime soon, much less governing Libya together. There are simply too many issues among them. It is, in part, these divisions that allowed Gadhafi to stay in power as long as he did. The West’s ability to impose order on them without governing them, particularly in a short amount of time, is difficult to imagine.
And now, as they try to defeat Col. ’s armed forces and militias, they will have to rely on allied airstrikes and young men with guns because the army that rebel military leaders bragged about consists of only about 1,000 trained men.
Those frank admissions came from Ali Tarhouni, who was appointed to the cabinet of the rebels’ shadow government on Wednesday as finance minister.At the same time, all of the clamor to form a new government seems premature while the rebels struggle to defeat Colonel Qaddafi’s military and wrest cities from his control.Mr. Tarhouni acknowledged the dilemma, saying that without heavy artillery and planes, the rebels were left to rely on the young people who had first faced the colonel’s army with stones.