It is worrying to hear that Gaddafi has moved his troops and tanks into urban areas before UN forces can take action against him, but not surprising. The offer of a cease fire was evidence that he will play to the gallery, and exploit what he sees as the West’s weakness. He despises the rule of law and the idea that civilians should not be injured by military action.
The West has the fire power to ground his jets. They have the capability to destroy his army from the air if it is on the move in open ground between settlements. It does not have the power without forces on the ground to ferret him out of urban areas, or to tackle his military when it is hunkered down or within settled communities. Delay has prevented early success.
The US says it wants regime change. The UN says it wants to protect civilians. The UN’s aim may not be possible without regime change, but the Resolution limits the means to achieve it. The West is in danger of being dragged into a conflict where the weaker combattant can exploit the procedures of the West to his advantage. The UN Coalition needs to find other means to disrupt the dictator and help undermine his position from within. It would also be welcome to hear and see a bigger role for the Arab supporters of the UN action.
I wonder why Italy is not flying her jets to take the action from the air? Italy is after all a member of NATO, the UN and the EU. Italy has air bases close to Libya. Instead the UK is flying jets on a 3000 mile round trip with in flight refuelling. Isn’t it time other members of the Coalition did their bit?