Libya in a Stalemate
HERB BOYD Special to the AmNews | 7/27/2011, 12:40 p.m.
After four months of pounding Col. Muammar al-Gaddafi's compound and strongholds, a stalemate, like the impasse of the U.S. debt ceiling, seems to be the order of the day in Libya.
In the same way Republicans are deaf to Obama's appeal for compromise on solving the debt ceiling dilemma, Gaddafi is not heeding calls for him to leave his homeland.
While Gaddafi's living quarters have been hit several times by bombs and missiles from NATO forces, it continues to be, from the striker's point of view, an attempt to curtain Gaddafi's attacks on his helpless citizenry, to contain his assaults and protect the Libyan masses.
The exasperation of American leaders is becoming more evident each day the conflict continues. "I mean, he is hanging on," said Republican Rep. Mike Rogers, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, "and I've often said that the sooner he is removed, [the] quicker this gets resolved."
Rogers agrees with other military officials, that the longer the impasse continues, the more likely it will create a market for the sale of weapons far exceeding the current demand. "There are lots of buyers on the black market for that stuff," he contends.
Many observers of the stalemate believe that time is not on the NATO forces' side.
"When you let something fester this long and you have an extremely weak rebel force, Gaddafi's forces have time to adapt," Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies told the press. "They use different weapons; they become far less visible targets; they start relying on land mines; they have more time in which to try to divide the people and intimidate."
There is a persistent rumor among U.S. advisers on the war that taking Gaddafi may only be possible on the ground or by covert CIA operations. However, that remains merely a rumor, and it will be very difficult for a squad of Navy SEALs, for example, to get that close to Gaddafi using the tactics that brought down Osama bin Laden.
At the moment, increasing the supply of weaponry to the rebel forces seems to be the optimal strategy. Meanwhile, more diplomatic efforts appear to be on the agenda, with reports that a UN special envoy has been dispatched to Tripoli to hold talks after Britain followed France in accepting that Gaddafi cannot be bombed into exile.
It is a dramatic and perhaps significant change when the two most active countries in the international coalition have recognized the realities on the ground.
Gaddafi has survived what observers perceive as attempts to eliminate him, and despite the defection of a number of senior commanders, there is no sign that he will be dethroned in a palace coup.
According to several news reports, the Gaddafi regime controls around 20 percent more territory than it did in the immediate aftermath of the uprising back in February.