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On Libya Military Operations: A Commander’s Strategic & Operational Analysis (Benghazi as the Centre of Gravity, with a Map) revised version: 1930hrs.

Libyan Strategic-Operational Map (ss salem, 2011©)


The Map above is a simple sketch of the conflict taking place in Libya. It outlines the few key strategic points of relevance and significance; after all, the simpler the picture, the simpler the task ( a military maxim).

Anyway, I will discuss the importance of the outlined points, in brief (trying hard, at the same time, to simplify, for your benefit, non-experts, the military-grammars and jargon):

A. The Gaddaffi Secured Cordon:

(No. 1) The right-angle, is a part of the geometrics on (the mathematical aspects of the science of war) defense advantage in the military operations. Of Course, I wont be going into indepth military analysis examining order of battle, etc., as I have no hard and real time facts on the situation on the ground as it is, and as it plays out. The discussion below is generally based on the more ‘strategic’ picture, available to all from the open sources intelligences etc.

Now. First, just have a glance at how strategically placed is, the main-prized objective by the opposing side, (the so-called ‘rebels’) Tripoli. Tripoli, is so comfortably and naturally secured on all it’s sides, from it’s left flank, by a vast Mediterranean Sea, with (No. 2) a limited sea control, that coastal control, by the Gaddaffi Naval Forces, and other defensive measures. (No. 3.) The Many friendly-neighbouring states on the strategic rear (Tunisia, Algeria), and the strategic-right-flank (by Niger, Chad and even Sudan, and the harsh climates of the southern Libyan Deserts).

B. The Centre of Gravity (Benghazi):

This is a simple logic, to any practitioner, student or just enthusiasts of military affairs and studies, that Benghazi is the centre of gravity against which the Gaddaffi forces should aim at, for a complete destruction (the great battle), not the ”rebel armies” dispersed along the M1 (see the map: Main Theatre of Operations. M2: Secondary Theatre of Operations, Tobruk and the few Northern-Eastern border hamlets).

For those faint-hearted, or just sicken of wars and their gruesome business, you might want to leave it here (don’t), not because it is ‘gruesome’ (‘War is Hell’, US General Sherman), but is a part to which I become, or turn back into, a more realist soldier, and call for a Ruthless and Merciless Destruction of Benghazi. Your stomachs are churning, right? It should. Because, what I propose, and is the only option of a real strategic victory, is a complete flattening and destruction of the complete city, as the Romans did to Carthage, Burn it to the Ground!.

My Personal Standpoint Explained (to put it to rest, finally):

Why such a position?

I have no love or pity for any forms of treachery and disloyalties, i.e. I see the so-called ‘rebels” as treacherous to their own people, seeking to spill blood for own interests, rather than ‘pretend’ like the rest of the ”Arab Revolutionaries” who sought to bring the ‘illusionary’ change through peaceful means, without blood of their own people. I have serious problem with above aforementioned issues, hence, I am a supporter of Gaddaffi, as well as I despise Colonialism of any form. I supported the ‘illusion’ through all, Tunisia, Egypt, etc., and even the initial stages of peaceful protests, as the rests, but not in arms, that is treachery, and of the highest form, when involving foreign aggression against one’s own people. I hope I have justified my reasons for supporting Gaddaffi (a ruthless, but never a traitor) rather than the ‘rebels’.

Anyway, re-drifting back to our main discussion, the point to be made here is simply this, If Gaddaffi wants to close the affairs, indefinitely and successfully, he will be;

(a) well-advised to keep his defensive posture in continuum (not much of a strain, as a result of main strategic advantages and natural benefits outlined above),
(b) while at the same time, conducting ‘harassment operations’, with limited topographical aims against the frontal and right-wing of the ‘Rebels’ massed within the M1 theatre.
However, if times comes, and he does feel, it is appropriate and a right moment, he should mercilessly and ruthlessly sought a surprise and brutal attack on the city of Benghazi (civilians casualties can not be avoided) from all arcs. This operation should be similar to that of Fallujah (of Iraq) in 2006 conducted by US Forces.

B.1. The Benghazi Assault (The Psycho-Symbolism):

The assault should never be allowed to get itself bogged-down into a siege operation, but rather should seek a decisive and rapid results with a fierce approach.

Libyan Crisis, is a psychological warfare, remember, as all the great military theorist of the past and present (if the latter are any), who recommended to us the necessity to appreciate the individual and distinct character of the each wars under conduct, well, Libyan Conflict, is a psycho-symbolism violence, between two entities, both with the, seemingly, main objective of ‘gaining a topographical trophy’ as the end, not means (the error) of ‘finally bringing the other side to the peace-table);

”The Rebels” seeks Tripoli or Gaddaffi-Head, or his exit, and the latter, seeks, at the present to wait-out the foreign-supporters, and to severely punish the dissent party (partial correct approach, but needs proactive goal, which should be the need to psychologically and physically land a massive and merciless blow on the latter, ‘rebels’, at their strategic and symbolic place, Benghazi).

B.2. The Benghazi Assault (Operation Discipline):

The operation, as we have stated above, should be a surprised assault, initiated by a massive artillery bombardment, to flatten the city, following closely behind, and should be well-placed, an agile and mobile elite forces, a mixture of infantry and motorised squadrons. This should be conducted simultaneously, in the form of WWI creeping-artillery fire with the infantry behind shielded by the firepower of the artillery.

These forces, need to conduct an highly advanced model of combined arms operational manoeuvres, swift, brutal and decisive.

While such an operation is taking place there will, of course, be a need for a diversionary and deceptive or feint operations way far in the west, close to the edge of the M1 near to Tripoli, by the few defensive forces against the local operating ‘rebels’ on the vicinity. This actions, will not only keep foreign airpower and naval activities preoccupied for a required-time, but also, will, if at the right momentum and with the right success attained on the Benghazi assault, will, and should, initiate a massive renewed ‘moral’ and superior counter-offensive by the Gaddaffi regime, that will be reduced to cleaning up task, within the M1 corridor.

This is what, I would at least, if were on such a place, seek to prepare, and undertake.

To Sum Up: The Key Points:

1. The Destruction of Benghazi (objectively and subjectively) is the key to defeating the decent-party
2. The Libyan Conflict is subjective, in character, and needs a subjective means for subjective ends.
3. The Foreign Powers can still be overstretched and preoccupied, and in time, forced to give up the hopeless venture; BUT these are not the centre of gravity, in bring to an end to the crisis.
4. Gaddaffi is well secured, but should not, and never ever, depend on the superior strategic and natural defensive advantages in his possession, and should rather treat this, as a relative not absolute defensive advantages.
5.The main theatre of Operation, should not be altered for what it is, serving as a ‘ corridor of exhaustion’ for the opposing side, and the present handling of the situation by Gaddaffi there is well-advised, and should be maintained, but see point 4 (and not to turn into an offensive until combined with the Benghazi assault).

and so forth.

I will stop here, need to go and prepare myself for new project pitches, dry out there-here at the present, anyone with an offer, let me know.


Today’s headlines.

1. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/libya/8650436/The-headless-corpse-the-mass-grave-and-worrying-questions-about-Libyas-rebel-army.html

2. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/phone-hacking/8650631/Rupert-Murdochs-Fox-News-ran-black-ops-department-former-executive-claims.html

3. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/phone-hacking/8650078/Phone-hacking-David-Cameron-refuses-to-deny-discussions-over-BSkyB-bid.html

4. http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/finance/jeremywarner/100010956/britains-deleveraging-nightmare-threatens-its-triple-a-rating/

5. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2017093/Cameron-11-chances-deny-talks-BSkyB.html

6. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2017058/What-let-Russia-tricks-enemies-inflatable-army-tanks-planes.html

7. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2016972/Libya-Sarkozy-s-foreign-minister-Alain-Juppe-says-Gadaffi-survive-military-onslaught.html

8. http://rt.com/news/hack-coulson-police-cameron/

9. http://rt.com/news/hoare-kelly-murdoch-death/

10. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/21/world/africa/21libya.html?hp

11. http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=25668


12. http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2011/jul/21/uk-arms-sales-middle-east


About s.s.salim: Geopolitical Analyst

Political & Strategy Defence & Security Intelligence & Communications


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