To have a complete appreciation on the argument to be stated here, one needs to be familiar with the few recent posts on Libya, especially, the one below this, entitled ”On Libya: An Outline…..”.
This post attempts to responded to a question that was put to me by a dear colleague at the I.R.S., Ms. Sue, enquiring ‘What, if any, is to be the nature of the new western role in Libya, in terms of my recent argument?”.
Well, to be very brief, I would, first, like to make it clear that, my argument was not intended to argue for a complete absence of western role in Libya. Far from this, I would argue that, the western states need only ”to appear distanced, but near” (to rephrase Sun Tzu). What does this mean? It means that, rather than being completely absent, the western allies should seek an involvement behind the shadows, one more intense and focused (after all, we, in the west, are very, very well-able within this particular aspect of international relations; of bribery, blackmail, intimidation, threats and so forth).
In other words, the argument is, for ‘absent in open visibility’, but ‘ever-present and dynamic behind closed doors’. That, the objective is to keep a firm hold on and to strangle the Libyan regime under Gaddaffi to a submission (what we could not achieve through military forces in five or so month, can be attained in a month through this approach).
The New Western Policy In Libya:
1. economic warfare
From sanctions, policed and enforced non-trading or any commercial-relations with the regime, on all actors of interests, to naval blockade, border-controls and so forth.
2. internationalisation of the conflict:
The psychological operations reverted towards the international institutions and actors, not western states, but controlled by the formers’ hands.
3. The Political and Diplomatic Offense:
A complete isolation of the regime with the rest of the world, from near-neighbours, to the greater African and the international communities. No diplomatic talks of any kind, Gaddaffi is well known for his ”Kim Jong Ill Tricks”, of talks and talks, and so forth. This time around all channels of communications should be really cut-off, the pressure should be exerted forcefully, with no way out (I know we once noted the ill-advised nature of this practise, but remember, each situation is not comparable to another, as are the practises).
4. The Exit Strategy through an extensive week-long Effect-Based Assault:
Before, announcing the new western policy/posture, the Libyanisation (a la Vietnamisation), our departing western forces (mercenaries, aerial and naval assets) should conduct one final long-week non-stop bombardment on the HVT/HPT (from the military platforms, logistics, communications, command and control structures, to naval and aerial assets, and personnel). This one final effect-based assault, goal is, to reduce the relative strength of the regime military capabilities or effectiveness to those of the ‘rebels’; sort of creating a balance of combat-power between the two, to an acceptable ratio of perhaps, say 3:1 (minus heavy weaponries, superior advanced platforms, technological support systems etc). In other words, taking away the force-multiplier factor, and leaving the field to be contested via naked-numbers in terms of personnel only, human-to-human contest of strength and spirit.
This, Sue (and readers), is my picture of the new, needed, western policy in Libya, ”distanced, but near”, unseen, but ever-present in support (as we saw today with the news of Germany supporting the ‘rebels’ with over 100 Million Euros Fund. This is a perfect level of involvement).
To Sum Up:
As long as not seen or suspected to be closely-linked and in command or involvement on the internal affairs of Libya, the western allies can actually, in reality, be of more assistance to the opposition against their struggle with Gaddaffi than with their close associations; the association creates a perfect ground for the strategic weakness, discussed yesterday, and that based on the loss of the moral support from the many, local, near and afar.
This ladies and gentlemen is my argument.
Let us fall back to our strength, behind doors kick-ass and covert support, and let the opposition fight their own struggles (not really, but point made), only via this approach can we have that ”moral initiative”, that is prized and in possession by Gaddaffi at the present (remember: Libyan Crisis is a Psycho-Symbolism Conflict in Character).