UPDATE: Libya

This Monday morning in London the reports are of devastation of front line Gaddafi army tanks and other equipment and of their air defense systems in the second day of attacks. Air attacks are said to be “very effective” by the coalition.

The issue of who is in charge seems still to be uncertain with NATO, due to a Turkey veto, not able to fully use its planning/command structure. America is still in central command but France and Britain are ready to take over and the U.S. would want to hand off to either power as soon as possible.

The rebel forces are moving towards Tripoli but frankly this is still a long process with great uncertainty ahead. Rebel forces are still untrained and not always effective against a professional army. The hope remains to have Gaddafi’s forces turn against him. There are so many elements which are not clear, including to what extent the allied forces can support the rebel advance.

Also, some are asking if the end game is a divided Libya between the regions. Yet the end goal, never fully said because of the wording of the U.N. resolution, is to remove Gaddafi, since with him most believe peace would never be fully possible.

More focus is now being given to the question of the political ends of all these actions.

The House of Commons will be formally voting today on the Libyan action and there is little doubt they will support the action. There is some concern over costs and possible growing involvement.

The coalition is still hoping for the support of some Arab governments. Their involvement is seen here among some as key to keeping unity of purpose and its broad support.

Also there is concern over unrest and violence in other Arab counties including Yemen. It is hoped that Qatar would be the first Arab nation to contribute to the military side of the Libyan effort.

Given that there is not yet a clear path to the end, there is a debate among the coalition about how far and to what extent to act and when. The French seem to be most active in support of the rebel forces especially in Benghazi and going west.

In any case most of the coalition forces have now moved to airbases closer to Libya with faster response to any situation. They have established a blockade against weapons coming in to Gaddafi.  However, it seems that Gaddafi forces are still carrying out offensive actions in a number of Libyan cities according to news reports.

A major action and mass killing of woman and children by Gaddafi forces appears to be still taking place in Misurata.

People are starting to again focus on what kind of government will arise if indeed Gaddafi’s regime falls. The National Council in Benghazi is made of young professionals, but a clear leadership element of a new government is highly uncertain at this time.

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