NATO admits failure in going for regime change

Rick Moran
Now what? Reuters reports:

Early hopes that Western air cover and attacks on Gaddafi forces would tip the balance in favor of the rebels have evaporated as government troops sheltered their mechanized forces near civilian areas which NATO fears attacking.NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu followed a similar line to Ham on Friday.

"We have always made clear there is no purely military solution to this conflict. This is why it is so important to find a political solution and in this there is no stalemate," she said. Rebels have rejected peace talks with Gaddafi.

Lungescu, like other NATO officials, expressed frustration with the difficulty of hitting Gaddafi's troops while avoiding civilian casualties.

"The fact that we see Gaddafi's forces driving around in civilian vehicles means it is hard to tell who is who.

"The fact is they are using human shields and parking tanks next to mosques and schools so it is very hard to pinpoint any military hardware without causing civilian casualties," she told a briefing in Brussels.

It looks like it will either be a partition of Libya (with Gaddafi free to slaughter opponents in his territory), or a negotiated settlement with Gaddafi leaving and getting immunity for his past crimes.

For the latter to happen, NATO is going to have to substantially pick up its bombing and start hurting Gaddafi where he is most vulnerable; the oil fields. Perhaps it will be necessary to destroy other infrastructure targets as well. But unless NATO authorizes ground troops to help the rebels - not in the cards right now - the stalemate will force other arrangements to be made.



Now what? Reuters reports:

Early hopes that Western air cover and attacks on Gaddafi forces would tip the balance in favor of the rebels have evaporated as government troops sheltered their mechanized forces near civilian areas which NATO fears attacking.

NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu followed a similar line to Ham on Friday.

"We have always made clear there is no purely military solution to this conflict. This is why it is so important to find a political solution and in this there is no stalemate," she said. Rebels have rejected peace talks with Gaddafi.

Lungescu, like other NATO officials, expressed frustration with the difficulty of hitting Gaddafi's troops while avoiding civilian casualties.

"The fact that we see Gaddafi's forces driving around in civilian vehicles means it is hard to tell who is who.

"The fact is they are using human shields and parking tanks next to mosques and schools so it is very hard to pinpoint any military hardware without causing civilian casualties," she told a briefing in Brussels.

It looks like it will either be a partition of Libya (with Gaddafi free to slaughter opponents in his territory), or a negotiated settlement with Gaddafi leaving and getting immunity for his past crimes.

For the latter to happen, NATO is going to have to substantially pick up its bombing and start hurting Gaddafi where he is most vulnerable; the oil fields. Perhaps it will be necessary to destroy other infrastructure targets as well. But unless NATO authorizes ground troops to help the rebels - not in the cards right now - the stalemate will force other arrangements to be made.