News from Libya: No, really...

Well, not necessarily "news" news. It's just another foreign leader announcing that Gaddafi has agreed to a cease fire - which he hasn't - and that the rebels have already rejected,making the leader - in this case, South African President Zuma - look faintly ridiculous.

But this story somehow made it closer to the front page than any Libyan story in a month. The fact is, NATO may soon be looking for a way out of this mess, and these occasional forays by peacemakers in the international community are probably a harbinger of how the alliance will exit the conflict.

Meanwhile, al-Jazeera has caught some western special forces on the ground directly aiding the rebels in combat. The Guardian:

A group of six westerners are clearly visible in a report by al-Jazeera from Dafniya, described as the westernmost point of the rebel lines west of the town of Misrata. Five of them were armed and wearing sand-coloured clothes, peaked caps, and cotton Arab scarves.The sixth, apparently the most senior of the group, was carrying no visible weapon and wore a pink, short-sleeve shirt. He may be an intelligence officer. The group is seen talking to rebels and then quickly leaving on being spotted by the television crew.

The footage emerged as South Africa's president, Jacob Zuma, arrived in Tripoli in an attempt to broker a ceasefire. He described reports that he would ask Muammar Gaddafi to step down as "misleading", and said he would instead focus on humanitarian measures and ways to implement a plan concocted by the African Union for Libya make a transition to democratic rule but not seek Gaddafi's exile.

[...]

The subject is sensitive as the UN security council resolution in March authorising the use of force in Libya specifically excludes "a foreign occupation force of any form on any part of Libyan territory".

What good is a rule if it's not made to be broken? Technically, special forces are not "occupation forces" and most of the UN will probably accept them with a wink and a nod. But the question of how much more damage  NATO can do to Gaddafi's forces is starting to be relevant as the rebels are proving to be quite amateurish in making war. The insurgency can't survive without NATO air power and NATO can't be a decisive factor as long as they don't send in combat troops.

The resulting stalemate will continue to kill a lot of civilians and ruin the nation's infrastructure.




Well, not necessarily "news" news. It's just another foreign leader announcing that Gaddafi has agreed to a cease fire - which he hasn't - and that the rebels have already rejected,making the leader - in this case, South African President Zuma - look faintly ridiculous.

But this story somehow made it closer to the front page than any Libyan story in a month. The fact is, NATO may soon be looking for a way out of this mess, and these occasional forays by peacemakers in the international community are probably a harbinger of how the alliance will exit the conflict.

Meanwhile, al-Jazeera has caught some western special forces on the ground directly aiding the rebels in combat. The Guardian:

A group of six westerners are clearly visible in a report by al-Jazeera from Dafniya, described as the westernmost point of the rebel lines west of the town of Misrata. Five of them were armed and wearing sand-coloured clothes, peaked caps, and cotton Arab scarves.

The sixth, apparently the most senior of the group, was carrying no visible weapon and wore a pink, short-sleeve shirt. He may be an intelligence officer. The group is seen talking to rebels and then quickly leaving on being spotted by the television crew.

The footage emerged as South Africa's president, Jacob Zuma, arrived in Tripoli in an attempt to broker a ceasefire. He described reports that he would ask Muammar Gaddafi to step down as "misleading", and said he would instead focus on humanitarian measures and ways to implement a plan concocted by the African Union for Libya make a transition to democratic rule but not seek Gaddafi's exile.

[...]

The subject is sensitive as the UN security council resolution in March authorising the use of force in Libya specifically excludes "a foreign occupation force of any form on any part of Libyan territory".

What good is a rule if it's not made to be broken? Technically, special forces are not "occupation forces" and most of the UN will probably accept them with a wink and a nod. But the question of how much more damage  NATO can do to Gaddafi's forces is starting to be relevant as the rebels are proving to be quite amateurish in making war. The insurgency can't survive without NATO air power and NATO can't be a decisive factor as long as they don't send in combat troops.

The resulting stalemate will continue to kill a lot of civilians and ruin the nation's infrastructure.




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