Sunday, March 20, 2011

Libya: The battle begins

The United States, France and Britain have finally begun pounding Libya with air strikes and Tomahawk missiles to force force leader Moamar Gaddafi from power. The U.S. is making use of Tomahawk missiles from five combat ships in the Mediterranean, including at least one guided missile destroyer, but there are no U.S. aircraft carriers close to Libya.

Aviano, south of the Alps in Italy, is the region's only U.S. air base with aircraft assigned to it.

But it's not just Britain, France and the U.S. involved here. Canada's HMCS Charlottetown warship has joined naval actions and Canadian fighter jets have reached the region but need another day or two of preparation before they can join in. The Italians have deployed dozens of combat aircraft at its base at Trapani, in western Sicily in readiness for possible involvement. They include, Tornado fighters as well as F-16s and Eurofighters. The resources are presently being moved from Northern Italy to Sicily.

I'm thinking though, who is driving the offence? At first Obama told us that Gaddafi had to go but by last week, even though talk of military action was advanced, the President was giving Gaddafi “a choice.” So what is the objective? To halt Gaddafi advance on the rebels or to remove him from power? Do the French and Brits have different ideas and how far will this latest offensive go? How can it be justified if Gaddafi remains in power? Obama, Sarkozy, and Cameron have to make the goal clear or are they still discussing this.

But in the end, is air power going to be enough to dislodge Gaddafi's hold on power? The world has no appetite for more western led ground offensives so it's going to have to do. In this context, be prepared for a hell of an air show....

Finally, one thing stood out from events in Washington, it was clear that Madam Secretary Hillary Clinton assumed the reigns of presidential power, not the dithering Obama.


Awesome video of jet going down ...

More on the launch of 'Operation Odyssey Dawn'

And for heavens sake Where is the leader of the world's most powerful office?