ROVING EYE Let me bomb you in
peace By Pepe Escobar
To follow Pepe's articles on the Great
Arab Revolt, please click here.
If former Pentagon supremo Donald "known
unknown" Rumsfeld were still in business, he'd be
grumbling that Libya presents no bombable targets
- as in Afghanistan in 2001. As far as United
States quagmires go, Libya is bigger than Vietnam,
Iraq and Afghanistan combined. But any possible
"targets" concentrate in a few cities along the
Obama-launched Tomahawking of Muammar Gaddafi's
forces (and a few installations) is over; now it's
up to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization
(NATO) to impose the "kinetic
military action" (White House
newspeak) and thus force "regime change". And in
perfect Tag Heuer time, disaster has set. NATO
would love to bomb everything in sight shock and
awe-style - but they can't. They can't even
pinpoint Gaddafi's forces on their screens.
You don't remain in power over four
decades in a developing country without learning a
military trick or two from illustrious
predecessors such as China's Mao Zedong and
Vietnam's Ho Chi Minh - not to mention bunglers
such as Saddam Hussein in Iraq. After learning the
lesson of having his tanks like sitting ducks in
the desert bombed at will by the "coalition of the
willing" (a few NATO members plus Qatar), Gaddafi
is now fighting light-armor guerrilla style
against the "rebels".
NATO's response has
been more predictable than those everyday
multilingual stalemates in Brussels; hurling
accusations that Gaddafi is using human shields -
as in his tanks in Misrata being "dispersed"
across town and inside the perimeter. Translation:
NATO's Tornado/Rafale air war is useless, unless
you can bomb a tank column resplendent in the
If NATO is angry, that motley
crew known as the "rebels" is even angrier -
accusing NATO of being incapable of carpet-bombing
their own cities. This proves that the "rebels"
themselves - who are practically begging for the
West to do the dirty work - also don't give a damn
about "collateral damage" among their own. One
thing is certain; if NATO did what the "rebels"
wanted it to do, collateral damage would be
horrific. And European public opinion would pull
the plug on this "kinetic" regime change action.
The circus is one more instance of how this
war that is not a war is in fact a farce. The
French and the British especially have bought
their own hype that Gaddafi's regime is crumbling.
They have also bought their own hype that this
mixed bag of former Gaddafi loyalists, dodgy
exiles, al-Qaeda-linked jihadis, business
opportunists and true youthful revolutionaries
have a political and militarily coherence, and are
truly representative of the whole of Libya.
Religare Capital Markets in London gamed a
few weeks ago that a stalemate in Libya had a 75%
probability (with Brent crude reaching US$130 a
barrel). Seems like Arab liberator French
President Nicolas Sarkozy and his cohort British
Prime Minister David Cameron are not on their
Thus the new,
non-NATO-centric bright idea - former British
special forces training the rebels to become a
lean, mean, fighting machine, as if this could be
accomplished in days or weeks, before there's a
The war that in fact no one
wants except Sarko and Cameron is fizzling out
like a ghastly remake of The Three Stooges
(bidding is open for nominating the third stooge).
That's what you get when you take sides in an
African civil war where even the "good guys" are
murkier than the waters in the Gulf of Mexico. The
Obama administration/Pentagon condominium has
removed all its state-of-the-art hardware from the
field. Mission creep is the name of the game.
At least in Serbia, NATO knew what it was
doing. It supported a "liberation army" (UCK)
infested with murderers and drug dealers; it even
bombed state companies (not private), cluster
bombs and depleted uranium included, so
multinational corporations could step in; and had
the Pentagon set up a huge military base (Camp
Bondsteel) to police its protectorate.
United Nations resolution 1973
theoretically does not allow NATO to go that far.
The Western members of this "coalition of the
willing", the Brits and the French foremost, not
to mention the Pentagon, pray there will be, at
the end of the tunnel, plenty of oil and a
strategic Africom/NATO base in northern Africa.
But there's no guarantee.
The last hope
for sanity in all this mess is Turkey. Prime
Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has proposed his
version of a roadmap for peace - calling for
humanitarian aid corridors and steps toward
democracy. Turkey is talking equally to both sides
- and is not openly preaching regime change. The
road map will be discussed by a few Europeans, the
US, a few US client states in the Middle East and
a few international bodies next Wednesday in Qatar
- which, as we reported, is deeply involved in
guiding the "transition" in Libya.
wait. As it stands, any road map will beat