Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Libya may be on Track to Become a Big Tar Baby for Obama et al.

More cogent analysis from Tony Karon about the very messy prospects in Libya:
Even if no American ground forces are committed to Libya, it's increasingly unlikely that the conflict will end without some foreign boots on the ground.  The Libyan state has essentially collapsed into two rival administrations, each having armed many thousands of their supporters. Even in the best-case outcome, foreign troops will likely be needed on the ground to enforce and maintain the peace until a new Libyan state can created. That's not a job the U.S. or any other Western country would want, and most Arab countries may have more pressing concerns on their minds. (Keep an eye on Turkey to become the key player in the coming days and weeks.)

The Libyan war, for that is plainly what it is, was launched with neither a clear end game nor a clear strategy. It began as an emergency action to prevent the fall of Benghazi. But now that Western military power has been brought to bear (let's not kid ourselves that Arab participation is anything much beyond symbolic), Obama, Sarkozy and Cameron could find themselves owning a broken and very dangerous situation on the ground in Libya. Many of the arguments for intervention derived from the Western experience in the Balkans during the 1990s, beginning with the breakup of Yugoslavia and culminating with the Kosovo conflict in 1999. It's worth remembering, then, that NATO troops were involved in Bosnia for 12 years, and there are still 8,700 NATO troops in Kosovo, which remains a ward of the West.

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