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How to help the rebels

31 March 2011

1:39 PM

31 March 2011

1:39 PM

The lack of weaponry is not the only problem plaguing the Libyan rebel forces. Their
disordered retreat reveals that they need training, better organisation and in-theatre liaison and support.

From what I saw, the Transitional Council is very well organised politically, but there is a general lack of military cohesion. Youthful volunteers and self-armed families are fighting alongside
ex-loyalists. (There also seems to be a significant Muslim Brotherhood/Islamist presence, though the Council has detained a number of Al Qaeda associates.) Communications are poor because the
rebels rely on mobile phones, which rarely work on the front.


NATO has now taken over the air and naval mission, but it will struggle to be as effective as it was before. Loyalist forces have abandoned their tanks and are using the same vehicles as the
rebels, deterring NATO planes from offensive operations for fear of friendly fire.

Nations like France and Britain should provide bilateral help to the rebels and NATO should concentrate on its operations and managing the delicate diplomacy. Morocco and Jordan should be asked to
play an intermediary role, including as on-the-ground liaison. Then the Transitional Council needs to hire some mercenaries to ensure that it has an expert capability to match Gaddafi when needed.
Failure to do these things will drag out the fighting.


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