Small Wars Journal

Imposing a No-fly Zone in Libya

Imposing a No-fly Zone in Libya - WTOP radio interview with Robert Haddick, managing editor for Small Wars Journal, who wrote the "This Week at War" column at Foreign Policy concerning the 'Jawbreaker' option.



Wed, 03/09/2011 - 5:57am

The ineffectiveness of no-fly zone in Bosnia cannot be used as an argument in the totally different circumstances in Libya. Milocevic was fighting a nationalist war for a greater Serbia and his relatively powerful military forces were involved ardently in this 'great' goal of Serbia. By contast, Gaddafi is fighting for his own survival with a weakened army, due to defections from its ranks, and compelled to import mercenaries to kill its own people, and which in turn icreases and exacerbates the divide betwen the regime and the Libyan people. This is the fundamental difference between Milocevic and Gaddafi. Therefore, I would propose the following strategy.

Given the destabilization of his regime, not only because of the revolt of the Libyan people but also because of the widespread defection of politicians, diplomats, and military personnel to the side of the rebels, this chain of events has increased the magnitude of the vulnerability of his own supporters to the call of major nations and of the UN for the ousting of Gadhafi, and hence could ease, and lead to, the abandonment of the autocrat. To ratchet up the momentum of this vulnerability, military strategists should draw up a plan of VAGUELY DEFINED UEXPECTED THREATS that would be inflicted on Gadhafis supporters if they continued to defend him. The linchpin of this plan would have two strategic components. The immediate declaration by the U.S. and NATO of both the imposition of a no-fly zone and of NO-USE OF AIR DEFENSES by Libyan forces. In the event that the latter do not abide to these two demands they would draw like fly-stick upon themselves the awesome devastation that will emerge from the military power of the U.S. and NATO. The latter will not have to send one aircraft over, or ground one soldier in, Libya, they will only have to 'send this uncertainty as to the unexpected destruction that would befall on the supporters of Gadhafi.

Airpower therefore can also be used as a psychological weapon, especially in circumstances when the enemys military forces are losing trust toward their political leadership and are concerned about their own safety, as presently happens to be the situation in Libya.