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NATO Rethinking Libyan Ground Strategy

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TEHRAN, April 25 (ICANA) – NATO bombings have made little difference on the ground as Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi's army has “outmaneuvered, outmanned and outgunned” the revolutionary forces.
Monday, April 25, 2011 10:03:40 PM
NATO Rethinking Libyan Ground Strategy

In an interview with Press TV, political analyst and Middle East expert Zayd al-Isa tells us that NATO will use more advanced ground tactics to help the disadvantaged revolutionary forces as Gaddafi's army is not affected by NATO bombings.

Q: Regime change was not mandated by the UN Security Council resolution for the no-fly zone; yet, now it seems to become the explicit goal of the intervention. Talking about today's military attacks on the Bab al-Aziziya compound, this looked like a personal attack against Gaddafi himself. Can you further explain this sudden change of tactic?

Al-Isa: It seems that the Western forces are getting fed up from the political stalemate, and also the military stalemate.

There have been stark warnings particularly by [Senator] John McCain who visited Libya, lately, and went back to the States and reported to [US President Barack] Obama. He has clearly said that the political stalemate and military stalemate could easily generate and culminate in leaving a vacuum that would play into the hands of al-Qaeda. It would be utilized and exploited by al-Qaeda.

The last thing they want, those in the West and in the United States, is the situation to end up in a stalemate that would lead to a partitioned country leaving Gaddafi, who is extremely vengeful, hell-bent on revenge from the West. It has been clearly the case now.

Since the NATO-led bombings started, they have made little difference on the ground. At the beginning, when the NATO bombings started, the Gaddafi army managed to hold the protesters for 11 days at bay.

We've seen the sudden surge by protesters that managed to reach up to Ras Lanuf and Ben Jawad. They were driven back very swiftly by the Gaddafi forces...The ragtag army of the protesters have been no match to the Gaddafi forces who are more organized and better equipped. [The protesters] have been, several times, outmaneuvered, outmanned and outgunned by the heavily armed forces of Gaddafi.

That's why we see a change of tactics by the NATO forces and there has been calls by the head of the interim council for direct, particularly for the British and the French, to step up the attacks.

Q: Do you agree that the Western governments are colluding to divide Libya? Do you think that's improbable and impractical or do you have other views on the issue?

Al-Isa: I think it would be extremely difficult to divide the country since the country has been united and since there is that particular and specific homogenous country. There have been no ethnic differences between the people, and there are no sectarian differences between the people.

I do understand that that is a tribal country but the tribes have been united for such a long time. It would be extremely difficult. I do believe if the country is actually divided then it would be a nightmare scenario for the West to deal with a vengeful Gaddafi who is hell-bent on taking revenge for taking the power away from under his feet.

I do believe that John McCain's visit will mark a difference on the ground. The US has been saying, this is what [Secretary of State Hilary] Clinton has said, that we are studying the protesters and trying to find out who they represent and who they are. They have sent CIA operatives and spoken about it.

The British, French, and Italians have sent small groups of military advisors to help out the interim council to organize. The military has been suffering due to the lack of an organized military structure.

And there have been accusation by the West to the military council of not being able to stamp its authority on the volunteers, and not having an organized or cohesive offensive and defensive military plan.

There has been the lack of discipline by the protesters who have been using the more experienced military to lead and conduct the attacks in the front.

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