Saturday, April 30, 2011

Calling for a Time Out

Khaddafi either has enough of Libya to stop the fighting or thinks he soon will, since he is calling for a ceasefire:

Libyan leader Muammar al-Gaddafi said on Saturday he was ready for a ceasefire and negotiations provided NATO "stop its planes," but he refused to give up power as rebels and Western powers demand.

I still think Khaddafi really must get Misrata, first. Does he think he can grab it before allies abroad can engineer a ceasefire (or just have a foothold in the city to give him a say in what happens post-ceasefire) or has he given up on taking it in the face of stubborn rebel resistance and NATO air strikes?

I also have to wonder whether Khaddafi wants a ceasefire because he fears he will lose if the fight goes on rather than just being a sign that Khaddafi accepts that NATO firepower and perhaps long-term threats of ground intervention if air power isn't enough will prevent loyalists from marching into Benghazi.

Clearly, Khaddafi has accepted that the goal of survival is enough for now.

UPDATE: NATO rejects the ceasefire:

In Brussels, a NATO official said the alliance needed "to see not words but actions," and vowed NATO would keep up the pressure until the U.N. Security Council mandate on Libya is fulfilled. The alliance has promised to continue operations until all attacks and threats against civilians have ceased, all of Gadhafi's forces have returned to bases and full humanitarian access is granted.

I don't know if this means that only 6 weeks into the Western-led intervention that we believe we can win; or whether nobody yet wants to be the first to suggest accepting less than Khaddafi's downfall and settling for protecting the rebels in rebel-held territory.

I hope we are right that bombardment coupled with financial problems will soon cripple Khaddafi's war effort. While I don't see how we can break the loyalists since I don't think simple bombardment is enough to win, I do try to keep in mind that we've been at this for only 6 weeks.