Monday, June 27, 2011

Is Victory Attainable?

Khaddafi seems to have an alternative to boarding a plane to Belgium to be tried for war crimes as a price for ending the fighting:

The Libyan government on Sunday renewed its offer to hold a vote on whether Muammar Gaddafi should stay in power, a proposal unlikely to interest Gaddafi's opponents but which could widen differences inside NATO.

Pressure is growing from some quarters within the alliance to find a political solution, three months into a military campaign which is costing NATO members billions of dollars, has killed civilians, and has so far failed to topple Gaddafi.

Moussa Ibrahim, a spokesman for Gaddafi's administration, told reporters in Tripoli the government was proposing a period of national dialogue and an election overseen by the United Nations and the African Union.

NATO might grab for any result that can be portrayed as a victory. And the African Union seems interested in this line of thinking:

African leaders met on Sunday to discuss efforts to broker an end to the four-month-old conflict in Libya, after the rebels said they expected a new offer from Moamer Kadhafi "very soon" but it must involve him stepping down.

The African Union's Libya panel gathered in Pretoria to discuss the way forward after a visit to Tripoli by South African President Jacob Zuma last month failed to secure a truce deal acceptable to NATO or the rebels.

The rebels seem like they might be open to some formulation that involves Khaddafi formally stepping down--perhaps for an election that he would accept.

Could NATO continue bombing given the costs and divisions apparent so far? And if movement for a ceasefire takes place, won't the loyalists be able to endure bombing with the end in sight?

UPDATE: More on NATO divisions as the expectations of air power leading to rapid victory evaporated. The rebels actually seem like they are grinding away at the loyalists under NATO's umbrella. But is sure seems like the loyalists can last longer than NATO can.

UPDATE: China is against regime change:

Following talks in London with British Prime Minister David Cameron, the Chinese leader said his nation backed attempts to reach a political solution over Western calls for Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi to step down after 42 years in power. ...

We hope that the issue of Libya will be resolved through political, peaceful means, to reduce the humanitarian harm and in particular the harm of innocent civilians," Wen said.

He said China has had recent contacts with both Gadhafi's regime and the main opposition leadership based in eastern Libya.

The clock is ticking. NATO will end its war. I'm not confident it will happen before Khaddafi is forced out.