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GADDAFI is on the back [...].


GADDAFI is on the back foot and must be wondering what hit him after his defence systems were pummelled by the initial sea and air attack.

The targets near Tripoli were mostly those that posed a threat to the ships gathering in the Med to threaten Gaddafi. It was a hollow victory as Gaddafi's thugs had time to get into Benghazi to exact murderous revenge. Despite the Ministry of Defence word-play, this mission is not about protecting citizens - it's about regime change, although it may leave the Libyans better off. But recent history has shown air attacks never work in isola-tion - especially when dealing with a lunatic like Gaddafi. There is no doubt special forces are on the ground, guiding missiles and watching Gaddafi's forces. Now comes the really dangerous bit. Aircraft will have to drop below 15,000ft to attack the armoured vehicles. They will then be in range of Gaddafi's SA-7 man-portable air-defense systems, of which Libya has several hundred. They will also be in range of anti-aircraft artillery - as the rebel pilot shot down by his own people found out. While air power can stop Gaddafi's troops attacking cities they have not reached, it can't remove them from places they have already entered. Ground troops must be deployed to support the rebels and control the movement and behaviour of Gaddafi loyalists.

These soldiers may not be called an "occupation" or even an "invasion" force - banned under the current conditions of the UN Resolution. But to get round the UN remit they could be defined as a "peace-keeping" force.
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Mar 21, 2011
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