Libya and the Prospects for Success

Something to say on behalf of the Libya operation is that I think some of the nervous writing about this I’ve read has been overstating the difficulty of achieving our war aims. If you look at a map, you’ll find that there’s literally only one road between the crossroads town of Marsa al-Burayqah and the crossroads town of Ajdabiyah. If Gaddafi’s regime doesn’t collapse and we end up using western tactical air support to create a rebel safe haven in eastern Libya the operational task would basically amount to controlling just this one road. In the scheme of things that’s a relatively simple simple task that it seems NATO could achieve at relatively low cost:

In terms of “what happens next?” type issues, this means that there’s probably more to worry about if the rebels succeed in driving Gaddafi from power. That could lead to a very happy outcome, but it could also lead to the total disintegration of the Libyan state, new rounds of civil war, basically anything. According to a strict reading of the UNSC resolution, I think what’s supposed to happen is that if the momentum shifts and Gaddafi’s forces desert him, NATO congratulates itself on a job well done and washes its hands of the situation. Will that really happen?