Daniel Korski

How to help the rebels

How to help the rebels
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The lack of weaponry is not the only problem plaguing the Libyan rebel forces. Their disordered retreat reveals that they need training, better organisation and in-theatre liaison and support.

From what I saw, the Transitional Council is very well organised politically, but there is a general lack of military cohesion. Youthful volunteers and self-armed families are fighting alongside ex-loyalists. (There also seems to be a significant Muslim Brotherhood/Islamist presence, though the Council has detained a number of Al Qaeda associates.) Communications are poor because the rebels rely on mobile phones, which rarely work on the front.

NATO has now taken over the air and naval mission, but it will struggle to be as effective as it was before. Loyalist forces have abandoned their tanks and are using the same vehicles as the rebels, deterring NATO planes from offensive operations for fear of friendly fire.

Nations like France and Britain should provide bilateral help to the rebels and NATO should concentrate on its operations and managing the delicate diplomacy. Morocco and Jordan should be asked to play an intermediary role, including as on-the-ground liaison. Then the Transitional Council needs to hire some mercenaries to ensure that it has an expert capability to match Gaddafi when needed. Failure to do these things will drag out the fighting.