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The Libyan Revolution and its Aftermath$
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Peter Cole and Brian McQuinn

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780190210960

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190210960.001.0001

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NATO’s Intervention

NATO’s Intervention

Chapter:
(p.105) 5 NATO’s Intervention
Source:
The Libyan Revolution and its Aftermath
Author(s):

Frederic Wehrey

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190210960.003.0006

This chapter explores NATO’s air campaign and the partnership between NATO states and Libyan revolutionaries. It examines the role of former Libyan military officers in staffing command posts and communicating with NATO at the frontlines of Benghazi and Brega, Misrata; the Nafusa Mountains, and Tripoli. It examines NATO’s internal struggles over defining the end state and definition of threats to civilians implied by its civilian protection and arms embargo mandate, and its increasingly hazy scope. It notes that NATO officers maintained scrupulous rules of engagement, not taking sides and avoiding an official ground liaison office, and focusing on fixed strategic targets — but argues that this, given NATO’s limited assets, created intelligence challenges of corroboration which could only be met through partnering Libyan opposition forces with special forces and advisers. This fostered competition between both NATO states and Libyan opposition forces, and created a slow tempo of attacks. Both Libyan opposition and loyalist forces adapted tactics to compensate for the air power. The chapter concludes that the campaign was a variation of a model deployed in Afghanistan that required political and operational unity between local combatants and western and Arab advisers, but that sponsored significant political strains, divisions and frustrations.

Keywords:   Libya, Arab Spring, NATO, intelligence, insurgency, reconnaissance, airpower, military, special forces, Afghanistan

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