Monday, March 28, 2011

Libyan Reflections

(Top tip to revolutionaries: make sure your signs are in english for television...)

Well, in Libya at least, it all seems to be going swimmingly: my concerns that air support alone may not be enough to break Gaddafi's forces are yet to be confirmed - and in retaking the oil towns of Brega, Ras Lanuf and Ben Jawad, they've opened the road to Sirte, Gaddafi's home town.

All good news. And though it would be easy to point out that Sirte could mark the point at which it begins to get harder, the point is that thus far, the strategy is working, especially as there are reports that Gaddafi forces are breaking and running from the fight under fire from allied airpower.

But the opposite of optimism may not be pessimism, but a dose of realism. I sincerely hope that the Sirte garrison realise what is good for them, and give it up gracefully - but then that hasn't been the case so far for the Gaddafi forces. As his home town, if Sirte falls then suggestions that it's game over for Gaddafi may prove accurate. But let's hope it goes well - and have a solid plan for what happens if it doesn't - within the rules of UNSCR 1973. 

On a different Libyan issue, I saw the photo below posted on an aviation website earlier today:

(Are you sitting comfortably? I'd want it bolted to the pickup, but that's 'ealth 'n' safety nonsense, mate!)

According to the poster, it shows Gaddafi forces deploying a twin pedastal mounted launcher for the Russian 9K338 Igla-S (SA-24 GRINCH) infra-red guided surface to air missile system. I'm not a great MANPADS spotter (too many look too similar!) but it looks right to me. Which, given that Igla-S is the newest and longest-legged former Russian, underscores that the crews over Libya are not operating in a no-threat bubble. Good on 'em, and may they continue to be safe / lucky.

No comments: