Saturday, March 19, 2011

Good Night, Moon (click title to entry - thank you)

Until tomorrow...

The fearless French military.

Having a place in peace keeping initiatives is not new for the French military, especially in Africa where they have deployed on many instances to safe lives of innocent civilians.

Realizing it was the French Air Force that was closest in logics to Libya.  They refused to wait for the rest of the fleet and allies to arrive. 

The French Air Force took on the challenge of recon and implementation of the No Fly Zone because they could be "The Tip of the Spear." 
Introduction  (click here)
For decades France viewed post-colonial Africa as an exclusive sphere of influence, or pré carré. France still maintains military influence and stations thousands of its troops across the continent, from western Senegal to the Horn of Africa. But changes in its strategic priorities have this posture under review. France has folded many of its African missions into multinational operations since its unhappy experience in Rwanda in 1994, when French troops failed to intervene in the opening days of that nation's genocide. But recent, small-scale interventions in Chad indicate Paris continues to reserve the right to unilateral action....

US OPERATIONS IN AFRICA - The allies are not without 'back up.'  I am not saying any of this is a good idea or necessary, but, it exists.  The USA military budget definately reflects its role as World Police.  In my opinion, this was very much a response by Bush / Cheney to the foramtion of  'The African Union,' which Gaddaffi once was the President.

U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) (CLICK HERE)

Stephanie Hanson

May 3, 2007
In February 2007, President Bush announced the creation of a unified military command for Africa. This puts the continent on par, in the Pentagon’s eyes and command structure, with the Pacific Rim (Pacific Command), Europe (European Command), Latin America (Southern Command), the Middle East (Central Command), and North America (Northern Command). The Pentagon and many military analysts argue the continent’s growing strategic importance necessitates a dedicated regional command....

There is also a lot of OTHER STUFF going on in Africa which the UN and French peacekeepers are involved in.  The Ivory Coast still has a very contentious President disputing any right by anyone to challenge his presidentcy.  While they make look like a backlash due to the position of France and the UN this is more or less an ongoing dispute.

Ivory Coast's Laurent Gbagbo bans UN and French flights (click here)

The announcement came as Alassane Ouattara, recognised by the UN as the winner of November's poll, attended a meeting in Ethiopia on the crisis.
He said an African Union (AU) panel, charged with finding a solution, confirmed he had won the disputed poll.
Mr Gbagbo has refused to attend the summit in Addis Ababa.
Speaking from the Ethiopian capital Mr Ouattara said: "The panel confirmed that I am the president-elect of the Ivorian people. It's the final decision and there's no way to go back on that"....

There are many, many dynamics playing out in Africa and they cannot be lumped into one understanding of what is transpiring.

The picture of the downed aircraft appears to be a French aircraft. (click title to entry - thank you)

Pilots could have ejected.

US Aircraft have been operating in the area for some time now, but, primarily in support of relief efforts.

U.S. Military Aircraft to Aid Egyptians Leaving Libya  (click here)

By Karen Parrish
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 3, 2011 – President Barack Obama announced today he has approved the use of U.S. military aircraft to help Egyptians who have fled to the Tunisian border get back home to Egypt.
Speaking from the White House, Obama said the United States and the world continue “to be outraged by the appalling violence against the Libyan people.”
Meanwhile, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates has ordered U.S. Africa Command to take the lead for defense planning regarding the situation in Libya, according to a Pentagon statement. The DOD will continue to work in close coordination with the State Department and other agencies as needed.

Since Feb. 17, Libyan citizens have protested against Col. Moammar Gadhafi, who has ruled Libya since 1969. Gadhafi’s forces have since engaged in increasingly violent clashes with protesters throughout the country, while Libya’s military forces are divided between the two sides. An estimated 180,000 people have fled Libya, many gathering along the border with Tunisia.

“The United States is helping to lead an international effort to deter further violence, put in place unprecedented sanctions to hold the Gadhafi government accountable, and support the aspirations of the Libyan people,” Obama said.

The United States also is responding to the urgent humanitarian needs that are developing, he said....

Libyan jets are MIG-23s and 25s.


There is also this.

A Libyan Su-23

The aircraft in the picture at the New York Times could be this aircraft.

It doesn't appear to be to me.

This is what is available on the net.

Jan. 3, 2010

Main bases
Libya's air force is headquartered at Okba Ben Nafi Air Base (formerly Methega, and Wheelus AFB) located 7 miles due east of Tripoli. This is a well-equipped air base that has been developed with Russian assistance to support and maintain a full air force of over 200 combat aircraft. Another large air base is located at Benghazi and a third, Gamal Abdul Nasser Air Base, is situated a few miles southwest of Tobruk. Two other air bases are located near the Egyptian border -- at Al Kufrah Oasis and at Jabal al Uwaynat in the far south.

Air Defense
Libya deploys the SA-2, SA-3, and Crotale missiles. At least one battery of each of these types have been spotted at each of Libya's three main air bases (Okba Ben Nafi, Benghazi and Gamal Abdul Nassar). One battery of Crotale sites have been detected at each of the two smaller bases in the southeast. The Libyan Army also operates three SA-5 batteries which are currently at undisclosed locations (probably in storage.)

The Libyan air force is believed to consist of over 500 combat aircraft, with some reports suggesting the number is as high as 700. These aircraft include MiG-23s, MiG-25s, Su-24, Fencer 'D's, Su-27s and Mirage F.1EDs. At least one squadron of Tu-22 bombers are known to be located at Okba Ben Nafi AB....

Disarming a country doesn't come easy.  It took a great deal of brevity to make the decision by NATO to go forward with stopping the assault against the Libyan people. 

The Libyan forces and air defenses cannot hold out against NATO and the United Nations Security Council has agreed on its importance. 

This is the initial staging of the initiative.  No one said this was going to be easy.  Those air defenses were mostly probably provided to facilitate the nuclear disarmament of Libya. 

Gaddafi will throw everything he has to stop the No Fly Zone.  He won't prevail.