Are We There Yet?

And so the end begins. You just knew this was bound to happen, given that there’s no actual strategy involved. Run away! Italy doesn’t want to play anymore.

Italy to try to seek date for end of Libya mission

Italy pledged on Tuesday to seek an end date for NATO’s Libya operations as Premier Silvio Berlusconi sought to placate a key government partner opposed to Italian participation in the bombing missions.

Foreign Minister Franco Frattini told reporters that Rome “will try, along with international organizations, and until, until I’m proven wrong, NATO, and its allies, to set an end” date for the operations.

See also:
Italy says it will try to discuss date with NATO, allies for end of Libyan operations
Italy says it will try to work out a date with NATO, allies for end of Libyan operations
Italy to try to seek date for end of Libya mission
Libya: End of mission to be decided with Nato allies says Italian foreign minister
Berlusconi Says Bid to Limit Libya Role Not a Problem
Berlusconi patches up row with allies over Libya
Leave Libya or we will bring you down, allies tell Berlusconi
Interview: Italian experts urge Rome meeting on Libya to change strategy
Libya’s Rebels Spending $60 Million A Day

How is it that it’s suddenly fashionable to start a war and then declare a time limit as to how long you’re willing to fight? Even a five year old can figure out that all the enemy has to do is to wait until you leave and then declare victory. Other than to waste lives and resources, what’s the point of starting a war you’re not going to finish?

/whatever happened to that old fashioned concept of, you know, fighting wars to win?

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A Kinetic Military Action By Any Other Name

Oh look, they put lipstick on the Operation Odyssey Dawn Pig, like no one will notice.

NATO in Libya: ‘Unified Protector’ hides divisions

The codename for NATO’s operations in Libya, “Unified Protector”, hides internal divisions that the alliance battled hard to overcome before taking on the mission.

The 28-nation military organisation is finally fulfilling Washington’s wishes, replacing the United States at the helm of all operations in Libya and is expected to be fully up and running by Thursday.

But to get to this point, the alliance had to ease Turkish concerns about the scope of the bombing campaign against Muammar Gaddafi’s forces and convince France that NATO should be in command of operations.

Germany was opposed to any military intervention from the outset, refusing to vote for the UN Security Council resolution that authorised “all necessary measures” to protect Libyan civilians.

Despite the squabbles, NATO is enforcing an arms embargo and a no-fly zone, and it finally agreed on Sunday to take over the riskiest mission: preventing Gaddafi loyalists from massacring the population.

See also:
NATO Assumes Command of Libya Operations
Nato takes over air war
NATO Operation Unified Protector against Libya Making Use of Greek Bases in Crete, the Peloponnese
NATO assumes full command of Libya operations
NATO takes control of Libya air operations
LIBYA: NATO assumes ‘sole command’ of coalition air operations
NATO Launches Operation Unified Protector & No Fly Zone Blockade
NATO takes charge of Libyan effort
NATO Assumes Full Command of Operations in Libya
Operation Unified Protector Factsheet
Operation Unified Protector

Dressing it up with a new name and putting a NATO fig leaf on the United States’ intervention in the Libyan civil war doesn’t hide the fact that Obama totally owns this kinetic military action and, so far, it’s not going well at all. The “rebels” Obama has decided to back in this all Libyan conflict are infused with al Qaeda and they can’t fight worth [expletive deleted]. If it weren’t for a highly publicized display of inept confusion, we’d have nothing to show for our efforts to date.

/watch out for Obama’s Runnin’ Rebels, retreating soon to a city or town near you!

Egypt Votes, But For What Exactly?

Egypt had a free and fair vote to amend the Egyptian constitution, that’s a good thing, right? Not so fast.

Egypt Approves Amendments

Egyptians voted in overwhelming numbers to approve a set of constitutional amendments, setting the stage for Egypt’s first truly contested parliamentary and presidential elections in decades.

Saturday’s historic referendum on the amendments saw millions of enthusiastic Egyptians wait patiently for hours to cast ballots in what for almost everyone was a novelty—a vote in which the result wasn’t effectively predetermined.

The largely peaceful and fraud-free vote was a marked contrast to past elections and a glimpse of how much has changed in Egypt in the weeks since President Hosni Mubarak stepped down amid widespread unrest, ending decades of single-party, autocratic rule.

Yet Saturday’s referendum also offered early clues into the rifts likely to shape Egyptian politics in the coming months and years. Many of the largely secular liberals who led the revolution that ousted Mr. Mubarak were opposed to the amendments, strongly suggesting the protest leaders have fallen out of sync with the vast majority of Egyptians.

Protest leaders criticized the amendments as part of a rushed and problematic timeline for establishing democracy; approving the changes started the clock on a race they said they are unprepared to run because they are still setting up parties.

Almost alone among the political groups in support of the amendments were the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist group outlawed under Mr. Mubarak, and the National Democratic Party, the former president’s ruling party. Both hope to capitalize on their already strong organizations in summer elections for parliament, which will then be charged with writing an entirely new constitution.
. . .

Journalists covering the announcement abandoned any pretenses of objectivity and yelled “Allahu Akbar!”—”God is Great!”—when the tallies were read out by officials.

See also:
How Egypt’s historic referendum could now bolster Islamists
Big majority vote for constitutional changes in Egypt
Egypt Backs Constitutional Changes That May Aid Brotherhood, Mubarak Party
Egypt: Constitution changes pass in referendum
Egyptians approve constitutional amendments in referendum
Egyptians overwhelmingly approve constitutional changes
Egyptians set for summer elections
Egyptian voters say ‘yes’ to speedy elections
Egypt’s Historic Referendum: Rushed But Moving
Egypt referendum results: 77.2 per cent say ‘Yes’ to the amendments
Egypt approves amendments, prepares for next step
Egyptians get taste of democracy in post-Mubarak era
Egyptians approve constitutional changes, clearing way for elections

Egypt has zero recent history of democracy or diverse political parties. So, obviously, whatever groups are already the most organized will benefit the most from the early elections just approved. And what’s the most organized group in Egypt? The Muslim Brotherhood. What happens if the Muslim Brotherhood comes to dominate the democratically elected parliament after this summer’s elections and, therefore, gets to write the new Egyptian constitution?

/it could very well turn out to be “one man, one vote, one time