Saturday, 19 March 2011

Who is Commanding the Resolution Forces?

The threat to Italy from the Gadaffi regime in Libya is so great that effectively military action against it has already begun.  Should Regime fighters or missiles be launched outside Libyan territory there will be instant Italian response.  The Italian navy is patrolling  the Mediterranean, the US aircraft carrier Enterprise (wow) is no longer reporting its position nor has been for days and Italian media speculate it is her firepower that will be turned on the regime.  The Andrea Doria is in the Canale di Sicilia together with the Etna which currently holds the command of the Standing Nato Maritime Group.  The Garibaldi, which sailed yesterday, has on board men 'specialised in assault and anti-sabotage' from the reggimento San Marco.  (perhaps 'short of occupation' in the UN Resolution doesn't exclude the use of ground troops?)

At Gioia del Colle, in Puglia,  Eurofighter pilots are on stand by. At Trapani, apart from the F16s and the Awacs, the Sikorsky helicopter search and rescue teams are also on stand by.  As are the anti-submarine  forces stationed at Sigonella. Decimomannu, where the Nato Air Weapon Training Installation is based will probably be used by the English and the Americans, as well as Pantelleria.
Amendola, the base in Foggia, will provide the Predator drones.

(For a further, detailed breakdown of what is up and ready and what is being prepared see Corriere della Sera )

So who commands all this (and whatever else has been mobilised but not publicised)?  At the moment Italy and the United States.  There's no going back.  Leaving Gadaffi, any Gadaffi in power in Libya is far too dangerous for Italy  first, and for the Mediterranean and Europe next.  And for shame those in England who say it's nothing to do with them,  not worth a single soldier. Command of the Mediterranean always has been central to the British Navy: not now, of course, but only because the Navy's been dismembered.


Nick Drew said...

'short of occupation' definitely doesn't exclude the use of ground troops: highly likely that special forces will be used (to attack anti-aircraft sites), the desert is their favourite arena (pun intended)

it will be interesting to see how Egypt deploys - unfortunately they are technically very poor (bizarrely, the desert is not their arena, I have an excellent tale on this topic from Bush Snr's Gulf War)

more than interesting also to watch how Greenstream fares

I think we are seeing some tremendous energy-based realpolitik from everyone - except the Germans! who pride themselves on being really strategic on this, but are proving to be a real one-trick pony: grovel to Russia and, errr, grovel to Russia. Where's Rommel when you need him, eh ?

but why is no-one talking about Iran. 50:50 they chance their arm in some malign way while all this is going on

I don't think any of the bad guys should take comfort from Russian & Chinese abstentions

there is no Power on earth willing to let this get too far out of control (give that China is willing to play things very long indeed - & they need to buy raw materials too)

one way and the other, Colonel Q is on his own; Iran had best think carefully; & the Germans look pretty silly

Odin's Raven said...

According to Mark Urban on Newsnight recently, Gaddafi probably only has about 4 fairly modern planes in working order. That's not much of a threat.

Europe needs to buy oil and gas from whichever thug runs Libya, and have him prevent a flood of African migrants to Europe. Those are our interests there. The rest is entertainment, often of the horror movie variety.The media has a short attention span and will rush to bring us gruesome sights to agonise over from the next disaster area.

The real threat from Libya lies in the tide of Islamic migrants and refugees already washing up on Europe's shores. Those are the boats our navies and air forces should be sinking.

hatfield girl said...

Raven! Boats of refugees are the very people the Italians are saving - and so they should be. They don't know what to do on Lampedusa any more, they don't know how to cope with the flow of desperate people, but they aren't going to leave them to drown, even less attack them, while they work it out.

hatfield girl said...

The no-fly zone part of the Resolution seems to have grabbed the headlines but Italian military sources are discussing what needs to be done by ground troops to protect civilians against Gadaffi. While President Napolitano says "What is necessary to be done will be done." There seems to be no questioning of interventions on the ground; what is being discussed is what and where.

I thought Greenstream had been turned off for the moment. Haven't all the technicians been evacuated? Or perhaps that's another pipeline. It's very difficult to think about all this - another world has appeared in Italy full of soldiers and naval forces and bases and institutional structures that were invisible only days ago. And the whole place is decked in tricolore flags and bunting because of the anniversary so it looks frighteningly patriotic particularly with all the war news and announcements on the tv.

You must be right about the really realpolitik being shown, ND. Italy is not going to put up with Libya threatening anything at all.

Too late now seems to be the reality.