A Lovely Little Forgotten War

by Alex Massie

I'm glad the kinetic military action faux-war in Libya has gone so well. What's that? Oh. Nevertheless, the war has this to be said for it: very few people seem to care one way or the other what happens in Libya. Granted, a churl could construe this as a good reason to have avoided getting involved in the (latest) Battle for Tripoli in the first place since the lack of interest in the conflict might be considered evidence that few vital interests  – for the United States or other NATO powers – are at stake.

Nonetheless, alea iacta est and all that. So this is not a surprising development:

“The United States views the Qaddafi regime as no longer having any legitimate authority in Libya,” Mrs. Clinton said. “And so I am announcing today that, until an interim authority is in place, the United States will recognize the T.N.C. as the legitimate governing authority for Libya, and we will deal with it on that basis.”

This is worth a sardonic chuckle too:

In a published background briefing, a senior State Department official said that the “NATO operations continue at a very high pace,” with 5,000 air sorties since February, and that “we continue to believe that time is on our side.”

Libya: an intervention launched on an untenable premise, conducted lethargically, with little regard to interest and little idea of what the end game should look like in even the most favourable circumstances… Just as well, then, that domestic affairs (Debt ceiling, Murdoch, Strauss-Kahn etc) in every major country have helped make it a Lovely Little Forgotten War.

On the other hand: it is possible, I suppose, that this recognition is a sign that the United States expects the rebels to prevail in short order.

Also: Patton Boggs gets results! Good idea for the rebels to hire lobbyists in Washington.