November 2010 War Games: “Southern Mistral” Air Attack against Dictatorship in a Fictitious Country called “Southland”
On November 2, 2010 France and Great Britain signed a mutual defence treaty, which included joint participation in “Southern Mistral” (www.southern-mistral.cdaoa.fr), a series of war games outlined in the bilateral agreement. Southern Mistral involved a long-range conventional air attack, called Southern Storm, against a dictatorship in a fictitious southern country called Southland. The joint military air strike was authorised by a pretend United Nations Security Council Resolution. The “Composite Air Operations” were planned for the period of 21-25 March, 2011. On 20 March, 2011, the United States joined France and Great Britain in an air attack against Gaddafi’s Libya, pursuant to UN Security Council resolution 1973.
Have the scheduled war games simply been postponed, or are they actually under way after months of planning, under the name of Operation Odyssey Dawn? Were opposition forces in Libya informed by the US, the UK or France about the existence of Southern Mistral/Southern Storm, which may have encouraged them to violence leading to greater repression and a humanitarian crisis? In short was this war against Gaddafi’s Libya planned or a spontaneous response to the great suffering which Gaddafi was visiting upon his opposition?
Members of the United States Congress are wondering how much planning time it took for our own government, in concert with the UK and France, to line up 10 votes in the Security Council and gain the support of the Arab League and Nato, and then launch an attack on Libya without observing the constitutional requirement of congressional authorisation.
Libya was attacked, we have been told, because Gaddafi allegedly had killed 6,000 of his own people. But is this true? It should be remembered that in 2006, a full 18 years after the Lockerbie bombing, the US lifted sanctions against Libya, which was welcomed back into the international fold.
Now, as Gaddafi faces armed internal opposition backed by a UN Security Council resolution and faces powerful external opposition backed by the military of the US, the UK and France, he is told he must give up power. But to whom? What is the end game?
The US has been dancing around the regime change issue, (since that is not sanctioned by the UNSC Resolution) but as in most cases one has to watch where the bombs are falling to determine whether or not regime change is the policy.
The newest argument for regime change is that if he is not ousted Gaddafi can be expected to attempt Lockerbie-type retaliation against the west in response to the attacks seeking to oust him.
This bloody enterprise is beginning to sound a lot like Iraq: “Saddam was killing his own people, will kill his people, or will kill us if we don”t get him first.”
So did the Bush Administration pump up the fears of the American people that we were next, that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction and had the intention and capability of attacking the United States.
The Iraq war begins its ninth year at a long term cost to US taxpayers of in excess of $3 trillion.The intelligence making the case for the war was “sexed up”. President Bush and Vice President Cheney made a false case for war. An expensive lie. In the name of saving the people of Iraq, we bombed the country, invaded, changed the regime and it is still a carnival of death. In the end it was China, not involved in the war, which received a multi-billion oil deal.
The war in Afghanistan, with no end in sight, has already run a decade and will inevitably cost trillions.
The war against Libya will cost the US $1 billion for the first week.
But we in America are being assured that since Nato is taking over, our role will change. In addition to funding the Libyan war from our own Pentagon resources, the US provides 25% of the funding of Nato, the UK 9.1%, France 8.72%. For all intents and purposes the coalition is handing control of the war over – to itself.
As the funding switches to Nato, we in the US will get the Libyan war at a 75% discount, and our allies in the UK and France will have to pay considerable sums from their own treasuries for a war which is sure to cost billions. Of the 28 members of Nato, I think of Iceland which provides 0.0450 of Nato’s military budget. If member nations are assessed accordingly, poor Iceland, whose economy has imploded, will pay $45m for each billion spent on the war in Libya.
Expensive membership dues.
This sleight-of-hand-over to NATO is an attempt to quell popular dissent to the war by making it appear that no one nation is taking up the burden of saving Libya. But it will beg more questions such as who or what is the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and how did they work their way from the North Atlantic to the Gulf of Sidra, not to mention in Afghanistan on the Chinese border?
This war is wrong on so many fronts. The initial stated purpose, protecting Libyan civilians, will soon evaporate as it becomes clear that the war has accelerated casualties and enlarged a humanitarian crisis. Debates over the morality of intervention will give way to a desperate search for answers as to how and when do we get out, and how and why did we get in.
Dennis Kucinich is a Democrat congressman and former presidential candidate