British military experts say the UK lacks the capacity to patrol a no-fly zone over Libya where its dictator Qaddafi is killing innocents to consolidate his rein.
This is while Prime Minister David Cameron has said that his country was ready to enforce a no-fly zone over Libya to stop more bloodshed in the country.
“We have to prepare for what we might have to do if he goes on brutalizing his people. I don’t think we can stand aside and let that happen”, said Cameron.
However, a prominent London-based defense think-tank said that without switching resources from Afghanistan the UK could not contribute enough aircraft to stop Qaddafi attacking revolutionary forces inside his country.
Meanwhile, the UK is enforcing a wide-scale cut in its fleets of warplanes as part of a military shake-up to slash the country’s defense budget.
The experts with the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) say the West is unable to impose a no-fly zone even though there were enough jets.
“It is difficult to see how it could generate the tankers, the intelligence-collecting aircraft and also the surveillance aircraft to support it without having to redeploy those assets from supporting the campaign in Afghanistan or counter-piracy operations,” said Brigadier Ben Barry, senior fellow for land forces at the IISS.
Douglas Barrie, the IISS’s military aerospace analyst, said the logistical requirements for a no-fly zone would severely stretch the West’s capacities.
“These have been implemented in the past both in Bosnia and Iraq but of course there is a cost both in terms of the fuel bill alone and also in terms of the assets you have to deploy from elsewhere,” he said.
The IISS is publishing its annual report on the strength of world’s armies, in which it warns that cuts to defense budgets in the West had accelerated a military shift toward other countries, especially China.
The development came as a US official poured cold water on the proposal to impose a no-fly zone over Libya irrespective of the fact that pressure was mounting on President Obama to act.
“The kinds of capabilities that are being used to attack the rebel forces and, indeed, the population will be largely unaffected by a no-fly zone,” said US Ambassador to NATO Ivo Daalder.
Many other US government officials have also voiced skepticism over the efficacy of a no-fly zone.
“We can save many more lives with humanitarian relief and other efforts than through a no-fly zone,” said one official. Agencies