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July 11, 2011

Are The French Backing Down On Military Action In Libya?

Via Galrahn of Information Dissemination.

How do you say Dien Bien Phu in Arabic?

France's pivot to diplomacy was only underlined this morning when Qaddafi's son, Saif al-Islam, was quoted in the Algerian newspaper El Khabar as saying that the Qaddafi regime was negotiating with France and not the rebels. Foreign Ministry spokesman Bernard Valero has denied any direct negotiations with Libyan officials but acknowledged that "we pass messages through the rebel council (TNC) and our allies." France is also distancing itself a bit from Longuet's statements yesterday. Foreign Minister Alain Juppe clarified that NATO still needed to "keep up the military pressure" on Qaddafi and Valero noted that "any political solution must begin with Qaddafi's withdrawal from power and abandonment of any political role." Juppe added, however, that France is simultaneously working to broker a political solution based on a genuine ceasefire and left open the possibility that Qaddafi could cede power but remain in Libya.

What explains the U.S./France role reversal on Libya? Three months of air strikes "have cost billions of dollars and failed to produce the swift outcome its backers had expected," Reuters explains, and "cracks are emerging inside the NATO alliance." An increasingly impatient France is growing "concerned about the mounting cost of the military campaign and the prospect of it running on into the start of a 2012 election campaign."

So after going to war (yes, that's what it is) because France badgered us into it, we might get left holding the bag? Who could have seen that coming?

I'd say that the odds are better than 50/50 that before this is all over France surrenders to Libya and cedes some territory to it.

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posted by DrewM. at 12:32 PM

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