Home / Robert Farley / Reconstruction



I have thoughts on the reconstruction of the Libyan armed forces:

While there is a temptation to suggest that the new Libyan government should be given as much space as possible to rebuild the Libyan armed forces, in fact Western security assistance is imperative. Libya cannot develop the capabilities it needs in the timeframe available all by itself. But Western assistance for Libya will also at times be a double-edged sword for Tripoli. Given NATO’s role in Gadhafi’s ouster, it is likely that the alliance will prioritize its interests when it comes to facilitating Libya’s military reconstruction. This could play out both in terms of contracts and in terms of general focus. Libya’s defense profile might ideally call for the purchase of low-cost Russian or Chinese equipment, but the relationship with NATO could effectively force the acquisition of higher-cost Western weapons systems. Similarly, it seems unlikely that a Libya influenced by NATO will adopt a defense profile at odds with NATO’s interests. For example, Libya’s new air defense network probably won’t be geared toward resisting air attacks from the Mediterranean. Although engagement with the international military community is important, Libya will have to take considerable care to ensure that its armed forces identify first and foremost with the Libyan people, and remain loyal to the Libyan government.

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  • I think it’s essential to point out that a GM or Ford truck will provide more cupholders for the crew of a technical than any other make on the planet.

    Cue Dennis Leary: “So you want to put quad-AA guns on a half-ton truck without blowing three months of oil exports. Well listen up…”

  • Murc

    Libya cannot develop the capabilities it needs in the timeframe available all by itself.

    I’m actually curious as to what these capabilities it needs ARE. Your article is a bit thin on the actual threats Libya might be facing that require a powerful, modern army. Clearly they need some sort of army. But are things like modern air-defense networks (to protect them from who, exactly? They’re incapable of affording one that could stop a western air force and none of the countries surrounding them seem likely to launch an air campaign anytime soon) something they need to be spending money on when they have forty-odd years of infrastructure investment to catch up on?

  • merl

    Doesn’t France have a lot of interests in that area?

    • A deal for Libya to buy some really expensive French fighters just fell through.

      • Murc

        That seems like a good thing. The hell does Libya need really expensive french fighters for?

        • For reals.

          They need cheap, reliable, multi-role aircraft.

  • Jacob Davies

    Agree with the comment questioning what exactly it is that Libya’s new army should be capable of that it won’t be because of NATO-friendliness. In any case NATO alignment is probably sensible given the proximity of, er, NATO and the lack of anyone else on the planet who can do Libya any sort of favor or provide any sort of protection.

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