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By Jason Moore

AIR power alone does not win conflicts. Over the last fifty years the use of aircraft has proved very effective and even crucial but history proves that it is boots on the ground which finally brings a conflict to an end. The western allies have now established a no fly zone over Libya hoping that the Libyan rebels will successfully overcome forces loyal to Colonel Gaddafi.

The rebels are not trained soldiers and they face a group of well equipped Libyan soldiers supported by African mercenaries. The coalition has said that they will not directly support the rebels with pin-point attacks on military targets. During the 1990s a no fly zone was established over Iraq but it failed to topple Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

The allies have two options; either provide the Libyan rebels with air power and military support similar to the campaign mounted in Afghanistan with the Northern Alliance to oust the Taliban or put troops on the ground. Both options have been ruled out so it seems likely that the air war could last for many months to come. The air campaign could easily end in stalemate. I just wonder whether the campaign has been well planned or was just a knee jerk reaction. Whoever, takes overall command of the Libya operations must make things very clear.