Europe and NATO weakened despite Libya victory

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From AFP:  The intervention mandated by the United Nations and carried out under NATO command "is a success because two major nations took their responsibilities," French Defence Minister Gerard Longuet said earlier this week.

The Libya raids were a watershed because they marked a rare case of the United States shunning the leadership role in a large Western military intervention, leaving France and Britain to fill the vacuum.

"The Brits and the French can rightly claim to have delivered in spite of America taking the backseat," Francois Heisbourg, from the Paris-based Foundation for Strategic Research, said. . . .

With the war not yet fully won, analysts argued that the EU and NATO already had some rebuilding of their own to do in the aftermath of an operation launched without clear support from all member states.

"More than half of the 28 NATO member states were against this war," Heisbourg said.

In the Atlantic alliance, Germany was staunchly opposed to the intervention and other countries such as Poland refused to contribute despite repeated calls while Turkey only agreed to a minimal role.

"There is an obvious political weakening of NATO," Heisbourg said.

"From March 31, NATO played host to the operational command centre but it never controlled policy and strategy," he added. . . .

"Europe as a political and strategic force was completely absent, that is the sad truth," said a European diplomat.

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