100 days as of Monday, and 4,700 strike sorties in, NATO officials are preaching “progress” on the war in Libya, but those claims are coming in very non-specific terms. Lots of buildings have been destroyed, many people killed, but very little territory has changed hands.
And indeed, what territory has changed hands during the NATO involvement has been incidental, with offensive and counter-offensive settling into an unsteady equilibrium shortly after the US, France and Britain began bombarding the nation. Since then, the bombing has joined with fighting along the frontier between the two factions as just one more permanent aspect of life in Libya at war.
If the war was, as NATO insisted when it began, about safeguarding civilians, it has failed miserably. NATO strikes have killed no small number of civilians themselves, and the bloody stalemate on the ground has continued unabated, with reports of both sides committing human rights violations.