The Libyan military on Sunday called an immediate cease-fire after allied forces pounded one of its convoys near Benghazi and, according to U.S. officials, significantly degraded the regime’s air defense capability.
The next seventy-two hours will determine the course of the next few years in Libya. “Cease-fire” could mean one of three things. First, it could mean nothing—like the “cease-fire” the Libyan army proclaimed to give it cover for a mad dash into Benghazi before the allied missiles started falling. Second it could be a semi-delusional, “let’s have a truce and call it a draw” gesture. At this point, the Libyan army is not really able to credibly fire back at the allied forces. “Cease-fire” really means, “please stop firing at us.” Third, it could be the functional equivalent of surrender.
What happens if or when the Libyan army is in retreat or full route? If the rebels march on Tripoli, will the allies intervene? Will the two sides be separated? What happens next?