The Libyan rebel conquest of Tripoli isn’t even complete, and there are already growing calls for a military occupation to “maintain order,” with Council on Foreign Relations President and former top State Department official Richard Haass leading the calls.
Haass insisted that the occupation, involving several thousand international troops was “less risky” than allowing the rebels to try to form a government without them. He said “at the very least” NATO should send hundreds of military “advisers” for the new rebel regime.
Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta insisted that the US isn’t considering sending troops at this point, but NATO’s comments left open the door for a “supporting role” in the event that the UN started forming an occupation force.
Britain, for their part, seem to be on board with the occupation, with Prime Minister David Cameron’s office already talking about sending hundreds of troops “if” the country descends into chaos.
Previously leaked documents showing NATO’s plan for post-Gadhafi Libya involved a major United Arab Emirates run occupation force for Tripoli, helping to orchestrate the mass arrest of Gadhafi supporters and potential opponents of the new regime. With the rebels insisting they plan to move their capital to Tripoli within the next week or so, the pressure is likely on within the war’s planners to rush enough troops in to crush whatever resistance the rebels might face, whether from the old regime or from pro-democracy protesters who aren’t on board with the rebel leadership’s image of a “new” Libya.