A "high-ranking Russian intelligence service source" has been quoted by the Moscow news agency Novosti as saying that preparations are on for a NATO ground operation in Libya in April-May if the ongoing attempts at regime change doesn't have the desired result. The Russian intelligence source said: "Information coming via different channels shows that NATO countries, with the active participation of Britain and the United States, are developing a plan for a ground operation on Libyan territory. From all indications, a ground operation will be launched if the alliance fails to force the Gaddafi regime to capitulate with air strikes and missile attacks." This reiterates the statement by the Kremlin spokesman two days ago that Moscow expected western "boots on the ground" in Libya at some point.
Meanwhile, Pentagon is moving over 4000 marines to the Mediterranean. The Pentagon decision to deploy servicemen from the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group (BATARG) and 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit was made "based on continuing urgent needs in Libya and the region". BATARG commander Capt. Steven J. Yoder was quoted as saying, "Amphibious ships are optimally suited for executing a wide range of missions, from humanitarian assistance to theater and maritime security operations." The NATO is readying the military base in Izmir [Turkey] for the Libyan operations. We may expect a sizeable Turkish contingent in any NATO occupation force. NATO's Supreme Allied Commander Europe Adm, James Stavridis visited Ankara for consultations on Thursday.
The invasion of Libya is unfolding almost ditto on the pattern in Afghanistan in October-November 2001. Intensive aerial bombardment plus special forces support for Northern Alliance militia as the first stage; NA took on the brunt of the fighting with Taliban; once success was within sight and NA took over Kabul, US ground forces landed (without the knowledge of the NA - then FM Abdullah, in fact, protested about the arrival of US forces in Bagram). Here too, Libyan rebels will take the brunt of the ground fighting while US aerial bombardment will degrade Gaddafi (as it did the Taliban) and once success is within sight and the rebels reach Tripoli, NATO occupation forces will land. Unlike NA, which had an established political leadership, Libyan rebels are an incohate bunch with no leadership and there will be no one to question the occupation.