Squares, Triangles, Circles & Taking Out Qaddafi

How to kill Colonel Qaddafi without telling anyone that you’re trying to do just that. That’s the question for Messrs. Sarkozy & Cameron. Ignore for the moment the deeper question: why are we going after Qaddafi in particular?  For those frustrated that Qaddafi hasn’t fallen and that his two main brigades are simply creating killing zones, let them learn the tactical and theatre war management rule of Squares, Triangles and Circles. In that rule, is the way to bring the fighting and the reign of the Libyan leader to an end.

In military society and the nomanklatura who run the state there are three groups: the military high command and the nomanklatura are in Squares.  The middle management – colonels and heads of departments – are Triangles.  The military other ranks & junior officers and, the lowly civil servants et al, are Circles.

The military task in Libya is to obliterate the Squares. In theory therefore, cruise missiles, ground attack aircraft and drones should be immediately used to bomb Qaddafi’s tent. It doesn’t work that way.

First task is to knock out air defences of Libyan fighters and air defence radars until coalition air forces can fly where they like. This is called Air Supremacy. That’s done. Then why not simply go for the jugular? Back to Squares etc.

The answer: if the higher command in the Square is knocked out immediately, then the middle management officers in the Triangles have the energy and resources to assume the role of higher command and even disperse forces into difficult-to-target groups. So the task is to knock out the troops in the Triangles: tank drivers, infantry troop carriers, fuel bowsers, mobile kitchens, gun crews, ammunition wagons. That stops the full strength advance and begins to exhaust the half colonel and battalion level in the triangles with fewer resources to manoeuvre. It is this point that the coalition goes for the Squares.

Hit a headquarters – military or civilian – and orders from the top start to disappear.  At the same time, knock out all TV transmitters and studio facilities. That means the Triangles and Circles are not getting rallying calls. Keep doing that and the people trying to hold everything together start talking about talking peace. Keep up the pressure and especially, don’t run out of drones, and soon there is only one method left to the people in the Squares.  Don’t attempt to rescue the Triangles, but rally the guys in the Circles. So in short form: Hit the Circles, Hit the Squares and the people with real talent (the Triangles) have nothing to get orders from and nothing to command.

This is what’s happening in Libya. Mind you, it doesn’t answer the two remaining questions: why did they go after Qaddafi in the first place and, do they understand what goes in Qaddafi’s place once the final drone has done its work?

The answer to the last question is obvious: the coalition has to put its own set of Squares, Triangles and Circles in place.  That’s why the British Foreign Secretary William Hague is being told by his Foreign Office that NATO or the UN has got to be in Libya for years to come if the new political and military geometry is to hold this oil-producing nation together. Ah! Oil. Now that may be the answer to the first question. Mm?

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