Almost immediately after the UN Security Council voted to authorize a no-fly zone over Libya, the Libyan Foreign Minister, Moussa Koussa announced a cease fire, and halt to military operations.
A couple of thoughts. One, it remains to be seen if they will in fact cease fire (or if the rebels will, for that matter).
Second, this is a pretty smart move on the Libyan regime’s part. They already hold most of the country, and were very close to crushing the last of the rebellion. They probably think that if they wait long enough, the insurgency will wither on the vine. And without a large influx of support from outside Libya, they are probably right. So time is on the regime’s side.
Also, how long can the coalition maintain watch over Libya? Operations like these are expensive, and that’s money a lot of the countries that signed on to implement the no-fly zone would really rather spend elsewhere.
Quadaffi may not be the sharpest knife in the drawer, but he’s figured out the best way for a weaker power like his to oppose the stronger powers of the West is to draw it out as long as possible, and present as small a target as he can. And if the coalition starts attacking him while he’s suspended operations, he’ll be able to rally strong support from the populations of other Arab league nations.