In These New Times

A new paradigm for a post-imperial world

Libya: Splits and confusion over attacks on Gaddafi

Posted by seumasach on March 22, 2011

The inevitable NATO strategy of bombing from a safe distance with “high precision” munitions is not a laughing matter but there is a marked element of farce to all this. Hopefully, the cracks in NATO will now become wide open and “the West” will be reduced to its rump, the US-UK-Israel axis.

22nd March, 2011
CRACKS have appeared in the international coalition set up to enforce the no-fly zone over Libya after Nato refused to take control of the operation from the United States.
Meanwhile, uncertainty remained over whether Libyan leader Colonel Muammar al-Gaddafi was a target for attacks. The British government refused to rule it out, but defence chiefs in the UK and the United States insisted he was not. 

Opposition from Germany and Turkey blocked any Nato agreement on co-ordinating the no-fly zone while Italy threatened to review the use of its seven bases if the alliance was not put in charge.

Germany questioned the wisdom of the operation, and Russia’s prime minister Vladimir Putin railed against the UN-backed air strikes mounted so far against Gaddafi’s forces by Britain, France and the US outside of their Nato roles.

“The Security Council resolution is flawed, it allows everything and is reminiscent of a medieval call for a crusade,” Mr Putin said. “In fact, it allows intervention in a sovereign state.”

Speaking in the Commons as MPs debated the UN resolution, Prime Minister David Cameron said he would not discuss “specific targets”. However, he made it clear he wanted the Gaddafi regime to go but through the actions of the Libyan people.

Defence Secretary Liam Fox had hinted at the weekend that the dictator was a target and Foreign Secretary William Hague refused to rule out that option yesterday. 

But the UK’s military chief of staff, General Sir David Richards, and US allies completely contradicted this claim, and the French government said that, even if the Libyan leader’s exact location was known, he would not be fired on.

Gen Richards, insisted Gaddafi was “absolutely not” a target. He said: “It is not allowed under the UN resolution and it is not something I want to discuss any further.”

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