Home > Uncategorized > Updates on Libyan war: March 23

Updates on Libyan war: March 23

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Iraq Repeat: Bulgarian Warship To Join NATO Libya Blockade

Commentary: U.S. And NATO Lust For Libya’s Conquest

U.S. Shifts Libyan War To NATO Command To Maintain Control

Libya: Russian Duma Calls For Immediate Halt To Western Military Actions

U.S. Deploying Three New Warships, Marines To Libyan Coast

NATO Deploys Armada Of Warships, Submarines For Libya Blockade

Danish F-16s In First Libyan Bombings, Air Combat

Assault On Libya: 160 Cruise Missiles, Four Days Of Bombing

150 Warplanes From 11 Nations And British Prime Minister Says Libyan Conflict Still In “Early Stages” And “A Lot More Needs To Be Done”

Report: Turkey To Deploy Five Warships And Submarine For NATO’s Libyan Blockade

Norway Assigns Six F-16s To U.S. AFRICOM For Libya Strikes

United Nations Security Council: West Refuses Russia Answers Over Resolution 1973 Questions

NATO Ships Begin Blockade Of Libya

U.S., France Agree On NATO Command For Libyan War

U.S. Analyst: Real Intent Behind Military Actions Against Libya

Russia Continues To Oppose Military Intervention In Libya

Russians Protest Libyan War Outside NATO Nations’ Embassies

EU’s Top Diplomat: NATO Should Take Control Of Libya Operation

Bolivian President Demands Obama Be Stripped Of Nobel Peace Prize Over Libyan War

Fires, Deaths: NATO Attacks Hit Tripoli Harbor, Airport

“Regime Change” In Libya To Require Involvement In Ground War

U.S. Marines Shoot Six Libyan Civilians To Rescue Downed Pilots

Libya Burns, But Bahrain Can Shake The World

Pentagon Using New Generation Tomahawk Missiles In Libya

“There Is Hope In Benghazi, The French Flag Is Being Waved There”

Romania Joins NATO Naval Blockade Of Libya

Netherlands Joins NATO’s Onslaught Against Libya

Military Occupation And Regional Reconfiguration: South African Trade Union Confederation Condemns West Over Libyan Attack

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Iraq Repeat: Bulgarian Warship To Join NATO Libya Blockade

http://www.novinite.com/view_news.php?id=126559

Sofia News Agency
March 23, 2011

Bulgarian Navy Prepares Frigate for NATO Mission Off Libya’s Coast

-Gordi, under the name F910 Weilingen as part of the Belgian Navy, took part in the UN maritime embargo against Iraq – Operation Southern Breeze during the First Gulf War in 1990-1991 – a naval operation similar to the one in Libya.

Bulgaria’s Defense Minister Anyu Angelov has issued orders to prepare the “Drazki” (“Daring”) frigate of the Bulgarian Navy for participation in the NATO naval operation off Libya’s coast.

The move is in accordance with NATO’s Tuesday’s decision to launch a naval mission in the Mediterranean….

The NATO naval operation will be separate from Operation Odyssey Dawn, which has been going on since Saturday, in which forces of leading Western powers and some Arab states have been carrying out air and missile strikes….

While Bulgaria’s government made it clear it did not have the military capabilities – i.e. the necessary fighter jets – to take part in Operation Odyssey Dawn under the leadership of the USA, UK, and France, it did say that it can send one frigate to help enforce the arms embargo against Libya.

Defense Minister Anyu Angelov himself has confirmed the orders that he had given to the Bulgarian Navy for participation in the naval NATO mission.
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In 2009, Bulgaria purchased three second-hand frigates from Belgium – Drazki, Gordi (“Proud”), and “Verni” (“Faithful”) – and the Tsibar minesweeper. Interestingly, one of the frigates, Gordi, under the name F910 Weilingen as part of the Belgian Navy, took part in the UN maritime embargo against Iraq – Operation Southern Breeze during the First Gulf War in 1990-1991 – a naval operation similar to the one in Libya.
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If it sends in its frigate, Bulgaria will be following Romania, whose President Traian Basescu announced on Tuesday that his country will participate in the NATO naval operation off Libya’s coast with the King Ferdinand frigate. The Romanian frigate will be manned by a 205-member crew.

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Commentary: U.S. And NATO Lust For Libya’s Conquest

http://pakobserver.net/detailnews.asp?id=82418

Pakistan Observer
March 23, 2011

US, NATO lust for Libya’s conquest
Dr Samiullah Koreshi

[Edited]


-[T]he US plus the white West…started a naked aggression on Saturday 19th March with France firing on military vehicles and the US launching missile attacks on, first, Ghaddafi’s air defenses, with the neo-crusaders’ running mate, the UN and the ever-obliging Ban Ki-moon, who has turned the UN into a subsidiary of the neo-colonialist powers.
-As is their well-established practice, the [West] met under some label of a coalition with the Old Crusaders under the new label of NATO, with Ban Ki-moon the ever-obliging errand boy making all the noises which are music to their ears, the dividing line between the so-called United Nations organization and the Western foreign offices having disappeared.
-The painful developments of this neo-oil colonialist aggression will unfold in all its gory scenes. Today Libya and Ghadhafi, tomorrow who knows?

Only a few days ago turmoil started in Libya with a rebellion of a medley of locals. It was claimed that this was a manifestation of the so-called democracy wave sweeping the Arab world, but there was one difference – this turmoil was an armed rebellion.

Ghadhafi claimed that the rebels included Chadian and Nigerian [from Niger] mercenaries (not to be confused with Nigerian).

He claimed that al-Quaida was involved in it – maybe thereby hoping to keep his mortal enemy the West not to support the rebellion.

Obviously his hopes were wrong. It is more than possible that in accordance with the Western well-established practice, the anti-Ghaddafi armed rebellion was engineered by the West itself, which is indicated by two things, first the armed rebellion was aided by two Francophone countries, poorest of the poor in the world, and the speed with which all the brutal plans for Ghadhafi’s killing went into action. Ghadhafi’s mortal enemies are oil-hungry America and the West, the same who went for killing of Iraq’s Saddam Hussein. These killer countries have a list of those in power whom they must kill. Where there is oil, there is an American-Western plan to eliminate the persona non grata rulers and occupy oil land directly or through proxy.

In the manner of new gunboat diplomacy, the US plus the white West with some camp follower Arab “rulers” – openly one, secretly quite a few camp followers – supporting it, and the neo-crusader NATO their knife, started a naked aggression on Saturday 19th March with France firing on military vehicles and the US launching missile attacks on, first, Ghaddafi’s air defenses, with the neo-crusaders’ running mate, the UN and the ever-obliging Ban Ki-moon who has turned the UN into a subsidiary of the neo-colonialist powers.

Damn be the so-called UN Charter. After all he who pays the piper calls the tune. The US and the white West pay the piper. Ban Ki-moon knows the right voice that pleases his paymasters.

All white Christian rulers, with one Arab camp follower, are spilling Libyan blood under the garb of removing Ghadhafi’s “brutal” rule over Libya. As is their well-established practice, the whites met under some label of a coalition with the Old Crusaders under the new label of NATO, with Ban Ki-moon the ever-obliging errand boy making all the noises which are music to their ears, the dividing line between the so-called United Nations organization and the Western foreign offices having disappeared.

All the UN motions and resolutions are shams and steps to create papers and alibis for implementing the plans to kill Ghaddafi the old enemy, bifurcate Libya and occupy its oil fields.

Does this kill Ghadhafi operation not have tacit Arab support? Has Amr Musa not given his approval to it?

The Arab states should know that individually they are very weak. If their collective will ceases to exist no one can ensure their sovereignty and one by one they would face a dark future.

The neo-oil imperialism designs of US-France-NATO are not difficult to read. Even an ordinary diplomat can read them. It does not require an expert of great wisdom.

The painful developments of this neo-oil colonialist aggression will unfold in all its gory scenes. Today Libya and Ghadhafi, tomorrow who knows?

The Western-US invasion of Libya has lifted the veil from the fact that these Crusader countries continue to retain their imperialist plans for Africa, the Arab World and Muslim countries.

This is the playground of their military conquests as it was once upon a time. Let no Muslim country remain in any doubt about the real intentions of Western neo-imperialism . The US has said that it has gone to Libya to save its people. This reminds of an Urdu proverb, “The woman who claims to love the child more than the mother is a child-eating witch“: Bhaba kutni.

The shark has opened its mouth to devour Libya and divide its oil belt from the rest of Libya. It should be remembered that in the UN in the 1960s Pakistan carried the struggle to join all its part to make a unified country of Libya.

Now the wolf is again on the prowl for a vivisection under all kinds of false slogans” Their love for Libya is the love of Little Red Riding Hood’s wolf masquerading as the grandmother….

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U.S. Shifts Libyan War To NATO Command To Maintain Control

http://rt.com/news/operation-libya-us-nato/

RT
March 23, 2011

Allies start shifting operation leadership in Libya

-“The US won’t allow any other country and especially France to take the lead. The US would prefer NATO to take the lead of this operation – because by connecting NATO to Libya they will be the first ones to tell NATO how to do things and how to work on the ground.”
-“With Colonel Gaddafi being a historical enemy of the west for many, many decades, suddenly he has been brought back into the international fold. There were lots of oil contracts and business contracts flowing out of Libya towards places like the US, the UK and France and Italy.”
“So, I think, they [the west] were torn for a long time and it is only really over the last weekend that they did a bit of a rush job to take the violence to the next stage and protect the rebels that they have been backing secretly for a couple of decades in the east of Libya.”

US President Barack Obama agreed with British Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Nicolas Sarkozy that NATO would play a key role in further enforcement of the no-fly zone in Libya.

NATO has so far been viewed as a military commander-in-chief only, as several alliance members like Turkey or the Arab League will scarcely acknowledge the organization as a political leader in Libya’s operation, France pointed out.

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said the foreign ministers of all the countries taking part in military action in Libya will hold a meeting in next few days to create an effective political structure for operations.

“Once we have this political structure… we will naturally use the planning and intervention capacities of NATO,” he said as cited by Reuters.

The UK is volunteering to take the interim role of political leader to steer the coalition’s steps in Libya before the designated structure comes into being.

NATO conceded its session on Tuesday to enforce an arms embargo on Libya. NATO warships will start patrolling the Libyan coast on Wednesday with this mission.

The organization has also finalized plans to enforce UN-sanctioned no-fly zone, if required. However, the plan did not “take into account the political reality of having to reach agreement on whether to execute it,” said a NATO official.

The UN Security Council will discuss the latest developments in Libya in its Thursday session.

­There can be no talk about any humanitarian mission in Libya, says Barah Mikail, an expert on Middle East, the coalition just uses it as a pretext to interfere in the Libyan crisis. But the confusion inside the coalition itself is so great that it is yet too early to estimate the operation as successful. Much depends on who will gain control over the events.

“Even though we talk more and more about NATO, we should not forget that the essential struggle from the diplomatic and military point of view is whether the United States or France will be able to take the lead. The essential point of what is going on is the struggle between the US on the one hand and Mr. Nicolas Sarkozy much specifically, on the other”, says Mikail.

Despite Washington’s rhetoric of reducing the US presence in the Middle East country, Mikail does not believe that the US’s role in the operation will diminish.

“The US won’t allow any other country and especially France to take the lead”, says Mikail. “The US would prefer NATO to take the lead of this operation – because by connecting NATO to Libya they will be the first ones to tell NATO how to do things and how to work on the ground.”

­NATO has found itself in a tight place over the Libyan crisis, says Russia’s Permanent Representative to NATO, Dmitry Rogozin, as nobody wished to accept the responsibility of continuing the military operation in the Middle East country. “Everyone realizes that it will be quite impossible to bring Gaddafi down without a mission on the ground,” Rogozin was cited as saying by RIA Novosti news agency. Attacking Gaddafi’s forces with air-strikes “will not help to achieve the goal, as all these forces have long ago relocated to towns and cities, so civilian casualties will be inevitable.”

“This is a stalemate situation, from NATO’s point of view” Rogozin says. “Yesterday a decision was taken for the bloc to enforce at least one point of the UN Security Council’s resolution – imposing arm supplies embargo on Libya, which rather resembles a naval blockade.”

­Coalition under fire for civilian deaths

­The international community is quickly growing diverse in the estimates of the “Odyssey Dawn” operation results. In contrast to US and France’s positive comments, Turkey has said the air strikes in Libya have already gone beyond what had been sanctioned by the UN Security Council. Russia and China are calling for an immediate ceasefire in the country by all the forces involved into the conflict.

“We are against excessive use of military force, and we are against the exacerbation of the humanitarian crisis, and we are against even greater casualties among civilians,” a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman was cited as saying by the Associated Press.

Washington sought to untangle itself from the Libyan crisis cobweb, with President Barack Obama announcing on Tuesday that the US has significantly reduced the number of military flights over Libya. He also added that the control of all the military operations in Libya will be transferred to the international coalition within a few days.

US intentions were confirmed by the US Defense Secretary Robert Gates during his visit to Moscow. Gates had to back up Washington’s continuous assaults on Libya, which resulted in civilian casualties, in response to sharp criticism from his Russian counterpart Anatoly Serdyukov. Serdyukov called for an immediate cease-fire by both Libya and coalition forces in order to prevent any further civilian deaths.

“We urge all belligerent parties to do their best to stop the violence,” Serdyukov said. “We believe that only a ceasefire and a dialogue between the belligerent parties would be the surest way to” ensure the security of civilians.

The Libyan crisis will also be included on the agenda of the Russia-NATO session in late March, where it will be discussed at the ambassador level.

Former British intelligence officer Annie Machon believes that the roots of the differences within the coalition lie in the long-standing inconsistency of Western policy towards Libya.

“With Colonel Gaddafi being a historical enemy of the west for many, many decades, suddenly he has been brought back into the international fold. There were lots of oil contracts and business contracts flowing out of Libya towards places like the US, the UK and France and Italy,” she said.

“So, I think, they [the west] were torn for a long time and it is only really over the last weekend that they did a bit of a rush job to take the violence to the next stage and protect the rebels that they have been backing secretly for a couple of decades in the east of Libya,” she added. “Different aims from different countries; different vested interests within Libya of the different countries, and also different histories are all playing a part in this model.”

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Libya: Russian Duma Calls For Immediate Halt To Western Military Actions

http://rt.com/politics/state-duma-resolution-libya/

RT
March 23, 2011

Russian Duma calls for immediate halt to violence in Libya

-Russian parliamentarians stressed that the realization of the UN resolution allowed certain countries to pursue different goals when delivering missile and bomb strikes on Libyan territory, targeting sites that had no immediate relation to enforcing the no-flight zone.
Given such “indiscriminate use of military force,” the lawmakers said, the prospects for the normalization of affairs in Libya may take much longer than necessary, while also prompting other states to develop their own weapons of mass destruction.

The lower house of the State Duma will call upon the Western states to immediately halt their military actions against the Gaddafi regime in order to avoid civilian casualties.

“The State Duma expresses concern over the scale and form in which the military force is used against Libya and calls for parliaments of France, Great Britain, United States, Italy, Canada and other states that are conducting the military operation to assist the immediate end of combat that damages the peaceful Libyan infrastructure and most importantly causes new casualties among the civilian population,” reads a State Duma draft statement the international affairs committee has recommended adopting on Wednesday.

The Duma “joins the UN Security Council demands on immediately working out a ceasefire and absolutely stopping violence and all attacks on civilians and their cruel treatment and is calling on the leaders of Libya and the coalition member-states to strictly follow the spirit and the letter of relevant resolutions in their practical actions,” the statement continues.

Of the 450 deputies of the State Duma, 341 voted in favor of the resolution.

The lower house will hold a final vote on the document on Wednesday evening after discussing the amendments to it.

The resolution stresses that Russia joins the demands of the UN Security Council to immediately stop all violence against civilians, and that Russia calls for both the Libyan authorities and the coalition countries to base their actions on the corresponding resolutions.

Meanwhile, the Russian parliamentarians approved of their country’s decision to abstain from voting on the UN Security Council Resolution 1973, which provided the coalition forces to employ “all necessary means” for protecting Libyan civilians from the violence that has shaken their country since anti-government protesters took to the streets against Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, who has been in power since 1969.

“The decision was a choice adequate to the situation,” the Duma statement reads.

The parliamentarians said they regretted that a draft UN Security Council resolution proposed by Russia, which was aimed at peacefully settling the crisis in Libya through the involvement of a special representative of the UN secretary-general, and other international organizations, failed to win significant support.

The Russian lawmakers stressed that one of the major flaws of Resolution 1973 is that is failed to restrain the use of excessive military force.

Resolution 1973 “declared primarily the need to protect Libya’s civilian population, including through the imposition of a no-fly zone, but this resolution failed to set clear limits on the use of military force,” the Russian lawmakers said.

Russian parliamentarians stressed that the realization of the UN resolution allowed certain countries to pursue different goals when delivering missile and bomb strikes on Libyan territory, targeting sites that had no immediate relation to enforcing the no-flight zone.

Given such “indiscriminate use of military force,” the lawmakers said, the prospects for the normalization of affairs in Libya may take much longer than necessary, while also prompting other states to develop their own weapons of mass destruction.

Russia has abstained in the UN Security Council vote on the resolution authorizing the use of force in Libya, but President Dmitry Medvedev amended the Russian legislation in accordance with the resolution, banning the sales of arms to Libya and also refusing Gaddafi and his close circle the right to enter the Russian Federation. At the same time, Russian officials have repeatedly criticized the resolution and warned that it could lead to a lengthy war with numerous casualties.

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U.S. Deploying Three New Warships, Marines To Libyan Coast

http://www.wtkr.com/news/sns-ap-va–shipdeployments,0,968322.story

Associated Press
March 23, 2011

USS Bataan Amphibious Ready Group deploying to Mediterranean

NORFOLK, Va. – The USS Bataan Amphibious Ready Group is deploying to the Mediterranean Sea to aid international efforts in Libya.
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The Bataan Amphibious Ready Group is made up of the amphibious assault ship USS Bataan, amphibious transport dock ship USS Mesa Verde and the dock landing ship USS Whidbey Island.
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http://english.cri.cn/6966/2011/03/23/2681s628199.htm

Xinhua News Agency
Match 23, 2011

U.S. Sends Warships to Join Libya Mission

The U.S. Navy on Wednesday dispatched three warships to the Mediterranean to join the military mission in Libya.

Two ships of the group left the military port of Norfolk, VA. Wednesday. They include helicopter-carrying amphibious assault ship USS Bataan and the amphibious transport dock ship USS Mesa Verde. They will be joined by dock landing ship USS Whidbey Island homeported at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek – Fort Story, Va.

Together the three ships made up the USS Bataan Amphibious Ready Group. They are deploying as part of U.S. maritime forces supporting U.S. and international contingency planning associated with the crisis in Libya.

The groups will relieve units from the USS Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group currently positioned in the Mediterranean Sea. The Amphibious Ready Group include amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge and amphibious transport dock ship USS Ponce.

The group and 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit onboard are prepared to conduct a variety of missions, according to the U.S. Navy. The missions include forward naval presence, maritime security operations, theater security cooperation…as directed by Fleet and Joint Task Force commanders.

The ships carry hundreds of Marines, a team of surgeons and a helicopter sea combat squadron, according to the Navy.

The U.S. Navy has five combat ships in the Mediterranean, including two guided-missile destroyers, but there are no U.S. aircraft carriers close to Libya. The Navy also has three submarines outfitted with Tomahawk missiles in the Mediterranean.

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NATO Deploys Armada Of Warships, Submarines For Libya Blockade

http://www.nato.int/cps/en/SID-D3C6A22D-85CDFAF7/natolive/news_71726.htm

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
March 23, 2011

NATO ships move to enforce UN arms embargo

NATO warships and aircraft have started patrolling the approaches to Libya’s coast as part of Operation Unified Protector. Their mission is to enforce the arms embargo called for in UN Security Council Resolution 1973.
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Six NATO ships are already in international waters off Libya’s coast….A chief planner of the mission at SHAPE (Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe) Brigadier General Pierre St Amand said at a press conference in Brussels that Allies have already pledged a further 16 ships to the mission.

The operation is being commanded by Vice Admiral Rinaldo Veri from NATO Maritime Command Naples.

Patrol aircraft and fighter jets are also heading towards the area of operations to provide long-range surveillance and intercept any suspected flights carrying weapons into Libya.
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Their main task will be to monitor ships and aircraft heading towards Libyan territory. They have the right to stop and search any vessel they suspect of carrying prohibited cargo.
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http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2011/03/24/3172074.htm?section=justin

Agence France-Presse
March 23, 2011

NATO offers armada to enforce Libya arms embargo

NATO nations have offered up an armada of ships and submarines to enforce an arms embargo against Moamar Gaddafi, as the West moved to settle a row over who should run the entire Libya campaign.

Six nations agreed to contribute up to 16 vessels…with Turkey offering five warships and a submarine despite its reservations about the military action.

The NATO mission will have the means to intercept and board…ships, and the authority to fire a warning shot across the bow of vessels trying to slip away, a NATO official said.

In the meantime, the 28-nation alliance appeared to move closer to deciding NATO’s place in a no-fly zone that has been enforced by an international coalition led by the United States, France and Britain.

France wants political authority to rest in the hands of a committee made up of countries taking part in the international campaign, including Arab states, while leaving planning and operational military duties to NATO.
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Kuwait and Jordan have agreed to provide a logistical contribution to the international coalition, British Prime Minister David Cameron said.

Qatar has deployed Mirage fighter jets, the only Arab state so far to commit military assets to the coalition.
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http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20110323/local/nato-ships-begin-patrols-off-libya

Agence France-Presse
March 23, 2011

Nato ships begin patrols off Libya

Six NATO warships backed up by aircraft began to patrol international waters off Libya’s coast today to enforce a UN arms embargo against Muammar Gaddafi’s regime, the alliance said.

“NATO warships and aircraft have started patrolling the approaches to Libya’s coast as part of Operation Unified Protector,” NATO said on its website.

The ships were already in international waters off Libya’s coast while patrol aircraft and fighter jets were heading to the area “to provide long-range surveillance and intercept any suspected flights carrying weapons into Libya,” it said.
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Alliance General Pierre St-Amand of Canada said earlier that six NATO nations have pledged 16 vessels for the operation, including three submarines.

NATO allies agreed to launch the operation late yesterday.

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Danish F-16s In First Libyan Bombings, Air Combat

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/world/2011-03/24/c_13794825.htm

Xinhua News Agency
March 23, 2011

Danish F-16 fighters drop bombs on Libya for first time, says Air Force

COPENHAGEN: Danish F-16 fighter jets have, for the first time, dropped precision-guided bombs on targets in Libya, the Danish Air Force’s Tactical Air Command said on Wednesday.

“In the course of the last 24 hours, the Danish F-16 planes launched precision bombs on targets in Libya for the first time,” Tactical Air Command said in a press statement released Wednesday afternoon. It did not provide further details of the strikes or the targets, citing security concerns for Danish forces and mission coalition partners.

Denmark has deployed six F-16 fighter jets, as well as 132 support personnel as part of a UN-mandated coalition force to establish a no-fly zone over Libya.

The Danish forces are operating out of Naval Air Station Sigonella in Sicily, Italy. The statement said the six F-16s have carried out a total of 12 missions since commencing operations on Sunday, including 11 air-to-ground and one air-to-air mission, and added that “the mission is progressing as planned.”

Mission coalition partners France, Britain, and the U.S. have also launched strikes from air and sea against Libyan military targets since Saturday….

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Assault On Libya: 160 Cruise Missiles, Four Days Of Bombing

http://english.ruvr.ru/2011/03/23/47836210.html

Voice of Russia
March 23, 2011

International coalition continues bombing Libya

The international coalition is continuing to bomb Libya.

Missiles and artillery shells exploded in Tripoli for the fourth consecutive night last night. According to the allied command, more than 160 Tomahawk cruise missiles have been fired on Gaddafi military installations since the start of the operation.

The Libyan leader appeared in public briefly last night to urge his supporter to fight to the last ditch.

Meanwhile the US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, has said that the United States will hand over the Libya operation command to the allies within the next few days, with NATO to play a key role in handling the situation in the North African country.
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http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/world/2011-03/23/c_13794652.htm

Xinhua News Agency
March 23, 2011

Western aircraft launch strikes on Gaddafi’s forces in Misrata

TRIPOLI: Western coalition aircraft have launched two strikes on the rebel-held city of Misrata which forces loyal to embattled Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi are trying to retake, Al-Arabiya reported, citing an eyewitness.

Pro-Gaddafi forces have not fired a single artillery since the air strike began.
….

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150 Warplanes From 11 Nations And British Prime Minister Says Libyan Conflict Still In “Early Stages” And “A Lot More Needs To Be Done”

http://en.trend.az/regions/world/europe/1849825.html

Deutsche Presse-Agentur
March 23, 2011

Cameron: Lot more still needs to be done in Libya

The conflict in Libya is in its “early stages” and “a lot more needs to be done”…, British Prime Minister David Cameron said Wednesday, dpa reported.

Cameron told parliament in London that 11 nations belonging to the international coalition took part in the latest military action over Libya, contributing 150 aircraft.

“I think we have made good progress in the no-fly zone, good progress in terms of turning some of those forces back and protecting civilians, but clearly this is early stages and a lot more remains to be done.”

There had been an “early and good progress” effect in terms of regime forces having to retreat from Benghazi but “great concern” remained over what was happening in the town of Misurata.
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He confirmed that the Gulf state of Qatar had supplied a Mirage fighter jet and support aircraft for the military operation, and that the coalition was expecting “logistical contributions” from Jordan and Kuwait.

He had also discussed the matter with the Saudi foreign minister, Cameron revealed.
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“We hope more support will be forthcoming,” said Cameron.

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Report: Turkey To Deploy Five Warships And Submarine For NATO’s Libyan Blockade

http://en.trend.az/regions/met/turkey/1849865.html

Trend News Agency
March 23, 2011

Turkey to provide Navy ships for operations to enforce embargo on arms supplies to Libya

As part of the NATO operations to enforce the embargo on arms supplies to Libya, Turkey will provide five Navy ships and one submarine boat, local media reported on Wednesday, citing sources at the headquarters of NATO, RIA Novosti reported.

Official confirmation of this information has not yet been made by the Turkish authorities.

Earlier, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Turkey would not send weapons against Libya. “I emphasize that Turkey will not be the party that will direct arms against the people of Libya,” said the Prime Minister, speaking in Parliament Tuesday.
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http://en.rian.ru/world/20110323/163165260.html

Russian Information Agency Novosti
March 23, 2011

Turkey offers warships to help implement UN arms embargo against Libya – media

Ankara: Turkey has offered its warships to help implement a UN arms embargo against Libya, world media said Wednesday citing a NATO source.

The UN Security Council imposed a no-fly zone over Libya last Friday, allowing “all necessary measures” to protect civilians from leader Muammar Gaddafi’s attacks on rebel-held towns.

According to media, Turkey offered five warships including four frigates and one support vessel, as well as a submarine to help enforce the embargo.
….
There has yet been no official confirmation from Turkish officials of the offer.

Leaders of the United States, the United Kingdom and France agreed in a phone conversation that NATO should take the key role in the military operation in Libya.

EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton confirmed on Tuesday that such discussions are ongoing.

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said that NATO finished its planning on the no-fly zone and arms embargo enforcement in Libya and all members of the alliance were “committed to meet their responsibilities under the United Nations resolution to stop the intolerable violence against Libyan civilians.”

The U.S. imposed unilateral sanctions on 14 Libyan companies owned by Libya’s National Oil Corporation, which it sees as “the centerpiece of Libya’s state-owned oil apparatus” and “a primary funding source for the Gaddafi regime.”

Libyan state television has reported that at least 60 civilians have been killed and over 150 wounded in continuing allied airstrikes.

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Norway Assigns Six F-16s To U.S. AFRICOM For Libya Strikes

http://en.trend.az/regions/world/europe/1849735.html

Deutsche Pressse-Agentur
March 23, 2011

Norwegian cabinet approves joining no-fly zone operation

-”We want a broad coalition of countries, that is broader than NATO but that can utilise NATO resources,” Stoltenberg said.

Norway has given approval for its six F-16 fighter jets to take part in the no-fly zone operation over Libya, Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg told parliament Wednesday.

The fighter jets were for the time being “to be under the US Africa Command,” Stoltenberg specified, as fresh reports suggested that the military alliance NATO was soon to take charge of the overall command, dpa reported.

Stoltenberg said the cabinet decision had the full backing of his three-party coalition, rejecting suggestions that the Socialist Left Party opposed placing the jets under US command.

The six fighter jets arrived late Monday at a base on the southern Greek island of Crete.

“We want a broad coalition of countries, that is broader than NATO but that can utilise NATO resources,” Stoltenberg said.

The premier also noted that there was strong support in parliament for Norway to take part in the operation.

Defence Minister Grete Faremo has notified the head of defence to transfer command of the jets. On Monday, Faremo said clear rules of engagement were needed before the Norwegian fighter jets could be deployed.

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United Nations Security Council: West Refuses Russia Answers Over Resolution 1973 Questions

http://www.itar-tass.com/eng/level2.html?NewsID=16079540&PageNum=0

Itar-Tass
March 23, 2011

Russia has no answers from UN SC to its questions over Libya resolution

MOSCOW: Russia has not received any responses from the UN Security Council yet to its questions about how the Security Council resolution on Libya will be implemented, Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov told the State Duma on Wednesday.

“In its contacts in the UN Security Council with its partners, especially those who have proposed the draft resolution imposing a no-fly zone over the territory of Libya, we have raised absolutely legitimate and logical questions as to how this regime will be ensured, by what means, what forces will be involved, the time frame for this operation and so on,” said the deputy head of the diplomatic agency, responding to questions from representatives of the Communist Party faction on the position of the Russian Federation in the UN Security Council’ vote on the document.

“Unfortunately, we could not get answers to this question from the authors,” he said. “We urged them not to hurry with the adoption of the resolution and to let the already established political arrangements work. There was the special envoy of the UN Secretary-General to Libya, a high-level committee of the African Union was formed, and there were many other things,” said Gatilov. “We also suggested hearing the representatives from the League of Arab States in the Security Council, but the situation followed the forced scenario, and the co-authors insisted on voting.”

“Based on our principled position in favor of the unconditional protection of civilians and the cessation of violence, Russia abstained,” he recalled.

“Thus, we have distanced themselves from support for the military intervention with unpredictable consequences, and the decision was made carefully and with full responsibility,” the diplomat concluded.

====

NATO Ships Begin Blockade Of Libya

http://english.ruvr.ru/2011/03/23/47854511.html

Voice of Russia
March 23, 2011

NATO starts patrolling Libyan waters

NATO naval ships are starting to patrol Libya’s territorial waters, says the BBC in a report with reference to a spokesman for the Alliance.

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said yesterday that a decision had been made to impose an embargo on arms supplies to Libya.

The embargo is due to be enforced in close cooperation with commercial vessels and regional organizations.

Last night the Western coalition continued pounding on the Muammar Gaddafi regime’s installations.

According to other reports, the United States is due to hand over the Libya operation command to its allies, with NATO due to play the key role in further fighting.

====

U.S., France Agree On NATO Command For Libyan War

http://www.itar-tass.com/eng/level2.html?NewsID=16077440&PageNum=0

Itar-Tass
March 23, 2011

France, US agree on NATO Command role in Libya op’s

PARIS: France and the United States have agreed on how NATO command structure will be used by the coalition during its operations in Libya, the Elysee Palace announced on Tuesday.

The accord was reached earlier in the day during a telephone conversation between French President Nicolas Sarkozy and US President Barack Obama.

The Elysee Palace did not give any specifying data on the understanding
reached.
—————————————————————————

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/world/2011-03/23/c_13794054.htm

Xinhua News Agency
March 23, 2011

Loud explosions in Tripoli as France, U.S. agree on NATO role

TRIPOLI/PARIS: Loud explosions and intensive anti-aircraft fire were heard in Tripoli Tuesday, as the United States and France agreed on the role of NATO in the Western-led coalition’s military actions in the North African country.

On Tuesday, French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle reportedly set a reconnaissance operation in motion in Libya earlier in the day, and two Rafale jets conducted the mission with one sending back visual information of Libya and the other escorting the former’s flight.

Also on Tuesday, the U.S. Africa Command, based in Germany, confirmed that a U.S. F-15E fighter jet crashed Monday afternoon (local time) some 40 km southwest of Benghazi in east Libya due to a malfunction.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his U.S. counterpart Barack Obama agreed Tuesday on how to use NATO’s command structure to support the military operation in Libya. The two leaders exchanged ideas over the situation in Libya in a telephone call from Obama, and agreed “on the need to continue efforts to ensure the full implementation of (UN) resolutions 1970 and 1973.”

French leaders said that although NATO support was necessary in the Western-led military action against Libya, its role should be limited as the intervention was a European-centric operation.

“For us, this operation … is conducted by a coalition of states, not all of which are members of the Organization of the North Atlantic Treaty,” French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said earlier, adding “it’s not an operation of NATO, even though it must be supported by means of military planning and intervention of the (NATO) Alliance.”

While the West was busy creating a new body to take over the lead in its current intervention in Libya, Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi made his first public appearance in a week near Tripoli late Tuesday, vowing to fight on. “Be it long or short, we’re ready for battle,” he said in a short live address to his supporters.

Meanwhile, there were also countries and international organizations blasting the ongoing Western-led strike against Libyan government forces, saying the air raids went beyond the UN resolution and must be scrapped immediately.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin severely criticized the U.S. role in the “Odyssey Dawn” operation against Libya. “The use of force against other countries became a steady trend in U.S. policy,” Putin noted, adding this trend was “disturbing.”

He also said the UN resolution “is, surely, flawed and lame … as it allows intervention in a sovereign country.”

“The UN resolution on a no-fly zone over Libya aims to protect civilians. We oppose abuse of force causing more civilian casualties and more serious humanitarian disasters,” a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said Tuesday, adding that China believes the current crisis can be resolved through dialogue and other peaceful means.

“The future of Libya should be decided by the Libyan people themselves,” she said.

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe reprimanded the West for bombing Libya, saying some countries manipulated the UN resolution to bomb Libya. “The West is bombarding Libya, and they are doing it in a callous way. They don’t care who dies, and actually they want Gaddafi to die,” he said, adding the African Union and the Arab League had been cheated by the West.

Bolivian President Evo Morales told a press conference it was unacceptable that the Western-led coalition, under the pretext of protecting Libyan civilians, was bombing and destroying the country. He described the intervention as “a crime, an assault and an aggression,” and urged the United Nations to order an immediate end to the military operation.

“We will apply the United Nations Security Council resolution, but according to our understanding to what is going on in the region,” Ahmed Ben Helli, deputy secretary-general of the Arab League (AL), said Tuesday.

He added that the AL’s call for a no-fly zone over Libya was based upon some conditions, including the rescue of civilians and the protection of Libyan facilities, regarding it as a temporary decision to give Libyan officials a chance to respond to people’s demands.

The UN Security Council is expected to meet to discuss the situation in Libya Thursday at the request of the Libyan government.

France, U.S. agree on NATO role in military operation in Libya: Elysee Palace

PARIS: French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his U.S. counterpart Barack Obama have agreed on how to use the command structure of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization ( NATO) to support the military operation in Libya, the Elysee Palace said on Tuesday.

The two leaders exchanged ideas over the Libya situation in a telephone call from President Obama, Sarkozy’s office said in a brief statement.

====

U.S. Analyst: Real Intent Behind Military Actions Against Libya

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/indepth/2011-03/23/c_13794055.htm

Xinhua News Agency
March 23, 2011

U.S. expert questions real intent of military actions against Libya
by Ran Wei

-No matter whether Gaddafi is toppled or Libya is split into two countries, there is a “real possibility” that the U.S. can get involved in a “prolonged civil war, as well as a murky national building mission.”

WASHINGTON: Despite U.S. insistence that military actions against Libya will stick to protecting civilians as mandated by the United Nations, a U.S. expert questioned the real intent behind the intense air strikes on the North African country.

“The reality is that the protection of civilians may be a secondary goal of the intervention, but the real goal is to unseat Muammar Gaddafi,” Ted Carpenter, vice president for defense and foreign policy at the Washington-based Cato Institute, told Xinhua in an interview on Monday.

After the UN Security Council adopted a resolution Thursday that authorized a no-fly zone over Libya, the United States, France, Britain launched air strikes on targets in Libya starting on Saturday, firing hundreds of cruise missiles. At least 64 people have been killed so far in the air strikes, with more than 150 injured.

U.S. President Barack Obama said Monday from Chile that it is U.S. policy that Gaddafi needs to go, but he stressed that the United States would stick to the mandate of civilian protection.

Carpenter said President Obama continued to send mixed messages about the nature of the U.S. and the coalition’s goals in Libya.

“For a variety of reasons,” Obama felt that he cannot openly admit that toppling Gaddafi is the “primary objective,” he said.

Carpenter said he believed that the current military actions by the United States and its NATO allies have already gone beyond the UN resolution and what the Arab League had approved.

“If the coalition comes out openly about overthrowing Gaddafi, then the coalition is well-beyond these mandates,” he said.

As military operations continue, the NATO members are also having trouble reaching consensus on who would take a lead on the no-fly zone.

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said Tuesday that a new political body, not NATO, will take over the responsibility of enforcing a no-fly zone over Libya.

The new body, to be set up as proposed by France, will consist of foreign ministers from countries that are currently participating in the military intervention in Libya, and some Arab states, he said, adding that it could meet soon in London or paris.

He said the military action will stop only as “the Tripoli regime acts with accurate and complete compliance with resolutions of the UN Security Council, as it accepts an authentic cease-fire, and withdraws its troops from where they entered.”

But Carpenter believed that the ultimate objective is to get rid of the Gaddafi government.

“Whether that is Washington’s intent at the moment or not, the very dynamics of warfare will drive the mission in that direction,” he said.

He said that the coalition is hoping Libya’s rebel forces, with the assistance provided by the air strikes and missile strikes, will be able to “go back to the offensive, eventually move to Tripoli, and overthrow Gaddafi.”

But he believed it is a “very optimistic” scenario, questioning the rebels’ ability to defeat Gaddafi.

With scars and pains caused by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan being still fresh, Carpenter, along with many other U.S. experts and media commentators, expressed deep concerns that U.S. might get entangled in yet another mire of war.

No matter whether Gaddafi is toppled or Libya is split into two countries, there is a “real possibility” that the U.S. can get involved in a “prolonged civil war, as well as a murky national building mission,” he said.

“I really believe that U.S. leaders have not thought this intervention through well at all,” he added.

====

Russia Continues To Oppose Military Intervention In Libya

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/world/2011-03/23/c_13794609.htm

Xinhua News Agency
March 23, 2011

Russia opposes military intervention in Libya: minister

MOSCOW: Russia has opposed the Western-led military action against Libya since it started, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said Wednesday as lawmakers prepared to call for an end to the operation.

In a meeting in the State Duma, or lower house of the Russian parliament, Gatilov said “we distanced ourselves from a military intervention with unpredictable consequences.”

He also said there was currently no information about a possible ground operation led by foreign countries in Libya.

The State Duma is expected to adopt a statement calling on Western countries to stop military operations in Libya to avoid possible deaths among civilians.

Russia had urged the UN Security Council not to pass the resolution sanctioning international intervention “in haste,” in order to allow relevant parties “to resolve the problem within political mechanisms,” Gatilov said.

“But a force-using scenario unfortunately prevailed,” he said, referring to UN Resolution 1973, which was passed by the Security Council 10-0 last Thursday, with Russia and four other countries abstaining.

The minister said Russia abstained on the grounds that civilians must be definitely protected and violence must be stopped in Libya.

Russia’s decision not to use the right of veto was carefully weighed and made knowingly, Gatilov said.

Resolution 1973 authorizes the use of force and the creation of a no-fly zone in Libya, where protestors and the government have clashed for several weeks.

====

Russians Protest Libyan War Outside NATO Nations’ Embassies

http://www.interfax.com/newsinf.asp?pg=3&id=230861

Interfax
March 23, 2011

Pro-Kremlin youth activists to protest NATO airstrikes on Libya

Moscow: Young Guard of United Russia, a pro-Kremlin youth group, will picket a number of embassies of NATO countries involved in the military operation in Libya in Moscow on Wednesday.

“Young Guard activists intend to demand that the countries taking part in the military intervention immediately stop combat actions in relation to Libya, from which civilians are dying, and switch to solving disagreements through peaceful dialogue,” Young Guard told Interfax.

The pickets will be placed near the embassies of the U.S., Canada, Belgium, the United Kingdom, Italy, and France, it said.

Young Guard activists will also lay flowers and wreaths in commemoration of Libyan citizens “who have fallen victims of the NATO airstrikes,” it said.

Meanwhile, the French Foreign Ministry said the UN Security Council might discuss Russia’s proposals on working out a ceasefire in Libya on Thursday.

====

EU’s Top Diplomat: NATO Should Take Control Of Libya Operation

http://en.rian.ru/world/20110323/163153435.html

Russian Information Agency Novosti
March 23, 2011

NATO to take overall control of Libyan mission – top EU diplomat

Brussels: NATO should assume overall command of the international operation in Libya, the EU top diplomat said.

“The discussions we’ve been having with NATO indicate that will be the way forward,” EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton said on Tuesday.

She told the European Parliament’s foreign affairs committee that the alliance “is doing its planning now.”

Later in the day, in an interview with Euronews, she also said that the European Union was not divided on the Libyan issue.

“I don’t recognize the word ‘divided,’” she said. “There are different approaches from different member states to the military issues, but a real strength of view on coming together on the other issues.”

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said on Tuesday that NATO finished its planning on the no-fly zone and arms embargo enforcement in Libya and all members of the alliance were “committed to meet their responsibilities under the United Nations resolution to stop the intolerable violence against Libyan civilians.”
….
Operation Odyssey Dawn entered its third night of airstrikes on Libyan air defenses on Monday. Libyan state television has reported that at least 60 civilians have been killed and over 150 wounded.

In a brief speech on the national TV on Wednesday, Gaddafi pledged to continue fighting opposition and international coalition.

“In the end, we will win,” he added.

====

Bolivian President Demands Obama Be Stripped Of Nobel Peace Prize Over Libyan War

http://en.trend.az/regions/world/ocountries/1849361.html

Deutsche Presse-Agentur
March 22, 2011

Bolivia’s Evo Morales asks that Obama be deprived of Nobel Prize

Bolivian President Evo Morales demanded Monday that the Nobel Committee of the Norwegian Parliament deprive US President Barack Obama of the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize after he ordered airstrikes on Libya, dpa reported.

“How can it be that a Nobel Peace Prize laureate leads a group of gangs to attack and invade? That is not part of a defence of human rights or (respect) for the self-determination of peoples,” Morales told a press conference.

The Nobel committee surprised the world by giving the 2009 prize to Obama, only a few months after his inauguration. The committee rewarded “his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.”

Morales – the first president of indigenous descent in Bolivia’s history – was himself a candidate for the prize that year, for his work in favour of social justice and inclusion in Bolivia.
….
Morales slammed the UN Security Council for authorizing a military intervention in Libya. He asked that airstrikes on Libya end, and proposed a group of United Nations, Arab League and African Union officials to mediate a peaceful way out of the crisis in the North African country.

====

Fires, Deaths: NATO Attacks Hit Tripoli Harbor, Airport

http://en.trend.az/regions/met/arabicr/1849348.html

Deutsche Presse-Agentur
March 22, 2011

Libyan radar sites, navy bases hit in airstrikes

Coalition airstrikes took out radar sites near Benghazi and hit two navy bases near the capital Tripoli, al Jazeera reported early Tuesday as the international attacks against Moamer Gaddafi’s forces continued for a third night, dpa reported.

Loud anti-aircraft gunfire could be heard in Tripoli and broadcast images showed tracer fire over the city.

An al Jazeera correspondent reported two loud explosions and said two large fires appeared to have broken out in the city’s harbour.

“We could see an area of the port on fire, substantially on fire, two big blazes. We saw fire engines racing along the coastal road,” reporter Anita McNaught said.

“This evening seems to have been about targeting seaborne military assets of Gaddafi’s army, but also we are given to understand (there was) an attack on the airport at Sirte.”

The airport in Gaddafi’s hometown Sirte and in the city of Sebha had also been attacked, Libyan officials told the broadcaster, saying that civilians had been killed.

The airstrikes to enforce a no-fly zone over Libya began Saturday.

====

“Regime Change” In Libya To Require Involvement In Ground War

http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,14926490,00.html

Deutsche Welle
March 22, 2011

Regime change in Libya may require involvement in ground war

Coalition airstrikes against Gadhafi’s forces have stopped his advance toward the opposition stronghold of Benghazi. However, ousting Gadhafi from power may require directly supporting the opposition in a ground war.

After weeks of deliberation, the international community has intervened militarily in Libya. France, Britain and the US launched airstrikes against Moammar Gadhafi’s regime over the weekend….

Although Admiral Mike Mullen – head of the US Joint Chiefs – said the initial strikes halted Gadhafi’s advance toward the opposition stronghold Benghazi, the strategic endgame remains unclear. [I]f the international coalition wants regime change in Libya, then active participation in the ground war may become unavoidable.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague and members of the US Congress have already discussed sending weapons to the opposition Transitional National Council. However, an arms embargo imposed by the UN Security Council against Libya complicates the prospect of shipping military hardware to the country. And the White House, unsure of the Libyan opposition’s goals, remains reluctant to get pulled into what could be a protracted ground campaign.
….
Tripoli native Noman Benotman says that the Libyan opposition has clearly articulated a single goal since the uprising began last February.

Once a key figure in the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, Benotman….

According to Benotman, engagement should include arming the opposition against Gadhafi as well as sending advisors to train them to use the weapons….

The arms embargo may have already become null and void. According to [Mansour] El-Kikhia, the West has begun to quietly funnel weapons to the Libyan opposition through Egypt, whose military uses similar Russian-model arms.
….
Author: Spencer Kimball
Editor: Rob Mudge

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U.S. Marines Shoot Six Libyan Civilians To Rescue Downed Pilots

http://www.smh.com.au/world/marines-opened-fire-on-villagers-in-mission-to-rescue-crash-crew-20110323-1c5g1.html?from=smh_sb

Sydney Morning Herald
March 23, 2011

Marines ‘opened fire on villagers’ in mission to rescue crash crew Staff reporter

US troops opened fire on Libyan villagers in an operation to rescue two jet fighter crew after their warplane crashed in the east of the country, according to a British report.

Channel 4 News is reporting at least six villagers were injured when US Marines came in with “all guns blazing” to extract the pilots. The Telegraph website is also reporting six locals “were believed to have been shot by a US helicopter during his rescue”.

The Telegraph also says one of the downed crew was recued by troops on an Osprey “transformer” aircraft, which can turn from a plane into a helicopter.

The Osprey, The Telegraph says, is one of the American air force’s newest acquisitions and has rotor blades that can swivel to allow it to fly like a helicopter or a conventional fixed-wing aircraft.

United States Africa Command has confirmed a US F-15E Strike Eagle fighter jet crashed in Libya and the two crew members were rescued.
….
Reporter Lindsey Hilsum, at the scene of the crash, said the US helicopter came in and opened fire on Monday night, local time, as villagers were handing over one of the downed pilots to local rebel forces.

A man described as a military policeman, Omar Sayd, told the reporter: “We are disturbed about the shooting because if they had given us a chance we would have handed over both pilots.”

In Benghazi, Hilsum interviewed one of the injured villagers, who was in a hospital bed. Local people had been giving a “party” for the crew when they were fired on.

Their F-15E Strike Eagle jet was on a mission on Monday night when it crashed outside Benghazi….

Details of the incident remained sketchy. The crash was the first known setback for the international coalition during three days of strikes authorised by the United Nations Security Council.
….
NATO ‘should play key role’

US President Barack Obama, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and British Prime Minister David Cameron agreed that NATO should play a key role in the command structure of the Libya mission, the White House said.
….
NATO ambassadors resumed talks on Tuesday after “very difficult” discussions on Monday which failed to overcome their divisions.

But a diplomat said they had agreed to use the organisation’s naval power to enforce an arms embargo on Libya ordered under UN Resolution 1973.
….
Belgian and Spanish warplanes began patrolling Libyan skies on Monday, British Typhoon fighters and Canadian jets launched their first missions from Italian bases, and a Greek source said France’s aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle should join in from waters off Crete, probably by Wednesday.

Italian pilots said they had helped suppress air defences, despite Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, whose country has close ties with former colony Libya, saying Italian planes “are not firing and will not fire”.

Russia and the United States clashed over Western bombing raids, with the US defence chief saying Moscow had accepted Muammar Gaddafi’s “lies” about civilian casualties.

In talks with Gates, Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev voiced dismay over what he called the “indiscriminate use of force”.
….
Algerian Foreign Minister Mourad Medelci said the Western-led air strikes were disproportionate, amid US and British efforts to bring more Arab states on board.
….
- with AFP and Bloomberg

====

Libya Burns, But Bahrain Can Shake The World

http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=37694&Cat=6&dt=3/23/2011

News International
March 23, 2011

Libya burns but Bahrain can shake the world
Farrukh Saleem

Islamabad: USS Barry, a guided missile destroyer, is raining down Tomahawk cruise missiles on forces still loyal to the leader and guide of the Revolution, Moammer Qaddafi. The US Navy has deployed USS Mount Whitney, the command of the Sixth Fleet, an amphibious assault ship, two nuclear attack submarines and a cruise missile submarine. The US Air Force has deployed at least three B-2 stealth bombers, ten F-15E strike fighters and eight F-16C multi-role fighters.

On the very first day of Operation Odyssey Dawn, 114 Tomahawks landed and destroyed Qaddafi’s air defences. On the second day, US Navy jammed Libyan radars while B-2 bombers dropped at least three dozen bombs on Libyan airfields.

The Italian Navy has deployed Portaerei Cavour, its aircraft carrier with eight Boeing AV-8B Harrier II vertical take off, ground attack aircraft. The French Navy has ordered Charles de Gaulle, its only serving nuclear-powered, aircraft carrier with surface to air missiles and E-2 Hawkeye, the all-weather, twin-turboprop airborne early warning aircraft.

Cruise missiles have already put Sirte, Misurata, Zawiya, Saha and parts of Tripoli on fire. While the world attention remains glued to the fires in Libya potential stakes in Bahrain are actually a hundred times higher. Safaniya Oil Field, the largest oil field in the world, is less than 200 miles from Manama. The Strait of Hormuz, through which passes 20 percent of world oil shipments and 40 percent of the world’s sea-borne oil shipments, is within a 400-mile radius.

More importantly, United States Fifth Fleet, with a forward deployed Carrier Strike Group, Combat Command force, Anti-Terrorism force, Sea Stallion helicopters, Amphibious Force and Patrol and Reconnaissance Force, is headquartered at Naval Support Activity Bahrain (or NSA Bahrain). In essence, Bahrain is home to America’s military might that reigns over the Persian Gulf, Red Sea and the Arabian Sea-all put together.

On March 14, around 2,000 soldiers of the Saudi-led, US-backed Peninsula Shield Force, in their armored carriers and tanks, invaded Bahrain. The stated purpose of the invasion is: to crush an unarmed civilian uprising.

On March 15, King Hamad ibn Isa Al Khalifa of Mamlakat al Bahrayn declared martial law under which the Bahrain Defence Force (BDF), numbering around 10,000 personnel, was “empowered to take whatever actions it deems appropriate in dealing with the predominately Shiite-driven unrest.”

On March 16, Press TV, Iran’s government-owned, 24-hour English language global news network, claimed that at least “five top Bahraini Shiite clerics including Sheikh Issa Qassem, Seyyed Abdullah al-Ghoraifi, Sheikh Abdul Hussain al-Setri and Sheikh Mohammad Saleh al-Rabiei have warned that a horrible massacre is expected at Manama’s Pearl Square,” urging the international community to intervene. According to Press TV, “Saudi troops opened fire on weaponless Bahraini demonstrators in Manama’s Pearl Square” and that, “Saudi troops forced their way into Salmaniya hospital in Manama and did not allow doctors, nurses and relatives of the victims either to leave or to enter the building.”

Under the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) between the US and Iraq, all US forces “will be completely out of Iraq by 31 December 2011.” That would leave the Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran as the single-largest, indigenous conventional military force in the region. Iran sees this as a historic opportunity to tilt the regional balance of power in its favor and the Iranian media may indeed be in the process of manufacturing a justification to direct Iranian intervention in Bahrain.

Saudis, backed by the US, are in Bahrain to suppress the Bahraini, predominantly Shiite civilian uprising through the force of arms. It is in Iran’s interest that the Bahraini uprising intensifies. If the Saudis, backed by the US, are successful in suppressing Bahraini pro-democracy demonstrators through tank-based repression then Iran loses this historic opportunity of re-configuring the balance of power in the Persian Gulf. If Bahraini protestors, aided by the Iranians, successfully resist Saudi threats of violent repression then Saudi Arabia and all US forces in the Persian Gulf will end up in the soup.

It will be extremely difficult for Iran to let this extraordinary opportunity to re-configure the balance of power in the all-important Strait of Hormuz slip through. At the same time, the stakes for the House of Saud have never been as high as they are right now in Bahrain. Mamlakat al Bahrayn is fast turning into the new Shiite-Sunni proxy battleground – and a huge fire in Bahrain will shake the balance of power across the globe.

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Pentagon Using New Generation Tomahawk Missiles In Libya

http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2011/03/drones-suicidal-cousins/

Wired News
March 21, 2011

Next post Drones’ Suicidal Cousins Lead Libya Attack
By Noah Shachtman

When the U.S. military wanted to take out Moammar Gadhafi’s air defense systems, it unleashed a barrage of 122 Tomahawk cruise missiles. But these munitions aren’t like most others in the American arsenal.

Smart, maneuverable, able to see its surroundings and shift to new targets in mid-flight, the newest Tomahawks are closer to the unmanned planes flying over Afghanistan than to the weapons they fire. In some ways, the Tomahawk is the drone’s suicidal cousin: a robotic aircraft, packed with explosives, that has no intention of ever coming home.

When officers get ready to shoot off a Tomahawk, “they are basically planning a flight for a little airplane,” one Navy official tells Danger Room. “It’s got stubby little wings — but is is an unmanned aerial vehicle.”

The next-gen Tomahawks — known as “Block IVs” — start their flights out just like other missiles, launched from ships or subs. But after 12 seconds of flight, things change. The Tomahawk starts to fly horizontally, skimming above the ocean at a height of less than 50 feet to avoid enemy radar.

GPS waypoints keep the missile on track, until it makes landfall. Then, a Tercom (Terrain Contour Matching) system kicks in. too. Using a radar altimeter, the Tomahawk Tercom checks its height. Then it matches that altitude against a database of satellite and overhead imagery, to make sure the missile is headed in the right direction and at the right height.

Once the Tomahawk’s target is in sight, the missile can dart in for the attack. A Digital Scene-Mapping Area Correlator (“dee-smack” in military jargon) matches a stored picture of the target to the missile’s last sight, to make sure the two match.

Or, the missile can wait a while. The Tomahawk’s controller can give it a new route, telling the Tomahawk to circle around in the air, lingering until an enemy pops up its head. Then comes the strike.

Last May, the Tomahawk demonstrated a new move, as Sam LaGrone from Jane’s Defence Weekly reported at the time. The Los Angeles-class submarine USS Cheyenne fired off a Block IV at a target in the Mojave Desert.

Meanwhile, a team from Naval Special Warfare Group 3 shot a second set of co-ordinates to the Tomahawk’s controllers in Japan, nearly 5,000 miles away. They reprogrammed the missile via satellite, and sent the Tomahawk crashing into a new target. (In an earlier test (.pdf), special operations forces were able to use the pictures taken from a handheld Raven drone to direct its bigger, more destructive relative to its end.)
….
From the outside, the Block IVs look much like their predecessors: a little over 20 feet long, and about 3,300 pounds. Like the older models, they’re still expensive, too — at about $1.1 million a pop, the initial assault on Libya chewed through $134 million in missile costs alone. They can fly for about two hours or 1,000 miles, whichever comes first.

But that could radically change, if an experimental Air Force program pans out. The X-51a aircraft is designed to test technologies for a next-gen cruise missile — one that would fly at six times the speed of sound.

Which means tomorrow’s cruise missiles could be like suicidal, smart, and more than eight times faster than today’s Tomahawks.

====

“There Is Hope In Benghazi, The French Flag Is Being Waved There”

http://en.rian.ru/world/20110322/163148341.html

Russian Information Agency Novosti
March 22, 2011

Fillon says French flag raised over rebel-held Benghazi

France says it feels a sense of responsibility for Libyan rebels after its flag was raised over the rebel stronghold of Benghazi, France’s prime minister said on Tuesday.

“There is hope in Benghazi now, the French flag is being waved there, and also the flag of a different Libya which dreams of democracy and modernization,” Francois Fillon told the French parliament.

The comments come as NATO member states including the United States, Britain and France are continuing air strikes against Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s forces under a UN mandate to impose a no-fly zone.

Russia opposed Western military intervention but did not use its power to veto the UN resolution authorizing military action to protect Libyan civilians.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin likened the operation to “medieval calls for crusades,” a description dismissed by President Dmitry Medvedev, who said the comments were “unacceptable.”

====

Romania Joins NATO Naval Blockade Of Libya

http://www.monstersandcritics.com/news/europe/news/article_1627996.php/Romania-joins-NATO-naval-blockade-of-Libya

Deutsche Presse-Agentur
March 22, 2011

Romania joins NATO naval blockade of Libya

Bucharest: Romania will send a frigate and two naval officers to help NATO enforce the weapons embargo against Libya, President Traian Basescu said Tuesday.

The frigate with 205 sailors will be ready for deployment in 30 days, Basescu said after the meeting of the Romanian Supreme Defence Council.

NATO decided to enforce the embargo earlier Tuesday. The Romanian frigate will have the task of intercepting ships suspected of transporting weapons to Muamer Gaddafi’s regime.

Basescu said that Romania will pay for the three-month operation, expected to cost 4.5 million euros (6.3 million dollars).

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Netherlands Joins NATO’s Onslaught Against Libya

http://www.rnw.nl/english/bulletin/netherlands-join-nato-operation-against-libya

Radio Netherlands
March 22, 2011

Netherlands to join NATO operation against Libya

The Netherlands is sending F-16 fighter planes, a minesweeper HNLMS Haarlem and a refuelling plane to help the international military operation in Libya according to sources. The Dutch government met on Tuesday evening to take decisions over Dutch participation in a NATO mission in Libya.

The Dutch operation will last three months and will cost 20 million euros. Six F-16s will be involved – two of them as reserve planes. Two hundred Dutch troops will be deployed. The HNLMS Haarlem is already in the Mediterranean for a NATO exercise.

Earlier today, NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen announced that NATO would enforce the weapon embargo against Libya. It is the first time all 28 NATO countries have reached agreement over the crisis in Libya. A unanimous decision is needed for NATO to take action.

NATO also has plans for monitoring the no-fly zone above Libya. At the moment a coalition of international forces is enforcing the no-fly zone.

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Military Occupation And Regional Reconfiguration: South African Trade Union Confederation Condemns West Over Libyan Attack

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/world/2011-03/23/c_13792930.htm

Xinhua News Agency
March 22, 2011

South African alliance partner condemns West over Libya

-The COSATU official said the March 18 UN Security Council resolution 1973 fitted into a well-designed scheme by the big powers that was deliberately set to ensure military occupation and regional reconfiguration of the area.
This was aimed at further asserting “imperialist domination and neo-liberal economic orthodoxy in the interest of profiteering at all costs for their giant oil companies.”

JOHANNESBURG: The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) on Tuesday accused the West of abusing the United Nations (UN) resolution to gain access to Libya’s oil resources.

In a statement carried by the South African Press Association (SAPA), COSATU Secretary Bongani Masuku said the union federation opposed the involvement of Western powers’ military action.

He also said COSATU supported the struggle for democracy in Libya.

The COSATU official said the March 18 UN Security Council resolution 1973 fitted into a well-designed scheme by the big powers that was deliberately set to ensure military occupation and regional reconfiguration of the area.

This was aimed at further asserting “imperialist domination and neo-liberal economic orthodoxy in the interest of profiteering at all costs for their giant oil companies.”

COSATU described this as helicopter democracy, which disempowers the masses in whose name the struggle for democracy is waged and renders them spectators as foreign powers arrogate themselves the role of liberators.

Masuku cited Iraq and Afghanistan as examples of the “helicopter democracy.”

COSATU said the UN’s honesty in dealing with conflict situations was in doubt, especially as it had failed to pass similar resolutions in relation to Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Bahrain.

On March 21 South African President Jacob Zuma warned the West against abusing the UN resolution on Libya.

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