A new uncertainty in Libya operation: Who’s in charge?
2011 03 22
By Warren P. Strobel | KansasCity.com / McClatchy
The fragile international coalition supporting military action in Libya showed fresh signs of strain Monday, as the U.S., Europe and Arab nations wrestled with the issue of who will take charge of military operations if the U.S. gives up control in the days ahead.
At the same time, the action in Libya, now in its third day, provoked harsh new condemnation from Russia and China, which had abstained in the United Nations Security Council during last week’s vote authorizing military measures to protect civilians from dictator Moammar Gadhafi.
The continuing political furor over the Libya intervention raised questions about the depth of support for the mission and what might happen in the event of setbacks or a prolonged stalemate between Gadhafi and anti-government rebels.
President Barack Obama said Monday that the United States, which has been coordinating allied air strikes on Gadhafi’s air defenses and ground forces, will transfer control of the mission within days, and that the NATO alliance would have a role.
In a letter to Congress on Monday, Obama said U.S. airstrikes "will be limited in their nature, duration and scope."
"We will seek a rapid, but responsible, transition of operations to coalition, regional or international organizations," he said.
But discussions at NATO over the alliance’s role have run into opposition from key members uneasy with a NATO imprint on the mission. And the Arab League, whose political support for Western intervention in Libya is considered crucial, also doesn’t want it to be a NATO mission, according to diplomats who requested anonymity because of the subject’s sensitivity.
As cruise missiles and jet-fired bombs began to rain down on Libya Saturday to neutralize Gadhafi’s air defense system, the U.S., with its unique military capabilities, was the only player in position to coordinate the strikes.
But the Obama administration is now eager to pass the baton before it’s seen as spearheading military intervention into a third Muslim-majority nation after Iraq and Afghanistan.
The Libya mission is shaping up as one of the most remarkable in recent memory. Not only is the U.S. eager to cede the lead to others, but command arrangements also are being worked out even as the initial stage of the operation is already under way.
France, which has been the most vocal in demanding action to stop Gadhafi, surprised some other NATO members by launching the first airstrikes on Saturday. That action was prompted by Gadhafi’s rapid advance on the rebel capital of Benghazi, according to a European diplomat who requested anonymity to speak more freely.
"If this goes south, if it doesn’t succeed quickly, then (U.S. forces) are going to have to assume . . . a much broader responsibility for what to do next," said Aaron David Miller, a former State Department official now at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.
"The coalition of the willing, the longer this drags out, could become the coalition of the unwilling," Miller said.
At NATO, several U.S. allies, including Turkey and Germany, are uneasy about the Libya operation, diplomats said. Germany abstained on Thursday’s Security Council vote.
The European diplomat said the prime factor driving the discussions at NATO’s Brussels headquarters is the need to keep Arab nations on board with support, without which the Libya mission would be much harder - if not impossible.
"That’s why we have to be cautious," the diplomat said.
While the 22-member Arab League earlier this month endorsed a no-fly zone over Libya, only two Arab countries, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, are publicly known to be contributing military assets, in the form of U.S. F-16s and French-made Mirage warplanes.
"Right now, we’re in discussions with our partners about the nature of that transition, the nature of the command structure that will follow on from the actions that we’re undertaking right now," Obama deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes told reporters traveling with the president en route to Chile.
"We anticipate, again, that that command structure will include our European allies and will take place, we’ve said, in a matter of days, not weeks," he said.
In the end, diplomats and analysts said, a compromise is likely to be found in which a coalition of willing countries oversees control of the operation, but uses long-standing NATO command structures to do it.
The confusion "shows why you need to figure these things out in advance," said Robert Hunter, a former U.S. ambassador to NATO, now at the RAND Corp., a research organization. "I am surprised these things were not worked out beforehand."
Meanwhile, Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin blasted the military action in Libya, saying that the Security Council resolution authorizing military force in Libya "resembles medieval calls for crusades," Reuters reported from Gorki, Russia.
However, Putin’s comments brought an unusual rebuke from Russia’s president and one-time Putin protege Dmitry Medvedev.
Article from: kansascity.com
Libya - Minerva & Purim
Libya: Another War, Another Pack of Lies
Gates, Petraeus Joke About Bombing Libya
Libya another Kosovo - NATO and Coalition Bombs for peace
Libya, Hypocrisy and Betrayal by the United Nations
Chossudovsky: Libya no-fly zone means war
Libya War called "Operation Odyssey Dawn"
Another War: "Coalition" Launching Attack on Libya
Latest News from our Front Page
Secrets of the Forgotten Empire of Mesopotamia - Documentary
2014 03 10
Oil Slicks Found Off Malaysia’s Coast Not From Missing Plane
2014 03 10
The search for the Malaysia Airlines flight which mysteriously vanished (and was presumed crashed) deepens.
The flight disappeared off radar March 8, with 239 people on board, losing contact with ground control. It was presumed lost somewhere along it’s flight path between Vietnam and Malaysia.
Over the weekend, officials had reported seeing oil slicks and a single piece of debris ...
Nigel Farage (UKIP) Speech on the EU, UK & Mass Immigration
2014 03 08
UKIP Nigel Farage Spring Conference speech - 2014
Red Ice Radio:
Nigel Farage MEP - The State of the EU & The Undemocratic Treaty of Lisbon
Labour wins UK by-election as Ukip trumps Tories
The ruling coalition in the UK was dealt a blow in the latest by-election test, as the UK Independence party pushed the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats into third and fourth ...
Pentagon studying Putin’s body language to predict his behavior
2014 03 07
The Pentagon has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in recent years so that researchers can study the body movements of foreign leaders, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, in hopes of predicting future behavior.
An article published by USA Today reporter Ray Locker on Thursday and corroborated by documents discovered by RT provides rare insight into a scarcely-discussed military effort that ...
Pentagon Claims That Climate Change ‘Enables Terrorism’
2014 03 07
In it’s latest Quadrennial Defense Review the Pentagon has said that climate change and ’erratic’ climate will cause increased terrorist activity.
The four yearly reports highlight threats that face civilization and this years homed in on climate change causing an increase in terrorism.
It also mentioned that rises in sea levels and other issues associated with a warming planet will lead ...
|More News » |