US hails 'effective' Libya air war

2011-10-07 16:26

Naples - US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta hailed NATO's air campaign in Libya Friday as he met US Navy personnel involved in operations at the allied joint force command base in Naples.

Panetta thanked personnel for their role in "what has proven to be a very effective air operation".

He also received a briefing and intelligence update from Canadian Lieutenant General Charles Bouchard, who is leading the air war, and other top brass.

The Pentagon chief on Thursday called the Nato intervention a "remarkable achievement" and hailed the fall of Muammar Gaddafi's regime. He made his comments after talks with fellow allied defence ministers in Brussels.

He said that allies were considering when to halt the bombing campaign and that it would depend in part on the strength of local forces on the ground, who have encircled Gaddafi’s loyalists in two key regime bastions.

Nato defence ministers reached a consensus on the conditions for ending the six-month Libya air war, he said.

Panetta said there were four "guidelines" for deciding on when to halt the campaign.

The first condition was the outcome of the battle for Gaddafi’s birthplace, Sirte. The others were whether Gaddafi forces could still attack civilians; whether Gaddafi himself could command fighters; and whether the new leaders could secure the country.

Gaddafi’s call

Panetta's talks with allied commanders came as fighting raged in Sirte after forces loyal to Gaddafi tried to break a siege. Fighters loyal to Libya's new regime sent reinforcements to Gaddafi’s other major holdout of Bani Walid.

Gaddafi called on Libyans to turn out in their millions to demonstrate against the country's new rulers, the National Transitional Council (NTC), in an audio message broadcast on Syria-based Arrai television.

After knocking out air defence sites in Libya at the outset of the campaign, the US military took on a low-profile role in the Nato operation with British and French aircraft taking the lead.

The United States, which carried out about a quarter of all sorties in the six-month campaign, provided crucial support with airborne refuelling of fighter aircraft, surveillance planes - including unmanned drones - and specialists to draw up bombing targets.

The United States has conducted about 75% of all refuelling missions and 70%-80% of all surveillance and reconnaissance flights in the operation, US officials said.

The American military currently has more than 70 aircraft deployed in the campaign and more than 7 000 personnel have taken part, officials said.

  • slg - 2011-10-07 16:52

    It's tragic a war was needed, but this is what the brutal dictator Gadhafi and his apprentice sons chose, and they were in control of the Libyan state, including its military. Thankfully it's all but over and Libya is freer.

      Barry - 2011-10-22 18:25

      There was a war ? Who declared war ? USA ? NATO ?

  • te-he-he - 2011-10-07 17:41

    Just another War Crime committed by this rogue US state. has the world become powerless to stop them ? They are out of control.

      aman - 2011-10-07 18:14

      Dude, powerless? Yes. But if they were as rogue as you think I certainly doubt that anyone would be able to stop them.

      slg - 2011-10-07 18:20


      Barry - 2011-10-22 18:04

      @te-he-he...How right you are. It is a pity a high percentage of people in the so called "free" world think this war that USA and NATO constructed is a good thing. It is a most terrible thing !

  • anfield - 2011-10-07 18:43

    Created another Iraq. Thousands dead, infrastructure all but demolished, now tribal destruction. Sadam Hussan, now Gaddafi gone, both countries now a wreck. Does OIL have anything to do with this. Are these two despots any worse than Mugabe? No, so were are the air strikes against this clown. Oh, no oil in Zimbabwe?

      rightguard - 2011-10-07 19:04

      You are certainly right.Oil has something to do with it.In fact it will take about three years for normal oil production to resume which means this "effective air strike" has destroyed the oil infrastructure which means there is work for Africa as the saying goes for US and UK oil service firms the same countries that were involved in Iraq.What is the difference.Only if you are as thick as a plank you would want to see a moral distinction.Or believing Panetta when he says Gaddafi to stop attacks against his own people.NTC rebels have been attacking the people(read civilians) of Sirte as reported by the right wing news channel Sky for weeks now.

      slg - 2011-10-07 19:42

      No, that's simple thinking. The violence in Libya stands in stark contrast to events in Egypt and Tunisia. The obvious difference: in Libya the dictator went mad and decided to fight to the death. The result: freedom nonetheless.

      marco.tomaso - 2011-10-22 20:51

      Public opinion has led some people on this forum to believe that the protest movement had spread spontaneously from Tunisia and Egypt to Libya. Media disinformation regarding the broad strategic objectives underlying the proposed intervention by NATO gets conveniently overlooked.Following the deceitful media campaign,where news was literally fabricated without reporting on what was actually happening on the ground in Libya meant that a large sector of international public opinion has granted its unbending support to foreign NATO intervention, on "humanitarian grounds". How about the derogation of a nation's sovereignty under albeit a brutal dictator Gaddafi?Germany,France,Britain,Canada and Italy all deployed war vessels along the Libyan coast.Germany used 3 of its war ships under pretext of assisting in the evacuation of refugees on the Libya-Tunisia border.France on the otherhand decided to send in the Mistral,their helicopter-carrier,which,according to the Defense Ministry was to contribute to the evacuation of thousands of Egyptians.Canada dispatched the Navy Frigate HMCS from Charlottetown to Libya.America's Air Force Africa which was based at Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany was used to evacuate refugees from the area. The funnelling of weapons by NATO in air-dropping them so Libyan rebels could use them was a clear violation of United Nations security council resolution(UNSCR)1970.Humanitarian-inspired UNSCR 1973 meant killing Gaddafi first and foremost.

  • Anton - 2011-10-07 19:09

    Nato has done a great job, made extremely difficult by this war criminal gaddafi, by putting his military installations in build up areas. AND Nato did prevent, this thug killing ALL his oppostion, with other words, the majority of Libyans. The Libyans are soo fortunate that there are countries willing to stand up against tyranny. Let's hope that they will soon catch these gaddafi WAR CRIMINALS!!!

  • Richie - 2011-10-09 05:24


      Barry - 2011-10-22 18:08

      Exactly. The USA and NATO terrorists will do nothing in Zimbabwe because there is nothing to gain. In Libya it was the oil. In Iraq it was the oil. In Afganistan it was just a stupid man in charge of the USA who had no clue what was going on and made disgusting decisions to destroy a country for what ?

  • marco.tomaso - 2011-10-22 19:23

    America Credit or Blame for the Libyan War? Gaddafi’s death is a victory for the Libyan people,first and foremost.They have been freed from a bizarre dictator who abused his own people and the great natural wealth of their land.An authoritarian dictator was killed who had launched terrorist attacks against both U.S. servicemen and U.S.civilians ie the 1986 Berlin Night club bombing and the 1988 Pan Am Flight 103 explosion over Lockerbie.So by removing Gaddafi,America gets plaudits for properly using their powers to protect their own national security and advancing American foreign policy goals. That's the credits or upside.What about the downside of their involvement in Libya? Obama took too long to intervene in Libya.The U.S. intervened only after the U.N. Security Council approved the intervention,unlike France.Obama chose to wait until Gaddafi had driven the rebels into their last holdout in Benghazi.This resulted in more and more disintegration of Libyian institutions than what was necessary. Reasons for Obama's slow reaction in Libya were: 1.Were the rebels capable of prevailing without NATO's assistance? 2.If the answer is NO,then were they capable of winning with NATO's assistance and if so,what sort of assistance would be reasonably required? 3.Was a reasonable chance that those revolting against Qaddafi would create something better than what was there already which is a reasonable argument? 4.Avoid arming persons who might turn NATO's assistance against them?

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