Washington (AFP) March 20, 2011
An airstrike against an administrative building in a compound including Moamer Kadhafi's residence in Tripoli destroyed the Libyan leader's "command and control capability," a coalition official told AFP Sunday.
"The coalition is actively enforcing UNSCR (UN Security Council Resolution) 1973, and that in keeping with that mission, we continue to strike those targets which pose a direct threat to the Libyan people and to our ability to implement the no-fly zone," the official added.
The building, which was about 50 meters (165 feet) from the tent where Kadhafi generally meets guests, was flattened.
An AFP journlalist meanwhile Sunday saw smoke billowing from the residence and barracks at Bab el-Aziziya in the south of the Libyan capital as anti-aircraft guns fired shots.
The US military earlier Sunday said Allied strikes had crippled the air defenses of Kadhafi's embattled regime and a no-fly zone had been successfully enforced over the country.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates and top brass indicated that the American military would now look to take a back seat and warned the coalition against mission-creep, in particular against directly targeting Kadhafi.
"We judge these strikes have been very effective in significantly degrading the regime air defense capability," Vice Admiral Bill Gortney told a Pentagon briefing. "The no-fly zone is effectively in place."
French, American and British forces have launched the biggest intervention in the Arab world since the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq, firing more than 120 Tomahawk Cruise missiles and conducting bombing raids on key Libyan targets.
Asked about remarks by British counterpart Liam Fox suggesting targeting Kadhafi himself, Gates said the allied operation should stick to the parameters as authorized by the United Nations in a vote last Thursday.
"I think that it's important that we operate within the mandate of the UN Security Council resolution," he said.
Gates, who was speaking on a US military plane en route to Russia, said the intervention was backed by "a very diverse coalition" and warned that expanding its goals could divide that consensus.
"If we start adding additional objectives then I think we create a problem in that respect," he said. "I also think it's unwise to set as specific goals things that you may or may not be able to achieve."
US President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, as well as other Western leaders, had been saying Kadhafi must go.
Such calls have been drying up as signs of divisions emerge in the coalition with the head of the Arab League suggesting Sunday that the strikes had over-reached the UN mandate.
The Pentagon dismissed reports from Kadhafi officials that the allied strikes had claimed innocent lives, saying there was no indication of any civilian casualties but confirming dozens of regime forces had been killed.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen said the strikes had stopped Kadhafi's forces in their tracks and the aim now was to cut off their logistical support.
Mullen admitted the next steps in the process were murky, providing fresh fodder for Obama opponents who accuse him of failing to adequately set out the goals of the Libya mission.
"What we do will depends to some degree on what he (Kadhafi) does," Mullen told Fox News Sunday.
Pressed on CBS's "Face the Nation" about the endgame, he said that was "very uncertain" and indicated it would ultimately be up to other members of the coalition, rather than the United States, to decide what action to take.
"It's hard to know exactly how this turns out. He's a thug; he's a cagey guy; he's a survivor. We know that," Mullen said.
"I can't say exactly how long... the military part of this will be in effect and I think it's for others to determine where this goes long-term."
Obama has vowed that US troops will not be deployed on the ground but leading Republican critic John Boehner, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, called for further clarity.
"The president is the commander-in-chief, but the administration has a responsibility to define for the American people, the Congress, and our troops what the mission in Libya is, better explain what America's role is in achieving that mission, and make clear how it will be accomplished," he said.
Share This Article With Planet Earth
US missiles rain down on Libya in 'limited action'
Washington (AFP) March 19, 2011
The United States on Saturday unleashed a barrage of Tomahawk missiles against the Libyan regime's air defenses, but ruled out using ground troops in what President Barack Obama called a "limited military action." After initially taking a cautious stance on armed intervention in Libya's civil war, Obama ordered the strikes citing the threat posed to civilians by Moamer Kadhafi's forces and a ... read more
MEADS System Integration Begins At Italian Test Site|
Northrop Grumman and Boeing Submit ABM Simulation Architecture Proposal
Orbital Launches PTV For Missile Defense Test
Milestone Nears For European Missile Defense Plan
Russia to double missile production from 2013: Putin
China aims new missile at Taiwan: intelligence chief
India tests two nuclear-capable missiles
Trident II D5 Missile Achieves 135th Consecutive Test Flight
Northrop Grumman Ships First Broad Area Maritime Surveillance Fuselage
Dassault, BAE press ahead with drone plan
Mexico defends decision to use US drones in drug war
Death toll up to 24 in NW Pakistan drone strike: officials
Raytheon BBN Technologies To Protect Internet Comms For Military Abroad
Advanced Emulation Accelerates Deployment Of Military Network Technologies
Tactical Communications Group Completes Deployment Of Ground Support Systems
Raytheon Announces Next Generation of ACU Interoperable Communications
Second And Third Flights Of X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System Completed
Lockheed Martin Support Enables High-Tempo F-22 Deployments Worldwide
PEO Ammo Picks Up 155mm Lightweight Howitzer Program
Raytheon Completes Work On Upgraded Early Warning Radar In Greenland
Elbit And IAI Establish Joint Company
GD Small Manufactures One Billion Rounds Of Ammunition For US Army
US hopes geopolitics can help land India jet deal
NATO creates task force to spend smarter
Obama, Rousseff take up security concerns
France back in US favor amid Libya, Japan crises
Gates lauds 'extraordinary' progress with Russia
India assesses Chinese military abilities
Scientists Build World's First Anti-Laser
Yale scientists build 'anti-laser'
'Air laser' could find bombs at a distance
ONR Achieves Milestone In Free Electron Laser Program
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2010 - SpaceDaily. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement|