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War crimes court should probe NATO role in Libya: S Africa
by Staff Writers
Johannesburg (AFP) Aug 25, 2011

The International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague should probe NATO's actions in Libya, according to South Africa's deputy president who said the alliance had "clear links" to the rebel assault on Tripoli.

"We note they (NATO) are attempting to create the impression that the rebels are acting on their own in their attacks in Tripoli but there are clear links and co-ordination at that level," Kgalema Motlanthe told parliament Wednesday in response to lawmakers' questions.

"UN Security Council Resolution 1973, which was aimed at protecting civilians, initially from bombings by the government of Moamer Kadhafi, was in a sense overstretched by the NATO forces," he added, according to local press reports.

"The question is whether the ICC "will have the wherewithal to unearth that information and bring those who are responsible to book, including the NATO commanders on the ground," added Motlanthe.

South Africa, a temporary member of the UN Security Council, voted in favour of the air exclusion zone over Libya which has enabled air strikes under NATO command.

However President Jacob Zuma has since led South African protests that NATO has used the UN resolution to pursue it own interests, going beyond protecting the safety of the civilian population.

Zuma on Tuesday said the NATO-led use of force had undermined Africa's peace efforts.

"I think that the point we have been making is that those who have a lot of capacity, even the capacity to bombard the countries, really undermined the AU's (African Union's) initiatives and effort to deal with the matter in Libya," he told reporters.

Motlanthe said the air strikes had made it more difficult to adopt new UN resolutions, notably on Syria, where there is also a growing uprising against the regime.

"Because of this situation created in Libya, the Security Council has not been able to agree on how to intervene in Syria," he argued.

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NATO aiding Kadhafi hunt: British minister
London (AFP) Aug 25, 2011 - NATO is contributing intelligence and reconnaissance equipment to the search for Libya's Moamer Kadhafi, Britain's Defence Minister Liam Fox told Sky news on Thursday.

"I can confirm that NATO is providing intelligence and reconnaissance assets to the NTC (National Transitional Council) to help them track down Colonel Kadhafi and other remnants of the regime," who fled before advancing rebel forces on Tuesday, he said.

The defence ministry said Fox was referring to "various assets such as military planes."

A ministry spokesman would not say whether SAS special forces members had been deployed in the search, as reported by the Daily Telegraph.

The newspaper quoted defence ministry sources as saying SAS members were sent to Libya several weeks ago and played a key role in coordinating the battle for Tripoli.

Camouflaged in civilian clothes and armed with the same types of weapons used by the rebel forces, the commando members have been tasked primarily with finding Kadhafi, the paper said.

"We can't comment on special forces at the moment," the ministry spokesman responded.

The rebels who overran the Libyan capital and captured Kadhafi's Bab al-Aziziya compound on Tuesday, have offered a $1.7 million reward for the capture of the elusive strongman, dead or alive.

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Cheney said he urged Bush to bomb Syria: report
Washington (AFP) Aug 25, 2011
Dick Cheney said he urged then-president George W. Bush in June 2007 to bomb a suspected nuclear reactor site in Syria, the former vice president wrote in his memoirs, the New York Times reported Thursday. "I again made the case for U.S. military action against the reactor," Cheney wrote about a meeting on the issue according to the newspaper, which received an advance copy of the book. ... read more

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