Friday, 24 June 2011

UK will do its duty in Libya for as long as necessary

The news from NATO indicates a failure in the weapons system of a missile targeted on Sorman on 19th June which killed nine. NATO appears to have accepted responsibility for this tragedy which has been attributed to French aircraft. NATO also acknowledged a second missile strike, on the home of Khuweildi al-Hamidi, a close confidant of Colonel Qadhafi, on 20th June, when, it is claimed, 15 died.

This NATO raid on 19th June was one of 137 air sorties taking place, 60 of which were non-combatant, being directed towards identifying targets. The work rate of the NATO aircraft included strikes on a military store and missile guidance radars in the Tripoli region. Two rocket launchers and a number of other military vehicles were destroyed in raids on the city of Misrata.

In all, NATO aircraft have made 11,781 sorties, of which 4,469 were strike air raids. Meanwhile at sea, the NATO flotilla enforced the embargo on arms movements and also took part in attacks on the mainland. NATO reported that it was taking the greatest precautions to minimise civilian casualties. Sorman is a centre of Qadhafi support and it will remain a NATO target.

The British are suffering from an undersupply of military assets, material and backup for the Libya campaign because it is running in tandem with its major role in Afghanistan. On 17th June, Chief of Defence Staff General Sir David Richards rebuked the statement by First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope which suggested that the country could not support its Libyan activities beyond the end of September 2011.

Reinforcement of those who argue that the Libya campaign was overstretching resources came from Air Chief Marshall Sir Simon Bryant and Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander, who stated that activity in Libya is costing tens of millions of pounds and potentially hundreds of millions if fighting continues.

Defence Secretary Dr Liam Fox rubbished this idea, stating the UK would do its duty in Libya for as long as necessary; Prime Minister David Cameron criticised all of them for their interference.

For more news and expert analysis about Libya, please see Libya Focus and Libya Politics & Security.

© 2011 Menas Associates

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