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Coalition bombs Gaddafi ... Again

published  First Published: 21/03/2011
Article written by: Nigel Brookson

Coalition bombs Gaddafi with cruise missiles... Again

Libya's Muammar Gaddafi's Tripoli compound has been hit with cruise missiles, along with a navy base in the latest round of attacks from the coalition enforcing UN resolution 1973 to implement a no-fly zone and stopping Gaddafi's forces harming civilians.

In Cairo, the Arab League reaffirmed its support for the air strikes by the coalition, back-peddling after saying they went beyond the scope of the resolution.

Divisions over the air strikes have emerged in NATO, with the United States saying the ultimate goal of the operation is the departure of Gaddafi, but British Prime Minister David Cameron, however, said there was no legal authority for regime change in Libya.

The United States and France denied coalition forces would target Gaddafi, whose whereabouts are apperently unknown, as did the head of Britain's armed forces after Foreign Secretary William Hague had refused to rule it out.

Libya television said the capital Tripoli, came under attack soon after dark. Loud explosions and anti-aircraft fire were heard near Gaddafi's residence at around 6am Tuesday AEDT.

An administrative building in Gaddafi's fortified complex had been destroyed by a cruise missile, and a Libyan navy base, about 10km east of Tripoli was also bombarded, along with the Bussetta base.

Gaddafi's troops have been retreating back 100km from the insurgents' capital of Benghazi after coalition aircraft destroyed much of their tanks. General Carter Ham, head of the US Africa Command, said that US forces had no mission to support a ground offensive by the rebels, but at the same time Gaddafi's troops in the Benghazi area show "little will or capability to resume offensive operations."

US state departement spokesman Mark Toner said:

"We're trying to convince Colonel Gaddafi and his regime, and his associates, that they need to step down from power,"... "That remains our ultimate goal here."

As more nations joined the Western coalition pounding Gaddafi's forces, NATO was still debating whether, and in what form, the Western military organisation should join the UN-mandated intervention. NATO members France, Britain and the United States have acted as individual nations in the air and sea campaign against Gaddafi's regime, with US military officers co-ordinating operations from bases in Germany and Italy, but London, Rome and several other alliance members favour moving to a centralised NATO command, with Norway even saying its six fighter jets would stay grounded as long as it was unclear who was running the operations.

The UN Security Council will meet on Thursday at the request of Gaddafi's regime, and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon would address it.


1986: US launches air strikes on Libya

How history repeats itself. It was almost at the same time back in 1986 that US planes bombed targets in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, and the Benghazi region.

Around 66 American jets back then, launched an attack directed at key military sites; Colonel Muamar Gaddafi residential compound took a direct hit that killed Hanna Gaddafi, the adopted baby daughter of the Libyan leader.

President Reagan has justified the attacks by accusing Libya of direct responsibility for terrorism aimed at America, such as the bombing of La Belle discoteque in West Berlin.

In an address to the nation, President then Ronald Reagan said:

"When our citizens are attacked or abused anywhere in the world on the direct orders of hostile regimes, we will respond so long as I'm in this office."
arguing that America was exercising its right to self defence as defined by Article 51 of the UN charter.

And back then; as is the case now, mobs of angry survivors have taken to the streets shouting "Death to all Americans."

So it seems in this case anyway the world has not progressed too much from reliving events some 25 years ago.




Related Article: Obama Green Lights missile strikes on Libya, Libya attacked by French fighters


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