OVVERO, DI COSA SIA UNA NO-FLY-ZONE (NFZ) E DEL PERCHE’ CIO’ CHE SI STA COMMETTENDO NON LE SOMIGLI AFFATTO (questo rapporto pubblicato il 3 marzo viene costantemente aggiornato)
Libyan no-fly zone: che la vogliate chiamare Operation Ellamy (UK), Operation Odyssey Dawn (US), Opération Harmattan (F), and Operation MOBILE (CAN), mentre aerei spagnoli, finlandesi, danesi, fan ressa per intervenire, è ben legittimo entrare nel merito delle “regole di ingaggio”, seppure sia un ginepraio che implicherebbe capire chi tiri le fila, quale sia la catena di comando: “né USA né NATO”, dicono, non più tardi della sera del 20.03.2011, gli Stati Uniti. Mentre qualcuno si chiede il perchè dell’interesse UK/F nell’intervento (ed è interessante trovare il link all’articolo del Time, in merito, sul sito di Africom) rispetto alle forti riserve espresse da Lega Araba e Unione Africana circa l’effettivo rispetto del mandato della UNSC Res. 1973, queste operazioni militari sembrano più volte all’allontanamento di Gheddafi piuttosto che a favorire l’accesso agli aiuti alla popolazione civile (vedi. le riserve su questo blog).
Di seguito, fermo restando affidabile il resoconto delle operazioni militari costantemente aggiornato da David Cenciotti sul suo blog: mappe, dati, links… tutti gli elementi che possano essere utili a fornirci un’idea più chiara di questo big mess e, dopo aver saputo che un Tomahawk costa 756.000 US$ e che l’intera Operazione, al 19.03.2011 costasse già 62 milioni di US$, facciamo pure una botta di conti e pensiamo a quale riscatto mai si voglia puntare.
E rieccoci sulla Quarta Sponda: nel frattempo, il 31 Marzo 2011, l’operazione ha cambiato nome sotto egida Nato e i militi Italiani hanno declinato a loro modo la loro partecipazione alla UNIFIED PROTECTOR OPERATION sotto egida NATO, senza tener conto delle implicazioni e degli “effetti politici collaterali” che stan mettendo (ulteriormente) in crisi la stabilità di un Governo [26 Aprile 2011] del quale il mio Paese si ostina a non sentirsi ostaggio.
Molte mappe si trovano raccolte in http://benghazipost.blogspot.com/ blog di un COMMAND (?) di cui non è facile comprendere esattamente la matrice (interessante interpretazione di NATO= NO AVAILABLE TACTICAL ORDNANCE)
Fonte inglese – http://www.mod.uk/DefenceInternet/DefenceNews/MilitaryOperations/LibyaUpdate.htm
[si è scelto di rimuovere le immagini, copyright della coronoa, dioguardi]
Libya update – A Military Operations news article
20 Mar 11
The Chief of the Defence Staff’s Strategic Communications Officer, Major General John Lorimer, briefed the media this morning, Sunday 20 March 2011, on Operation ELLAMY, the UK’s military action in support of United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1973.
Final preparations for the launch of RAF Tornado GR4 aircraft from RAF Marham for the first UK air combat mission in support of UN Security Council Resolution 1973
General Lorimer began the briefing by talking about the background to the operation. He said:
“As the Secretary of State for Defence said last night, the campaign Colonel Gaddafi has been waging against his own people is brutal and wrong; the international community has a duty to stop the violence against the Libyan people.
“The Prime Minister also stated that there is a demonstrable need, strong Arab and African support, and a clear legal basis in the form of a UN resolution for international action to protect the civilian population in Libya. UN Security Council Resolution 1973 laid out very clear conditions that must be met.
“The UK has made it very clear to Colonel Gaddafi that if he did not comply with UN Security Council Resolution 1973, the international community would enforce it through military action.
“The international community called for Colonel Gaddafi to stop his troops from advancing on Benghazi, pull back his troops from Ajdabiya, Misurata and Zawiya, and to re-establish water, electricity and gas supplies to all areas.”
Breach of the Resolution
General Lorimer said that clear intelligence indicated that Colonel Gaddafi breached his self-declared ceasefire and has demonstrably breached UNSCR 1973. He went on:
“Libyan Regime forces continued offensive operations and moved into the outskirts of Benghazi with little regard to the safety of the civil population.
“There is a range of evidence suggesting that Libyan Regime forces continued offensive operations in Misurata on 18 March.
“On the same day, Benghazi was subjected to heavy shelling in the suburbs from pro-Gaddafi forces; tanks have entered from the west.
“There were reports of fighting in the streets and civilians fleeing for the Egyptian border.”
“Last night, British Armed Forces participated in a co-ordinated strike using Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles launched from a Trafalgar Class submarine in the Mediterranean Sea.”
Major General John Lorimer
Last night, Saturday, saw the start of coalition operations:
“Targets were carefully selected to avoid civilian casualties and to strike at key military installations in Libya as part of a co-ordinated coalition plan to enforce the UN Security Council Resolution and protect Libyan civilians,” General Lorimer said.
“It is too early to say what the impact has been to the situation on the ground or to the Libyan Regime forces.
“Our next steps are to continue to monitor the situation in Libya to ensure that there are no further breaches of the UNSCR, whilst deploying forces for the timely establishment of the UN-mandated no-fly zone and arms embargo.”
Explaining who is involved in the operation General Lorimer said:
“This operation is currently under US command, supported closely by French and UK Armed Forces. AFRICOM [United States African Command] is the supported Combatant Command, and the UK has liaison officers and staff embedded at every level.
“This includes having staff based on the US command ship USS Mount Whitney in the Mediterranean Sea, where the US Joint Task Force Commander [Admiral Sam Locklear] is located.
“The UK’s deployed assets and personnel fall under the operational command of the Chief of Joint Operations, Air Marshal Sir Stuart Peach, who commands the Permanent Joint Headquarters in Northwood.
“On the air side, the UK’s Joint Force Air Component Headquarters is controlling the UK’s contribution to the air operation in conjunction with the coalition. Air Vice-Marshal Greg Bagwell is the UK’s Joint Force Air Component Commander; he is based with his staff at Ramstein with AFRICOM’s Air Component HQ.
“On the maritime side, Rear Admiral Ian Corder, Commander Operations, is controlling the UK’s contribution to maritime operations in conjunction with the coalition. He is based at Northwood.”
RAF Tornado flies alongside an RAF air-to-air refuelling aircraft during overnight operations against targets in Libya
Last night’s operations
General Lorimer said that from 1600hrs GMT on Saturday 19 March 2011, UK, US and French operations commenced against Colonel Gaddafi ‘s Libyan Armed Forces, under the auspices of UNSCR 1973. He continued:
“The UK Armed Forces are operating under the name Operation ELLAMY. This is the UK operational name, other allies may operate under a different operational name; for example, the US have called this Operation ODYSSEY DAWN.
“Last night, British Armed Forces participated in a co-ordinated strike using Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles launched from a Trafalgar Class submarine in the Mediterranean Sea.
“Subsequently Tornado GR4 fast jets from RAF Marham in Norfolk took off and flew to the operational area where they launched Storm Shadow missiles at targets. They then flew back to RAF Marham, arriving back this morning, completing a 3,000-mile [4,800km] round trip. All aircraft arrived back safely.
“Surveillance assets, including UK E3-D Sentry, Sentinel and TriStar and VC10 air-to-air refuelling aircraft, were also deployed in support of the operations.
“Targets were attacked that posed a threat to the enforcement of the UN-endorsed no-fly zone. Key elements of the Libyan integrated air defence system were targeted as a necessary step in shaping for the establishment of the no-fly zone, as part of the co-ordinated coalition plan to enforce the UNSCR and protect Libyan civilians.
“Targeting was and continues to be closely co-ordinated and is consistent with the terms of the UNSCR and international law.
“HMS Westminster remains off the coast of Libya and HMS Cumberland is in the region ready to support operations. Typhoon aircraft have been placed at reduced notice to move and are standing by to enforce the no-fly zone.The Trafalgar Class submarine remains in the area.”
“HMS Westminster remains off the coast of Libya and HMS Cumberland is in the region ready to support operations. Typhoon aircraft have been placed at reduced notice to move and are standing by to enforce the no-fly zone.The Trafalgar Class submarine remains in the area.”Major General John Lorimer
General Lorimer said today that the Defence Secretary Dr Liam Fox has confirmed that Britain will be deploying Tornado and Typhoon aircraft to the Italian airbase of Gioia del Colle in the south of the country:
“It makes operational sense to be closer to the no-fly zone and our military assessment confirmed that this is the most suitable forward mounting base for these assets,” the General said. “RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus continues to support the operation under UN Security Council Resolution 1973 with a number of assets, including E3-D Sentry, VC10 and Sentinel.”
British military authorities are discussing with our allies the most effective way of putting the no-fly zone in place. It is likely that this will be part of a NATO-led operation.
The no-fly zone is likely to be in place for however long we are tasked to do this. The UK’s stated aims are to support UNSCR 1973 and the Libyan people.
The UK has a number of assets already in the region which have previously assisted in the evacuation of British nationals from Libya, and others which are ready to provide support as required.
Currently within the region, we have E3-D Sentry aircraft which are keeping us abreast of events in the area, HMS Westminster is off the coast of Benghazi and HMS Cumberland is in the region should she be required.
Deployed to Akrotiri, Cyprus, is a Joint Force Air Component HQ which co-ordinates movements of UK air assets and controls the airspace in operational areas.
The British involvement with operations in Libya currently has no effect on operations in Afghanistan; we are keeping the situation under review.
Operation ELLAMY update – 9 April 2011 – A Military Operations news article
9 Apr 11
Royal Air Force aircraft hit seven main battle tanks on Friday 8 April 2011 as part of the UK’s continued support for NATO’s Operation UNIFIED PROTECTOR to safeguard the lives of Libyan civilians and enforce UN Security Council Resolution 1973.
Royal Air Force Tornado GR4 operating from Gioia del Colle air base in southern Italy
[Picture: Senior Aircraftman Neil Chapman, Crown Copyright/MOD 2011]
RAF Tornado GR4 aircraft used Brimstone missiles and Paveway IV bombs in the area of Ajdabiya, hitting two tanks, and in the area of Misurata, hitting five tanks.
The weapons were discharged as part of armed air reconnaissance and overwatch patrols conducted over Misurata, Brega and Ajdabiya.
RAF Typhoon aircraft conducted defensive counter air patrols as part of the no-fly zone enforcement. Two RAF VC10 tanker aircraft supported the Tornado, Typhoon and other coalition sorties by providing air-to-air refuelling.
HMS Liverpool has taken over from HMS Cumberland carrying out surveillance and embargo operations alongside HMS Brocklesby. HMS Cumberland will now return to the UK.
HMS Liverpool protects Libya’s civilian population – A Military Operations news article
19 Apr 11
As part of the UK’s ongoing involvement in Operation ELLAMY, Royal Navy destroyer HMS Liverpool has been working tirelessly to protect Libya’s civilian population under threat of attack from Colonel Gaddafi’s forces.
During the past week the ship ( HMS Liverpool ) has played a key role in Operation Unified Protector as a member of the NATO Task Group.
Alongside RAF counterparts, HMS Liverpool has controlled aircraft of the NATO-led coalition from the sea using her first-class air surveillance technology and has conducted boarding operations as part of the embargo task.
For a period of operations this week, HMS Liverpool controlled coalition aircraft in the western region over Libya.
The ship’s Fighter Controllers worked with coalition F18 fighter jets and tanker support aircraft, as well as Maritime Patrol Aircraft. Liverpool’s support ensured continuous control of the no-fly zone.
Commander Colin Williams, Liverpool’s Commanding Officer, said: “I’m immensely proud of my ship’s company for the way they have dealt with the challenges they have faced so far.
Canadian CF-188 Hornets supporting the NATO-led operation over Libya. HMS Liverpool’s Fighter Controllers worked with coalition F18 fighter jets and tanker support aircraft, as well as Maritime Patrol Aircraft
“HMS Liverpool is protecting the civilian population of Libya through enforcement of the no-fly zone and the maritime embargo, showing the value of maritime forces and the skill of the Royal Navy.”
Tasked with enforcing embargo operations along the Libyan coast, HMS Liverpool has recently intercepted several vessels under UN Security Council Resolution 1973.
In one interception, the ship used its highly trained boarding team to board the roll-on/roll-off (RORO) ferry Setubal Express, which was sailing from Valetta, Malta, toward Tripoli, Libya, with a cargo of vehicles which prompted the suspicion that they could be used by pro-Gaddafi factions.
The team boarded the ship and discovered during the search that the cargo record book contained irregularities. As a result, the Task Force commander instructed the ship not to enter Libyan territorial waters, but to redirect to the next port of call at Salerno, Italy.
UK military liaison advisory team to be sent to Libya – A Defence Policy and Business news article
19 Apr 11
The Foreign Secretary, William Hague, has announced that the National Security Council has decided to expand the diplomatic team already in Benghazi, led by Christopher Prentice, to include an additional military liaison advisory team.
This contingent will be drawn from experienced British military officers. These additional personnel will enable the UK to build on the work already being undertaken to support and advise the National Transitional Council (NTC) on how to better protect civilians.
In particular, they will advise the NTC on how to improve their military organisational structures, communications and logistics. In doing so, the UK will coordinate closely with other international partners also assisting the NTC.
In a statement, Mr Hague said: “This deployment is fully within the terms of UNSCR [United Nations Security Council Resolution] 1973 both in respect of civilian protection and its provision expressly ruling out a foreign occupation force on Libyan soil.
“Consistent with our obligations under that Resolution, our officers will not be involved in training or arming the opposition’s fighting forces, nor will they be involved in the planning or execution of the NTC’s military operations or in the provision of any other form of operational military advice.”
Mr Hague said the UK regards the NTC as legitimate political interlocutors for the UK and in recent weeks the British government has decided to supply the NTC with non-lethal assistance in order to assist them in protecting civilians, including telecommunications equipment and protective body armour.
Separately, Major General John Lorimer, Strategic Communications Officer to the Chief of Defence Staff, has delivered an update on UK military action as part of the NATO mission in support of UNSCR 1973.
Major General Lorimer said that NATO has maintained a high tempo of operational activity under Operation Unified Protector, and allied air patrols have continued their regular armed reconnaissance missions, and attacked a number of regime targets.
A strike by RAF fast jets destroys a Libyan regime forces communications installation
On Monday, 18 April, a Tornado and Typhoon attacked a pair of multiple rocket launcher vehicles and a light artillery piece which had been observed firing on Misurata, then guided in a second pair of RAF aircraft to destroy a self-propelled gun and tank which were being brought into the area on a tank transporter.
However, he said that it has also been clear that more needed to be done to inhibit Colonel Gaddafi’s strategic ability to direct his armed forces and their continued atrocities against large sections of the Libyan people.
“A carefully planned strike was launched by NATO over the past two nights against a number of command and control facilities across Libya, which had been identified as playing a key role in the coordination of the movement of Colonel Gaddafi’s forces,” Maj Gen Lorimer said.
An RAF Typhoon takes off from Gioia del Colle, in southern Italy, equipped with Paveway bombs, air-to-air missiles and a Litening targetting pod
“As part of this operation, a number of Tomahawk missiles were fired by HMS Triumph in the early hours of Monday morning. These were synchronised with precision strikes by coalition aircraft, including Tornados and Typhoons. A further salvo of Tomahawk missiles was launched by Triumph at additional command and control sites last night.”
The General said it will take time for the full impact of these attacks to become clear, but that:
“… they do illustrate, in the clearest manner, NATO’s resolution to take all necessary action to safeguard, wherever possible, the Libyan people under threat of attack, and its ability to strike, with sophisticated targeting and effective precision firepower, at the heart of the apparatus used by Colonel Gaddafi to terrorise the civilian population.”
General says US may consider sending troops into Libya as part of any international force
WASHINGTON — The U.S. may consider sending troops into Libya with a possible international ground force that could aid the rebels, the former U.S. commander of the military mission said Thursday, describing the current operation as a stalemate that is more likely to go on now that America has handed control to NATO.
But Army Gen. Carter Ham also told lawmakers that American participation in a ground force would not be ideal, since it could erode the international coalition attacking Moammar Gadhafi’s forces and make it more difficult to get Arab support for operations in Libya.
He said NATO has done an effective job in an increasingly complex combat situation. But he noted tht, in a new tactic, Gadhafi’s forces are making airstrikes more difficult by staging their fighters and vehicles near civilian areas such as schools and mosques. The use of an international ground force is a possible plan to bolster the Libyan rebels, Ham said at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing.
Asked whether the U.S. would provide troops, Ham said, “I suspect there might be some consideration of that. My personal
view at this point would be that that’s probably not the ideal circumstance, again for the regional reaction that having American boots on the ground would entail.”
President Barack Obama has said repeatedly there will be no U.S. troops on the ground in Libya, although there are reports of small CIA teams in the country. Pressed by Sen. John McCain, a leading Republican, about the situation in Libya, Ham agreed that a stalemate “is now more likely” since NATO took command.
Ham also disclosed that the U.S. is providing some strike aircraft to the NATO operation that do not need to go through the special approval process recently established. The powerful side-firing AC-130 gunship is available to NATO commanders, he said. His answer countered earlier claims by the Pentagon that all strike aircraft must be requested through U.S. European Command and approved by top U.S. leaders, including Defence Secretary Robert Gates.
Ham said that process still applies to other fighters and the A-10 Thunderbolt, which can provide close air support for ground forces, He said that process is quick, and other defence officials have said it can take about a day for the U.S. to approve the request and move the aircraft in from bases in Europe.
Overall, he said the U.S. is providing less than 15 per cent of the airstrikes and between 60 per cent and 70 per cent of the support effort, which includes intelligence gathering, surveillance, electronic warfare and refueling. Recent bad weather and threats from Gadhafi’s mobile surface-to-air missile systems have hampered efforts to use the AC-130 and A-10 aircraft for close air support for friendly ground forces. Ham said those conditions, which include as many as 20,000 shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles, contributed to the stalemate.
Ham said he believes some Arab nations are starting to provide training or weapons to the rebels. And he repeated assertions that the U.S. needs to know more about the opposition forces before it would get more deeply involved in assisting them. Sen. John Cornyn, a Republican, complained that the lack of knowledge about the rebels is a U.S. intelligence failure.
“It strikes me as unusual and maybe something that Congress needs to look at further, that our intelligence capabilities are so limited that we don’t even know the composition of the opposition force in Libya, ” Cornyn said.
Ham said it was important for the U.S. to turn control over to NATO because many of the troops involved in the Libya strikes are preparing to go toIran or Afghanistan or have just recently returned from the warfront.
“While we can certainly surge to meet operational needs,” Ham said, “there is a longer-term effect if greater numbers of U.S. forces had been committed for a longer period of time in Libya and it would have had downstream operational effects in other missions.”
Separately, State Department spokesman Mark Toner said U.S. envoy Chris Stevens’ talks continue with the Libyan opposition in Benghazi.
Ora abbiamo visto che non solo a casa nostra non vi è la buona abitudine di discutere in Parlamento dei passi da compiere, ma molte altre faccende che ci riguardan sono saltate fuori (!!!)
Hague updates parliament on Libya – A Defence Policy and Business news article
27 Apr 11
UK Foreign Secretary William Hague updated parliament yesterday on events in Libya, saying that we are clear that Gaddafi should go, and it is impossible to see a viable or peaceful way forward for Libya until he does so.
Mr Hague said that Britain has continued to take a leading role in international efforts to protect civilians in Libya and the case for action remains compelling: Gaddafi’s regime persists in attacking its own people, wilfully killing its own civilian population.
He said that our strategy is to intensify the diplomatic, economic and military pressure on Gaddafi’s regime, and, since the House last met, we have made progress on all those fronts:
“On the diplomatic front, I co-chaired the first meeting of the Libya Contact Group in Doha on 13 April. The 21 states and seven international organisations represented demonstrated clear unity with participation from across the Arab world and the African Union in attendance,” said Mr Hague.
“The Group agreed that Gaddafi’s regime had lost all legitimacy, that the National Transitional Council should be offered further support and that the UN Special Envoy should take forward an inclusive political process. I will attend the next Contact Group meeting in Rome on 5 May. (!!!)
UK Foreign Secretary William Hague with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen at the NATO Foreign Ministers meeting in Berlin on 15 April 2011
“At the NATO Foreign Ministers meeting in Berlin on 14 and 15 April, I joined colleagues in showing our determination to increase the pace of military operations to enforce UN Security Council Resolution 1973 [UNSCR 1973]. The 28 NATO Member States and six Arab countries that attended, 16 of which, out of the 34, are engaged in military action, agreed a common strategy.
“That is an important milestone in world affairs, a sign of a growing ability to work across traditional regional divisions and a demonstration of the breadth and unity in the international coalition in support of the Libyan people.
“On the economic front, since my statement on 4 April, further Libyan entities have been sanctioned and the regime is now subject to some of the most comprehensive economic sanctions ever agreed by the United Nations.
“On military matters, since NATO assumed full control over all military operations on 31 March, more than 3,500 sorties and 1,500 strike sorties have been conducted.”This action has seriously degraded Gaddafi’s military assets and prevented widespread massacres planned by Gaddafi’s forces: they remain unable to enter Benghazi, and it is highly likely that without these efforts Misurata would have fallen, with terrible consequences for that city’s brave inhabitants.
RAF Tornado and Typhoon aircraft have continued to strike Gaddafi regime forces around the besieged city of Misurata
“Yesterday, Italy announced that its aircraft would take part in ground strikes (!!!) and the United States government has contributed Predator unmanned aerial vehicles to the coalition forces. My Right Honourable Friend the Secretary of State for Defence is in Washington today to discuss the military situation.” (See Related News)
“Heavy fighting continues around the towns of Brega, Ajdabiya, Yefren and Misurata,” continued the Foreign Secretary. “The regime’s indiscriminate shelling of residential areas in Misurata shows that it continues to target the civilian population.
“Gaddafi has shown that he has no regard for civilian lives. The ICC [International Criminal Court] prosecutor has said that there is evidence of a case against Gaddafi for crimes against humanity. We look forward to the prosecutor’s report to the UN on 4 May.!!!!
“By his actions it is clear that Gaddafi has no intention of observing the conditions in UNSCR 1973 that I described to the House earlier this month. He has repeatedly ignored the ceasefires that he himself has announced.
“Our military action is defined by the UN Security Council Resolutions. We are also clear that Gaddafi should go, and it is impossible to see a viable or peaceful way forward for Libya until he does so.
“I am sure the House will join me in paying tribute to the skill, bravery and professionalism of the men and women of the UK’s and allies’ armed forces.”Foreign Secretary William Hague: “The Libya Contact Group’s statement made clear that, in contrast to Gaddafi, we and our allies regard the National Transitional Council as a legitimate interlocutor, representing the aspirations of the Libyan people. Our diplomatic mission in Benghazi is working with it. Our Special Envoy, Christopher Prentice, will shortly be succeeded by John Jenkins, currently Her Majesty’s Ambassador in Baghdad.
“Last week I announced our decision to expand this mission with a small advisory team of British military officers. Their sole purpose is to support the NTC’s efforts better to protect civilians by advising on military organisational structures, communications and logistics. They are not involved in training or arming the opposition’s forces, nor are they executing or providing operational military advice.
“This is fully in line with the UN Resolutions, and I reiterate to the House that we will remain wholly in accordance with the UN Resolutions, retaining the moral, legal and international authority that flows from that.
“We have supplied vital, non-lethal equipment to assist the NTC in protecting civilian lives. So far this consists of telecommunications equipment and body armour. We are considering with our international partners further requests.
In an attack on April 25, further Gaddafi regime vehicles were destroyed at a vehicle park near Misurata
“In the coming week, we hope to agree internationally the process for establishing a Temporary Financial Mechanism to provide a transparent structure for international financial support for the financial requirements of the NTC such as public sector pay. Yesterday, Kuwait announced around £110m worth of support for the NTC.
“I am sure the House will join me in paying tribute to the skill, bravery and professionalism of the men and women of the UK’s and allies’ armed forces.
“Their actions in the NATO operations have already saved many lives and their efforts are essential to bringing a lasting peace and a better future for the Libyan people who have suffered so much at the hands of this brutal regime. And I also pay tribute to the brave humanitarian workers who put their lives at risk.”
See Related Links to read the full transcript of Mr Hague’s statement in which he also talks about other events across the Middle East. inserito di seguito da: http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/news/latest-news/?view=PressS&id=588215282
Foreign Secretary updates Parliament on Middle East and North Africa
26 April 2011
Foreign Secretary William Hague said the UK will continue to stand for reform not repression in response to the events in the Middle East and North Africa.
In a statement to Parliament updating on the situation in the Middle East and North Africa the Foreign Secretary said:
Britain has continued to take a leading role in international efforts to protect civilians in Libya and the case for action remains compelling: Qadhafi’s regime persists in attacking its own people, wilfully killing its own civilian population.
Our strategy is to intensify the diplomatic, economic and military pressure on Qadhafi’s regime and since the House last met we have made progress on all those fronts.
On the diplomatic front, I co-chaired the first meeting of the Libya Contact Group in Doha on 13 April. The 21 states and seven international organisations represented demonstrated clear unity with participation from across the Arab world and the African Union in attendance. The Group agreed that Qadhafi’s regime had lost all legitimacy, that the National Transitional Council should be offered further support and that the UN Special Envoy should take forward an inclusive political process. I will attend the next Contact Group meeting in Rome on 5 May.
At the NATO Foreign Ministers meeting in Berlin on 14 and 15 April, I joined colleagues in showing our determination to increase the pace of military operations to enforce UN Security Council Resolution 1973. The 28 NATO Member States and 6 Arab countries that attended, 16 of which out of the 34 are engaged in military action, agreed a common strategy. That is an important milestone in world affairs, a sign of a growing ability to work across traditional regional divisions and a demonstration of the breadth and unity in the international coalition in support of the Libyan people.
On the economic front, since my statement on 4 April, further Libyan entities have been sanctioned and the regime is now subject to some of the most comprehensive economic sanctions ever agreed by the United Nations.
On military matters, since NATO assumed full control over all military operations on 31 March, more than 3500 sorties and 1500 strike sorties have been conducted. This action has seriously degraded Qadhafi’s military assets and prevented widespread massacres planned by Qadhafi’s forces: they remain unable to enter Benghazi and it is highly likely that without these efforts Misrata would have fallen, with terrible consequences for that city’s brave inhabitants.
Yesterday Italy announced that its aircraft would take part in ground strikes and the United States Government has contributed Predator unmanned aerial vehicles to the coalition forces. My Right Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence is in Washington today to discuss the military situation.
Heavy fighting continues around the towns of Brega, Ajdabiya, Yefren and Misrata. The regime’s indiscriminate shelling of residential areas in Misrata shows that it continues to target the civilian population.
Qadhafi has shown that he has no regard for civilian lives. The ICC prosecutor has said that there is evidence of a case against Qadhafi for crimes against humanity. We look forward to the prosecutor’s report to the UN on 4 May.
By his actions it is clear that Qadhafi has no intention of observing the conditions in UNSCR 1973 that I described to the House earlier this month. He has repeatedly ignored the ceasefires that he himself has announced.
Our military action is defined by the UN Security Council Resolutions. We are also clear that Qadhafi should go, and it is impossible to see a viable or peaceful way forward for Libya until he does so.
The Libya Contact Group’s statement made clear that, in contrast to Qadhafi, we and our allies regard the National Transitional Council as a legitimate interlocutor, representing the aspirations of the Libyan people. Our diplomatic mission in Benghazi is working with it. Our Special Envoy, Christopher Prentice, will shortly be succeeded by John Jenkins, currently Her Majesty’s Ambassador in Baghdad.
Last week I announced our decision to expand this mission with a small advisory team of British military officers. Their sole purpose is to support the NTC’s efforts better to protect civilians by advising on military organisational structures, communications and logistics. They are not involved in training or arming the opposition’s forces, nor are they executing or providing operational military advice.
This is fully in line with the UN Resolutions and I reiterate to the House that we will remain wholly in accordance with the UN Resolutions, retaining the moral, legal and international authority that flows from that.
We have supplied vital, non-lethal equipment to assist the NTC in protecting civilian lives. So far this consists of telecommunications equipment and body armour. We are considering with our international partners further requests.
In the coming week, we hope to agree internationally the process for establishing a Temporary Financial Mechanism to provide a transparent structure for international financial support for the financial requirements of the NTC such as public sector pay. Yesterday Kuwait announced around 110 million pounds’ worth of support for the NTC.
I am sure the House will join me in paying tribute to the skill, bravery and professionalism of the men and women of the UK’s and allies’ armed forces. Their actions in the NATO operations have already saved many lives and their efforts are essential to bringing a lasting peace and a better future for the Libyan people who have suffered so much at the hands of this brutal regime. And I also pay tribute to the brave humanitarian workers who put their lives at risk.
The UK is also supporting the other needs of the Libyan people in every way we can. The humanitarian situation in the West of the country is getting worse every day. Many civilians in Misrata lack access to basic necessities, including food, water and electricity. There is a shortage of some crucial medical supplies.
That is why my Rt Hon. Friend the International Development Secretary announced last week that the UK will provide medical and other emergency supplies and undertake evacuations for 5000 migrants stranded at Misrata port in squalid conditions. The UK has so far given over £13 million to meet immediate humanitarian needs, providing funding for medical and food supplies, emergency shelter, and assistance for evacuating poor and vulnerable migrants. In Misrata alone, British support has given 10,000 people food, 2000 families water and hygiene kits and provided essential medical staff. But the regime must guarantee unfettered humanitarian access, not just broken promises which then put the lives of aid workers and volunteers at risk.
The wave of demand for change in the Arab World continues to gain momentum in other nations. As I said earlier today we condemn utterly the violence and killings perpetrated by the Syrian security forces against civilians who are expressing their views in peaceful protests. This violent repression must stop. President Assad should order his authorities to show restraint and to respond to the legitimate demands of his people with immediate and genuine reform, not with brutal repression. The Emergency Law should be lifted in practice and the legitimate aspirations of the people met.
The United Kingdom is working intensively with our international partners to persuade the Syrian authorities to stop the violence and respect basic and universal human rights to freedoms of expression and assembly.
Syria is now at a fork in the road. Its Government can still choose to bring about the radical reform which alone can provide peace and stability in Syria and for the long term, and we urge it do so. Or it can choose ever more violent repression, which can only bring short term security for the authorities there. If it does so we will work with our European partners and others to take measures, including sanctions, that will have an impact on the regime.
Given our concerns for British Nationals in Syria we changed our Travel Advice on Sunday to advise against all travel there and to advise that British Nationals should leave unless there is a pressing need for them to remain.
In Yemen, the United Kingdom welcomes the news this morning that the efforts of the Gulf Co-operation Council countries to resolve the current political deadlock are close to success. I understand that President Saleh and the parliamentary opposition have accepted the GCC’s proposal. This is potentially good news.
Both sides now need to come together to confirm their commitment to the peaceful, inclusive and timely transition process that the GCC has brokered. The UK remains committed to our long-standing support for Yemen in these difficult times.
Although the immediate situation in Bahrain is calmer, there continue to be credible reports of human rights abuses. I urge the Government of Bahrain to meet all its human rights obligations and uphold political freedoms, equal access to justice and the rule of law. Dialogue is the way to fulfil the aspirations of all Bahrainis. And I urge all sides, including opposition groupings, to engage with each other.
In Egypt, which I will visit shortly, we welcome the actions being taken by the authorities to move towards a broad-based, civilian-led government and an open, democratic society.
In Tunisia, with EU partners we are providing support to help the government in Tunisia meet the wishes of the Tunisian people. On 11 April, the Commission responsible for bringing together opposition parties and civil society approved the draft law for the Constituent Assembly elections scheduled for 24 July. This is a step further towards free and fair elections and an open, democratic society.
The European Union has a crucial role to play in the southern Mediterranean. The great changes in the Arab world are truly historic and the response from the nations of the European Union should be bold and ambitious.
The review of the European Neighbourhood Policy is due to be published in a fortnight. We have been making the case that we have the opportunity to use that Policy to help the peoples of the Southern Mediterranean achieve their desire for freer and more prosperous societies. A renewed Neighbourhood Policy should see the EU using its economic magnetism to encourage and support political and economic reform in neighbouring countries. A partnership of equals should reward those who make the necessary political and economic reforms, and – importantly – withdraw benefits from those who do not.
Finally, it remains essential that progress is made in the search for a just and lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This is what the majority of Palestinians and Israelis demand of their leaders. The extraordinary changes in the region are an opportunity to be seized, not an excuse for further prevarication leading to more frustration and discontent.
Mr Speaker, in our response to the dramatic events in North Africa and the Middle East we will continue to stand for reform not repression, for the addressing of grievances rather than brutal reprisals. It is a policy in accordance with our own beliefs, in line with our own national interest, and in pursuit of the peace and prosperity of the wider world.
By air and by sea, more UN relief aid arrives for civilians in strife-torn Libya
A convoy brings food supplies to areas of Libya that have not received aid since December
26 April 2011 – Vital United Nations relief assistance has arrived by sea and by air in the Libyan cities of Benghazi and Misrata in the past couple of days, as fighting continues to rage between the Government and rebels seeking the ouster of Colonel Muammar Al-Qadhafi.
In eastern Libya, a plane chartered by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) arrived yesterday in Benghazi carrying hospital tents, kitchen sets and plastic sheets for shelter.
This is the first UN humanitarian flight to land in the rebel-held city, according to the agency, which said the airlift also brought cars and equipment for UNHCR to support the opening of an office in Benghazi together with other UN agencies.
Meanwhile, a ship chartered by the UN World Food Programme (WFP) has delivered more than 500 tons of food assistance, three ambulances, medical supplies and other relief items to Misrata.
It is the second time this month a WFP-chartered vessel has delivered aid to the people of the north-western city, which has been the scene of continuous fighting this year between military forces allied to the Qadhafi regime and opposition groups.
“The humanitarian situation is growing increasingly urgent,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned today, adding that the priority is to protect civilians.
He told reporters after briefing the Security Council in a closed-door meeting that the Libyan regime has lost both legitimacy and credibility, particularly in terms of protecting its people and addressing their legitimate aspirations for change.
Diplomatic efforts aimed at securing a ceasefire and achieving a political solution are continuing, Mr. Ban added, noting that his Special Envoy, Abdel Elah al-Khatib, will travel once again to Benghazi on Friday.
As fighting continues to rage in Misrata, the families recently evacuated by boats to Tobruk describe a “catastrophic” situation with many having lived in fear of indiscriminate shelling, UNHCR spokesperson Andrej Mahecic told a news conference in Geneva.
“Many houses and buildings have been destroyed and some families had to move several times. Parts of Misrata have had neither electricity nor water. Sniper fire, street clashes and shelling have prevented people from venturing outside of their homes to get food and medicine,” he said.
“Families evacuated from Misrata also say they have been hiding in their homes for the past two months before seizing the opportunity of a lull in fighting to get to the harbour and board a boat,” added Mr. Mahecic.
Evacuees also told UNHCR staff that in some neighbourhoods in Misrata, pregnant women gave birth in their homes as it would have been too dangerous to make the trip to the hospital.
The agency also reported that an estimated 30,000 Libyans have fled their homes in western Libya and crossed into southern Tunisia over the past three weeks, many of them ethnic Berbers.
A UN inter-agency humanitarian team travelled from the Tunisian border to the Libyan capital, Tripoli, on Sunday with the goal of re-establishing an international presence there and to review humanitarian needs. The team is also discussing humanitarian access in the west with the Libyan authorities.
As of today, the $310 million aid appeal for Libya is 42 per cent funded, with $129 million received and $1.4 million pledged, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
The appeal covers assistance for a three-month period in areas such as food security, nutrition, health care, water and sanitation and shelter.
WFP today voiced concerned about access to food for people stranded in areas heavily affected by the fighting, as well as about food security and the future of the public food distribution system in Libya as food stocks in the country are being consumed without replenishment.
“The longer the conflict lasts, the more likely that the number of those in need of food assistance will increase,” the agency stated in a news release.
A recent inter-agency mission found that food stocks in the eastern parts of the country are not being replenished at normal rates and the current stocks are enough for up to two months only, WFP said, warning of a potential massive food availability problem for all of eastern Libya if the country’s import capacity is not restored quickly.
The fighting in Libya started out as protests against the Qadhafi regime, and is part of a broader pro-democracy movement across North Africa and the Middle East that has led to the downfall of long-standing regimes in Tunisia and Egypt.
News Tracker: past stories on this issue
UN and Libya reach agreement on humanitarian presence in Tripoli
April 30, 2011 20:28 EDT
Gadhafi said to survive reported missile attack
TRIPOLI, Libya (AP) — Libya says neither Moammar Gadhafi nor his wife was hurt by a NATO missile that hit the home of their youngest son, killing the son and three grandchildren.
A government spokesman says it happened in a residential neighborhood of Tripoli. Journalists who were taken to the walled complex saw heavy bomb damage.
Seif al-Arab Gadhafi was said to be 29, and had spent much of his time in Germany in recent years. The government says he was “playing and talking with his father and mother and his nieces and nephews and other visitors” at the time of the attack.
The reported airstrike came just hours after Gadhafi called for a mutual cease-fire and negotiations with NATO. A NATO official says Libya has “announced cease-fires several times before and continued attacking cities and civilians.”
New York Times
May 1, 2011
NATO Strikes Draw Scrutiny After Qaddafi Family Deaths
BENGHAZI, Libya — NATO’s campaign of airstrikes against Libya came under the most intense criticism yet on Sunday, with Russian officials accusing the alliance of using “disproportionate” force in civilian areas a day after a strike on central Tripoli was reported to have killed a son and three grandchildren of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi.
Although NATO commanders insisted that they had struck a legitimate military target on Saturday night and had not, and would not, specifically target Colonel Qaddafi, the Libyan government accused the NATO of mounting an assassination attempt illegal under international law. On Sunday, the Russian foreign ministry and a lawmaker close to the Kremlin sounded those themes as well, directly challenging the aims of the NATO mission.
In a statement, the Foreign Ministry accused NATO of exceeding the mandate of a United Nations resolution allowing it to maintain a no-fly zone over Libya and to protect civilians. The attack, it said, “arouses serious doubts about coalition members’ statement that the strikes in Libya do not have the goal of physically annihilating M. Qaddafi and members of his family.”
Foreign Minister Sergei V. Lavrov said on the political talk show “Postscriptum” that the attacks bore out Russia’s concerns about the resolution, which at the time led it to vote to abstain. “And now we see in practice that our misgivings were justified,” he said.
Konstantin I. Kosachev, chairman of the international affairs committee in Russia’s lower house of parliament, said that if the reports of the deaths of Qaddafi family members were confirmed, it would drive home the point that the Western operation “is unacceptable to the same degree as the attacks by Qaddafi and his forces on civilians.”
“I am very surprised by the total silence of the presidents of the U.S., France, and some other Western countries,” Mr. Kosachev said in an interview on the radio station Ekho Moskvy.
In Tripoli, the British and Italian embassies and United Nations offices were vandalized early Sunday morning in apparent revenge attacks for the aistrikes, though no one was reported hurt.
Britain responded by ejecting the Libyan ambassador, Foreign Secretary William Hague said. And the Italian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that, “The attacks against our embassy will not weaken Italy’s determination, along with that of the other partners in the coalition, to continue protecting the interests of the Libyan civilian population.” Both Britain and Italy are involved in the Libya air operation.
A United Nations spokeswoman said a mob broke into a building housing various United Nations offices in Tripoli and ransacked the place. No one was in the office at the time. The agency reported that it had begun pulling the rest of its personnel, less than a dozen people, out of Libya entirely.
In Libya, allied airstrikes continued, as did the government’s bombardment of rebel strongholds, including the besieged city of Misurata in western Libya. Heavy artillery strikes repeatedly hit near the city’s port and airport, and the sustained bombardment destroyed many houses in the city over the past two days.
Colonel Qaddafi’s opponents continued to question whether the colonel’s son, Seif al-Arab al-Qaddafi, 29, and three unidentified grandchildren had actually been killed or whether the announcement amounted to a ploy by Colonel Qaddafi to blunt criticism of his attacks on several rebel-held areas and win sympathy.
“We do not have verification,” said Jalal al-Gallal, a rebel spokesman. “Whose children were there and what were there names? Nobody should have survived the blast in that building,” he said, referring to video footage that Libyan officials said showed the destroyed house where Seif Qaddafi was killed and where Colonel Qaddafi and his wife narrowly avoided injury.
In response to that skepticism, Libyan state television showed images of a body the government claimed was the son, the satellite channel Al Jazeera reported.
The footage showed what appeared to be two adult bodies, both of them completely covered, one of them with a green flag.
Reporting was contributed by Ellen Barry from Moscow, Rachel Donadio from Rome and Dan Bilefsky from New York.
COMMENTI E CRITICHE Ho molto apprezzato la concatenazione logica del ragionamento di Richard Branneman nel suo blog, dove dimostra attraverso riflessioni e testimonianze, come l’intera operazione e il coinvolgimento di AFRICOM in particolare, sia parte di una strategia coloniale e di mero interesse economico. Non dimentica neppure di citare un articolo della stampa Ghanese in cui si fanno giuste illazioni sulla risoluzione anomala del caso della Costa d’Avorio (si sarebbero semplicemente dovute rifare le elezioni sotto stretto controllo di commissioni internazionali) che, portando alla cacciata di Gbagbo, ha cancellato una opposizione anti-francese decisamente scomoda… il fatto che l’annuncio di tale risoluzione sia stato dato dal Governo francese non è da poco. Riporto la citazione di Campbell, ma leggete l’intera pagina nell’originale…
15 Marzo 2011
Horace Campbell, Pambazuka News
The Western bombardment of Gaddafi’s forces in Libya has become an opportunistic public relations ploy for the United States Africa Command (Africom) and a new inroad for US military stronghold on the continent. This involvement of Africom in the bombardment is now serving to expose the contradictions and deceit that have surrounded the formation of this combatant command, which is a front for military humanitarian assistance to Africa in coordination with the US Department of State and the US Agency for International Development (USAID). Attempts by the US to re-militarize its engagement with Africa is extremely dangerous, given the fact that the US does not have any positive or credible tradition of genuine assistance to freedom fighters and liberation movements in Africa.
The US was complicit in the planning of the murder of Patrice Lumumba of the Congo, after which they propped up the monstrous dictator Mobutu Sese Seko who raped and pillaged the country and established a
recursive process of war, rape, plunder, corruption, and brutality which the Congo still suffers from till today. Jonas Savimbi was sponsored by the US to cause destabilization and terror in Angola. The US gave military, material and moral support to the apartheid regime in South Africa while anti-apartheid freedom fighters, including Nelson Mandela, were designated as terrorists. It was only in 2008 that the US Congress passed a bill to remove Mandela’s name from the terrorist watch list). The US has yet to tell the truth about how Charles Taylor escaped from its prison custody in Massachusetts to go destabilize Liberia. Young people who are recruited for the US military and deployed to Africom may not know much about the notorious history of US military involvement in Africa. The military top brass take advantage of this ignorance among the young folks.
Just as the US military carried out psychological warfare against US senators, one of the tasks of Africom is to rain down psychological warfare on Africans. Built in this subtle psychological warfare is the concept of the hierarchy of human beings and the superiority of the capitalist mode of production and ideas of Christian fundamentalism. It is on this front that we find a section of the US military known as the “Crusaders.”
27 April 2011
In Libya, ‘mission creep’ sets in
The most likely outcome in Libya is Moammar Kadafi’s massacre of his political opponents.
Predictably, though, mission creep is what’s occurring in Libya. Each halting step the United States and its NATO allies take deeper into a morass none of them really understands makes it more likely that this ill-considered intervention will end in precisely the event it set out to prevent: Moammar Gadhafi’s massacre of his political opponents.
That’s because even the most enthusiastic of the strongman’s foreign antagonists, France, is unwilling to commit troops to dislodge him from power. Without foreign troops it seems less and less likely that an untrained, sketchily equipped, ill-organized and divided insurgency will overthrow Gadhafi, who has all the resolve of a man with nowhere else to go and the support of his tribal allies and the considerable number of Libyans who somehow have benefited from his misrule.
Speaking to U.S. troops in Baghdad this week, Adm. Michael G. Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, admitted that the Libyan civil war — which is what the uprising has become — is “certainly moving toward stalemate.” Moreover, the half steps the allies announced this week are unlikely to break the deadlock on the ground. France, Britain and Italy will send a handful of “military advisers” to assist the rebels, while the United States will commit missile-armed Predator drones to the air campaign and $25 million in non-lethal aid.
For once, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov had matters about right Thursday when he said, “We consider these moves extremely risky. … There’ve been cases in history when it all started with sending in military advisors, and then it dragged out for years and resulted in hundreds and thousands dead on both sides.”
Moreover, as security analyst Anthony H. Cordesman pointed out this week, the “announcement that British and French military advisors are going to help is not going to alter that situation quickly. It will take months more — at a minimum — to properly train and equip them, and it will take a radical shift in rebel leadership to give them meaningful unity and discipline. In the interim, an enduring war of attrition will turn a minor humanitarian crisis into a major one — driven by the reality that Libya has to import over 75 percent of its food, and the Gadhafi regime was so corrupt and self-serving that the CIA estimates that 30 percent of the population was unemployed and one-third was at the poverty line before the crisis began.”
If, as is entirely possible, Gadhafi and his kleptocratic family dynasty somehow survive, the Libyan people will have passed through the privations of a stalemated civil war only to suffer the horrors of an unrestrained tyrant’s revenge. Something similar happened after the Persian Gulf War, when the victorious allies quietly encouraged the Shiite Muslims of southern Iraq to rise against a weakened Saddam Hussein, and then stood by while he slaughtered them.
For historians, Cordesman argues, the ill-conceived Libyan intervention “is yet another demonstration that they have the world’s easiest profession — all they have to do is wait for history to repeat itself. Unfortunately, there is nothing amusing about the fact that the lives and futures of some 6.6 million Libyans are at stake. The Franco-Anglo-American gamble now seems far too likely to fail at their expense.”
Even the more concrete of the steps grudgingly taken by the Obama administration this week is as likely to backfire as it is to succeed. The ostensible military purpose of the Predator drones is to operate in close support of the rebel forces at low altitudes, where piloted aircraft would be at unacceptable risk from Libyan ground fire. Analysts familiar with the drones’ operations in Pakistan and Yemen, however, point out that, with proper intelligence, the unmanned craft could be used to assassinate Gadhafi, his sons and lieutenants. In other words, kill the snake by cutting off its head. It may sound like a good idea, but … Something deep and unexpected — perilous, but promising — is welling up across the Arab world. Whatever the outcome, it must be the work of the region’s people themselves. If the United States intervenes with military force and summary executions — even of loathsome lunatics like Gadhafi — the consequences could be catastrophic.
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