Stop Nato Updates on Libyan war: 31 March 2011

31 March 2011 — Stop NATO

  • NATO Assumes Full Command Of Libyan War Operations
  • Obama Authorizes Covert Operations In Libya, CIA Already There
  • Poll: Americans Oppose Obama’s Libyan War, Ratings At All-Time Low
  • Defense Minister: NATO’s Libyan Operation Costs Greece $9 Million A Month
  • Venezuela On Libya: No Peace With Bombs, West Eyes Oil Reserves
  • NATO Air Strike Kills Libyan Infant

NATO Assumes Full Command Of Libyan War Operations

Voice of America News

March 31, 2011

NATO Takes Over Libya Air Operations

NATO has assumed full command of all air operations over Libya, taking over from the U.S., which had played a leading role since international forces began enforcing a no-fly zone on March 19.

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said the transition was completed early Thursday. The NATO operation, called “Unified Protector”, includes enforcing the U.N. Security Council resolution that mandates the no-fly zone along with an arms embargo and airstrikes…

Meanwhile, U.S. media reports say the CIA has sent teams of operatives into Libya to gather intelligence and make contact with anti-Gadhafi forces…

British sources told The New York Times that British special forces and intelligence officers also are in the North African nation.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.


Obama Authorizes Covert Operations In Libya, CIA Already There

Deutsche Presse-Agentur

March 31, 2011

Report: CIA agents operating covertly in Libya

The CIA has deployed covert operatives into Libya to gather intelligence for military airstrikes and initiate contacts with rebels seeking to oust leader Moamer Gaddafi, dpa cited The New York Times as reporting Wednesday.

Citing unnamed US officials, the newspaper reported online that small groups of CIA agents have been in Libya for several weeks seeking to blunt the effectiveness of Gaddafi’s military. The United States and its allies have been trying to learn more about the rebels and their plans for Libya.

The New York Times reported that British intelligence officers are also deployed inside Libya to direct airstrikes.

The reports come as the US and other countries in NATO debate whether to arm the rebels, who have suffered a series of setbacks in recent days under attacks from Gaddafi’s better equipped forces. Obama said he has not ruled out providing weapons to the rebels.

NATO formally took command of the international intervention on Wednesday. The US initially led the air campaign, which began on March 19…


Russian Information Agency Novosti

March 31, 2011

U. S. president authorizes covert ops in Libya – media

Washington: U.S. President Barack Obama has a signed a secret order authorizing covert operations in support of Libyan rebels fighting to overthrow Muammar Gaddadi’s regime, the ABC News reported.

The United States is among 13 countries carrying out a military operation against Libya in line with the UN Security Council resolution 1973, which imposed a no-fly zone over Libya and authorized “all necessary measures” to protect civilians from Gaddafi’s attacks on rebel-held towns.

“The presidential finding discusses a number of ways to help the opposition to Muammar Gaddafi, authorizing some assistance now and setting up a legal framework for more robust activities in the future,” the ABC News said Wednesday citing an unidentified source.

According to ABC News, the order “does not direct covert operatives to provide arms to the rebels immediately, although it does prepare for such a contingency and other contingencies should the president decide to go down that road in the future.”

The report comes amid a debate among coalition members on whether to supply the Libyan rebels with sophisticated weaponry as they are being pushed back by forces loyal to Gaddafi.

The White House press office did not comment on the report but said: “We’re assessing and reviewing options for all types of assistance that we could provide to the Libyan people.”

Although international airstrikes have neutralized Gaddafi’s air force and pounded his armor, rebel forces still lack weaponry and organization to fight the loyalists effectively.


Poll: Americans Oppose Obama’s Libyan War, Ratings At All-Time Low

Xinhua News Agency

March 31, 2011

U.S. survey says majority oppose Libya involvement

WASHINGTON: A survey released Wednesday indicated a majority of U.S. voters oppose the U.S. military campaign in Libya, while President Barack Obama’s approval rating hit an all-time low at 42 percent.

According to poll results released by Quinnipiac University, 47 percent surveyed oppose Washington’s involvement in Libya, while 41 percent support the mission.

The survey also gave Obama negative ratings how he handled the conflict, with 58 percent saying he has not clearly articulated the goal of U.S. involvement. Sixty-one percent of respondents in the poll said removing Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi from power is not worth having American troops “fight and possibly die.”

Obama has taken heat from both Democrats and Republicans for his handling of the Libya conflict. The Congress is worried with both its clarity and duration, while panning Obama for not consulting Congress before taking action. Obama sent Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Pentagon Chief Robert Gates and top military officer Mike Mullen to explain the campaign to Congress Wednesday.

Also according to the survey, Obama’s approval ratings took a major hit, with just 42 percent of voters approved of what he is doing in office, while 48 percent disapprove of it. What’s more troubling is that fifty percent of voters believe he does not deserve a second term next year while 41 percent said he does. The presidential election is next year.

The 42 percent marks a four percentage-point drop over the past month. A poll released March 3 said Obama had a 46 percent approval rating, while 45 percent of voters said he didn’t deserve a second term.

“President Barack Obama’s approval numbers are at their lowest level ever, slightly below where they were for most of 2010 before he got a bump up in surveys after the November election and into the early part of this year,” said Peter Brown, assistant director at the Quinnipiac Polling Institute.

Brown said federal deficit, economy, foreign policy and healthcare woes are driving Obama’s disapproval numbers up.

The poll surveyed 2,069 registered voters nationwide from March 22 to 28 and has a margin of error of plus-or-minus 2.2 percentage points.


Defense Minister: NATO’s Libyan Operation Costs Greece $9 Million A Month

Azeri Press Agency

March 30, 2011

Libya operation costs Greece 6.5 million euros monthly: official

Baku: Greek Defense Minister Evangelos Venizelos said Tuesday that the military operation under way to tackle the crisis in Libya costs Greece some 6.5 million euros ( about 9.15 million U.S. dollars) every month, APA reports quoting Xinhua.

Addressing a parliamentary committee over the issue, Venizelos stressed that debt-ridden Greece will continue to undertake its supporting role in the operation…

Meanwhile, Greek media reported that aided by the EU’s border monitoring agency Frontex, Greece is boosting sea patrols in the Mediterranean Sea in face of a new influx of illegal immigrants from troubled North Africa.

Over the past few days, at least 5,000 people illegally reached Italy from north Africa and approximately 500 arrived in Malta.


Venezuela On Libya: No Peace With Bombs, West Eyes Oil Reserves

Xinhua News Agency

March 31, 2011

Venezuela supports Gaddafi’s resistance to air raids

MONTEVIDEO: Visiting Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said here Wednesday he supports Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s military resistance to air raids by the international community.

Gaddafi “is doing what he has to do,” Chavez said during a joint press conference with Uruguayan President Jose Mujica.

Chavez said he cannot “give answers as to what Gaddafi is doing there, but there is no justification for a group of countries to bomb (Libya).”

The president repeated his proposal to set up a peace commission to mediate between the opposition forces and Gaddafi’s regime as an alternative to military intevention.

“How can we achieve peace with bombs?” Chavez asked. He said the bombing by the United States and other European countries was motivated by “taking the oil and stealing the reserves.”

Chavez met with Mujica earlier on Wednesday to sign a number of agreements on bilateral cooperation and energy. The trip to Uruguay is part of a regional tour which will also take the Venezuelan president to Argentina, Bolivia and Colombia.


NATO Air Strike Kills Libyan Infant

Associated Press

March 30, 2011

Libyan toddler dies, family says from airstrike


KHORUM, Libya: The grieving mother sat on the ground rocking her 2-month old daughter under a blanket on her lap, crying softly and accepting the soft words of condolences from neighbors.

Nizha Abdel-Salam and her family say her 18-month old son Sirajuddin al-Sweisi was killed when debris pierced the wall of their home as NATO airstrikes hit an ammunition [dump?] near their village of Khorum early Tuesday morning.

“The house shook and there was so much dust everywhere we couldn’t see in front of us,” she said.

The Libyan government says more than 100 people have been killed by airstrikes since the international campaign began on March 19…

In an interview with the Associated Press, Abdel-Salam, 27, said the blast hit their house at around 6 a.m. Tuesday. She said she rushed to the living room where her son had been sleeping on a mattress on the floor with his father, and she saw that a hot piece of metal had embedded into the side of the child’s face.

She rushed to pick up her crying son.

“His blood was streaming down my arm,” she said Wednesday, choking back tears. “He was crying out, ‘Mama, Mama,’ reaching out with his hand to me.”

A hole was visible Wednesday piercing the outside wall of their home into their living room, and the opposite wall of the room was pockmarked with holes. Parts of the other walls had been broken off in the home, located on the third floor of a four-story building.

The boy’s uncle showed reporters a picture on his mobile phone of the baby on his deathbed. Sirajuddin’s left cheek has a deep dark brown burn mark, his body swathed in a white shroud.

“We took him to the hospital where they treated him for the burns and some broken bones,” said Abdel-Hakim al-Sweisi. “But by nightfall he was dead.”

Neighbors said they heard a large explosion early Tuesday morning and said planes were heard overhead. They said the ammunition depot, about 5 miles (8 kilometers) from Abdel-Salam’s home, had exploded and a number of homes were damaged by debris.

Some neighbors said there were injuries, but the only death in the town was young al-Sweisi. The impoverished village is tucked away in the mountains near the region’s main town, Gharyan, an area dotted with olive groves and grazing sheep. Its largely unpaved roads were muddy and partially flooded Wednesday from recent rains.

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