Libyan war updates/Stop NATO news: June 22, 2011

22 June 2011 — Stop NATO

  • 96-Day Libyan War: Over 12,000 NATO Sorties, Over 4,500 Combat Missions
  • NATO Air Strikes Target Towns Near Libyan Capital
  • Spokesperson: U.S. Aid Essential To NATO’s Libyan War
  • Senate Opens Door For U.S. Troops To Fight In Libya
  • Iran Slams NATO’s Killing Innocent Libyans, Destroying Infrastructure
  • Americans’ Support For Speedy Afghan Withdrawal At All-Time High
  • U.S. Cannot Afford Indefinite War In Afghanistan
  • 260 NATO Soldiers Killed In Afghanistan This Year
  • Asia-Pacific NATO: Australia Broadens Military Purview
  • Latvia To Request NATO Intervention Over Russian Warship Deployment

96-Day Libyan War: Over 12,000 NATO Sorties, Over 4,500 Combat Missions

Click to access 20110622_110622-oup-update.pdf

North Atlantic Treaty Organization

June 22, 2011

NATO and Libya

Allied Joint Force Command NAPLES, SHAPE, NATO HQ

Air Operations

Since the beginning of the NATO operation (31 March 2011, 08.00GMT) a total of 12070 sorties, including 4569 strike sorties, have been conducted.

Sorties conducted 21 JUNE: 140

Strike sorties conducted 21 JUNE: 48

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NATO Air Strikes Target Towns Near Libyan Capital

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/world/2011-06/22/c_13944251.htm

Xinhua News Agency

June 22, 2011

NATO airstrikes hit towns near Tripoli

TRIPOLI: NATO warplanes conducted bombing raids Tuesday on Khoms and Nalut near the Libyan capital Tripoli, Libyan state TV reported.

There were no immediate reports of casualties. NATO targeted two civilian checkpoints in Khoms, nearly 100 km east of Tripoli.

NATO fighters also raided Tajoura, east of Tripoli, and Nalut in southwestern Libya.

Libyan state TV reported Tuesday that a NATO Apache attack helicopter was shot down in Zlitan, some 160 km east of Tripoli. It was the fifth helicopter reportedly downed since NATO started military operations in Libya in March.

A spokesman for NATO’s mission in Libya said later, however, that the alliance lost an unmanned helicopter rather than the Apache.

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Spokesperson: U.S. Aid Essential To NATO’s Libyan War

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/06/21/us-nato-libya-usa-idUSTRE75K3YP20110621

Reuters

June 22, 2011

NATO says U.S. contribution essential in Libya

By David Brunnstrom

BRUSSELS: NATO responded on Tuesday to a Congressional threat to cut off funding to the U.S. military involvement in Libya by saying the United States was providing unique assets essential for the success of the mission.

U.S. lawmakers have questioned the legality of continued use of the U.S. military in Libya and House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner said last week Congress could cut funding for the mission.

NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu said debates were normal…

“But what I can say is that we are very grateful for the assets that the U.S. is providing and those are unique and essential assets to the success of this mission,” she told a NATO news briefing.

While the United States has stepped back from a leading role in the strike mission NATO took over on March 31, it has continued to provide essential assets, including reconnaissance planes, air-to-air refueling planes and armed drones.

However, U.S. law prohibits U.S. armed forces from being involved in military actions for more than 60 days without congressional authorization, with a 30-day pullout period. Boehner says these 90 days are up on Sunday.

Criticism of the conflict has been fueled by unease in both U.S. political parties over a third war on top of Afghanistan and Iraq and worries about more costs in a time of massive debt.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates urged Congress on Sunday not to cut off funding for the mission and predicted that the operation against Muammar Gaddafi’s forces would “end OK.”

EUROPEAN WORRIES

The debate in Washington comes at a time when European participants in the bombing mission have questioned their ability to sustain it long-term, and NATO allies not currently taking part have been reluctant to offer support.

On Tuesday, British Prime Minister David Cameron said Britain could keep up its campaign in Libya as long as necessary, despite warnings by military chiefs that their forces are overstretched.

The Daily Telegraph quoted a briefing paper from Air Chief Marshall Simon Bryant, head of Royal Air Force combat operations, as saying its ability to deal with unforeseen events would be eroded if the campaign lasted beyond September.

France has indicated the mission’s only aircraft carrier, the Charles de Gaulle, will have to be withdrawn in the autumn. The rationale of the mission has been questioned in Italy.

Lungescu said NATO defense ministers had committed this month to sustain the mission as long as it took, while NATO military spokesman Wing Commander Mike Bracken said the military command would work with whatever assets were available.

Frustration has grown among allies at the failure of more than three months of bombing to dislodge Gaddafi and debate has been fueled by a series of negative incidents in recent days.

NATO has admitted it had struck a rebel military column last week and says a malfunctioning bomb appeared to blame for killing civilians in Tripoli on Sunday. On Tuesday, it had its first loss of the air campaign — an unmanned U.S. helicopter.

Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said on Monday that civilian deaths risked NATO’s credibility in a mission supposed to protect civilians.

(Editing by Angus MacSwan)

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Senate Opens Door For U.S. Troops To Fight In Libya

http://english.ruvr.ru/2011/06/22/52223757.html

Voice of Russia

June 22, 2011

Senate opens door for US troops to fight in Libya

The US Senate has approved a resolution that allows US servicemen to fight in the NATO military operation in Libya for another year.

Although the resolution makes no mention of a land operation, this is not ruled out if the US has to defend American government officials or save NATO servicemen.

Earlier, President Barack Obama came under scathing criticism for launching military action in Libya without prior congressional approval.

====

Iran Slams NATO’s Killing Innocent Libyans, Destroying Infrastructure

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/world/2011-06/22/c_13942345.htm

Xinhua News Agency

June 22, 2011

Iran slams NATO’s “deadly strikes” on Libya

TEHRAN: Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister for European Affairs Ali Ahani on Tuesday condemned the deadly strikes by NATO on Libya, saying the attacks are “killing innocent people and destroying the country’s economic infrastructure,” the English language satellite Press TV reported.

Ahani criticized NATO’s military intervention in Libya during a meeting with the Serbian Foreign Ministry’s special envoy Darko Tanaskovic in Tehran.

He said the intervention was a result of misinterpretation of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973.

The Security Council adopted Resolution 1973 on March 17, authorizing member states to take all necessary measures to protect civilians under threat of attacks in Libya, including in the opposition base of Benghazi, while excluding foreign occupation of any form on any part of the Libyan territory.

====

Americans’ Support For Speedy Afghan Withdrawal At All-Time High

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/world/2011-06/22/c_13943048.htm

Xinhua News Agency

June 22, 2011

Americans’ support for withdrawing from Afghanistan reaches all-time high

WASHINGTON: A record number of Americans favor withdrawing U.S. forces from Afghanistan as soon as possible, according to a new poll by the Pew Research Center.

The result comes one day ahead of President Barack Obama’s speech on a plan to draw down military forces from Afghanistan. Anti-war liberals, joined by some cost-sensitive Republicans, have recently pushed harder for a more rapid withdrawal as public support of the war has been subsiding since the killing of al-Qaida mastermind Osama bin Laden.

Fifty-six percent of Americans say U.S. troops should be brought home as soon as possible, while 39 percent favor keeping troops in Afghanistan until the situation has stabilized, the survey showed.

This is the first time a majority of Americans support a quick withdrawal. The proportion has increased by eight points since last month, immediately after the killing of bin Laden.

The poll also showed 56 percent of Americans say it is unlikely that Afghanistan will be able to maintain a stable government after the U.S. military leaves.

There are approximately 100,000 U.S. forces in Afghanistan, including a so-called “surge” of 30,000 troops Obama ordered to the country in late 2009.

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U.S. Cannot Afford Indefinite War In Afghanistan

http://english.ruvr.ru/2011/06/22/52242650.html

Voice of Russia

June 22, 2011

US cannot afford war in Afghanistan

Viktoria Zhuravlyova, senior research fellow at the Institute of World Economy and International Relations of the Russian Academy of Sciences:

I think that the decision on drawing down the troops from Afghanistan is truly not unexpected.

Firstly, the withdrawal was scheduled and promised by President Obama when he was elected.

Secondly, the American economists feel stagnation, and White House had to agree on deep budget cuts, they just cannot afford this war in Afghanistan.

And thirdly, this war is very unpopular among the Americans. It means that all political forces will stand for withdrawal.

I suppose that if the economic situation is different in the United States, the withdrawal terms will be different, and if they have enough money, if not this economic crisis I think they will stay there for a longer period.

For now the situation within Afghanistan is still difficult, and the American troop withdrawal may provoke instability. So, it is a forced decision but the only one possible because of the economic situation.

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260 NATO Soldiers Killed In Afghanistan This Year

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/world/2011-06/22/c_13944406.htm

Xinhua News Agency

June 22, 2011

One NATO soldier killed in attack in S. Afghanistan

KABUL: One NATO soldier was killed on Wednesday in an insurgent attack in restive southern Afghanistan, the military alliance confirmed in a statement.

“An International Security Assistance Force service member died following an insurgent attack in southern Afghanistan today.” said the statement issued by NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) here.

However, the brief statement did not reveal the position and nationality of the victim, saying it is ISAF policy to defer casualty identification procedures to the relevant national authorities.

Troops mainly from U.S., Britain, Canada and Australia have been stationed in the southern region within the framework of ISAF to fight Taliban militants.

A total of 260 NATO soldiers, most of them Americans, have been killed in Afghanistan since beginning this year.

The Taliban-led insurgency has been rampant since the militant group announced to launch spring offensive from May 1 against Afghan and NATO-led troops stationed in Afghanistan.

====

Asia-Pacific NATO: Australia Broadens Military Purview

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/world/2011-06/22/c_13943426.htm

Xinhua News Agency

June 22, 2011

Australian DM orders review to consider relocating troops

by Vienna Ma

CANBERRA: Australian Defense Minister Stephen Smith on Wednesday announced a large scale “force structure review” over where Australian forces are based.

Two former civilian leaders of the defense department, Ric Smith and Allan Hawke, will lead the review.

The review will examine the rise of the Asia-Pacific and the Indian Ocean rim, as well as how Australia is placed to respond to…new challenges, such as energy security.

“To ensure that our Australian Defence Force is geographically positioned correctly to meet our modern security and strategic challenges,” he told reporters in Canberra on Wednesday.

Smith said Australia now had a growing petroleum resources belt across the north-west top of Australia that needed to be protected.

“There is a prospect that we (will) see more defense assets in Western Australia … more assets in the Northern Territory … and the potential for more assets in north-east Queensland,” Smith said.

The review is expected to consider moving many of the Defense Force’s warships and thousands of personnel to northern areas of Australia.

If this occurs, it would be a major shift of defense assets away from traditional bases in New South Wales and Victoria.

Western Australian Premier Colin Barnett welcomed Wednesday’s proposal, saying that Australia needed to reassess where its naval, army and air force assets were deployed.

Barnett said the oil and gas fields off Western Australia’s coast, asylum seeker boat arrivals, the terrorism attacks in Bali of Indonesia, the Indian Ocean tsunami and other humanitarian rescue concerns were all reasons for such a redeployment.

“There is no doubt we are being drawn ever closer to Asia and the problems of Asia are now our problems,” Barnett said.

Smith said the review is due to be finished by early next year, and will feed into the next Defence White Paper which is scheduled for 2014.

====

Latvia To Request NATO Intervention Over Russian Warship Deployment

http://en.rian.ru/mlitary_news/20110622/164767283.html

Russian Information Agency Novosti

June 22, 2011

Latvia says could seek NATO support over Mistral threat

Latvia will ask NATO for support if Russia deploys French-built Mistral warships in the Baltic Sea because it would change the balance of forces in the region, Defense Minister Artis Pabriks said on Wednesday.

Russia and France signed last Friday a $1.7 billion (1.2 bln euro) contract on two French-built Mistral class amphibious assault ships for the Russian Navy, which includes the transfer of sensitive technologies.

“If these helicopter carriers appear in the Baltic Sea, Latvia will ask France and NATO in general for military and political support,” Pabriks said. “The size of this support should be adequate to restore the balance of forces in the region.”

Latvia, a former Soviet republic, joined the 28-member bloc together with other Baltic states in 2004.

Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov said on Tuesday that it was too early to determine the future deployment of the warships, as the first ship will be delivered to Russia in 2014 and the second in 2015.

“Let us build the ships first and then think about their use. We have some plans and we will make them public when the ships are almost ready,” he said.

A Mistral class ship is capable of carrying 16 helicopters, four landing vessels, 70 armored vehicles, and 450 personnel.

The Russian military insists that the use of Mistral class ships will significantly increase the effectiveness of peacekeeping and humanitarian operations.

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