Updates on Libyan war/Stop NATO news: July 22, 2011

22 July 2011 — Stop NATO

  • 126-Day War: Over 16,000 NATO Air Missions, Over 6,000 Strike Sorties
  • Libyan War: Pentagon Considers NATO Request For More Drones
  • Libya: Bishop Laments NATO’s Rejection Of Ramadan Truce
  • NATO’s Women Warmongers
  • Video And Text: Mutilated Government Soldiers Found In Rebel-Held Libya
  • AFRICOM Commander In Gambia For 40-Nation Military Exercise

126-Day War: Over 16,000 NATO Air Missions, Over 6,000 Strike Sorties

Click to access 20110722_110722-oup-update.pdf

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
July 22, 2011

NATO and Libya
Allied Joint Force Command NAPLES, SHAPE, NATO HQ

Over the past 24 hours, NATO has conducted the following activities associated with Operation UNIFIED PROTECTOR:

Air Operations

Since the beginning of the NATO operation (31 March 2011, 06.00GMT) a total of 16,028 sorties, including 6,040 strike sorties, have been conducted.

Sorties conducted 21 JULY: 124

Strike sorties conducted 21 JULY: 45

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Libyan War: Pentagon Considers NATO Request For More Drones

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-drones-libya-20110722,0,1130313.story?track=rss

Los Angeles Times
July 21, 2011

Pentagon mulls NATO request for more U.S. drones in Libya campaign

Reporting from Washington: The Obama administration is considering sending more Predator drones and other surveillance planes to bolster the NATO air war in Libya, and has reopened a debate over whether to give weapons to the rebels seeking to overthrow Moammar Kadafi, a senior Defense Department official said.

NATO commanders requested the sophisticated surveillance aircraft after concluding that they were running out of military targets in Libya after four months of bombing and missile strikes against Kadafi’s military forces and command facilities, U.S. and NATO officials said.

The Pentagon’s willingness to consider strengthening the North Atlantic Treaty Organization force in Libya marks an apparent shift since Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta took over the Pentagon early this month.

Panetta has emphasized that winning the war in Libya is one of his top priorities. His predecessor, Robert M. Gates, had urged European allies to do more and had stressed that the U.S. military was overstretched.

NATO commanders are especially eager to obtain more Predator drones, which can remain aloft for a dozen hours or longer, beaming live video and other intelligence data back to targeting analysts on the ground, a senior NATO officer said. The Predator drones can carry two air-to-ground missiles.

‘It’s getting more difficult to find stuff to blow up,’ said a senior NATO officer, noting that Kadafi’s forces are increasingly using civilian facilities to carry out military operations. ‘Predators really enable you study things and to develop a picture of what is going on.’

The Pentagon sent NATO several Predators to augment the Libya operation three months ago…

‘We are looking at all the possibilities’ for sending drones and other surveillance aircraft, said the senior Pentagon official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the debate is ongoing.

The official said sending more Predator drones would require transferring them from war zones in Afghanistan and Iraq, and counter-terrorism operations elsewhere, and that some U.S. officials and senior commanders oppose the move.

‘The reason why this is hard is that everything we have is currently committed elsewhere,’ the official added.

Ali Aujali, the rebels’ envoy in Washington, said the rebel leadership had long ago put in a request for U.S. military aid. He said the need is for small arms, antitank weapons and four-wheel-drive vehicles for the desert, as well as equipment to detect minefields laid by Kadafi’s forces.

Giving the rebels lethal aid for the first time would signal that the White House has decided to deepen the U.S. role in hopes of turning the tide in the rebels’ favor.

The Obama administration has furnished the rebels with uniforms, boots, radios, tents, medical supplies and other nonlethal assistance since April. But the United States declined to provide weapons and other lethal aid, in part because Washington did not formally recognize the rebels.

That hurdle was crossed last week when Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced that the United States would join more than 30 other nations in recognizing the rebel leadership coalition, known as the Transitional National Council, as Libya’s government.

‘Now that the recognition has taken place, I think that discussion’ of providing military aid ‘will be back on the table,’ the senior Pentagon official said.

France and several other countries have acknowledged providing small arms and other military aid to the rebels. Any U.S. decision to send assistance would be made in consultation with allies, Defense Department officials said.

The immediate issue for the Pentagon is whether to meet NATO’s request for more Predators and other surveillance planes.

The Pentagon currently has assigned enough Predators to the operation to keep two over Libya around the clock, U.S. officials have said. In addition, the U.S. has provided a Global Hawk drone — an unarmed high-altitude surveillance plane — and dozens of other manned aircraft, which conduct surveillance, intelligence collection, aerial refueling and other support missions.

Most of the strikes against ground targets have been carried out by manned aircraft from France, Britain and a few other countries. But U.S. Predator drones also have carried out 64 strikes against ground targets since April, according to the Pentagon.

NATO’s formal request for more surveillance planes did not specifically ask for Predators, officials said, but alliance officials made it clear in discussions with U.S. officials that their preference was for more drones.

Times staff writer Paul Richter contributed to this report.

====

Libya: Bishop Laments NATO’s Rejection Of Ramadan Truce

http://www.catholicculture.org/news/headlines/index.cfm?storyid=11112

Catholic Culture
July 22, 2011

Libya: bishop laments NATO rejection of Ramadan truce

The apostolic vicar of Tripoli has decried NATO’s ‘indifference’ to proposals for a Ramadan ceasefire in the conflict in Libya.

‘What amazes me is the indifference of NATO and Europe to the proposed ceasefire for Ramadan,’ said Bishop Giovanni Martinelli. ‘For all the Libyans (for or against Gaddafi) Ramadan is a sacred period, and [this] is a sentiment that should be respected.’

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NATO’s Women Warmongers

http://allafrica.com/stories/201107210929.html

The Herald
July 21, 2011

The Arena – Nato’s Women Warmongers

Out of all the Libya Contact Group representatives from 30 states and organisations that met in the Turkish capital Istanbul last Friday, July 15, United States Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton seemed the busiest, with one website describing her itinerary thus: ‘Secretary Clinton met with too many dignitaries to name. We see her here with several of her counterparts and Spain’s Trinidad Jimenez. She gave a Press conference as well as a major address to the organisation of the Islamic Conference.’

Apart from Clinton, two other outstanding women at the meeting were Spanish Foreign Affairs Minister Trinidad Jimenez, and the European Union’s foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton.

Dear reader, welcome to the world of elite and influential women who do not need to be in military garb for them to influence global events. Welcome also to women whose children are not fighting in brutal wars elsewhere, but who still enjoy the power that comes with directing these wars. These female warmongers are slowly destroying the adage that women are victims of war since they fully back and advocate for the wars currently being fought.

To them, it must be an amiable achievement – women who have shattered the glass ceiling, and have proceeded to rewrite the war narrative as policy formulators and decision makers.

The war in Libya has brought this element to the fore more than ever. On July 15 as Nato members met in Istanbul to deliberate on the fourth Libya Contact Group meeting (deposing of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi), it was evident that women were calling the shots – Hillary Clinton, Trinidad Jimenez and EU’s foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton. It was at this meeting that Clinton announced the US’ recognition of the Libyan rebel group.

Incidentally, it was during the Clinton administration in the 90s that we started seeing women who served in government, but who had an appetite for war. Madeleine Albright, Bill Clinton’s Secretary of State from 1997 – 2001 has a few quotable quotes on war which makes this remark quite fitting:

– ‘If we have to use force, it is because we are America. We are the indispensable nation. We stand tall. We see further into the future.’

– ‘Iraq is a long way from the US, but what happens there matters a great deal here. For the risks that the leaders of a rogue state will use nuclear, chemical or biological weapons against us or our allies is the greatest security threat we face.’

George W. Bush invaded Iraq accusing Saddam Hussein of having weapons of mass destruction and, Condoleezza Rice was among members of his inner circle. She held the posts of chief security advisor and later Secretary of State, and below again are some interesting quotes from her:

– ‘We are at war, and our security as a nation depends on winning that war.’

– ‘The problem here is that there will always be some uncertainty about how quickly Saddam can acquire nuclear weapons. But we don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.’

The post-2008 Zimbabwean elections also saw Jendayi Fraser, the US’ Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, working extremely hard to have Zimbabwe placed under the UN’s Chapter VII, a move that could have given the US and its coalition of the willing the slightest excuse to invade it. And all this at Fraser’s instigation!

The Obama era is no different. With Secretary of State Clinton and US envoy to the United Nations, Susan Rice, it is becoming so evident that women are as eager to have people of other nationalities maimed and killed through war, just like their male counterparts.

The reports about how Susan Rice hunted down South Africa’s ambassador to the UN so that South Africa, together with Nigeria and Gabon could vote for UN Security Council Resolution 1979, are telling.

Then, on March 20, John Avlon wrote: ‘That a diplomatic team led by Hillary Clinton, Susan Rice, and Samantha Power advocated military action against (Muammar) Gaddafi may be a footnote in the Libyan conflict – but it is a significant mark of our nation’s evolution.’

According to Avlon: ‘The Libyan air strikes mark the first time in US history that a female-dominated diplomatic team has urged military action. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton joined with UN Ambassador Susan Rice and the influential Office of Multilateral and Human Rights Director Samantha Power to argue for air strikes against Libya. Their advice triggered an abrupt shift in US policy, overturning more cautious administrations’ counsellors.’

Just like Bush and his infamous post-9/11 assertions – if you are not for us, you are against us – Clinton has asked her critics regarding the Libyan conflict, ‘Whose side are you on?’ Matt Welch wrote on the blog http://reason.com/ that Clinton responded to a question raised at a press conference in Jamaica, ‘. . . But the bottom line is, whose side are you on? Are you on Gaddafi’s side or are you on the side of the aspirations of the Libyan people and the international coalition that has been created to support them? For the Obama administration, the answer to that question is very easy.’

As she globe trots, week in, week out, Clinton with each press briefing leaves behind the chilling effects of how power can be used without due regard to its consequences. In her own assessment it’s either ‘yes’ or ‘no’ and no compromising.

On July 16 she told CNN regarding the situation in Syria, ‘The brutality has to stop . . . Syria can’t go back to the way it was before’ . . . (Assad) ‘has lost his legitimacy in the eyes of his own people because of the brutality of their crackdown’.

That same day, she called for a speedy solution to Cyprus’ long-standing dispute: ‘We don’t think the status quo in Cyprus benefits anyone . . . We want to see a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation and we would like to see it as soon as possible,’ she said. A statement that does not give room for negotiation. Avlon further remarks that passages from Samantha Power’s 2003 book A Problem From Hell offer insight into principles that may have led to this women-driven war campaign. Although the final decision was made by Obama, Avlon says: ‘In the end, that a female-led diplomatic team argued for war will be a footnote in this conflict as it unfolds. But it is historically significant. And that it seems almost unremarkable to contemporaries is a small mark of our constant evolution toward a more perfect union, even within our civilian-led military.’

Spanish Foreign Minister Trinidad Jimenez is no different. She has also attended the contact group meetings on Libya. At the Abu Dhabi meeting in June, she proposed implementing an aid plan for Libya, once Gaddafi had been overthrown, with the aim of giving the country democratic institutions and training a new army in collaboration with the Interim National Council which groups the rebels together.

Jimenez also said that the proposal of a ‘pact’ between the international community and the Libyan opposition would be put into effect once Gaddafi left office. ‘We have seen that diplomatic, political, economic and military pressure is leaving Gaddafi more isolated every day.’ (Source: Madrid EFE in Spanish – Spanish semi-official independent news agency).

Dear reader, you might argue that Zimbabwe had its own women of war: Mbuya Nehanda. But, is this the same? With remote-controlled fighter jets becoming the in-thing, how many women in Africa will also be advocating for wars in other parts of the world? Is this gender mainstreaming?

====

Video And Text: Mutilated Government Soldiers Found In Rebel-Held Libya

http://rt.com/news/mutilated-corpses-libya-rights/

RT
July 22, 2011

Mutilated pro-Gaddafi soldiers found dead in rebel-controlled area – report

Video

A mass grave believed to contain the remains of Gaddafi loyalists has been discovered in the Nafusa Mountains in Libya, adding to concerns over the way the Libyan rebels treat captives and the civil population in territories under its control.

The five mutilated bodies were found in a water tank just off the main road between Zintan, the area’s main town, and Al-Qawalish, according to The Daily Telegraph newspaper.

The identity of the men, one of whom had been decapitated, remains unknown.

The mutilated corpses were clad in green uniforms of a kind worn by troops loyal to the Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi.

Rebel commanders asked to comment on the find claimed that the men were most probably killed by Gaddafi’s forces while attempting to defect. However, after the discovery was reported to local authorities, the area was flattened by bulldozers and the corpses went missing.

The incident has heightened concerns that Libyan rebels may be abusing human rights in four towns they seized in the Nafusa Mountains in the North-West of the country. Human Rights Watch reported that in the past month, Libyan rebels have looted and damaged property, burnt homes and beaten individuals alleged to have supported government forces there.

The rebel military commander in the Nafusa Mountains, Colonel El-Moktar Firnana, has admitted that some abuses occurred after the rebels captured the towns.

Crimes committed by the rebels are being swept under the carpet to support NATO’s cause in the region, says Sukant Chandan, a spokesman for the British Civilians For Peace in Libya movement.

‘Fundamentally, there has been a problem in the way the NATO nations and their media have portrayed these so-called rebels. These rebels have been conducting mass lynches of black people throughout the first several weeks and months of this crisis,’ the activist told RT, adding that the question has been raised several times at press conferences, but has not been answered.

The media does not reflect these issues as ‘it does not fit the narrative,’ concludes Chandan.

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AFRICOM Commander In Gambia For 40-Nation Military Exercise

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/world/2011-07/22/c_131000999.htm

Xinhua News Agency
July 22, 2011

U. S. military commander for Africa command in Banjul for joint military exercise

BANJUL: The commander of the U. S. Africa Command, General Carter Ham, is in the Gambian capital Banjul for an on-going joint military exercise [Africa Endeavor 2011] involving 40 African countries.

Ham on Thursday called on Gambian Vice President and Minister of Women’s Affairs Aja Dr Isatou Njie-Saidy at the State House.

Accompanied by the chief of defense staff of the Gambia Armed Forces (GAF), Lt. General Masanneh Kinteh, Ham was at the State House to express his sincere appreciation to the vice president and the government of Gambia for successfully hosting the military exercise to be concluded on Thursday.

‘It has been a wonderful opportunity for the 40 different nations to assemble here in The Gambia and participate in this very important military training. It would not have been possible without her support as well as the support of the chief of Defense Staff, Lt. Gen. Kinteh and the entire government,’ he told reporters.

General Ham said the vice president of Gambia was pleased with the exercise, and went on to disclose that they discussed with the CDS of GAF the possibility of conducting a similar military exercise in the near future.

The exercise, which was organized by the U. S. government, the U. S. Department of State for Defense and the U. S. Africa Command, was meant to give the participating nations a unique opportunity to once again test their military communication equipment with a view to harmonizing their interoperability for future support to the African forces operations.

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