Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Obama: NATO to join Libya war

A British Royal Air Force (RAF) Tornado takes off from RAF Marham, in eastern England March 21 as Britain struggles to convince the Brits about the Libya war

Source: Press TV

US President Barack Obama says the United States will transfer control of the air assault against Libya to the NATO alliance within days.

"We anticipate this transition to take place in a matter of days and not in a matter of weeks," Reuters quoted Obama as saying at a news conference during a visit to Chile on Monday.

"NATO will be involved in a coordinating function because of the extraordinary capacity of that alliance" but details of the transfer would be provided by US military chiefs, he said.

General Carter Ham, the US commander now leading the offensive, has said the missile strikes had crippled embattled Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi's military prowess and set the stage for a broad no-fly zone stretching across most of northern Libya.

French officials had earlier said that Arab countries do not want the US-led NATO alliance in charge of the military operation against Libya.

Meanwhile, Turkey has criticized NATO's role in the military campaign against Libya, saying the large-scale military operation was similar to those in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Ankara has called for a review of other possible measures NATO could take in Libya.

It has also called for an immediate Western ceasefire, urging NATO to give greater consideration to the possibility of civilian deaths.

Germany also announced that it prefers to stay out of the conflict.

The British defense secretary, however, expressed hope that NATO would take command of the campaign in the next few days.

The developments come as the Arab League criticized the Western coalition's airstrikes over Libya.

Dozens of civilians have been killed in Libya since the US, Britain, France and some other Western countries launched their attacks on the North African country.

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