Tuesday, March 22, 2011

War of words in UK mars Libya mission

Defense Secretary Liam Fox arrives with Chief of Defence Staff General Richards for a cabinet meeting.

Source: Press TV

A war of words has erupted among the UK military and political officials on whether the Western alliance could directly target Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi.

Cabinet ministers, including Prime Minister David Cameron, clashed with Britain's senior military officer General Sir David Richards over targeting Qaddafi directly, after the Chief of the Defense Staff said attacks on the Libyan dictator were “not allowed” under the UN resolution that called for a no-fly zone to protect the country's civilians.

In an unusual sign of disagreement, the UK government said that Gen Richards was wrong, adding that attacks on Qaddafi could be legal if he was a threat to civilians.

According to a senior source, the dispute could hamper the government's ability to win public support for its Libya strategy.

The row also called into question Sir David's authority just as he is overseeing Britain's operations in Libya.

“This is all very unhelpful and very unnecessary. Running this thing and then selling it is hard enough, and a row between the government and its principal military adviser is about the last thing anybody needs right now,” said the source.

The row also overshadowed the premier's declaration that the military mission against Libya had, so far, been a success.

The US government has also explicitly ruled out targeting Qaddafi with US Defense Secretary Robert Gates describing it as “unwise” attacks to kill the Libyan despot.

Meanwhile, an ITV news survey found that some 53 percent of Britons believe it would be unacceptable for Britain to engage in an unnecessary conflict.

This is while the ComRes poll said more than one in three people, 35 percent, agreed with the decision to take military action on Libya.

But, according to the survey, 49 percent of adults felt such intervention constituted an unnecessary risk for Britain.

Britain, France and the United States launched air strikes and missile attacks on Libyan targets Saturday, initiating a war of aggression that threatens to destabilize North Africa and the entire Middle East.

The first two days of bombing have already claimed many lives among the Libyan population that the imperialist powers falsely claim to be protecting.

The war is the first step in a campaign by Washington and its partners in crime to strike back against the popular movements that have overthrown US stooge regimes in Tunisia and Egypt and are threatening US-backed monarchies and dictatorships in Bahrain, Oman, Yemen and Saudi Arabia.

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