Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Senate panel OKs US operation in Libya

Sen. John Kerry (L), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, listens to testimony during a committee hearing on Libya in Washington on June 28, 2011.

Source: Press TV

The US Senate Foreign Relations Committee has passed a resolution that authorizes continued American participation in the NATO-led war in Libya.

The resolution allows the mission to go on for one year but bans the deployment of US troops on the ground. It also puts the removal of Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi on top of US foreign policy objectives.

"When Muammar Gaddafi is bunkered down in Tripoli, when yesterday the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for him on charges of crimes against humanity, at a moment where our armed forces are supporting a NATO mission aimed at preventing more such atrocities, do we want to stop the operation?" AP quoted the committee's chairman, Sen. John Kerry asking his colleagues.

"In Libya today, no American troop is being shot at," Kerry said in backing the administration argument.

American lawmakers, however, say they are angry that President Barack Obama did not seek congressional authorization to wage the Libya war.

In a separate development, at least eight civilians have reportedly been killed by a NATO airstrike in Libya. Several other civilians were also injured in the air attack, which targeted a market in the town of Tawragha.

Since the start of its air campaign in Libya, NATO has repeatedly targeted civilians and even the revolutionary forces fighting troops loyal to Gaddafi.

Meanwhile, battles are raging on in Libya between pro-Gaddafi forces and revolutionary fighters.

Latest reports say revolutionaries have seized a major complex of weapons bunkers belonging to Gaddafi forces in western Libya.

Scores of civilians have been killed in Libya since US-led forces launched aerial and sea attacks on the North African country.

Libyan troops have also killed thousands of civilians since the revolution started against Gaddafi in mid-February.

Experts say the main motive behind the Western attack on Libya is the vast oil reserves of the country.

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