Entries in No-Fly Zone (33)


Gadhafi Killed: NATO to Cease Mission in Libya?

Patrick Aventurier/Getty Images(BRUSSELS) -- With Moammar Gadhafi’s death in Libya Thursday, NATO could decide as early as Friday that the time has come to end the mission in Libya.

A NATO official says it’s likely that the NATO Council will meet in Brussels Friday in a special meeting to receive an updated recommendation from its military commanders about the status of the ongoing mission in Libya.  The NATO Council meets every Wednesday and received a regular Libya update on Wednesday, which is now outdated given Thursday’s events.

“It’s anticipated this new assessment will come with a recommendation with regards to the operation,” says the official.  ”I can’t speak to the recommendation…but there have been dramatic events today that will no doubt have a bearing on the commanders' view of where to go next.”

The official says that if the NATO Council were to decide Friday to terminate the mission in Libya, it would not occur immediately.  Like most military operations, he says it would end in a phased manner, much as it started.  The official says that’s because it’s prudent to ensure that the mission doesn’t end until they’re absolutely sure how the situation will be resolved in Libya.

The updated assessment will likely include a recommendation that will be made by Lt. Gen. Charles Bouchard, who is based in Naples has been running the operation; he’ll pass it on to his superior, Adm. Sam Locklear, who’ll then pass it to NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Adm. James Stavridis.  Stavridis would then approve it for endorsement by the NATO Military Committee in Brussels which will then forward it to the NATO Council.   If the 28 member nations agree with the recommendation they’ll pass along new instructions to NATO’s military commanders.

NATO launched Operation Unified Protector on April 1 with the mission of protecting Libyan civilians, enforcing a maritime arms embargo and a No-Fly Zone.  U.S. military planes ceased conducting offensive air strikes to protect civilians, but continued to participate in the enforcement of the No-Fly Zone over Libya.

The U.S. effort has included more than 70 aircraft -- refueling tankers, fighters for the No-Fly mission, Predator drones -- and one U.S. Navy ship, the USS Mesa Verde, which is part of the naval effort.

The Pentagon estimates that as of Sept. 30, the U.S. military mission in Libya has cost $1.1 billion

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Hillary Clinton Confident that Gadhafi's Days Are 'Numbered'

MAHMUD TURKIA/AFP/Getty Images(ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates) -- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says that Col. Moammar Gadhafi's days as Libya's leader "are numbered" and that his aides are working behind the scenes with other countries to facilitate his departure from power.

America's top envoy made the declaration at a donors meeting in Abu Dhabi as nations sympathetic to the cause of anti-Gadhafi rebels pledged $1.3 billion in assistance.

The U.S. contribution to date has been $81 million.  That includes the $26.5 million in humanitarian assistance pledged Thursday.

While appreciative of the donations, opposition leaders contend there's a big difference about what's been pledged and the actual money received by rebels in their desperate fight to drive Gadhafi from power.

NATO first established a no-fly zone over Libya in late March and has lately stepped up attacks on Gadhafi's compound in Libya and other strategic targets.

Clinton praised NATO's commitment to extend the mission 90 days past the end of June, saying, "We're pleased to receive British and French troops to our arsenal, all bravely standing against Libyan forces, which are unfortunately renewing their assaults."

Still, she said that, "We have good reasons to believe that time is on our side so long as we can sustain pressure."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Hillary Clinton: No Halt in NATO Bombing Until Gadhafi Stops Fighting

Salah Malkawi/ Getty Images(ROME) -- After more than six weeks of bombing, are U.S. and NATO forces ready to ease up on Col. Moammar Gadhafi?

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says the bombardment won't stop just because the Libyan strongman wants it to.

Meeting with allies in Rome, Italy Thursday, Clinton pointedly told Gadhafi that the attacks on his military targets won't end until he meets a series of conditions.

First, Gadhafi must "cease attacks and the threat of attacks" against opposition forces who seek to drive him from power.

Clinton added that there won't be any let-up against the Libyan dictator until his soldiers pull out of cities held by the rebels, restore full services to those cities and permit their residents to receive humanitarian aid.

The low-level civil war in Libya began late February, with NATO establishing a no-fly zone over the country on March 19.  Since then, the two sides have reached a stalemate, with Gadhafi refusing to relinquish his 40-year rule and rebels controlling most cities in the eastern part of Libya.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


US Still Involved in Airstrikes in Libya

Patrick Aventurier/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Pentagon revealed Wednesday that the U.S. military is still involved in air strikes against Moammar Gadhafi’s ground forces in Libya, despite the pledge to shift control of the mission to NATO.

U.S. military officials acknowledged that American fighter jets have bombed three Libyan ground targets since President Obama's pledge that the combat portion of the U.S. operation in Libya would be handed over to NATO “within days, not weeks” of an April 4 deadline.

Pentagon spokesman Col. Dave Lapan says U.S. fighter jets attacked Libyan air defense sites in support of a no-fly zone imposed last month by the United Nations.

Administration officials have previously said the U.S ended strikes against ground targets on April 4 and all attacks against Libyan ground units would be handled by aircraft from France, Great Britain and other members of the NATO alliance.

Defense officials dispute claims that the recent attacks contradict White House assertions that the U.S. has shifted to a supporting role.  Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell said the bombing of three air defense sites was a “defense action” to prevent Libya from attacking NATO airplanes.

The Pentagon insists that U.S. jets in Libya are only there to enforce a “no-fly zone,” but said the fighters could be used to strike ground operations as part of the U.S. enforcement of the zone.

In related news, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says the U.S. has received “disturbing reports of renewed atrocities conducted by Gadhafi’s forces.”  The secretary issued a statement saying regime militias and mercenaries have attacked civilians in the city of Misrata, destroying crucial food supply warehouses while snipers have targeted civilians seeking medical attention.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


France, Britain Chide NATO for Effort in Libya

Patrick Aventurier/Getty Images(LONDON) -- With Col. Moammar Gadhafi showing no signs of giving up his efforts to defeat rebels in Libya, France and Britain said on Tuesday that it was time that NATO steps up its attacks on government forces.

While the remarks by the British and French foreign ministers were meant to pick up the spirits of rebel forces desperate to hold onto their gains in the six-week conflict, they also irked the NATO alliance.

In a response statement, the alliance said, "NATO is conducting its military operations in Libya with vigor within the current mandate.  The pace of the operations is determined by the need to protect the population."

Rebel leaders have been very critical lately towards NATO for failing to keep up attacks on Gadhafi loyalists with the same intensity as when the U.S. was commanding the operations at the beginning of the international offensive to protect the population from a possible massacre.

In particular, the rebels are worried about keeping control of the strategic Western port city of Misrata, which is under constant bombardment by Gadhafi's tanks, artillery and snipers.  Observers say NATO's operation has been complicated by the fact that Gadhafi has put his ordinance in the midst of civilian populations, making it impossible for the Western alliance to launch air strikes without killing non-combatants.

Meanwhile, the U.S. is refusing to budge from its back seat position even as Britain and France maintain that the rebels won't succeed in their drive to remove Gadhafi from power without full U.S. participation.

However, White House spokesman Jay Carney asserted that NATO "is capable of fulfilling that mission of enforcing the no-fly zone, enforcing the arms embargo and providing civilian protection"

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


NATO Forces Accidentally Kill 15 Libyan Rebels, Injure 7

MARCO LONGARI/AFP/Getty Images (file)(TRIPOLI, Libya) -- NATO forces accidentally killed at least 15 Libyan rebels and injured seven when a convoy of five cars belonging to rebel forces was hit Saturday west of Ajdabiyah.

A plane enforcing the international no-fly zone hit the rebel vehicles, including an ambulance, between Brega and Ajdabiyah when an anti-aircraft gun was fired into the air, the BBC reported.

The accidental hit was a result of NATO forces, who are aiding Libyan civilians, confusing forces loyal to strongman Moammar Gadhafi and rebel groups. Forces on both sides are using civilian vehicles and not wearing uniforms, while most are wearing civilian clothing, according to rebel forces.

NATO officials said they are aware of the reports of the attack and are investigating, according to the BBC.

Representatives of the rebels have told ABC News correspondents that rebels they are not angered by the incident. They say they understand that collateral damage is to be expected and that they want NATO to keep up the pressure on Gadhafi.

Saturday’s accident was the second in two days. Seven civilians were killed Friday near Brega, including three sisters, according to the BBC.

Aside from allegations that have been made by Gadhafi's regime, these are the first reports of civilian casualties resulting from NATO airstrikes since the beginning of the enforcement of the no-fly zone.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Are Pro- and Anti-Gadhafi Forces Battling to a Stalemate in Libya?

ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images(TRIPOLI, Libya) -- Despite the pounding his forces have taken from an international coalition intent on assisting his enemies, Libyan Col. Moammar Gadhafi does not plan to go away quietly.

Pro-government fighters launched a counteroffensive Tuesday to offset gains made by rebels emboldened by a no-fly zone over Libya and attacks made by U.S. and NATO warplanes and ships to weaken Gadhafi's ground forces.

Over the past several days, the rebels have marched almost unimpeded from their stronghold of Benghazi, Libya's second most populous city, retaking territories they had lost to Gadhafi's loyalists before the United Nations approved a resolution to create the no-fly zone that neutralized the government's air power.

It appeared that by early last Monday that the rebels had gained control of Gadhafi's hometown of Sirte, which is critical if they are to continue westward to Tripoli.  However, that turned out not to be the case, as Gadhafi's military unleashed a barrage of missile and rocket fire that pushed the rebels back eastward.

On Tuesday, government forces were again striking the oil city of Ras Lanuf, which has changed hands three times already, while NATO-led forces held off on more air strikes, which officially are intended to protect civilians.

While the situation in Libya remains fluid and uncertain, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke at a conference in London about continuing military action in Libya, now led by NATO, as well as ramping up the "political and diplomatic pressure that makes clear to Gadhafi that he must go."

Clinton said that no decision has been made about agreeing to the rebels' request for arms, although such action would not violate the U.N. resolution allowing the creation of the no-fly zone over Libya.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Libyan Rebels Advance to Sirte as NATO Assumes Command

ABC News(TRIPOLI, Libya) -- Air raids targeting the Libyan city of Sirte Sunday night aided rebels advancing towards the city.  It was also confirmed that NATO will now be assuming the entire mission in the war-torn country, including all air strikes and the civilian protection mission.

Sirte, which is Moammar Gadhafi's hometown, lies halfway between the rebel-held east and the government-controlled west.  Taking the city is a major coup for the rebels, who are quickly advancing toward the capitol city of Tripoli.

Earlier Sunday, rebels regained two key oil complexes along Libya's coastal highway.  Their westward march towards Sirte mirrors their earlier advancement towards the capitol, but this week they had powerful air forces bombarding Gadhafi's military and clearing a path.

Shortly after nightfall, air raids on both Tripoli and Sirte began, Libyan state television confirmed.  Fighting began in the contested city of Misrata -- which lies between Sirte and Tripoli -- as residents reported that pro-Gadhafi forces were firing on residential areas.

Meanwhile, it was confirmed that NATO will assume command of all aerial operations in Libya, taking over from the U.S.-led force.

According to a senior Obama administration official who spoke on condition of anonymity, NATO will now assume the entire mission of implementing U.N. Security Council resolution 1973, which demands an immediate ceasefire in Libya, including an end to the current attacks against civilians.

This fulfills President Obama's promise to take the leading edge with America's unique capabilities, then quickly turn over authority to NATO, the official said.

More countries should be contributing assets to the operation, the official said, adding that not every country will have to take part in every aspect of the mission.  While some may contribute to enforcing the arms embargo or the no-fly zone only, others may participate in bombings to protect civilians.

NATO will lead all of it, the official confirmed, stressing that the mission is to strike at anyone who targets civilians, not to support the Libyan rebels.  NATO commanders will have the authority to pick bombing targets and won't have to seek permission from a political body first, the official noted.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Libyan Warplane Shot Down as Gadhafi Violates No-Fly Zone 

US State Department(MISURATA, Libya) -- Moammar Gadhafi has violated the no-fly zone imposed over Libya, ABC News has learned.

A Libyan warplane -- a G-2 Galeb -- was reported flying over Misurata.  The aircraft was promptly taken down after French fighter jets shot at it.

This incident is believed to be the first time a Libyan warplane was sent up and the first time one was shot down.

Earlier this month, the United Nations authorized the imposition of the no-fly zone in Libya, which extends west from Benghazi.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Ivory Coast Civilians: Where's Our No-Fly Zone?

SIA KAMBOU/AFP/Getty Images(ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast) -- As the world shifts its attention to Libya and Moammar Gadhafi, the situation in Ivory Coast, where at least 500 people have been killed and nearly half a million are fleeing their homes in fear, has been overshadowed.

For nearly four months, the international community, including the Obama administration, have been calling for Ivory Coast's incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo to accept his loss of the presidential election and step down.  Those calls have been met with brutal violence against anyone seen as a supporter of his rival, Alessane Outtara.

There has been video of tanks firing on unarmed women protesters, pictures of some of the more than 30 people killed when Pro-Gbagbo forces shelled a crowded market, and nightly messages on state TV by Gbagbo officials encouraging the youth to arm themselves and attack "the terrorists."

Reports of mercenaries from Liberia crossing back and forth between the two countries show the deteriorating situation in Ivory Coast is threatening to destabilize the whole region, leaving many Ivorians asking: where is our no-fly zone?

The Obama administration has put out many statements condemning the violence in Ivory Coast.

On Monday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, "Gbagbo’s indiscriminate violence can't be tolerated.  All individuals responsible for ordering or carrying out these heinous acts will have to answer for their actions.”

Clinton also said the administration has pledged over $12 million dollars to the World Food Program to help feed the hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing the fighting.

But aside from sanctions and a temporary boycott of cocoa exported from the country, the world's largest producer of the crop, little other action has been taken by the United States and the international community.

On Friday, The New York Times published an editorial saying the world needed to do more to intervene before it's too late.  Even a seemingly non-military intervention action like the United Nation's jamming the television and radio signals to stop broadcasts inciting violence would do some good in diffusing the situation, the Times argued.  With the crisis escalating more every day, "the international community must move quickly to halt this terror," the Times declared.

For Ivorians watching the crisis unfold, next to the attention Libya is getting, there is a feeling that the Obama administration and the West is willing to stand by while the country descends into chaos and thousands are potentially killed.

Twitter messages in English and French detail what's happening in the country and cry for help.  One uses hashtags to Obama, Sarkozy, and various media outlets: "S.O.S," @boomshake1 tweets, adding, "WE NEED HELP in COTE D IVOIRE GBAGBO killed us."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio