Latest Stories

NATO fights on though Libya coalition shrinks


BRUSSELS — NATO allies are in a hurry to bring the air war in Libya to a victorious end but are having to carry on with a shrinking alliance after Norway withdrew its jets and Italy pulled an aircraft carrier.

Norway’s departure this weekend leaves the 28-nation military club with combat planes from seven nations instead of eight to finish a job begun four months ago that some hoped would last just weeks.

And with Moamer Kadhafi refusing to step down, allied tactics and diplomatic messages too are under adjustment: the United States, France and Britain indicated in recent days the dictator could stay in Libya if he cedes power.

Despite Norway’s withdrawal, NATO officials insist they can maintain a high tempo of aerial operations, which have averaged more than 100 sorties per day including around 50 missions aimed at hitting targets.

“We have made clear that there has to be a political solution to the crisis, but we have made it equally clear that our military operation will continue for as long as it is needed,” said NATO spokeswoman Carmen Romero.

“Kadhafi cannot wait us out,” she told a news conference this week.

Britain has effectively stepped in to fill the gap left by Norway by contributing an extra four Tornado planes and will carry on the mission along with France, Canada, Belgium, Denmark, Italy and the United States.

But British officers have warned that their armed forces risked being overstretched with global commitments in Afghanistan as well as Libya.

Italy, Libya’s former colonial ruler, is scaling back its involvement, withdrawing the aircraft carrier Garibaldi this month while the Senate voted Wednesday to drastically reduce the mission’s budget and number of troops.

Allies appear to be growing impatient of a conflict that the top US officer, Admiral Michael Mullen, acknowledged was stuck in a “stalemate.”

But he voiced optimism the mission will prevail, saying last Monday: “In the long run, I think it’s a strategy that will work… (toward) removal of Kadhafi from power.”

After repeatedly pressing Kadhafi to step down, the United States, France and Britain switched tack in recent days, offering to allow him to remain in Libya if he gives up power — an option the rebels rejected.

“It’s turning into a complete shambles,” Alexis Crow, security analyst at the Chatham House think tank in London, told AFP.

“The single greatest problem for the operation as a whole is this inability to match goals and means and match tactics with strategy,” Crow said.

The allies have never been clear about Kadhafi’s fate, struggling to agree on a common message from the start of the campaign with nations initially reluctant to call for the strongman to step down, she said.

“I am not completely convinced that removing him from power but letting him remain in Libya will fundamentally do a lot of good,” Crow said. “I don’t think that staying on his own soil eliminates the loyalists’ desire to rule.”

NATO’s commitment to the mission faces a key test in September when the operation’s second 90-day mandate comes to an end.

The United States is floating the idea of asking NATO ambassadors to consider an open-ended mandate this time, sources familiar with the discussions told AFP.

“This would put our procedures in tune with our message,” said a senior NATO official. “It would be logical because we say that we will stay as long as it’s necessary.”

A NATO diplomat said an indefinite mandate would be a tough sell as some nations would require parliamentary approval.

“There will be a hot debate,” the diplomat said, adding that the alliance will likely back a renewal of at least 90 days, however, because “what is at stake is the credibility of NATO, so common sense will prevail.”

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: aircraft , Libya , Moammar Gadhafi , NATO , Norway

  • Anonymous

    Bombing Civilians to Save them is simply InSane…
    There are over one million ppl in Libya that want the Libyan Leader to stay
    they were in the cities with one of the longest green flags on record sewn by the women
    the media prefers not to show these videos  …why ?
    there are atrocities being commited by the rebel terrorists and those videaos are also not shown on mainstream media…
    Bombs kill and destroy !
    Stop Bombing Libya NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_OAQK74WTEH4NBAEVFGYSHU7ME4 Bert Casio

      Kadhafi should stop bombing and shooting Civilians, it would have been InSane to let him carry on.

      NATO and the Rebels are doing an excellent job.

      Kadhafi has already lost, at least half the country and a large section of Libyan people, he is not worried about Libya, just himself.
      Bomb him NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/DTAMRNQI5I5A4MLLJ7A5SPFNW4 Toshiba

        such an extremist. The media have brainwashed you. Gaddafi is fighting rebels not civilians. Cant believe you wont aknowledge that.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_4RVUTYMBPQBDEPM2B5XJPA5HR4 avargas2001

        sorry but Gaddafi is punishing spyes and terrorists why does nato support them ?? will nato kill more libyans when the new bin ladens wane-be deside to turn their guns and kill americans ??? as bin laden and al-qaeda did in sept-11 2001 or was that another sabotage trick to kill Muslims ?? will the terrorists in genghazy keep rapping women and children ??? under the protection of NATO (new allyed terror organization ?)

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_4RVUTYMBPQBDEPM2B5XJPA5HR4 avargas2001

    libya should send sniper riffles into Afghanistan and Iraq to execute all red necks who are terrorits, thieves, murderers and perverts and the leaders of local support groups. al this tradors should get punished and executed right away.

  • Engineer.X

    “NATO spokeswoman Carmen Romero.“Kadhafi cannot wait us out,” she told a news conference this week.”"

    I would not bet anything on that statement that you cannot afford to lose.

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. Estrada: Gigi Reyes won’t testify vs JPE
  2. Gigi Reyes’ only option: tell all
  3. Unease in Vatican over cardinal’s luxury flat—report
  4. Santiago sees Palace hand in Gigi’s return
  5. Malaysia Airlines jet turns back after tire burst
  6. Gigi Reyes back to face charges
  7. Aquino vows to intensify anti-corruption drive further
  8. In the know: Gigi Reyes
  9. Healing priest invites political leaders to join ‘prayer for nation’
  10. ‘Malang’ next crocodile attraction after ‘Lolong’
  1. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  2. Suspect in Vhong Navarro mauling tries to leave PH
  3. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  4. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  5. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  6. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  7. ‘Mom, I love you,’ says text from student on sinking ferry
  8. Massive infra spending set
  9. Fr. Suarez says last Mass on Easter before returning donated land to San Miguel
  10. I’ll follow my conscience on Estrada, says JV Ejercito
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  4. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  5. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  6. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  7. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
  8. Police rule out foul play in Helena Belmonte’s death as boyfriend is ‘traumatized’
  9. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  10. Hammer-wielding robbers cause chaos at Philippines’ Mall of Asia


  • Car hits packed US church, injuring about 20
  • LPA enters PH, to bring rains and thunderstorms
  • Sing-along saint: Showbiz world gets papal inspiration
  • Two-thirds of underwater search done, no sign of MH370
  • S. Korea prosecutors turn to mobile app for ferry probe
  • Sports

  • Reigning champs Miami open playoffs with win
  • Spurs subdue Mavericks in playoff opener
  • Wawrinka beats Federer to win Monte Carlo Masters
  • Ageless Hopkins pitches 50-50 Mayweather deal
  • Goodbye MGM, Las Vegas for Pacquiao?
  • Lifestyle

  • Miss America: Don’t suspend teen over prom invite
  • Transitions and resurrection in the performing arts
  • ‘Archaeology tour’ of Cebu’s heritage of faith
  • Historic Fort Bonifacio tunnel converted into a septic tank
  • ‘Imports’ from London, and play of the year
  • Entertainment

  • Discovery network cancels Everest jump
  • ‘Captain America’ stays strong atop US box office
  • Easter musings
  • Solenn in shorts
  • Unmerry mix of attention-calling moves on ‘Mini-Me’ TV tilts
  • Business

  • Oil prices down in quiet Asian trade
  • Asian shares mixed in holiday-thinned trade
  • BDO seen keen on bidding for Cocobank
  • Bataan freeport investment pledges up 1,302%
  • Golden Week
  • Technology

  • PH has slowest internet in Southeast Asia
  • Nintendo’s trailblazing Game Boy marks 25th anniversary
  • Nasa’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down
  • Netizens pay respects to Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Opinion

  • Gigi’s home
  • Palace stonewalls on MRT inquiry
  • Couple of things too
  • There is plenty of water behind Wawa Dam
  • Triduum thoughts of a young boy
  • Global Nation

  • Obama on mission to quiet Asia skeptics
  • Search for Etihad passengers launched
  • Japan presents $57-B ‘dream plan’ to solve Metro congestion
  • Tim Tebow’s charity hospital in Davao seen to open in 7 months
  • OFW died of Mers-CoV in Saudi Arabia, says family
  • Marketplace