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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 3/8/11

Point Of No Return: U.S. And NATO Prepare For War With Libya

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Message Rick Rozoff
Susan Rice, like Ivo Daalder a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution currently on leave, in her case as American ambassador to the United Nations, demanded in 2007 that the U.S. and NATO enforce a no-fly zone over the Darfur region of Sudan and "signal its readiness to strike Sudanese military and intelligence assets, including aircraft and airfields, if necessary." She also called for the deployment of NATO Response Force troops to western Sudan. Rice will vote on a no-fly resolution for Libya when it is introduced in the UN Security Council. [4]

On March 6 Senator John Kerry, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told the television news program Meet the Nation "that Libya's air force could be disabled without the kind of expense and commitment required to maintain previous no-fly zones in Iraq and the Balkans," [5] and instead "One could crater the airports and the runways and leave them incapable of using them for a period of time." His position on grounding Libya's air force was echoed by two of the Senate's top Republicans, John McCain and Mitch McConnell.

Kerry also called for turning an unspecified amount of the $30 billion in Libyan assets seized by the American government over to rebel groups in the country, adding, "I assume that a lot of weapons are going to find their way there from one means or another over the course of the next weeks."

Former U.S. ambassador to the United Nation Bill Richards, too, advocated a plan to "covertly arm the rebels" (as did White House spokesman Jay Carney) and enforce a no-fly zone over Libya.

George W. Bush administration national security advisor Stephen Hadley chimed in, telling CNN: "Obviously, if there is a way to get weapons into the hands of the rebels, if we can get anti-aircraft systems so that they can enforce a no-fly zone over their own territory, that would be helpful."

Reports have circulated about Washington enlisting Saudi Arabia to airlift weapons to rebels in Benghazi.

Pentagon spokesman Colonel David Lapan told Agence France-Presse that in regard to U.S. plans for Libya, "all options are being considered."



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USS Kearsarge

The New York Times on March 6 listed what those options are. They include the deployment of the USS Kearsarge amphibious assault ship, on which the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit is embarked and which took on board 400 more Marines in addition to the 1,200-2,000 it arrived with on the Greek island of Crete and with the USS Ponce amphibious warfare ship is now heading for the Libyan coast in a deployment ordered by Pentagon chief Gates. USS Kearsarge is equipped to carry V-22 Osprey vertical takeoff and landing aircraft and MH-53E Super Stallion helicopters, the largest and heaviest helicopters in the U.S. military arsenal.

"The flotilla can be seen as a modern-day example of 'gunboat diplomacy,' intended to embolden rebels and shake the confidence of loyalist forces and mercenaries, perhaps even inspiring a palace coup." [6]

Gunboat diplomacy is the proper term, reminiscent as it is of the dispatching of four American warships to Tripoli in 1801 where they enforced a blockade of the harbor and where the USS Enterprise defeated the privateer ship Tripoli in a naval battle off what is now Libya's capital.


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Rick Rozoff has been involved in anti-war and anti-interventionist work in various capacities for forty years. He lives in Chicago, Illinois. Is the manager of the Stop NATO international email list at:
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