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World Building In Gadhafi Compound Possibly Struck By Cruise Missles

Jan 6, 2005
Metro-Vancouver, B.C., Canada
March 20, 2011

Building in Gadhafi compound possibly struck by cruise missiles

By the CNN Wire Staff
March 20, 2011 7:24 p.m. EDT
Tripoli, Libya (CNN)
-- A four-story building in Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's Tripoli compound has been heavily damaged, possibly by cruise missiles, CNN's Nic Robertson reported.

Robertson, invited by government officials to see the damage, said early Monday local time that two circular holes in the building may be telltale signs of cruise missiles, although that could not be immediately confirmed.

The leader's whereabouts were not known.

The building is only 100 yards or so from a statue of a golden fist crushing a model plane emblazoned with "USA" -- a monument to the 1986 American bombing of Libya, in which one U.S. plane was downed.

U.S. officials earlier Sunday said they are not targeting the leader, who has defied international calls to stop attacking opposition forces.

The United States, detailing significant damage to Gadhafi's air defenses and a military convoy, also fought a public relations campaign Sunday, insisting that coalition bombing wasn't going beyond mandates in the United Nations Security Council resolution.

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates warned against widening the current allied operations to include a direct attack on Gadhafi.

Anything that goes beyond enforcement of the no-fly zone and prevention of new military attacks on rebels risks disrupting the "very diverse coalition" that agreed to the attacks, said Gates, adding there was unanimous agreement in the top echelons of the Obama administration to push forward with military action in Libya.

Gates said the operation is off to "a strong and successful start."

He made the comments while traveling to Russia, which said earlier Sunday that innocent civilians were being killed and urged more caution. The Foreign Ministry in Moscow cited reports that "nonmilitary" targets were being bombed, including a cardiac center.

"We have no indication of any civilian casualties," U.S. Navy Vice Adm. Bill Gortney said at a Pentagon press briefing.

The Libyan military on Sunday called an immediate cease-fire after allied forces pounded one of its convoys near Benghazi and, according to U.S. officials, significantly degraded the regime's air defenses.

National Security Adviser Tom Donilon scoffed at the report of the cease-fire, saying, "It isn't true or it was immediately violated."

"We are not going after Gadhafi," Gortney said at a Pentagon press briefing. "Regime forces are more pressed and less free to maneuver."

Asked about reports of smoke rising from the area of Gadhafi's palace, Gortney said, "We are not targeting his residence."

Despite Libyan government contentions that women, children and clerics have died in allied attacks, Gortney and other officials said that's not the case.

President Barack Obama and his national security team worked behind the scenes to shore up support within the Arab world for the military mission in Libya, according to senior administration officials.

The senior officials described the Obama team's phone calls as making clear to the Arab League that bombing Gadhafi's air defenses falls within the Security Council resolution's scope of imposing a no-fly zone and taking "all necessary measures" to stop the dictator from attacking civilians in his own country.

"We don't believe this goes beyond the resolution," said one senior administration official.

The lobbying came after Arab League officials complained earlier Sunday that the bombing by the U.S. military and other allies inside Libya exceeded the scope of merely instituting a no-fly zone.

Arab League Secretary-General Amre Moussa told reporters before an emergency meeting Sunday that what is happening in Libya is different from what was intended by imposing a no-fly zone, according to Egypt's state-run Ahram newspaper.

"What we want is the protection of civilians and not the shelling of more civilians," Moussa said, adding that "military operations may not be needed in order to protect the civilians."

But Arab League chief of staff Hisham Youssef said Moussa's comments did not signify a shift by the organization.

"The Arab League position has not changed. We fully support the implementation of a no-fly zone," Youssef said. "Our ultimate aim is to end the bloodshed and achieve the aspirations of the Libyan people."

U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen told CNN that Gadhafi forces have shown little ability to counter coalition firepower.

Allied aircraft struck a Misrata area airport that has both civilian and military uses, Gortney said.

Three B-2 bombers struck only military positions at the airfield, he said.

There was violence across the country Sunday, with Gadhafi apparently shelling rebels in the west while allied airstrikes destroyed one of Gadhafi's convoys in the east.

As of Sunday night local time, the United States and British military had fired a total of 124 Tomahawk missiles at Libya's air defense sites, Gortney said.

Gadhafi had said the strikes were a confrontation between the Libyan people and "the new Nazis," and promised "a long-drawn war."

"You have proven to the world that you are not civilized, that you are terrorists -- animals attacking a safe nation that did nothing against you," Gadhafi had said in an earlier televised speech.

Gadhafi did not appear on screen during his address, leading Robertson to speculate that the Libyan leader did not want to give the allies clues about his location.

At the same time Gadhafi spoke, his regime was shelling Misrata using tanks, artillery and cannons, a witness said.

"They are destroying the city," said the witness, who is not being identified for safety reasons. He said rebels were fighting back.

Sounds of heavy gunfire could be heard during a telephone conversation with the man. There was no immediate word on casualties
Meanwhile, a senior doctor at the medical center in Benghazi confirmed Sunday that 95 people were killed and an unknown number injured in Saturday's assault on the city by pro-Gadhafi forces. Doctors there also reported a shortage of supplies, especially emergency supplies.

French Defense Minister Thierry Burkhard said the coalition's aim continues to be support for the civilians.

On Sunday, the French forces did not open fire at all because it was not necessary, he said. The previous day, French planes fired and hit four tanks.

CNN's Arwa Damon saw outside Benghazi the remains of a convoy of at least 70 military vehicles destroyed by multiple airstrikes Sunday, leaving at least five charred bodies, plus twisted tanks and smashed trucks as far as she could see.

Rebels with Damon told her it was a convoy of Libyan troops loyal to Gadhafi coming to attack Benghazi.

The no-fly zone is effectively already in place, Mullen said on CNN's "State of the Union," adding that air attacks by coalition forces have taken out most of Libya's air defense systems and some airfields.

The international military coalition targeted air defense positions near the capital, Tripoli, for a second day Sunday.

A spokesperson for the U.K. Foreign Office said that for the no-fly zone to be enforced, it was necessary to target Libyan air defenses.

"Unlike Gadhafi, the coalition is not attacking civilians," the spokesperson said. "All missions are meticulously planned to ensure every care is taken to avoid civilian casualties. We will continue to work with our Arab partners to enforce the resolution for the good of the Libyan people."

At least one Arab nation, Qatar, is making direct contributions to the allied airstrikes. The country made available four fighter planes, the French foreign minister said.

In a statement broadcast on state TV Saturday, Gadhafi's military said the strikes killed 48 people --"mostly women, children and religious clerics." CNN could not immediately verify the claim.

China's foreign ministry said Sunday that it did not agree with the use of force in international relations. And Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez also denounced the military intervention.

"They (the United States) want to appropriate the oil in Libya; they don't care about anyone's life in that region," Chavez said.

Some residents said they could receive weapons to fight back.

"We received a phone call around 3 a.m. that everyone should head out in the streets," a woman in Tripoli said. "Normal civilians are being able to have machine guns and take anti-aircraft machine guns ... to fire back at the airplanes."

Another witness in Tripoli said she's terrified about how Gadhafi might respond to the airstrikes.

"We're scared. We're not sure what will happen next," she said. "To be honest, I'm scared for my life."

CNN's Nic Robertson, Arwa Damon, Yousif Basil, Charley Keys, Chris Lawrence, Jill Dougherty, Elise Labott, Ed Henry, Larry Shaughnessy, Jim Bittermann, Paula Newton, Richard Roth, Maxim Tkachenko, Niki Cook and journalist Mohamed Fadel Fahmy contributed to this report

Jan 6, 2005
Metro-Vancouver, B.C., Canada
On the UN approval of a no-fly zone in Libya: A vote for humanity

The United Nations Security Council's vote for military intervention in Libya will add to the world's lessons in knowing when and how to act in a nation's crisis.

By the Monitor's Editorial Board / March 18, 2011

Humanity should be proud of its humanity. On Thursday, the United Nations Security Council voted to authorize the use of outside force in Libya, a move designed to prevent a massacre of pro-democracy rebels and civilians in the city of Benghazi.

No matter what happens in Libya over coming days, the international community has now ventured further down a long learning curve. The UN, in passing Resolution 1973 on March 17, has better defined when the world will meddle in a sovereign nation to prevent mass deaths.

Each humanitarian crisis – such as Somalia, Rwanda, Srebrenica, Congo, Kosovo, Darfur – has been different enough that the world has responded differently, or not at all. Yet each crisis provides its own lessons that help form a familiar pattern of collective behavior to better enable a global response in future crises.

In Libya’s case, the early lessons are these:

1. Wait for countries in the region to take the lead, rather than look to the US for automatic leadership.

When the Arab League of nations asked the UN last Saturday to approve a no-fly zone over Libya, other countries were then ready to act. And China and Russia had to withhold their vetoes in the Security Council votes.

2. The rapid advances in digital communications can provide a clearer picture of pending disaster – so use them.

Cellphone videos and other information from Libya provided accurate accounting of the situation around the rebel-held cities of eastern Libya – tipping off the UN on when to act.

3. Pre-position warships and warplanes long before a decision to intervene is made.

The US and its European allies were smart to send their naval forces to the shores of Tripoli days ago.

Such lessons can be added to those already compiled when the UN endorsed a resolution called "A Responsibility to Protect" in 2005. That document was a global commitment "to protect [a state’s] population from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity" if a state is unable or unwilling to protect its citizens.

The measure was driven in large part by the world’s lack of response to the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, in which some 800,000 died.

The big point with Libya is that humanity is on an upward path to act across borders to prevent mass slaughter. The 20th century was littered with examples of what happens without such action: the Holocaust, the mass famines in Mao’s China and Stalin’s Soviet Union, and the millions killed in Africa’s wars.

Step by step, the world’s people have shown a conscience to see the welfare of others as their own, and then mustered the political will to act.

Knowing when or how to intervene isn’t easy. But nonetheless progress is being made toward higher ideals of humanity. The outcome in Libya is still unknown. But for the international community so far, the initial steps are in the right direction.



Mar 1, 2011
Tacoma WA
Here's an interesting contrast to bullying. I find it interesting that despite the size and strength of his military, we bomb the heck out of him. From a distance, no less! Although I would never condone the atrocities of a dictator, it is still internal affairs. I don't recall any of the rebels asking for our help and despite the recent setbacks, they were really holding their own. Their defiance and courage were still very strong, which means they could have worn down the opposition eventually. Wasn't Khadaffi (sp) just another figure-head we put in place after WWII? Another tyrant created by the US that has now deviated from expectations? I love the claims that we were not "targeting Khadaffi," yet we've bombed his compounds?

We don't have the money to help our homeless, SSA is in question, nor do we have enough to continue funding social services yet we can afford to fight battles on numerous fronts where we never should have been in the first place? While some may argue Al Qada needs to be brought down, being responsible for 9/11, etc. Okay, I'll give you that one but no one can really argue that we have any business violating the sovereignty of these countries, not to mention the money. This so frustrates me about the US Government that is even spreading fears of a government shutdown, yet can afford to warmonger across the globe. Since when did the US become the World Police Force? We need to take care of our own internal problems before trying to fix the world.

Donald Rumsfeld says we are a large military capable of fighting large military's. However, we are NOT nation-builders. Well, we are doing two things we really have no business! Fighting small regimes here, rebuilding a government there all the while, our economy continues to slip.

What really angers me is Obama's nonchalant announcement that we've launched 122 cruise missiles at Libya. Then there's the "acceptable losses" of civilian casualties. That suggests the inaccurate nature of cruise missiles. NO civilian death is "acceptable," neither are military losses but they know the risks. Civilians have taken no such oath.

The US Government is the perfect picture of a bully. We push our way in where we don't belong. If I'm not mistaken, isn't the Middle East considered 'sacred' land that US troops have violated? We've pushed our way in where we're not welcome, pushing our Western ways all in the name of "helping the oppressed." The US is no better than the supposed tyrants we seek to remove! Not to mention many of which we have put in place after WWII.

In my opinion, we are out of line in doing this. Not only the fact that we, in most cases, were not welcome nor could we afford!

The genocide of Rwanda, the Holocaust and other atrocities in history have been suggested would have been averted, at least lessened. Maybe so, maybe not. But everyone knows the old saying about having your own house in order before accusing your neighbor of not keeping theirs. Well, here's a perfect example.

It just angers me that every time I blink, there's another US action. We have poverty, sickness, high unemployment yet we want to save the world first. I don't think it's always the job of the US to jump in and "save the day." We already have had too many Viet Nam situations.

If I have stepped on any toes, that is not my intent. I am merely expressing my views.



ੴ / Ik▫oaʼnkār
Dec 21, 2010
jhelmick ji some very good points.

The level of local logic, local nuances, local politics and local history is incredibly missing in USA foreign policy and actions. I suppose same can be said of any other country in terms of how such a country understands others.

For USA one has to remember that Defense is a very large employer too. Whether that is type of employment desirable, not for me to say from outside looking in.

The following interesting chart,


The following on defense related employment,



Sat Sri Akal.
Jan 6, 2005
Metro-Vancouver, B.C., Canada
UN breathes life into‘responsibility to protect’
March 21, 2011
Ramesh Thakur - Toronto Star


Doctors in besieged Benghazi called for a no-fly zone earlier this month.


On March 17, Security Council Resolution 1973 authorized the use of “all necessary measures” short of an invasion and occupation of Libya “to protect civilians and civilian-populated areas” — the first UN-sanctioned combat operations since the 1991 Gulf War.

Resolution 1973 was passed by a 10-0 vote within 24 hours of being introduced, contrary to prevailing expectations that the moment for action had passed and the world once again had watched haplessly from the sidelines. An international military coalition has destroyed Libya’s air defence system, targeted tanks, established a naval blockade and is patrolling Libya’s skies to enforce the no-fly and no-drive zones.

The game-changer was the juxtaposition of R2P as a powerful new galvanizing norm; the mass defection of Libyan diplomats who joined the chorus of calls for prompt and effective action to protect Libyan civilians, oust Moammar Gadhafi and promote democratic reforms; and the request for a no-fly zone by the Arab League on March 12.

The key decision in Washington was made by President Barack Obama at a contentious meeting of top officials in the White House on March 15. The balance shifted in favour of military action when Hillary Clinton phoned in, influenced by what she was seeing and hearing in the region.

There are many risks and dangers. The military operations could prove inconclusive, inflaming the region still further. Obama’s pivot from non-intervention suggests that U.S. policy is reactive, not strategic. There are inconsistencies in the muted response to protests and uprisings in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, where vital U.S. geopolitical and oil interests are directly engaged.

While these are “unknown unknowns,” in Donald Rumsfeld’s memorable phrase, the risks of no action were “known knowns.” Gadhafi would have prevailed and embarked on a methodical killing spree of rebel leaders, cities and regions. The recapture of Benghazi would have marked the end of the rebellion against Gadhafi’s rule. Instead, the UN-mandated intervention may mark the beginning of the end for him.

Resolution 1973 marks the first military implementation of the doctrine of “responsibility to protect” (R2P). Had the international community shirked this responsibility, Libya could have become R2P’s graveyard.

In the old world order, international politics, like all politics, was a struggle for power. The new international politics will be about the struggle for the ascendancy of competing normative architectures based on a combination of power, values and ideas.

The UN exists to bring about a world where fear is changed to hope, want gives way to dignity, and apprehensions are turned into aspirations.

In the words of the late secretary-general Dag Hammarskjöld, the UN was “not created in order to bring us to heaven, but to save us from hell.” Failures in Africa and the Balkans in the 1990s reflected structural, political and operational deficiencies that accounted for its inability to save people from a life of hell on earth.

For 350 years — from the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648 until 1998 — sovereignty functioned as institutionalized indifference. R2P responds to the idealized UN as the symbol of an imagined and constructed community of strangers: We are our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers.

R2P gave Obama the necessary intellectual and normative tool to act. His decision to reject the traditional, realpolitik definition of U.S. interests in favour of an alternative, values-accommodating definition of the Libyan crisis was closer to his instincts and consistent with the narrative that won him the White House.

The Arab League initiative and strong Franco-British urgings gave him the requisite political cover and international legitimacy. In Iraq in 2003, Washington did all the pushing but doors stayed firmly shut in most capitals. It does little harm to Washington today to be seen as the reluctant follower rather than the ardent suitor for military intervention in Libya.

Resolution 1973 makes it clear that this military action is about protecting Libya’s civilian population from attacks by its own government and not concerned with occupying or dismembering the country. Any final settlement of the conflict must be political, not military. Thus Libya is not Iraq nor even Afghanistan. The international community is as sensitive as Americans to fears of western occupation of yet another Muslim country.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has been impressively firm and consistent on R2P, leading from the front. He noted that “Resolution 1973 affirms, clearly and unequivocally, the international community’s determination to fulfill its responsibility to protect civilians from violence perpetrated upon them by their own government.”

R2P is coming closer to being solidified as an actionable norm.

Ramesh Thakur, a professor of political science at the University of Waterloo, was an R2P Commissioner and a principal author of its report. His most recent book is The Responsibility to Protect: Norms, Laws and the Use of Force in International Politics.



1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
It would surely be poor taste to accuse Nicolas Sarkozy of leading France into combat for purely selfish political reasons – but that won't stop some in the president's inner circle wondering if Operation Odyssey Dawn might just save the skin of a man who, a matter of days ago, seemed destined for electoral humiliation. Ever so discreetly, they will be hoping Libya can do for Sarkozy what the Falklands did for Margaret Thatcher – anoint a successful war leader deserving of re-election.

"The French do like to have their president play world statesman," mused one diplomat in Paris last week, before France's Mirage and Rafale fighter planes had taken to the skies. "A good crisis," he added, might be just what Sarkozy needs.


With his popularity at a record low and facing an election next year, French President Nicolas Sarkozy was in desperate need of a boost to his political stature.

And on Saturday, he got it.

The French leader, once dubbed Super Sarko by the local press for his eagerness to take the reins in global crises, summoned leaders from four continents to an emergency war council at the Elysee presidential palace in Paris to agree on military action against strongman Moammar Kadafi in Libya.


The no-fly zone decision was taken by the UN Security Council, with the support of the Arab League. France, not the US, took the leadership in forging the vote. After declaring their intention to veto, 4 security council members were pressured to abstain. They were Germany, India, China and Russia. Germany may have had its own reasons. However, India, China and Russia historically have never had a problem using military forces against civilian populations. Does anyone find this the least bit ironic?



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