NATO needs to escalate bombing: Brit official

NATO has had a "significant success" in bombing Gaddafi's forces but more must be done if Gaddafi is to be chased from power.

This is the analysis of British General David Richards, chief of defense staff, who thinks it may be time to escalate the conflict and start bombing Gaddafi's infrastructure.

Reuters:

At present, NATO is not attacking infrastructure targets in Libya. But if we want to increase the pressure on Gaddafi's regime then we need to give serious consideration to increasing the range of targets we can hit," he told the paper.Nearly three months after a revolt began against Gaddafi's four-decade rule, fighting between rebels and government forces on several fronts has come to a near-standstill.

That creates a dilemma for Western governments who are under pressure to deliver a decisive outcome. They face voters who are impatient for quick results and want to avoid a repeat of the long-drawn out conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

An inconclusive outcome is likely to limit Libyan oil exports, keeping world prices high, and also keep driving hundreds of migrants to make the hazardous journey across the Mediterranean to Europe.

Previous NATO bombing campaigns, especially in Kosovo in the late 1990s, showed that more aggressive targeting carries with it the risk of civilian casualties.

With UN SecGen Ban Ki-Moon already calling for a cease fire to address the humanitarian needs of the Libyan people, it seems a dubious proposition that he and others at the UN would be pleased with an air campaign that took out electrical power, oil infrastructure, and other targets that would bring the Libyan economy to a halt. By definition, many of those targets are close to civilian areas which means a couple of stray bombs would cause a public relations catastrophe for NATO.

The momentum is picking up for some kind of negotiated solution. Unless NATO can find a way to ratchet up the pressure on Gaddafi, that will probably be the way this conflict ends.



NATO has had a "significant success" in bombing Gaddafi's forces but more must be done if Gaddafi is to be chased from power.

This is the analysis of British General David Richards, chief of defense staff, who thinks it may be time to escalate the conflict and start bombing Gaddafi's infrastructure.

Reuters:

At present, NATO is not attacking infrastructure targets in Libya. But if we want to increase the pressure on Gaddafi's regime then we need to give serious consideration to increasing the range of targets we can hit," he told the paper.

Nearly three months after a revolt began against Gaddafi's four-decade rule, fighting between rebels and government forces on several fronts has come to a near-standstill.

That creates a dilemma for Western governments who are under pressure to deliver a decisive outcome. They face voters who are impatient for quick results and want to avoid a repeat of the long-drawn out conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

An inconclusive outcome is likely to limit Libyan oil exports, keeping world prices high, and also keep driving hundreds of migrants to make the hazardous journey across the Mediterranean to Europe.

Previous NATO bombing campaigns, especially in Kosovo in the late 1990s, showed that more aggressive targeting carries with it the risk of civilian casualties.

With UN SecGen Ban Ki-Moon already calling for a cease fire to address the humanitarian needs of the Libyan people, it seems a dubious proposition that he and others at the UN would be pleased with an air campaign that took out electrical power, oil infrastructure, and other targets that would bring the Libyan economy to a halt. By definition, many of those targets are close to civilian areas which means a couple of stray bombs would cause a public relations catastrophe for NATO.

The momentum is picking up for some kind of negotiated solution. Unless NATO can find a way to ratchet up the pressure on Gaddafi, that will probably be the way this conflict ends.



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