April 12, 2011
NATO attacks ineffectual as Misrata continues to bleed
Pro-government forces continued to pound the western city of Misrata yesterday despite NATO sorties seeking out and trying to destroy Gaddafi’s heavy weapons.
Hundreds have been reported killed in the shelling by the Libyan army. Reuters:
Echoing rebel complaints, Juppe told France Info radio, “It’s not enough.”He said NATO must stop Gaddafi shelling civilians and take out heavy weapons bombarding Misrata.
Foreign Secretary William Hague also said NATO must intensify attacks, calling on other alliance countries to match London’s supply of extra ground attack aircraft in Libya.
NATO, which stepped up air strikes around Misrata and the eastern battlefront city of Ajdabiyah at the weekend under a U.N. mandate to protect civilians, rejected the criticism.
“NATO is conducting its military operations in Libya with vigour within the current mandate. The pace of the operations is determined by the need to protect the population,” it said.
Libyan state television said on Tuesday a NATO strike on the town of Kikla, south of Tripoli, had killed civilians and members of the police force. It did not give details.
As expected, the peace initiative by the African Union fell apart as the rebels rejected any negotiated solution that would leave Gaddafi in power.
This is bad news for NATO who would love nothing better than a quick exit from the developing stalemate. With no negotiated solution in sight, and ground forces still out of the question, NATO must continue its relatively ineffectual bombing until they either get lucky and Gaddafi is overthrown by his own people, or the rebels demonstrate a lot more competence than they have to this point and win through to victory.
Neither scenario seems likely at this point.