July 18, 2019

Obama says US backing out of Libya command role

Can we annoy the Arabs but being in charge in Libya? - Yes we can!! but hopefully for not much longer.

US President Barack Obama says the United States will transfer out of its command role in the UN operation in Libya “within days”.

Mr Obama, speaking in Chile where he is on a hand shaking mission, was quick to point out past events in Iraq and Afgahnistan when the US had acted “unilaterally and without full international support” and had “ended up bearing the full burden”.

The US were in the best position bcause of their command structure to lead the initial assault on Colonel Gaddafi’s forces attacking the rebels in Eastern Libya.

Now that Gaddafi’s forces have been largely halted, the US is keen to take a back seat. They would prefer NATO to take charge, but there are some political issus to resolve there first. France and Turkey are not keen on the idea of NATO being in control.

With the occupation of Afghanistan under NATO command dragging on for seven years, there is understandibly some reluctance on the part of NATO to engage in another potentially long term operation. Moving the operation under full Nato control would require the agreement of all 28 members.

The United Nations itself is incapable of enforcing its resolutions, and relies on member nations and/or alliances to provide the military firepower to enforce the will of the UN.

President Obama said regarding the move away from US command that “We will be one of the partners among many. Obviously, the situation is evolving on the ground, and how quickly this transfer [of command] takes place will be determined by the recommendation of our commanding officers that the first phase of the mission has been completed.”

A Libyan government spokesman, Ibrahim Musa, said “many people” had been killed in an air attack on Sirte airport, and that the southern town of Sebha – a stronghold for Colonel Gaddafi’s tribe – had also been attacked. The claims could not be confirmed.

Fierce fighting was also reported in Misrata, 200km east of Tripoli, with rebels saying there had been a four-day bombardment by pro-Gaddafi forces and a number of deaths.