General Sir David Richards, British Armed Forces chief expressed his belief that NATO must begin direct attacks against the foundations of the regime that are propping up Colonel Muammar Gaddafi in Libya.
UN Allows for All Necessary Measures
The Security Council resolution of the United Nations allowed for “all necessary measures” to be utilized in order to protect the citizens in Libya who are under threat of attack, without authorizing any actual occupation force there. The United Kingdom and other NATO countries have been bombing Libyan targets under the resolution’s mandate, but with certain restrictions.
General Richards advises that those restrictions be widened in order to force Gaddafi out of power, including the possibility of killing Gaddafi in an air strike.
General Richards is not alone in his belief that enlarging the targets from only those objectives that are direct threats to more peripheral targets which are nonetheless helping to keep Gaddafi in power. In order to widen the scope of the air strikes, however, would require the support of NATO member states.
Gaddafi Legitimate Target
General Richards explained that killing Gaddafi within a command center would certainly be “within the rules” of the UN resolution, although ousting Gaddafi is not a stated military objective of the action. General Richards continued,
“The vice is closing on Gaddafi but we need to increase the pressure further through more intense military action. The military campaign to date has been a significant success for NATO and our Arab allies. But we need to do more. If we do not up the ante now there is a risk that the conflict could result in Gaddafi clinging to power. 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.” In addition, General Richards pointed out that there had been “hardly any civilian casualties as a result of the extreme care NATO has taken in the selection of bombing targets.”