Updates on War against Libya and Africa

Day 126-133: July 22-29

Compiled from the daily updates from Rick Rozoff of Stop NATO


130 Days Of Bombing: 16,555 NATO Air Missions, 6,239 Strike Sorties

North Atlantic Treaty Organization, July 26, 2011

NATO and Libya, Allied Joint Force Command NAPLES, SHAPE, NATO HQ

Over the past 24 hours, NATO has conducted the following activities associated with Operation UNIFIED PROTECTOR:

Air Operations

Since the beginning of the NATO operation (31 March 2011, 06.00GMT) a total of 16,555 sorties, including 6,239 strike sorties, have been conducted.

Sorties conducted 25 JULY: 111

Strike sorties conducted 25 JULY: 54


NATO Bombs Libyan Hospital, Food Depot

Voice of Russia, July 26, 2011

NATO bombs Libyan hospital

NATO aircraft has bombed out a hospital in the west of Libya, claim local authorities. According to the latest reports, 8 people, including 3 doctors, died in the attack.

A food supply depot and a medical depot have been damaged. Meanwhile, the Russian Foreign Ministry says another consignment of Russian humanitarian aid is due to arrive in Tripoli today.

In keeping with President Medvedev’s orders Russia delivers aid both to the western and the eastern regions of Libya.

On the 21st of this month, a Russian Emergencies Ministry plane brought a consignment of humanitarian aid to the stronghold of the opposition, – the city of Benghazi.


Gambia: 41-Nation AFRICOM Exercise Ends With U.S. National Anthem

U.S. Africa Command, July 26, 2011

Largest African Communications Exercise Concludes in The Gambia, By Deborah Robin Croft, U.S. AFRICOM Public Affairs

BANJUL, The Gambia: The Gambian Army band played their national anthem followed by the U.S. national anthem on the parade grounds in Banjul, July 21, 2011, bringing to a close the largest communications and interoperability exercise on the African continent.

Gambian Vice President Isatou Njie-Saidy, along with General Carter Ham, commander of U.S. Africa Command; Brigadier General Robert Ferrell, U.S. Africa Command’s director of C4 Systems; U.S. Ambassador to The Gambia Pamela White; and U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Todd Hannah inspected the troops at the start of the closing ceremony for the fifth annual Africa Endeavour (AE) exercise.

Africa Endeavour is an annual U.S. Africa Command-sponsored, multilateral communications exercise, focusing on both technical and human interoperability and information exchange. This year, 35 African nations, five European countries, the United States, and four international organizations participated.

This year’s exercise was structured by region. Each region simulated the standup of a regional African standby force in response to a natural disaster.

Another milestone that AE11 achieved was incorporating two remote sites into the exercise and establishing long-distance, high-frequency radio communications from Banjul to the headquarters of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in Abuja, Nigeria and the African Union (AU) headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Although it took a few attempts, the signal came in loud and clear on July 15.

Looking down the road three to five years from now, Ferrell said that he’d like to add another domain to include a maritime and eventually an air component. Currently, AE is primarily a land-based exercise.

African nations participating in AE 2011 included Algeria, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Egypt, Gabon, The Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Sao Tome, Senegal, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, and Zambia.

The first AE was held in Pretoria, South Africa in 2006. Subsequent exercises took place in Abuja, Nigeria in 2008, Libreville, Gabon in 2009, and Accra, Ghana in 2010.


Britain Prepares Aircraft Carrier To Prolong Libyan War Into 2012

Jane’s, July 22, 2011

UK looks to send ‘Lusty’ to Libya, By Tim Ripley

UK military planners are preparing plans to deploy the Royal Navy’s (RN’s) remaining Invincible-class aircraft carrier, HMS Illustrious, to the Mediterranean Sea with a squadron of attack helicopters embarked to sustain strike operations against Libya into 2012.

At least one of the RN’s new Type 45 Daring-class destroyers is expected to be deployed on the type’s first combat mission to accompany HMS Illustrious if the plans are approved by the UK National Security Council. Royal Air Force Panavia Tornado GR.4 and Eurofighter Typhoon squadrons are also expected to start being rotated in September if NATO extends its Libya mission for a third 90-day period.

UK Defence Secretary Dr Liam Fox hinted during a speech to the Royal United Services Institute in London on 13 July that preparations are under way to allow the country’s armed forces to rotate the contingent supporting the NATO campaign in Libya, saying that the length of operations there could not be predicted.


Libya: Bishop Laments NATO’s Rejection Of Ramadan Truce

Catholic Culture, July 22, 2011

Libya: bishop laments NATO rejection of Ramadan truce

The apostolic vicar of Tripoli has decried NATO’s “indifference” to proposals for a Ramadan ceasefire in the conflict in Libya.

“What amazes me is the indifference of NATO and Europe to the proposed ceasefire for Ramadan,” said Bishop Giovanni Martinelli. “For all the Libyans (for or against Gaddafi) Ramadan is a sacred period, and [this] is a sentiment that should be respected.”


Libyan War: Pentagon Considers NATO Request For More Drones,0,1130313.story?track=rss

Los Angeles Times, July 21, 2011

Pentagon mulls NATO request for more U.S. drones in Libya campaign

Reporting from Washington: The Obama administration is considering sending more Predator drones and other surveillance planes to bolster the NATO air war in Libya, and has reopened a debate over whether to give weapons to the rebels seeking to overthrow Moammar Kadafi, a senior Defence Department official said.

NATO commanders requested the sophisticated surveillance aircraft after concluding that they were running out of military targets in Libya after four months of bombing and missile strikes against Kadafi’s military forces and command facilities, U.S. and NATO officials said.

The Pentagon’s willingness to consider strengthening the North Atlantic Treaty Organization force in Libya marks an apparent shift since Defence Secretary Leon E. Panetta took over the Pentagon early this month.

Panetta has emphasized that winning the war in Libya is one of his top priorities. His predecessor, Robert M. Gates, had urged European allies to do more and had stressed that the U.S. military was overstretched.

NATO commanders are especially eager to obtain more Predator drones, which can remain aloft for a dozen hours or longer, beaming live video and other intelligence data back to targeting analysts on the ground, a senior NATO officer said. The Predator drones can carry two air-to-ground missiles.

“It’s getting more difficult to find stuff to blow up,” said a senior NATO officer, noting that Kadafi’s forces are increasingly using civilian facilities to carry out military operations. “Predators really enable you study things and to develop a picture of what is going on.”

The Pentagon sent NATO several Predators to augment the Libya operation three months ago…

“We are looking at all the possibilities” for sending drones and other surveillance aircraft, said the senior Pentagon official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the debate is ongoing.

The official said sending more Predator drones would require transferring them from war zones in Afghanistan and Iraq, and counter-terrorism operations elsewhere, and that some U.S. officials and senior commanders oppose the move.

“The reason why this is hard is that everything we have is currently committed elsewhere,” the official added.

Ali Aujali, the rebels’ envoy in Washington, said the rebel leadership had long ago put in a request for U.S. military aid. He said the need is for small arms, antitank weapons and four-wheel-drive vehicles for the desert, as well as equipment to detect minefields laid by Kadafi’s forces.

Giving the rebels lethal aid for the first time would signal that the White House has decided to deepen the U.S. role in hopes of turning the tide in the rebels’ favour.

The Obama administration has furnished the rebels with uniforms, boots, radios, tents, medical supplies and other nonlethal assistance since April. But the United States declined to provide weapons and other lethal aid, in part because Washington did not formally recognize the rebels.

That hurdle was crossed last week when Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced that the United States would join more than 30 other nations in recognizing the rebel leadership coalition, known as the Transitional National Council, as Libya’s government.

“Now that the recognition has taken place, I think that discussion” of providing military aid “will be back on the table,” the senior Pentagon official said.

France and several other countries have acknowledged providing small arms and other military aid to the rebels. Any U.S. decision to send assistance would be made in consultation with allies, Defence Department officials said.

The immediate issue for the Pentagon is whether to meet NATO’s request for more Predators and other surveillance planes.

The Pentagon currently has assigned enough Predators to the operation to keep two over Libya around the clock, U.S. officials have said. In addition, the U.S. has provided a Global Hawk drone — an unarmed high-altitude surveillance plane — and dozens of other manned aircraft, which conduct surveillance, intelligence collection, aerial refuelling and other support missions.

Most of the strikes against ground targets have been carried out by manned aircraft from France, Britain and a few other countries. But U.S. Predator drones also have carried out 64 strikes against ground targets since April, according to the Pentagon.

NATO’s formal request for more surveillance planes did not specifically ask for Predators, officials said, but alliance officials made it clear in discussions with U.S. officials that their preference was for more drones.

Times staff writer Paul Richter contributed to this report.

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