A US warplane has crash landed in a Libyan field in the area around Benghazi, The Telegraph can disclose.
[Meanwhile, Obama’s undeclared war on Libya is becoming a keystone cops operation as no one seems to know what exactly is the purpose of the “Coalition’s” and the U.S.’s attacks on Libya. ~Eowyn]
The developments comes after British ministers yesterday contradicted senior military commanders by suggesting that coalition forces in action over Libya can legitimately target Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. The Chief of the Defence Staff, Gen Sir David Richards, flatly insisted that seeking to hit the Libyan dictator was not allowed under the terms of United Nations Security Council resolution 1973. But after Defence Secretary Liam Fox suggested over the weekend that Col Gaddafi could be a “legitimate target”, No 10 sources insisted it was legal to target anyone killing Libyan civilians….
At a Ministry of Defence briefing, Gen Richards’ spokesman, Major Gen John Lorimer, stressed that the international military intervention was in support of the UN no-fly zone. “It is very clear that, in support of the United Nations Security Council, we are there to implement and enforce the no-fly zone,” he said. “The targets we are attacking are command and control facilities and the integrated air defence system. They are legitimate military targets.”
Earlier however, Foreign Secretary William Hague refused to rule out an attack on the Libyan leader. “I’m not going to speculate on the targets,” he told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme. “That depends on the circumstances at the time.”
James Arbuthnot, the Tory chairman of the Commons Defence Committee, said Mr Cameron had agreed in the House that the aim of protecting Libya’s civilians could not be achieved without the removal of Col Gaddafi. “We accept that the aim of the resolution is to protect civilians and not to change the regime,” he told BBC Radio 4’s The World at One. “Nevertheless we won’t be able to protect the civilians in my opinion – and obviously the Prime Minister’s and that of most leaders of the countries in the region – while Gaddafi remains in place.”
In a statement, a Ministry of Defence spokesman said: “We are not going to go into operational details on military targets. “Our clear aim is to implement UNSCR 1973 – that means saving lives and protecting the civilian population of Libya.”
The talk of targeting Col Gaddafi also appeared to alarm the Americans, with US Defence Secretary Robert Gates warning that it could undermine the cohesion of the international coalition supporting the no-fly zone. “If we start adding additional objectives then I think we create a problem in that respect,” he said. “I also think it is unwise to set as specific goals things that you may or may not be able to achieve.”
Shadow defence secretary Jim Murphy said Dr Fox’s comment was “irresponsible in many ways” and could harm efforts to harness Arab opinion in favour of the military effort. “I support the Government’s decision on Libya but I think Liam Fox’s comments are irresponsible in many ways,” he wrote on his blog. “His view that the aim of our military effort is to bring about regime change is outside what is a very broad UN resolution. It is wrong but also counterproductive at a time when we are trying to maintain a broad coalition, including Arab opinion, to talk in such a way. I agree with US Defence Secretary Robert Gates, who said, ‘If we start adding additional objectives then I think we create a problem’. Gaddafi is a tyrant, but it is up to the people of Libya to decide what happens next in their country and not for any single foreign government. Our government needs to have one clear policy on this.” He confirmed that he was the Labour figure who told a Sky News reporter that Dr Fox should be “put back in his box”….
Meanwhile, Downing Street published a note on the legal advice given by Attorney General Dominic Grieve which concluded there was “a clear and unequivocal legal basis for deployment of UK forces and military assets to achieve the resolution’s objectives”….
~Eowyn & Steve