Turkish Prime Minister strongly against arming Libyan rebels:
Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish prime minister, has said he does not support the idea of arming Libyan rebels fighting to oust Muammar Gaddafi from power. Speaking at a joint news conference with David Cameron, the British prime minister, in London, Erdogan said: “Doing that would create a different situation in Libya and we do not find it appropriate to do that.” Erdogan also said that that sending weapons to Libya could feed terrorism, saying such weapons shipments “could also create an environment which could be conducive to terrorism”.
His comments came as Gaddafi warned the Western powers mounting air strikes on his country that they had unleashed a war between Christians and Muslims that could spiral out of control. Western states intervened in Libya after the UN authorised them to protect civilians it said were under attack by pro-Gaddafi forces, but Tripoli says the military intervention in an act of unwarranted aggression. “If they continue, the world will enter into a real crusader war. They have started something dangerous that cannot be controlled and it will become out of their control,” said a text from Gaddafi, read out on state television. “The leaders who decided to launch a crusader war between Christians and Muslims across the Mediterranean and who … killed… huge numbers of civilians in Libya, they have been made crazy by power and they want to impose the law of strength on the strength of the law.
“They have also destroyed the shared interests of their people and the Libyan people and undermined peace and wiped out civilians and they want to return us to the Middle Ages,” Gaddafi was quoted as saying. Gaddafi gave regular televised speeches in the first days of the conflict but he has not been seen in public for several days. Officials say he has been forced to change his routine after an air strike hit the heavily-guarded compound in Tripoli where he has his main residence.
NATO said it had “seamlessly” assumed full command of military operations over Libya on Thursday, and warned combatants on the ground against attacking civilians. The military alliance had agreed on Sunday to take over all operations from a coalition led by the US, France and Britain, the handover officially took place at 0600 GMT on Thursday morning. The move puts the 28-nation alliance in charge of air strikes that have targeted Gaddafi’s military infrastructure, and of policing a no-fly zone and an arms embargo. “The transition has been seamless, with no gaps. NATO is fully responsible,” Canadian Lieutenant-General Charles Bouchard, commander of NATO’s Libya operations, told journalists at the military alliance’s Southern European headquarters in Naples.
United States role
– Meanwhile, as the US debates its future role in the Libyan conflict. [Obama Regime Briefs Congress on Libyan Military Action: “We Don’t Care What You Think”...] defense leaders in Washington on Thursday slammed the brakes on the extent of US help to the rebels. Top officials said that some country other than the US should perform any future training and equipping of the Libyan opposition groups. Under withering congressional probing and criticism of what was described as an ill-defined mission to aid a rebel force that officials know little about, Robert Gates, the US defence secretary, sketched out a largely limited role for the US military going forward.
Gates and Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told members of the House Armed Services panel that many other countries have the ability to train and support the rebels. “My view would be, if there is going to be that kind of assistance to the opposition, there are plenty of sources for it other than the United States,” said Gates. “Somebody else should do that.” Gates and Mullen told Congress that future US participation will be limited and will not involve an active role in airstrikes as time goes on.
They were unable, however, to answer key questions from clearly agitated politicians about the length of the operation and how it will play out if Gaddafi does not relinquish power. The US goals are unclear and officials do not know who the rebels are, said Mike Turner, a Republican representative, adding that if it came to a vote he would not support US involvement in the operation. Turner and others repeatedly complained that Congress had not been consulted on the Libya operation, and chafed that the legislative branch is not willing to be a backseat driver.
CIA active – Gates and Mullen said that Gaddafi’s military has been degraded by as much as 25 per cent, but Mullen noted that regime forces still outnumber the rebels by about 10-to-1. They said the opposition groups are fractured and operating independently city by city, with just 1,000 of the rebels militarily trained. Their comments came as Gaddafi’s forces struck forcefully back at the rebels this week, recapturing lost ground and triggering pleas for help from the battered opposition forces.
Gates said that he believes political and economic pressures will eventually drive Gaddafi from power, but the military operation will help force him to make those choices by degrading his defense capabilities. Gates and Mullen were testifying before the House and Senate Armed Services Committees in the wake of revelations that small teams of CIA operatives are working in Libya. Gates declined to comment on the CIA activities in Libya. US officials have acknowledged that the CIA has sent small teams of operatives into Libya and helped rescue a crew member of a US fighter jet that crashed.
The CIA’s precise role in Libya is not clear. Intelligence experts said the CIA would have sent officials to make contact with the opposition and assess the strength and needs of the rebel forces in the event Barack Obama, the US president, decided to arm them.
[SUMMATION SO FAR] OK, so you’ve got the Turkish Prime Minister saying “DO NOT” arm the rebels. You’ve got President Obama, Susan Rice, Hillary Clinton saying “MAYBE” we will arm the rebels. You’ve got Obama inserting CIA operatives so they “CAN” arm the rebels. You’ve got the Pentagon and Defense Department sworn to win the “objective”, but operational “control” now in the hands of NATO. Keep reading please ……….
(Daily Beast) As the battle for the future of Libya continues, the excitement is almost palpable among Libyan-born al Qaeda fighters and other Arabs hunkered down in Pakistan’s remote and lawless tribal area.
According to Afghan Taliban sources close to Osama bin Laden’s terrorist group, some of the 200 or so Libyans operating near the Afghan border may be on their way home to steer the anti-Gaddafi revolution in a more Islamist direction.
“We have heard a number of fighters have already departed from the tribal area,” says an Afghan commander who is linked to the powerful Haqqani network, a North Waziristan-based organization that shelters many al Qaeda fighters. Others may be on their way. “Libyans and Arabs seem to be getting ready for departure and are eager to go home and fight,” says the Afghan source. “I’ve heard that some fighters are saying goodbye and giving thanks with kind words to their (Pakistani) tribal friends who have been sheltering them.”
Since the anti-Gaddafi revolution began last month, al Qaeda — especially Libyan-born affiliates — have viewed the fighting as an opportunity to spread their radical Islamist ideology. Indeed, as one Afghan Taliban operative who helps facilitate the movement of al Qaeda militants between the tribal area and Pakistani cities told The Daily Beast earlier this month: “This rebellion is the fresh breeze they’ve been waiting years for. They realize that if they don’t use this opportunity, it could be the end of their chances to turn Libya toward a real Islamic state, as Afghanistan once was.”
Now, as the White House and NATO continue to debate the possible ramifications of arming the Libyan opposition, the Haqqani network-linked Afghan commander says Libyan al Qaeda affiliates seem to be more “enthusiastic” about the war against Gaddafi every day. And from what the Afghan Taliban commander has seen, there appears to be more than “flickers” of al Qaeda’s presence in Libya, the description given by NATO commander Admiral James Stavridis. According to the Afghan commander, al Qaeda fighters can’t believe their good luck that U.S. and NATO aircraft — the same forces that have dropped bombs on their heads in Afghanistan and Pakistan — are now raining down ordnance against Gaddafi.
(got that? read the emphasis again !!!)
Today, along the tribal border region, al Qaeda’s thirst for more immediate news has led even top leaders like Abu Yahya al-Libi, a Libyan who serves as the movement’s senior Islamist ideologue and bin Laden’s head of operations for Afghanistan, to become almost foolhardy. The Afghan commander says that Yahya and some of his countrymen have even risked visiting villagers’ houses that have satellite television dishes on the roof to watch the latest Western and Middle Eastern news feeds from Libya. Their movements in public areas could easily expose these high value targets to human and UAV surveillance, and a deadly drone strike. . . .
Whether Yahya himself will return to Libya remains to be seen, but speculation about what he’ll do is rife in the tribal area. “What Yahya will do is on the mind and in the words of everyone,” the Taliban commander adds. “But I think he is probably preparing for his next move, contacting mujahideen in Libya and watching the situation in Libya.” Earlier this month, he broke his public silence over the Libyan revolt, issuing a call to arms to his countrymen in a 30-minute video that was posted on al Qaeda-linked Internet sites. He urged Libyans to fight on and kill Gaddafi. “Now it is the turn of Gaddafi [to die] after he made the people of Libya suffer for more than 40 years,” he said. “Retreating will mean decades of harsher oppression and greater injustices than what you have endured.” He also called for the institution of Islamic law once an Arab nation has cast off its former, Western-supported rulers. Overthrowing these Western-backed Arab regimes, he added, was “a step to reach the goal of every Muslim, which is to make the word of Allah the highest.”
Returning to Libya, however, does not guarantee that Yahya or his fellow al Qaeda affiliates will have any success. The long, dangerous trip from Pakistan’s tribal areas can take weeks if not months. At least one Taliban source says Yahya made the trip two years ago and returned safely, although no one else seems able to confirm that story. And even if he or other al Qaeda Libyans manage to get home again, the Taliban facilitator says they know they’ll have a tough time influencing the largely pro-democracy uprising.
“They know they must tread cautiously, and not push too hard, for too much, too soon,” he says. Instead, he says, they expect to take a moderate line at first, while quietly trying to persuade rebel leaders that the preservation of Libyan sovereignty against Western “colonialists” depends on taking an anti-Israeli, anti-American line. Any move toward imposing Islamic sharia law, Yahya’s specialty, will have to come later. Still, Taliban sources say, if Yahya is successful in reaching rebel-held territory inside Libya, at least he’ll be able to operate with relative freedom, without worrying about Gaddafi’s secret police. In the meantime, the betting among the Taliban is that bin Laden may already have found his replacement in the tribal area. “Al Qaeda will not leave this place empty,” says the facilitator.
What makes the insanity of this entire Libyan non-war,war, military thing, so ridiculous is the shere inneptitude of the American “White House” Leadership to actually recognize what the realities are. As CNN reported yesterday, and Robert Gates confirmed today, the total number of “rebels”, or “freedom fighters” that we have chosen to support is around 1,000. Yes, you read that right, about 1,000 total fighters. Of those, only about an estimated couple of hundred have any military training or experience. Seriously, ‘THIS’ is who we have chosen to attach our wagon to? Really? So if victory means eliminating Quadkdaffy, and turning over the country to people we know virtually nothing about, can someone, anyone, explain how this is not going to lead to American intervention and escalation. And for what? …… Madness, sheer madness….. SD