Friday, May 27, 2011

G-8 & Russia Agree Gadhafi Must Go

Updated at 2:15 p.m. edt

British Prime Minister David Cameron contends the time is right to bear down on Moammar Gadhafi, hoping the use of attack helicopters in Libya will deal a death blow to the fractured regime.

"Now there are signs that the momentum against Gadhafi is really building. So it is right that we are ratcheting up the military, the economic and the political pressure," Cameron said a news conference today at the Group of Eight summit in Deauville, France, on the Normandy coast.

The political pressure behind upping the firepower is keeping the NATO war partners engaged. The air campaign has gone on for more than three months, and for some counties that is long enough. Some have said they need to see definitive results, or will have to withdraw, as Norway intends to do, The New York Times reports.

end update

French President Nicolas Sarkozy called for an "intensification of the military intervention" in Libya today as NATO warplanes for a fourth straight day bombed Tripoli, including Moammar Gadhafi's Bab al-Aziziyah compound.

Even the Russians, who met this week with a delegation representing the rebels Transitional National Council, have seen enough of Moammar Gadhafi, offering today to help facilitate his exit.

"We think Gadhafi has  himself of his legitimacy and it is necessary to help him  leave," said Russian deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov, according to The New York Times.

Sarkozy, hosting the annual summit of leaders of the Group of Eight industrialized nations, said he was open to discussing a new proposal by Russia to mediate an end to the Libyan conflict.

The G-8 leaders said in a joint summit statement that the bottom line on Gadhafi is, "He must go."

The alliance believes it has Gadhafi running scared. Reports say he has been hopping from hospital to hospital, seeking a safe haven from NATO smart bombs.

NATO is about to add to its arsenal 12 French and four British helicopter gunships that would provide heightened close-in precision ground attack ability to the alliance.

"Ministers have given clearance in principle for the deployment of attack helicopters in Libya. It is a matter now for military commanders to make decisions on deployment," a spokesman for British Prime Minister David Cameron told the BBC.

The NATO strikes overnight in Tripoli were a stark rejection of the Libyan government's latest  ceasefire proposal. The Libyan rebels and NATO were not convinced the proposal floated yesterday guaranteed Gadhafi would leave power.

Gadhafi loyalists, meanwhile, launched a counter-attack in Misurata, dropping mortars on rebel and civilian targets in the war-mauled city. It was said to be the worst fighting in weeks in Misurata, where rebels recently pushed out Gadhafi forces in what appeared to be a game-changing offensive.

"We fired on them and advanced. They fell back and started firing mortars," said rebel spokesman Suleim Al-Faqih told Al Jazeera.

No comments:

Post a Comment