Tuesday, May 24, 2011

NATO Unleashes Unrelenting Bombardment

NATO allies appear to be sensing an opportunity to bring Moammar Gadahfi to the brink of capitulation, sooner than later.

"We believe that Gadhafi and his forces are under tremendous strain," said Ben Rhodes, White House deputy national security advisor for strategic communications.

"I think you saw today there were additional targeting in Tripoli at command and control centers, all of which I think sends a message that the trend lines are against Qaddafi, that time is working against him," Rhodes said this afternoon from Britain, where President Obama will meet tomorrow with Prime Minister David Cameron to discuss the Libyan air campaign.

Alliance warplanes let loose overnight with an unforgiving guided-missile attack primarily in the Tripoli area the past two days that rattled the cage of the dictator-in-hiding and what is left of his fading family and inner-circle advisors.

“Gadhafi’s forces still represent a threat to civilians and we will continue to strike targets that carry out this violence,” Lt. Gen. Charles Bouchard, NATO commander of Operation Unified Protector said following today's mission.

Four RAF warplanes took the lead role in NATO's biggest bombing mission against Gaddafi's forces since the air campaign commenced two months ago. Two Tornado GR4's and two Typhoons spearheaded the nightime attack that involved a total of

Twenty NATO warplanes from six countries bombed on a compound believed to be used by Gadhafi's paramilitary and secret police, according to The Telegraph of London. It was described as the biggest air raid in two months.

"There is an enormous sense of professional pride that we were able to accomplish this mission and return safely," said the RAF wing commander, who flew out of airbase at Gioia del Colle in southern Italy. "This undoubtedly represents a significant setback for Gadhafi's forces."

A Gadhafi spokeswoman said three people were killed and more than 15r0 others wounded in the strikes, according to Reuters.

Meanwhile, working closely with the White House, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) plan to schedule vote on a non-binding resolution supporting the Libyan no-fly zone and embargo after the Memorial Day recess.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said this week in London "time is working against Gaddafi," giving her blessing to the rebels' Transitional National Council.

"Their military forces are improving and when Gadhafi inevitably leaves, a new Libya stands ready to move forward," she said.

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