Saturday, June 11, 2011

Turkey Has Mystery Deal for Gadhafi Exit?

There has been a flurry of NATO activity and announcements over the past 24 hours, from a cryptic deal announced by Turkey that would supposedly "guarantee" that Moammar Gadhafi can leave Turkey, to Norway's decision to pull out of the Libya mission later this summer.

Canada also plans to end its roll in the AWACS surveillance missions over Afghanistan and Libya to save money, though Ottawa has signaled it intends to see through the combat mission until the end.

The Dutch, meanwhile, committed to another three months in their mostly support role in the Libya air campaign.

But it was Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who caught some people by surprise when he said in an interview with NTV that he is waiting to hear back on Gadhafi on an offer for him to leave Tripoli. Erdogan, however gave no further details, other than Gadhafi has no other options.

"We have given him this guarantee. We said we will help you leave for where ever you would like," Erdogan said.

Norway, meanwhile cut back the number of fighter jets it has in Libya from six to four, and it will end its role Aug. 1. Norway was one of the NATO members Defense Secretary Robert Gates singled out yesterday for its stellar contribution to the Libya campaign.

Canada was another country Gates said has stepped up its combat role in Libya. Ottawa is expected to give approval next week to seeing the current NATO mission through to it September deadline.

Canada, however, is expected to pull out of the NATO Airborne Warning And Control System details over Afghanistan and Libya. The Canadians have about 100 military personnel in the AWACS program.

The Netherlands said it would stay in Libya through September, as well, but the six Dutch F-16s will continue to not participate in any bombing raids, instead flying only to enforce the UN-mandated no-fly-zone.

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