Libya: Operation "Odyssey dawn", days 2 and 3



International coalition’s military operations continued over Libya Sunday March 20 and Monday March 21, as diplomatic tensions and terrorism threats increased.


It is planned to continue today, March 22.


1)    Military strategy


The U.S. (Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman, Admiral Mike Mullen) said on Sunday morning that “allied forces have effectively established a No Fly Zone over Libya”.

Admiral Mike Mullen said also the outcome in Libya is “uncertain” as the crisis could end in a “stalemate” with colonel Gaddafi. He added that “the military mission has a clear limited scope”.

U.S. National Security Adviser for strategic Communications, Ben Rhodes said the UN S.C. resolution “does not mandate regime change”. French Presidential adviser Henri Guaino agreed on this point, adding that “a Libyan revolution belongs to the country’s citizen”


The targeting of colonel Gaddafi is a delicate point for the allies. It divides leaders even in their own countries. In UK, the Chief of Defense, General Sir David Richards said “it was not allowed” under the UN S.C. resolution. But the Primer Minister offices said that the general was wrong and targeting Gaddafi “could be legal if he was a threat to civilians”. And on Sunday, both Mr Cameron and US President Barack Obama said colonel Gaddafi “needed to be removed from power”.

From the numerous contacts we had those last days, both with military, intelligence and political leaders in Europe and in the Arab world, ESISC understands that colonel Gaddafi still remain a “legitimate target” for the coalition as many see his removal or death as the quickest way to end this phase of the Libyan crisis. 

Late Monday evening, the British Parliament backed the action in Libya by 557 votes to 13.

In Libya, the February 17 youth coalition welcomed aerial bombing but rejected any foreign troops on ground.


2)    Military situation on the theatre of operations

French jets onboard the Charles De Gaulle aircraft carrier will start operating on March 22, the French General Staff announced.

It was announced Monday evening that the US will “transfer control of air strikes targeting on Libyan forces within days.

Approximately 100 sorties were executed over Libya by the coalition forces on Monday March 21.

On Monday, Norway sent 6 F16 fighters and a Hercules transport plane to take part in, the operations

Rebels accused colonel Gaddafi to use civilians as human shields in Tripoli,

U.S. B-2 stealth bombers were engaged for the first time early Sunday morning, dropping 40 bombs

Italian Defense Minister Ignazio La Russa said Sunday that Italy was “ready to join the operations”

German magazine “Focus” said that British Special forces have been on Libyan ground for weeks. Special Air Service (SAS) and Special Boat Service (SBS) are there to scout possible targets and evaluate the results of the strikes.

ESISC assumes other countries have also special forces team on the ground for the same goal and perhaps to arm and train the rebels in the eastern part of the country.

Sweden said it could deploy 6 to 8 Jas Gripen fighters which are currently ion a ten-days standby


3)      Diplomacy

As Europe agreed on new economic sanctions on Libya, targeting more Gaddafi’s regime personalities and entities, the German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she would support a Libyan oil embargo.

Turkey calls colonel Gaddafi to step down and “hand over power to someone who has legitimacy”. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan also said he hoped that a “long term military action in Libya would not be necessary”.

Turkish national Defense Minister, Mr Vecdi Gonul said “France’s leading role in using force against Libya is difficult to understand.” High level Turkish government sources told ESISC, Monday afternoon, that “it is difficult to understand French position because two or three years ago, colonel Gaddafi was welcomed with great pomp in Paris

Greece is not participating in the operations but “is responding on bilateral level to requests from friends and allies”, Greek newspaper Kathimerini reported.

Cyprus criticized the use of RAF Base of Akrotiri for operations against Libya. The base is a British territory but the British governemet said it will be used only in “a supporting role”.

Venezuela President Hugo Chavez criticized the air strikes  as being “indiscriminate bombing”. Mr Chavez who enjoys a questionable human right track record is on of the rare chiefs of state supporting Mr Gaddafi.

Indian Foreign Minister called for “an end to air strikes in Libya”.

The African, Union called for a “cessation of hostilities” and said it would collaborate with Libyan authorities to deliver humanitarian assistance to the Libyan people.

South African President Jacob Zuma called for “an immediate cease-fire” and an end to attacks on civilians

Some troubles seem to appear in the Arab League:


-          Sunday afternoon, the General Secretary of the League, Amr Moussa criticized the air strikes saying this operation “differ from the No Fly Zone the Arab League originally supported”. He called to an Emergency meeting.

-          This declaration mirrors the fact that a part of the Arab opinion feels uncomfortable with a coalition of “Western nations” conducting a military operation against an Arab state under American command.

-          British Foreign Secretary, William Hague commented that the Arab League “still: support air strikes on Libya to enforce a NFZ”.

-          Amr Moussa later clarified his position saying “that the Arab League asked the UN to establish a NFZ”: “The League respects the UN resolution and does not oppose it, because it indicated there would not be an invasion, but the civilians would be protected”

The United Arab Emirates said they will limit their role in “humanitarian efforts”

The Qatari jets are expected at Souda Greek air base (Crete) by Tuesday March 22; Qatar will send one C-130 and 6 Mirage to the zone. It will be the first Arab partner of the coalition to take part in the military operations.


Russia has shown a increasing concern about the ongoing military action:

-          Monday afternoon, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said UN S.C. resolution is “flawed and resembles the medieval calls for crusades”

-          A few hours later, the Russian President Dmitri Medvedev commented: “It is unacceptable to call the situation in Libya “a crusade”. it is wrong to use terms that suggest a clash of civilizations and any assessment of the crisis should be as cautious as possible”


Germany Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said Sunday that “Berlin is not isolated after refusing to join its NATO allies in military operation”. He added that many European countries “understand and respect” Germany’s decision.


4)    Terrorism and security focus

(ESISC will publish, later today, another detailed Briefing on the terrorism threat related to the Libyan crisis)

-          The U.S. Department of State issued Sunday morning a warning recommending media organisations to not send Journalists in Libya because high risk of abduction

-          Speaking “life” by telephone on the State Libyan TV, colonel Muammar Gaddafi said, Sunday noon that it will be a “Long war”, with “no limit”

-          Abdelmalek Droukdel, the national emir of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), issued a 12-minutes audio statement in which he called for jihad in Libya “against the West and namely against the US”. He also informed that the terrorists are preparing for a “long war’ in Libya against “the crusaders and their allies”.

-          Separately Libyan terrorist leader Jamal Ibrahim Al-Chtioui Al-Masrati also known as “Atya Allah” declared in an audio-message that was posted on radical websites that Al-Qaeda intends to proclaim the “Islamic Emirate in Libya” in the coming days. He also called to launch jihad against the countries who are involved in the military intervention against Libya.


5)    Chronology


-          Canadian jets began to conduct their first flights over Libya on March 21. 4 Canadian CF18 and two refuelling tankers patrolled northern part of the country

-          On Monday, 4 Belgian F16 flew their first sorties over Libya

-          On Monday, two Spanish F18 staged their first operational sortie over Libya

-          On Monday, Italian Tornados jets departed Italian bases for their first mission over Libya

-          At the very beginning of March 21, the Royal Air Force aborted an attack on air defense systems because it knew that “a number of civilians” were in the area.

-          In the first hours of Monday morning, air-strikes were carried out around Ajdabiya and Brega

-          During the night of Sunday to Monday, allied attack destroyed a command building used by colonel Gaddafi, near his own compound. The building was treated by 10 U.K. jets from Marham Base in Norfolk. A British submarine also fired Tomahawk missiles.

-          March 20: Tripoli announced a new cease-fire starting at 09:00 PM. The international coalition refused to consider this new offer

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