US Top Official Says Libyan Ground Forces Degraded by 40%
The chairman of the U.S. military's joint chiefs of staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, said Friday, that coalition air strikes over Libya have degraded the pro-government's main ground forces by 30 to 40 percent. But, he went on to say, that the battle appears to be heading to a stalemate. "It's certainly moving toward a stalemate," he said.
The top U.S. military officer said this as he addressed U.S. troops during a visit to Baghdad.
He added: "At the same time we've attrited somewhere between 30 and 40 percent of his main ground forces, his ground force capabilities. Those will continue to go away over time."
He was reported saying by Reuters news agency, that there was no sign of al Qaeda representation in Libya's opposition, playing down concerns about any militant groups edging their way into the Libyan conflict.
"We're watchful of it, mindful of it and I just haven't seen much of it at all. In fact, I've seen no al Qaeda representation there at all," he said.
Meanwhile, after US President Barack Obama's decision authorising the use of Predator drones over Libya, General James Cartwright, vice chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that the United States planned to maintain two patrols of armed Predators above Libya at any given time.
The drones have proven a potent weapon in Pakistan and other areas where U.S. forces have no troops on the ground. They can stay aloft nearly perpetually without being noticed from the ground and hit targets with missiles, with no risk to crew. It is the first time that drones will be used for airstrikes since the U.S. turned over control of the operation to NATO on April 4.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that the regime's forces in Libya were carrying out "vicious attacks" on Misurata and might have used cluster bombs against civilians.
U.S. Sen. John McCain, one of the strongest proponents in Congress of the American military intervention in Libya, said Friday that Libyan rebels fighting the Al Qathafi troops are his heroes.
The top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee made the remark on arrival in Benghazi, the rebels' stronghold, where he planned to meet with the National Transitional Council, as well as members of the rebel military. He said he wants, "to get an on-the-ground assessment of the situation''.
"They are my heroes,'' Mr. McCain said of the rebels as he walked out of a local hotel in Benghazi.
His visit is the highest yet by an American official to the rebels' stronghold.
In February, weeks before the United Nations Security Council authorised military action to protect civilians and impose a no-fly zone, Mr McCain had already pressed for U.S. military intervention in Libya in February.
Mr. McCain also has pushed for arming the rebels, saying the U.S. and its partners can't allow Libyan leader Muammar Al Qathafi to consolidate his hold on one section of the country and create a military deadlock.
||Date: 24/04/2011 16:00:54
Nato expanding , with the abscence of other world alliance, today there is no balance of power in the world,therefore Nato is becoming more and more aggressive and everywhere in the globe and may cause a WW III in the future if locked in a fight with Russia or China for the same slogan of democracy and freedom. China and Russia have fomidable deterents, but many small countries e.g.Libya do not have. Therefore, I advise every small nation on this globe to acquire medium to long range missile with nuclear warhead as a deterent to preserve peace and independence.