NATO fails to gain additional aircraft support for Libya
By Rizwan Khatik - Fri Apr 15, 3:08 pm
NATO failed for a second day to find new ground-attack aircraft for the fight against Moammar Gadhafi’s forces in Libya, but Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Friday that he expects the additional planes soon.
The top NATO military commander, U.S. Navy Adm. James Stavridis, said there is a growing need for precision attack aircraft to avoid civilian casualties as Gadhafi’s forces camouflage themselves and hide in populated areas to avoid Western airstrikes.
The commander is looking for about eight to 10 additional planes, according to American officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the details.
The alliance is struggling to overcome differences over the Libya mission, with Britain and France seeking more strikes by other NATO nations, particularly the United States. Washington says it sees no need to change what it calls a supporting role in the campaign, even though it has been flying a third of the missions and many other NATO nations have rules preventing them from striking Gadhafi’s forces except in self-defense.
The Berlin meetings ended with no specific pledges from the allies for the additional planes, the U.N. secretary-general said, adding that he received indications that nations will deliver what is needed. “I’m hopeful that we will get the necessary assets in the very near future,” he said.