According to preliminary data, there are dead among the civilian population, buildings and roads were destroyed. In response to the coalition’s actions, M. Gaddafi called on citizens of his country to take weapon against the "new aggression of the Crusaders". In turn, the forces of the western coalition declare that they will cease fire if M. Gaddafi ceases military actions against civilians.
The power of "bluff"
The development of events in Libya in the global military scenario was preceded by an almost achieved truce. 18 March 2011. The Libyan Jamahiriya reported that it recognizes UN Security Council resolution N1973 on the situation in Libya, and adopted a declaration on the cessation of all hostilities against the opposition. As Libyan Foreign Minister Moussa Kusa reported, Tripoli is deeply interested in protecting civilians.
The resolution establishing no-fly zones over Libya gives the right to conduct an international military-air operation against this country. The message of the government of M. Gaddafi about the adoption of the resolution, many experts called no more than a bluff. The validity of such assessments was confirmed already on the morning of March 19 on 2011, when the Al-Jazeera TV channel reported that M. Gaddafi’s forces entered the opposition-held city of Benghazi, whose center is being subjected to massive artillery fire.
In response to the unfolding events in Paris, an emergency summit was convened with the participation of the US Secretary of State, the President of France and the British Prime Minister, as well as the leaders of the League of Arab States and a number of Arab countries. Following the summit, French President Nicolas Sarkozy announced the beginning of a “harsh” military operation in Libya. The United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States, as well as members of the League of Arab States, reported joining the operation. “Today we are starting an operation in Libya within the framework of the UN mandate,” N. Sarkozy said after the summit. At the same time, he noted that M. Gaddafi showed complete disregard for the requirements of the international community. “Having broken the promise to stop the violence, the Libyan government left the world community no choice but to begin direct and decisive actions,” the French leader said.
N. Sarkozy also confirmed the unofficial information that French reconnaissance aircraft entered Libya’s airspace, flew over the concentration sites of M. Gaddafi’s troops in the Benghazi area, defended by rebels. Around the same time, Italian military aircraft began reconnaissance flights over Libya, joining French fighters. Air strikes on Libya were to follow later. At the same time N. Sarkozy reported that a military operation against the forces of the Jamahiriya can be stopped at any time if the Libyan government forces stop the violence. However, the words of the French president could not stop the troops of Colonel M. Gaddafi. During 19 March, there were reports from Benghazi and other cities in eastern Libya that his forces were conducting a fierce attack on the opposition, using artillery and armored vehicles.
The beginning of the military operation
The first Libyan military airstrike was struck by French aviation at 19:45 Moscow time on March 19, 2011 Thus, the start of the military operation, which was called Odyssey Dawn ("The Beginning of the Odyssey" or "Odyssey. Dawn"), was launched. As the official representative of the Armed Forces of France said then, about 20 aircraft participated in the operation to deter the troops of the leader of the Jamahiriya. Their actions were limited to the 150-kilometer zone around Benghazi, where the opposition is based. It was planned that March 20, 2011. French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle ("Charles de Gaulle") will leave for the shores of Libya. Soon, the United States joined the hostilities in the Arab country. Washington’s willingness to participate in the operation was confirmed by US President Barack Obama. Around 22:00 Moscow time on March 19, the US military fired more than 110 Tomahawk missiles in the direction of Libya. British submarines also fired at targets. According to representatives of the US military command, on the morning of March 20, 25 coalition warships, including three submarines, were in the Mediterranean Sea. At the same time, there were no US military aircraft over the territory of Libya.
In addition to the United States, France, Britain and Canada, which joined the coalition, Qatar, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark and Norway expressed their readiness to join the operation to ensure the safety of the civilian population of Libya. Italy has proposed the creation of a center for coordinating hostilities in Libya at the NATO base in Naples.
According to the US military command, Tomahawk missiles hit 20 military targets such as a ground-to-air missile repository. The cities of Tripoli, Zouvara, Misurata, Sirta and Benghazi were shelled. In particular, the Bab Al-Aziz airbase near Tripoli, which is considered the main headquarters of M. Gaddafi, was fired upon. According to a number of Western media outlets, Libyan air defense systems suffered “substantial damage”.
At the same time, Libyan government media reported that coalition forces had fired on a number of civilian targets, in particular the Tripoli hospital and fuel storage facilities around Tripoli and Misrata. According to the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in the course of the air raids on Libya, attacks were carried out, including against non-military objects in the cities of Tripoli, Tarhuna, Maamura, Zhmeyl. As a result, as reported by 20 March, 48 civilians died and over 150 were injured. Eyewitnesses, as reported by Western agencies, reported that supporters of M. Gaddafi were transporting the bodies of those killed in clashes between government forces and the opposition to the places where the coalition forces had bombed.
Despite reports of civilian casualties, the military operation in Libya continued. In the afternoon of March 20, US strategic bombers launched air strikes on the main Libyan airfield. Three military aircraft of the US Air Force B-2 (such as "Stealth") dropped 40 bombs on this strategic object. At the same time, British Defense Secretary Liam Fox said that he hoped for an early completion of the operation in Libya. In turn, French Foreign Minister Allan Juppe said that the attacks on Libya will continue until M. Gaddafi "stops attacking civilians, and his troops leave the territories they invaded."
Gaddafi counter strike
In response to the actions of the coalition, M. Gaddafi called on the Libyans to nationwide armed resistance to the forces of the Western countries. In a telephone audio message, which was broadcast on Libya's central television, he asked "to take up arms and give an answer to the aggressors." According to M. Gaddafi, his country is preparing for a long war. He called the attacks of the coalition forces on Libya "terrorism", as well as "new aggression of the Crusaders" and "new Hitlerism". "The oil will not get the United States, Britain and France," - said M. Gaddafi. He noted that he intended to open access for ordinary citizens to warehouses with all types of weapons, so that they could protect themselves. It was decided to distribute more than 1 million citizens (including women) weapons. It was also decided to use all military and civil aircraft to protect the country. The Libyan government demanded an urgent convocation of the UN Security Council. In addition, the official Tripoli said that the UN Security Council resolution on Libya is no longer valid.
However, the statements of M. Gaddafi could not affect the balance of power in the country. The chairman of the United States Joint Chiefs of Staff (USP), Admiral Michael Mullen, said that Washington and its allies "have actually established a regime over Libya that does not allow government aircraft to fly," which is consistent with the UN Security Council resolution. In turn, France reported that its planes did not encounter any opposition from the Libyan air defense systems during the 20 March combat missions. According to the US military, as a result of strikes on Libyan territory, 20 from 22 targets were hit. The blow was struck at the Al Vatiyah airbase, which is located in 170 km south-east of Tripoli. It became known that the air defense system of this object was damaged. According to new data from the Libyan Ministry of Health, as a result of airstrikes of the Western coalition across the country, 64 people were killed. By the evening of March 20, it became known that the leadership of the Libyan army had issued an order for an immediate cease-fire.
Reaction from the side
The world community has ambiguously evaluated the actions of the coalition in Libya. In particular, the official representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, Alexander Lukashevich 20 of March, said that Russia "urges" the states conducting a military operation in Libya to stop "the indiscriminate use of force." The Russian Foreign Ministry noted that they consider the adoption of UN Security Council resolution N1973 to be a very ambiguous step to achieve goals that are clearly beyond the scope of its provisions providing for measures only to protect civilians. On the eve of the Russian Federation, it announced that it was evacuating part of the embassy staff from Libya. So far, none of the diplomats has suffered. Also, the Russian Embassy in Libya confirmed the information that the Russian ambassador to this country, Vladimir Chamov, was removed from his post on March 17.
The representative of India also expressed a negative attitude towards coalition actions. "The measures taken should relieve and not worsen the already difficult situation for the people of Libya," the Indian Foreign Ministry said in a statement. The Chinese Foreign Ministry said that China regrets the intervention of the international coalition in the Libyan conflict. It should be noted that China along with Russia, Germany, India and Brazil abstained from voting on the UN Security Council resolution N1973.
The leadership of the League of Arab States (LAS) also expressed discontent with the course of the military operation. “We want to protect the civilian population of this country, and not to apply air strikes against even more civilians of the state,” said the Secretary General of the Arab League, Amr Musa. Earlier, the League of Arab States voted to close the Libyan sky for the flights of M. Cadadfi’s aviation. They condemned the military operation of the international forces in Libya and the representatives of the extremist Taliban, which are fighting against NATO in Afghanistan. Meanwhile, the United Arab Emirates reported that they would take part in a military operation. Aircraft Air Force UAE arrived at a military base on the island of Sardinia in the Mediterranean Sea. According to unofficial data, the United Arab Emirates provided 24 military aircraft for the operation in Libya, another 4-6 military aircraft provided Qatar.
The son of the leader of the Libyan Jamahiriya, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi Khamis died in hospital from his injuries. A few days ago, the pilot of the Libyan armed forces deliberately crashed into a fortification on the plane, where the son of M. Gaddafi was with his family, according to German media, citing his Arab colleagues.
The fortification was located on the territory of the military base of Bab al-Aziz. It was on this basis that the dictator M. Gaddafi himself took refuge after the start of the rebels in mid-February 2011. It is worth noting that the German media do not call the exact date of the death of the son of the colonel, as well as other circumstances of the death of H. Gaddafi. Official Libyan media do not confirm such reports.
H. Gaddafi - the sixth son of the Libyan dictator, the commander of the special forces 32-th separate reinforced brigade of the Libyan army - the "Khamis brigade". It was he who ensured the safety of M. Gaddafi on the basis of Bab el-Aziz at the end of February. H. Gaddafi was personally acquainted with many Russian generals: in 2009. He was present as an observer at the Zapad-2009 exercise, which took place in Belarus, where Russian troops were also present. According to some information, H. Gaddafi received his education in Russia.
As a result of an air strike in Tripoli on military facilities of the troops of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, the command center of the forces of the Libyan dictator was destroyed, according to representatives of the Western coalition. Their words are transmitted by the BBC.
Media representatives were shown the destroyed building, but they were not informed of the existence of victims on the ground. The air strike was inflicted as part of Operation Odyssey. Dawn ", in which the participation of the USAF, Britain and France.
According to British experts, the real reason why France actually led the international military operation in Libya is the desire of President Nicolas Sarkozy to save his rating, which shortly before the elections hit a low point.
"The French really like it when their president behaves as a politician influencing the fate of the world," one of the diplomats told the Guardian in an interview who wished to remain anonymous. According to him, N. Sarkozy in his current situation really needs a “good crisis.”
In the opinion of observers, the French presidential fighting mood was strongly influenced by a public opinion poll conducted last week. It turned out that N. Sarkozy in the presidential election would have lost not only the opponent from the Socialist Party, but also the leader of the nationalists Jean-Marie Le Pen.
It is worth recognizing that N. Sarkozy really surprised many experts with his desire to protect the Libyan rebels. If from the beginning of the crisis the position of France could be assessed as rather moderate, then after talking with representatives of the interim government N. Sarkozy was eager to help the opposition. France recognized the leadership in Benghazi as the only legitimate one in Libya and sent its ambassador to the rebel capital. In addition, it was N. Sarkozy who persuaded the European allies to strike at government forces. Not surprisingly, French aircraft in the early hours of Operation Odyssey. Dawn "was not bombed by airfields or air defense systems, but Tanksbesieging Benghazi.
To this should be added the bad personal relations of N. Sarkozy and the Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. The latter accused the French president of betrayal, since Tripoli allegedly sponsored the election campaign of N. Sarkozy, who had won the election with great difficulty. In Paris, they chose to refute everything, after which, with even more zeal, they began to insist on the start of a military operation.
Georgia welcomes the UN Security Council resolution (SC) and the military operation of the coalition forces in Libya. Such a statement was made today by the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia, Nino Kalandadze, at a weekly briefing.
“Georgia welcomes the resolution adopted by the UN Security Council, which formed the basis of the ongoing operation,” N. Kalandadze said, adding that “Georgia supports all decisions of the international community aimed at peace and stabilization of the situation.”
“At the same time, one cannot fail to say something about our regret for civilian casualties,” the deputy minister said. She expressed the hope that "the situation in Libya will soon defuse and the international mission will be completed successfully."
The Deputy Minister noted that the Foreign Ministry did not receive any complaints from Libya from Georgian citizens. Presumably, there are currently no citizens of Georgia.
Four journalists from the New York Times detained in Libya were released to freedom. It is reported by the Associated Press with reference to the Turkish Embassy in the United States.
According to the diplomatic mission, the liberated Americans were transferred to the Turkish ambassador in Tripoli, after which they were sent to Tunisia.
Four New York Times journalists were detained during an armed clash in the western part of Libya last week. Among them are reporter Anthony Shadid, photographers Tyler Hicks and Linsey Addario, as well as reporter and videographer Steven Farrell.
It is worth noting that in 2009g. S. Farrell was captured by the radical Taliban in Afghanistan and later released by a British special forces unit.
Russia and China should, together with the United States, put pressure on countries that are seeking to seize weapons of mass destruction. About this in St. Petersburg, said the head of the Pentagon, Robert Gates, who arrived on an official visit to Russia, according to RBC-Petersburg.
According to him, in particular, we are talking about Iran, which is not only trying to obtain nuclear weapons, but also threatens other states. Obviously, in this case, R. Gates is referring to the tough statements of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad against Israel.
Among other contemporary threats, R. Gates called terrorism, since the main threat, he said, comes not from individual states, but from extremist organizations.
The visit of R.Gates was planned before the start of the military operation in Libya. It is expected that on Tuesday the head of the Pentagon will meet with Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov, as well as Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. In addition to the situation in North Africa, it is planned to discuss the situation in Afghanistan, as well as issues related to the US missile defense system.
The position of Russia, which refused to impose a veto on a UN Security Council resolution and at the same time distancing itself from the "indiscriminate use of force" by NATO forces in Libya, could bring substantial dividends to Moscow in the future, the Kommersant newspaper reported.
Without becoming an obstacle to the overthrow of the dictator, Russia has the right to count on gratitude from the government, which will come to power in Libya after the likely fall of M. Gaddafi. Moscow does not want to lose the multi-billion dollar contracts that Rosoboronexport state-owned companies, Gazprom and Russian Railways signed with Tripoli. Moscow can count on a favorable option, because even in post-war Iraq, Russian companies received several oil fields.
In addition, the Libyan crisis has allowed Moscow not only not to spoil, but also strengthen relations with the West. So, the operation to overthrow M. Gaddafi will not affect the “reset” of relations with the United States and will not break the partnership with the European Union and NATO that has begun to improve under President D. Medvedev.
Significant in this regard was the resignation of the Russian ambassador to Libya, Vladimir Chamov, who, according to the publication, until recently held the side of M. Gaddafi. It seems that the ambassador suffered because he forgot about the foreign policy attitude that D. Medvedev gave to Russian diplomats at a meeting with the diplomatic corps in July last year. Explaining the importance of developing democracy in Russia, the president noted that Moscow "should contribute to the humanization of social systems everywhere in the world, first of all at home." “It is in the interests of the Russian democracy to follow as many states as possible with democratic standards in their domestic policy,” the president said at the time, stipulating, however, that such standards “cannot be imposed unilaterally.” The behavior of Moscow, on the one hand condemning the Libyan leadership, and on the other - not supporting military intervention, fits into this difficult to implement scheme.
There was information that D. Medvedev himself was inclined to support the resolution of the UN Security Council, while the Foreign Ministry discussed the feasibility of using the right of veto and blocking it. As a result, a compromise was reached and a decision was made to abstain.
Deputies of the State Duma from the LDPR and "Fair Russia" told RBC about their attitude to the operation of the coalition of Western countries in Libya.
The military intervention of certain Western countries in Libya could turn into a wave of terrorist acts for them. This opinion was expressed in an interview with the head of the LDPR faction in the State Duma, Igor Lebedev. “Gaddafi’s methods of fighting are known to everyone, his most terrible retaliation will be expressed not in combat aircraft and ground operations, but in a wave of terrorist attacks that can travel to those countries that are now fighting against Libya,” the deputy suggested.
I. Lebedev is sure that the intervention of the coalition in the internal affairs of another country takes place under pretexts that have no relation to reality. "Under the pretext of protecting civilians, it is also bombed from the air, and under the pretext of protecting civil society, Western countries are approaching Libyan oil reserves and trying to establish a regime controlled by the Americans and kindle the fire of war in the Arab world in order to get closer to their old the enemy is Iran, ”said the deputy.
According to him, "no one says that Gaddafi is right." “But a military invasion from the outside is also not the right solution to the problem,” concluded I. Lebedev.
Do not like the methods of the coalition and the deputies from the "Fair Russia". The military invasion of Libyan forces by the Western coalition risks turning into a protracted conflict in this country, said State Duma deputy from the "Fair Russia" Gennady Gudkov, commenting on what is happening in Libya.
"Colonel Muammar Gaddafi is a dictator who committed a crime against his own people, starting to bomb the rebels," said the parliamentarian. At the same time, he called the erroneous way to solve the Libyan problem by the military forces of the Western coalition, which acts in pursuance of the UN Security Council resolution on providing safe heaven over Libya. “No people will tolerate outside interference in their internal affairs,” G.Gudkov noted. According to him, in this case the anti-Libyan coalition risks getting the opposite effect, consisting in rallying the population around its leader, despite the dictatorial nature of the regime established by it.
At the same time, commenting on the information on the intention of the Libyan authorities to arm a million civilians to protect against Western intervention, G. Gudkov doubted the plausibility of such messages: “I don’t believe in a million militiamen, I do not exclude that this is just an information stuffing ".
Russia, China and India should take the initiative of holding an additional meeting of the UN Security Council on concretizing the previously adopted resolution on the creation of a no-fly zone in the sky over Libya, suggested Semen Bagdasarov, member of the State Duma Committee on International Affairs (Fair Russia).
"These countries should require such a meeting to specify the implementation of the resolution in time and clear objectives of a military operation in Libya," said the deputy in the commentary. According to him, the current resolution is “blurred”, which unties the hands of the forces of the Western coalition, taking into account the incoming information about civilian casualties as a result of the bombings. “Many civilians die, so the original goal, which was proclaimed by the supporters of the resolution - to stop victims among the population - is not achieved,” said S. Baghdasarov. In this regard, he called for the immediate suspension of hostilities by the "anti-Libyan coalition."
The MP believes that Libya was the fourth country after Yugoslavia, Iraq and Afghanistan, which became “a victim because of a wrong regime.” “Tomorrow any other country with a“ not such regime ”could be such a victim,” he said, adding that the continuation of the attack on Libya would lead to a sharp radicalization of sentiment in the Arab world. “It turns out that they give rise to terrorism,” the deputy concluded.
He also noted that Libya could repeat the fate of Iraq, which "as it turned out, did not create any nuclear weapons and became the victim of the information war of the United States." “After all, what kind of rebels in Libya? I do not exclude that this is just a rabble, but, judging by some external signs, these are people who fought in the area of the Afghan-Pakistan border, ”notes S. Baghdasarov.
Viktor Zavarzin, head of the Russian State Duma defense committee, expressed the opinion that NATO strategists “are trying to solve the most complicated military-political problem in Libya in one fell swoop”, which only aggravates the situation in this region.
According to him, this is reminiscent of NATO’s actions against the former Yugoslavia in March 1999. “As then, the coalition forces are trying to implement their notorious concept of“ humanitarian intervention ”in Libya, the deputy said. At the same time, the escalation of force actions only aggravates the situation in the region.
"I firmly believe that no political necessity or military expediency should prevail over international law," V. Zavarzin stressed in this connection. He also recalled that Russia opposes military actions in Libya, which "directly harm the civilian population." “Unfortunately, at present, we see that as a result of the use of foreign military force, civilians are dying and attacks on civilian objects are being carried out,” said the head of the committee.
V. Zavarzin noted that "there is no doubt that the actions of Muammar Gaddafi are in conflict with international law, and this, of course, must be fought." “But at the same time the death of the civilian population should not be allowed,” the parliamentarian is convinced.
Today it also became known that the Secretary General of the League of Arab States (LAS), Amr Moussa, supported the UN Security Council resolution, which allows for military operations against Libya. He made such a statement during a press conference with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
“We are not against the resolution, since it does not speak about the invasion, but about protecting citizens from what they suffered in Benghazi,” said A.Musa, implying the repeated air strikes of the Libyan government air force on the opposition forces in this city.
“The position of the Arab League towards Libya is clearly defined. We immediately suspended Libya’s membership in our organization and offered the UN to introduce a no-fly zone over it, ”he added. Earlier, A.Musa said that the LAS did not want any states to “go too far” on this issue.
Note that at present, the bombing of Libya by NATO forces continues. The coalition that attacked the North African state included the United States, France, Great Britain, Canada and Italy.