Gaddafi vows a 'long war' | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, March 21, 2011 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, March 21, 2011

Gaddafi vows a 'long war'

US applies 'limited action' to destroy Libyan air power, ousting Gaddafi not immediate goal

Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi said all Libya's people have been armed and are ready to fight a "long war" to defeat Western forces attacking his country, in a televised audio message yesterday.
"All the Libyan people are united. The Libyan men and women have been given weapons and bombs ... You will not advance, you will not step on this land," said Gaddafi.
"We promise you a long, drawn-out war with no limits," said the Libyan leader, who was speaking on state television for a second straight day without appearing in front of camera.
"We are ready for a long war. You are not prepared for a long war in Libya. We are prepared. This is a very happy moment we are living."
"America, France, or Britain, the Christians that are in a pact against us today, they will not enjoy our oil ... You are aggressors, you are animals," said Gaddafi.
"We do not have to retreat from the battlefield because we are defending our land and our dignity," said the Libyan strongman who has faced a month-long armed uprising focused in the east of the country.
The US, Britain and France bombarded Libya with missiles from air and sea overnight Saturday in a multi-national action against Gaddafi's forces under a United Nations Security Council resolution authorising a no-fly zone.
Libyan state media said Western warplanes had bombed civilian targets in Tripoli, causing casualties. An army spokesman said strikes also hit fuel tanks feeding the rebel-held city of Misrata, east of Tripoli.
The US has unleashed a barrage of strikes against the Libyan regime's air defences, but ruled out using ground troops in what President Barack Obama called a "limited military action."
"We must be clear: actions have consequences, and the writ of the international community must be enforced," Obama told reporters while on an official visit to Brazil Saturday.
"We are answering the calls of a threatened people. And we are acting in the interests of the United States and the world," he said, stressing that Washington was acting in concert "with a broad coalition."
But with nearly 100,000 US troops fighting a protracted war in Afghanistan, Obama made clear that operation "Odyssey Dawn" would not send US troops to Libya.
"As I said yesterday, we will not -- I repeat -- we will not deploy any US troops on the ground," he said.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen yesterday said the immediate goal of the coalition's intervention in Libya is to protect civilians with a no-fly zone, not to try to oust strongman Muammar Gaddafi.
"The focus of the United Nations Security Council was really Benghazi specifically and to protect the civilians. This is not about going after Gaddafi himself or attacking him at this particular point in time”, he said.
In a dramatic show of force, US warships and a British submarine fired at least 110 Tomahawk cruise missiles into Libya against Gaddafi's anti-aircraft missiles and radar Saturday, the US military said.
Admiral William Gortney told reporters at the Pentagon that the cruise missiles "struck more than 20 integrated air defence systems and other air defence facilities ashore."
Early yesterday, CBS News reported that three US B-2 stealth bombers had dropped 40 bombs on a major Libyan airfield in an attempt to destroy much of the Libyan Air Force.
The missile strikes came despite skepticism in the US military over the risks of intervention, with Defence Secretary Robert Gates repeatedly expressing caution.
The Pentagon has suggested the US military will play a supporting role in operations, employing Tomahawk missiles, electronic jamming aircraft and other resources while European allies fly bombing missions.
The targets included surface-to-air missile sites as well as early warning radar and communication centres.
According to The Washington Post, Western reconnaissance satellites are closely monitoring a small garage at a remote desert site, south of the city of Sirte, where the Libyan government keeps about 10 tons of mustard gas.
Western officials are concerned gaddafi could use the caustic chemical to kill large numbers of his people, the report said.

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