Sacrificing Our TODAY for the World's TOMORROW
FATA is "Federally Administered Tribal Area" of Pakistan; consisting of 7 Agencies and 6 F.Rs; with a 27000 Sq Km area and 4.5 m population.
MYTH: FATA is the HUB of militancy, terrorism and unrest in Afghanistan.
REALITY: FATA is the worst "VICTIM of Militancy”. Thousands of Civilians dead & injured; Hundreds of Schools destroyed; Thousands of homes raised to ground; 40% population displaced from homes.

Monday, May 2, 2011

NATO Strikes Draw Scrutiny After Qaddafi Family Deaths (New York Times, 2 May 2011)

Courtesy: "New York Times", 2 May 2011

NATO Strikes Draw Scrutiny After Qaddafi Family Deaths

BENGHAZI, Libya — NATO officials and Western leaders defended the increasingly aggressive airstrikes in Libya on Sunday after the Libyan government said one barrage had caused the deaths of four members of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s family, raising criticism that the attacks exceeded the Security Council resolution authorizing the use of force.
The airstrikes on Saturday night killed a son and three grandchildren of Colonel Qaddafi, according to the Libyan government, which accused the NATO coalition powers of “a direct operation to assassinate the leader of this country” in violation of international law. Qaddafi supporters in Tripoli burned or vandalized the closed American, British and Italian embassies and ransacked United Nations buildings, forcing the evacuation of the 12 remaining international staff members. Russia, a permanent member of the Security Council, said the NATO attack aroused “serious doubts about coalition members’ statement that the strikes in Libya do not have the goal of physically annihilating Mr. Qaddafi and members of his family.”
The Obama administration had no comment about the airstrikes, but it criticized the Libyans’ attacks on the embassies in Tripoli. Mark Toner, a State Department spokesman, said it condemned the retaliation “in the strongest possible terms.”
The United Nations’ secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, also did not comment on the airstrikes, which were authorized under a Security Council resolution to prevent Colonel Qaddafi’s military from killing civilians in Libya’s two-month-old civil war.
NATO commanders, Western leaders and officials in Washington, who had signaled last week that they intended to escalate the airstrike campaign in Libya, said the attack on Saturday had hit a legitimate military target.
They reiterated that they were not specifically trying to kill Colonel Qaddafi, whose four decades of autocratic rule has been upended by a rebellion inspired by the downfalls of Arab strongmen in neighboring Tunisia and Egypt.
Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain told the BBC that the airstrike was consistent with the Security Council mandate to stop a “loss of civilian life by targeting Qaddafi’s war-making machine.”
NATO officials say that the intense bombing in Tripoli is designed to batter Col. Qaddafi’s military apparatus. Such a strategy is freighted with risk for the already fragile coalition. In Libya, the officials argue, the boundary between legitimate military targets and residential compounds is often blurry.
Micah Zenko, a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, said that the strikes on the command posts are “clearly” beyond the mandate of the Security Council resolution, but he called the new attacks a strategy to “terminate the campaign” as quickly as possible.
And, he said, war planners at NATO headquarters in Brussels have been “telegraphing it pretty openly” that the bombings would include strikes against Colonel Qaddafi’s command posts.
Still, the international condemnation of Saturday’s strike could create fissures in NATO and cause some officials to rethink the new strategy.
And there is the chance that if Colonel Qaddafi is killed, his death would create a backlash in the Middle East and advance claims by President Vladimir V. Putin or Russia that the West is on a “crusade” in Libya.
Republicans and Democrats in Washington both raised concerns that the NATO campaign could bring unwanted consequences.
“The narrative we want to come out of this is that the Libyan people overthrew a dictator, not that we came in and toppled a despot,” said Stephen Hadley, a former national security adviser to President Bush.
“And that’s the problem with going after command and control if it results in the death of Qaddafi, because what we really want him to do is for him to leave or to die at a Libyan hand, not an American hand,” said Mr. Hadley, speaking on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
Jane Harman, the former California congresswoman and member of the House Intelligence Committee, said on the same program that the campaign in Libya could become “a new recruiting tool for bad guys.”
There have been tensions concerning the campaign’s goals from the start. President Obama has declared that Colonel Qaddafi must step down, and yet the United Nations resolution authorizing the airstrikes does not authorize NATO jets to go after Colonel Qaddafi.
But elsewhere in Washington there was little second-guessing on Sunday.
“NATO hit a legitimate command and control facility,” said one American military official.
Sen. John McCain, the Arizona Republican, went one step further, saying he would have no problem if Colonel Qaddafi was killed in an air strike on a military compound.
“We should be taking out his command and control, and if he is killed or injured because of that, that’s fine,” Senator McCain said during an appearance on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”
NATO officials said that the compound hit on Saturday housed an elaborate bunker complex, with a basement command center from which allied intelligence had intercepted cellphone calls, radio dispatches and other electronic transmissions.  "There was a bunker complex beneath the building," one official said, asserting that reporters taken to the scene Sunday witnessed Libyan officials throwing carpets over what appeared to be a deeper hole in the rubble.
The site, which had been under allied surveillance for several days, was struck with four precision-guided weapons, one of the NATO officials said.
Libyans themselves were trying to sort through the unclear consequences of a confusing attack. In the rebel-held east of the country, many people remained convinced that Colonel Qaddafi’s government was lying about the deaths in his family, to garner sympathy or to distract the world from the increasingly deadly conflict on the ground. Footage broadcast on state television — of covered bodies, draped in white sheets or Libyan flags — did little to clear up the mystery.
Elsewhere in Libya, allied airstrikes continued, as did the government’s bombardment of rebel strongholds, including the besieged city of Misurata in western Libya. Heavy artillery strikes repeatedly hit near the city’s port and airport, and the sustained bombardment destroyed many houses in the city over the past two days.
In Benghazi, rebel leaders were determined to show that whatever Colonel Qaddafi’s fate, they were pressing ahead with their plans for a new state. They held what they said was the first joint meeting between members of an executive council, which includes several Libyan exiles, and the rebel governing council.
And they continued to question whether the colonel’s son, Seif al-Arab al-Qaddafi, 29, and three unidentified grandchildren had actually been killed.
“We do not have verification,” said Jalal al-Gallal, a rebel spokesman. “Whose children were there and what were there names? Nobody should have survived the blast in that building,” he said, referring to video footage that Libyan officials said showed the destroyed house where Seif Qaddafi was killed and where Colonel Qaddafi and his wife narrowly avoided injury.
Two friends of the Qaddafi family said that the victims included the 4 year old daughter of Colonel Qaddafi’s daughter, Aisha el-Qaddafi, 36; a one-year old son of Mohammed el-Qaddafi, the colonel’s eldest son; and a 2-year old of Hannibal el-Qaddafi, though it was unclear if it was his son or his daughter.

Kareem Fahim reported from Benghazi, Libya, and Mark Mazzetti from Washington. Reporting was contributed by Eric Schmitt and Steven Erlanger from Washington, David D. Kirkpatrick from Cairo, Dan Bilefsky and Neil MacFarquhar from New York, Ellen Barry from Moscow, and Rachel Donadio from Rome.

Note: The viewpoint expressed in this article is solely that of the writer / news outlet. "FATA Awareness Initiative" Team may not agree with the opinion presented.

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