Kitty Donaldson and Thomas Penny
March 21, 2011
The head of the U.K.’s armed forces said Muammar Qaddafi can’t be directly targeted under the United Nations resolution enforcing a no-fly zone over Libya after senior ministers raised the possibility that he could be.
“It’s not allowed under the UN resolution and it’s not something I want to discuss further,” General David Richards told BBC television today. “We’re cautiously optimistic that we’re on track to achieve the goals that have been set us.”
Under the United Nations Security Council resolution passed March 17, forces led by Britain, France and the U.S. are permitted to enforce a no-fly zone to prevent Qaddafi attacking his own civilian population. U.K. Foreign Secretary William Hague said this morning that it “all depends on how people behave,” when asked if Qaddafi could be a target. Defense Secretary Liam Fox also left open the possibility yesterday.
U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said yesterday the campaign should be limited to the terms of the resolution rather than being broadened to target Qaddafi directly. Allied officials said two days of missile and aircraft strikes have effectively grounded Qaddafi’s air force, halting his advance into the rebel stronghold of Benghazi. The Libyan leader denounced the coalition against him as “the party of Satan.”