"If we do not up the ante now there is a risk that the conflict could
result in Gadhafi clinging to power," British Chief of Staff Gen. David
Richards called for intensified strikes on Gadhafi to ensure his
surrender, Middle East Newsline reported. The British military chief said NATO, operating under United
Nations mandate, was currently limited in its targets and was avoiding most
assets of the Gadhafi regime.
"At present, NATO is not attacking infrastructure targets in Libya,"
Richards told the British newspaper Sunday Telegraph on May 15. "But if we
want to increase the pressure on Gadhafi's regime then we need to give
serious consideration to increasing the range of targets we can hit."
The discussions on NATO war strategy were renewed in wake of a series of
strikes on Gadhafi's compound in May. On May 13, Gadhafi was said to have
been injured in a NATO air attack, a report that turned out to be false.
Later, Gadhafi said NATO would not be able to find him.
"The Libyan people will not kneel and will not give in," Libyan Foreign
Minister Abdul Ati Obeidi said.
NATO has said it would target Gadhafi's command and control facilities,
deemed a code-word for regime headquarters. But so far many of the
casualties from these strikes have been civilian, including nine Muslim
clerics in the Brega on May 13.
Two days later, a NATO air strike was said to have killed Gadhafi's
spokesman, Col. Milad Al Fiqhi. The opposition has deemed Al Fiqhi a key
commander in the regime military campaign against the rebels, particularly
NATO has also sought to expand sanctions on Gadhafi. On May 16, the
International Criminal Court ordered the arrest of Gadhafi, his son, Seif,
and intelligence chief Abdullah Sanousi on charges of committing crimes
against humanity over the last three months.
For its part, the Libyan opposition has urged NATO to expand its mission
and directly attack the Gadhafi regime. At the same time, the opposition
has expressed confidence that Gadhafi's military was no longer able to
quell the revolt.
"People are marching, gaining more confidence," Mahmoud El Warfali,
deemed interim prime minister of the opposition's Libyan Transitional
National Council, told the Washington-based Saban Center for Middle East
Policy on May 12. "They are getting better experienced. They are gaining
more ground, more organization. I think that few coming weeks will witness
more grounds to be gained by the freedom fighters."