- Israel hits symbols of Hamas rule; scores killed
- Mississippi abortion law can’t be enforced
- Teacher who survived Sandy Hook has book deal
- Jury awards Jesse Ventura $1.8M in case vs. ‘American Sniper’ author Chris Kyle
- Government OKs Arab-owned company to operate U.S. cargo port
- Defense lawyer: McDonnell’s wife had ‘crush’ on CEO
- Chinese hackers stole ‘huge quantities’ of sensitive data on Israel’s Iron Dome
- House unveils bill to speed deportations of illegal immigrant children
- Californians protest middle school for hiring white man to teach cultural studies
- Killer’s sentencing overturned because mother couldn’t find seat in courtroom
Libya costs, mission unclear
Allies ‘in complete disarray’ on whether Gadhafi is goal
Question of the Day
The allies in the U.S.-led military operation in Libya debated a new command structure Tuesday, with differences over the ultimate aims and scope of the campaign impeding an agreement, as forces loyal to dictator Moammar Gadhafi shelled the coastal city of Misurata.
There were also growing questions about how much the Odyssey Dawn operation will cost and who will pay for it, as many participating nations are dealing with budget constraints in the aftermath of the global economic downturn.
President Obama, in the midst of a Latin America trip, spoke Tuesday with British Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Nicolas Sarkozy. A White House aide said all three agreed that NATO should have a key role in the command, but the details were still to be worked out.
“This is not finalized, so I don’t want to suggest that it is,” said Ben Rhodes, deputy national security adviser for strategic communications. “This is still being worked in Brussels.”
Observers suggested that an agreement would be hard to reach, given the divergence of opinion. Mr. Obama has said Col. Gadhafi should step down, but his ouster is not the goal of the U.N. operation. Allies, including France, have said that overthrowing Col. Gadhafi is a key objective.
Mr. Obama said Tuesday that the U.S. is seeking to hand off the leading role in the operation “over the next several days.”
“NATO is in complete disarray,” James Ludes, director of the think tank the American Security Project, told The Washington Times. “Everyone seems to have a different idea about what this is and where it is going.”
If the world leaders cannot reach an agreement, “we will be left holding the baby,” Mr. Ludes said.
Meanwhile, the crash of a U.S. fighter jet late Monday and reports that a U.S. rescue crew had fired on Libyan villagers underscored the complex and sometimes chaotic nature of the U.N.-mandated operation.
The two Air Force fliers ejected from their F-15E after it developed mechanical difficulties and were safe and in U.S. hands with only minor injuries, officials said.
But Britain’s Channel 4 News reported that six villagers had been hit by fire from the U.S. search-and-rescue craft that came to recover them.
“I cannot confirm that,” said Air Force Maj. Beverly Mock, a spokeswoman for U.S. Africa Command, which is in charge of the operation. She said an investigation into the crash and its aftermath was under way.
Meanwhile, White House officials said Mr. Obama likely would leave San Salvador a couple of hours early Wednesday, but would hold a teleconference with national security advisers before departing.
As the diplomatic debate continued, forces loyal to Col. Gadhafi rode in tanks through the streets of Misurata shelling homes while residents were still indoors, killing and wounding scores, including children, eyewitnesses told The Times.
A resident of Misurata, about 130 miles east of Tripoli, said pro-Gadhafi forces had killed 90 people and wounded more than 1,000 over the past five days. Thirteen were killed Tuesday, he said.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
TWT Video Picks
- Boehner rules out impeachment: 'Scam started by Democrats'
- Obama thanks Muslims for 'building the very fabric of our nation'
- PHILLIPS: Once-in-a-century stupidity
- Federal judge grants 90-day stay in D.C. gun case
- D.C. seeks to stay judge's order allowing gun owners to carry in public
- Obama: 'Not a new Cold War,' but new Russia sanctions announced
- Smugglers, rainstorm combine to poke holes in border fence
- Obama's brother wears Hamas scarf bearing anti-Israel slogans in photo
- Illegal immigrants demand representation in White House meetings
- Hillary Clinton: Forget Obama, George W. Bush made her 'proud to be an American'
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world