06/13/2011, 00.00
LIBYA

Italy leading more than 30 per cent of military operations in Libya

For Libya expert, historian Angelo Del Boca, the war continues amid widespread disinterest and unwillingness to pursue a diplomatic solution. Since the start of the operation, Italy has spent a billion Euros. NATO and Arab countries are planning the post-Gaddafi phase, but are leaving out the part of the population still loyal to the Tripoli government. The crisis will not be solved just when the strongman is removed.
Tripoli (AsiaNews) – Even though Italy entered the war providing only limited military and logistical support, it now leads 30 per cent of the operations against Libya, on par with France and Great Britain, journalist and historian Angelo Del Boca told AsiaNews. For the Libya expert, “the war goes one amid widespread disinterest, especially in Italy, despite the huge costs and the unwillingness to find a diplomatic solution.”

Italy’s military operation began on 22 March. According to government statements, the intervention was supposed to be limited to letting NATO use Italian air bases and providing fighters to maintain the No Fly Zone over Libya as part of the alliance’s Suppression of Enemy Air Defence (SEAD) operation. The initial engagement did not include attacks against Libyan troops, convoys and military installation.

For Del Boca, the high costs of the operation will force Italy to abandon its Libya mission. According to Italy’s Interior Ministry, the operation has already cost 1 billion Euros (US$ 1.3 billion)

Meanwhile NATO, Arab league and Western powers are already preparing the post-Gaddafi phase as the number of countries that back the Benghazi rebels grows with pledges of weapons and weapons.

Today, the United Arab Emirates recognised the National Transitional Council as the legitimate representative of the Libyan people, announcing the opening soon of a diplomatic office in Benghazi.

However, local sources say that residents in area still held by the Libyan strongman want their say, calling for an immediate end to air strikes and a stop to the war.

“The NATO action not only violates UN Resolution 1973 but also the articles that prevent foreign powers from intervening in civil wars,” Del Boca said.

Still, despite the huge costs, NATO is still hoping to kill Gaddafi. But even if he is taken out, the crisis will continue.

“The countries that started this war are convinced that with Gaddafi out of the way, everything will be settled,” the historian said. “In reality, according to my sources, hundreds of thousands of people still support the Libyan government. What will happen to them once the offensive is over?”

 “NATO continues its raids against the capital and its immediate vicinity,” Mgr Martinelli said from Tripoli. “Fighters fly over our heads day and night.”

“Three months since the start of the mission in Libya, bombs have not solved anything,” the prelate said. “There are still no solutions to end this war and appeals for a truce have gone unheeded.” (S.C.)

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