NATO military leader: “NATO is not in Libya to decide the future of the Libyan people”

Chairman of the NATO Military Committee Italian Admiral Giampaolo Di Paola, July 27, 2010.

From Daniel Michaels and Charlse Duxbury, the Wall Street Journal:  Adm. Giampaolo Di Paola, chairman of the NATO Military Council and the alliance’s most senior military official, said the NATO operation, dubbed Unified Protectorate, entails enforcing an arms-embargo and no-fly zone and protecting civilians , as set out by the U.N. resolution.

"NATO is not in Libya to decide the future of the Libyan people," he told a news briefing in Brussels. "We are helping enforce the will of the international community. …"

Adm. Di Paola said that NATO is running operations based partly on intelligence supplied by alliance members and isn’t itself in contact with any rebels. "We are not coordinating operations with anyone" outside the alliance and its partners, he said.

He said that if allies are gathering information using intelligence officials on the ground in Libya, "it’s not for us to question the source."

He stressed that any intelligence-gathering on the ground is being done by member countries, not NATO itself. "If [alliance] nations have forces on the ground, these are not NATO forces," Adm. Di Paola said. "We don’t have NATO forces on the ground."  (photo: AP)

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