SACEUR: Libya op shows a robust NATO

French jets participating in military operation over Libya, March 30, 2011.

From James Stavridis, U.S. European Command:  Since NATO took over the Libyan mission at the end of March (see my earlier blog for a description of the mission), we have launched almost 6,000 total aircraft sorties.  Over 2,500 of them have been strike and suppression of air defenses.  While the US provides about 25 percent of the support sorties (intelligence, refueling, surveillance, reconnaissance, suppression of enemy air defense), the rest of the coalition provides the remaining 75 percent.

We are using the robust NATO command structure, with bases all around the southern Mediterranean.  The operation is commanded out of the Joint Force Command in Naples, where the Joint Task Force is established. . . .

NATO has established essentially a 100 percent effective arms embargo, and have hailed / boarded / inspected hundreds of ships.  Over 18 ships are on station at any given time (of which only a couple are from the US).

We have also established essentially a 100% effective no fly zone which stretches over the entire country.  This includes the efforts of five NATO AWACS, as well as 40 other coalition aircraft. . . .

The entire 28-nation NATO alliance, plus six additional nations (Sweden, Ukraine, and four Arab countries) are supporting the NATO effort in Libya in some capacity, albeit doing different tasks as per national views.  Despite some divergence of views among the various alliance and coalition members, overall the effort is holding together well, putting real pressure on Qadhafi, fulfilling the UNSCR 1970 / 1973, and — coupled with economic and political pressure — enacting a reasonable response to the violence of Qadhafi against his people.

Adm. James Stavridis is Commander, U.S. European Command and Supreme Allied Commander, Europe.  (photo: Getty)

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