Turkey Blocks NATO Mission in Libya


From Spiegel:  The US wants to hand over command of Operation Odyssey Dawn to another country within a matter of days, but so far NATO has been unable to reach an agreement on taking control of the implementation of the no-fly zone in Libya. Turkey is leading the objections.

The conflict in Libya is being described as the first war to be initiated by United States President Barack Obama since taking office, but Washington would like to hand over command for Operation Odyssey Dawn to Britain, France or its partners in the NATO alliance as quickly as possible.

The US has said it would continue to support operations as well as engage itself militarily, but that it would not continue to maintain the "pre-eminent role," US Defense Secretary Robert Gates told reporters traveling with him on a trip to Russia on Sunday. On Monday, however, it didn’t look likely that a NATO role would develop as quickly as the US government might like.

So far, the NATO alliance has been unable to reach an agreement on participation in the military implementation of the no-fly zone. Turkey is resisting the measure and is calling for a new review of other possible measures the alliance could take in Libya. Ankara has also called for an immediate Western cease-fire, with Turkish officials calling on NATO to give greater consideration in its discussions to the possibility of civilian deaths, a NATO diplomat told the news agency AFP under the condition of anonymity. …

NATO decisions must be taken unanimously, but this week the alliance is showing greater division than it has in some time. Diplomats aren’t placing the blame squarely on Turkey, either. France is also reportedly blocking an agreement because it does not want to turn command for the operations over to the alliance. Several NATO partners commented critically on the NATO Council meeting on Sunday, saying that France, Britain and the United States were pushing ahead and not doing enough to inform their partners. Currently, no agreement is expected before Tuesday.  (photo: Reuters)

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