Libya Update: Operation Unified Protector

Libya-war-2011-us-gaddafi

By Francesco Turso

Assistant/ Copy Editor

On Thursday, March 31, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has officially been handed over command in Libya. Operation Unified Protector is the arms embargo, no-fly zone and action to protect civilians and civilian center.

This Operation by NATO is “in line with the mandate of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973, NATO’s focus on protecting civilians and civilian populated areas against the threat of attack,” NATO said in a statement. They also went on to explain that the “operational tempo” of the mission had not changed because of the handover, according to CNN.

Robert Gates, US Defense Secretary, was quoted by BBC as saying that there will be no “boots on the ground” in Libya. This statement was made after it emerged that President Obama had authorized covert CIA aid to rebels. In recent weeks he signed a document known as  a “finding” allowing support for the rebel troops, according to Today.

A presidential “finding” is a “principal form of presidential directive used to authorize secret operation by the CIA, according to Today. The CIA has declined comment.

Gates added that the US military would help in ways other countries may not be able to, “such as electronic warfare, aerial refueling, lift, search and rescue, and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance support… Deposing the Gaddafi regime, as welcome as that eventually would be, is not part of the military mission.”