British military chief urges wider targeting in Libya

15th May 2011, Comments 0 comments

The head of Britain's armed forces urged NATO to "up the ante" in Libya by widening its bombing campaign to include infrastructure targets, in an interview with a Sunday newspaper.

General David Richards, chief of the defence staff, added that if Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi was killed in a strike on a command and control centre, that would be "within the rules" set out by the UN Security Council.

"The vice is closing on Kadhafi, but we need to increase the pressure further through more intense military action," he told the Sunday Telegraph.

"We now have to tighten the vice to demonstrate to Kadhafi that the game is up and he must go."

The general said he wanted NATO member states to support the targeting of Kadhafi's regime, not just targets which pose an immediate threat to civilians, such as tanks and artillery.

"The military campaign to date has been a significant success for NATO and our Arab allies. But we need to do more. If we do not up the ante now there is a risk that the conflict could result in Kadhafi clinging to power," he said.

"At present, NATO is not attacking infrastructure targets in Libya. But if we want to increase the pressure on Kadhafi's regime then we need to give serious consideration to increasing the range of targets we can hit."

He added: "We are not targeting Kadhafi directly, but if it happened that he was in a command and control centre that was hit by NATO and he was killed, then that is within the rules."

Britain and other countries have been bombing Libya for weeks under a UN Security Council resolution which authorises force to protect civilians from fierce fighting between Kadhafi's troops and rebels against his rule.

© 2011 AFP

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