Coalition Split Over Libya Goals

No clear exit strategy in sight as strikes continue
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 25, 2011 1:23 AM CDT
A Libyan rebel gestures yesterday as they try to retake the strategic eastern oil town of Ajdabiya from troops loyal to Moammar Gahdafi.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – The international coalition has succeeded in preventing Moammar Gadhafi's forces from crushing Libyan rebels, but it remains deeply divided over the mission's final goal. The allies have agreed to turn control of the no-fly zone over to NATO, but no consensus has emerged on how far they should go in trying to destroy Gadhafi's military capacity, the New York Times reports. France has recognized the rebels as Libya's legitimate government, but other allies haven't gone that far.

President Obama hasn't made clear what will happen if the allies keep control of the skies over Libya but fighting between rebels and pro-Gadhafi forces becomes a long and bloody stalemate. "We should never begin an operation without knowing how we stand down,” said retired general and former NATO commander Joseph Ralston. “We did a no-fly zone over Iraq for 12 years and it did nothing to get rid of Saddam. So why do we think it will get rid of Gadhafi?”

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