NATO at Odds on When to Stop Bombing Libya
US pushing to continue the air campaign for now
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 6, 2011 2:51 PM CDT
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta leaves a news conference at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, Thursday, Oct. 6, 2011.   (AP Photo/Win McNamee, Pool)

(Newser) – Friction is growing within NATO over when to end its air campaign in Libya, with some arguing for a quick exit and others, including the US, arguing that the campaign should continue until the last remnants of Moammar Gadhafi’s loyalists are brought to heel. “It’s over,” one Western official tells the LA Times. “The question is, how you end it correctly.”

Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told reporters recently that “we are close to completing our mission.” He said NATO needn’t wait until Gadhafi is captured, because “he’s not the target of our operations.” But fighting is still heavy in Sirte, and some argue that ending NATO’s air campaign would “be a signal to the remnants of the regime that the [new Libyan leadership] is on its own, and they should fight back,” one senior official said. Others “feel that we have done about all we can do.”