петък, 4 март 2011 г.

Marines Deploy to Med for Libyan Crisis



About 400 Marines are deploying from the U.S. to the Mediterranean where they'll be stationed aboard the U.S Navy warships while the U.S. continues to consider its response to the rebellion in Libya.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates said at a Pentagon press conference that the amphibious assault ship Kearsarge and the amphibious transport dock ship Ponce "will provide us with the capability for both emergency evacuations and . . . humanitarian relief."
Kearsarge deployed about 1,400 Marines from the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit to Afghanistan last month.
Gates told reporters today that the United Nations resolution on Libya does not authorize violence against the Gadhafi regime, saying, "There is no unanimity in NATO for the use of armed force."
He refused to discuss the alternatives the Pentagon might be presenting to President Obama.
"Our job is to give the President the broadest possible decisions base and options," Gates said. "To go into the things that we're thinking about, the options we're providing, I think has the potential to narrow his decisions base, and I have no intention of doing that."
Meanwhile, residents of the rebel-held city closest to Libya's capital celebrated with a victory march Tuesday after repelling an overnight attack by Moammar Gadhafi's forces. But troops loyal to the longtime leader clamped down on a strategic mountain town as they fought to reclaim areas near Tripoli, residents said.
The rebels have been fighting to consolidate their gains as the international community weighs new moves to isolate the longtime Libyan leader, including the possibility of creating a no-fly zone over Libya.
Since the revolt against Gadhafi's 41-year-old rule began two weeks ago, his regime has launched the harshest crackdown among the wave of authoritarian rulers are facing an unprecedented wave of uprisings in the Arab world. Gadhafi has already lost control of the eastern half of the country. He still holds the capital Tripoli and other nearby cities.
An exact death toll has been difficult to obtain in the chaos, but a medical committee in the eastern city of Benghazi, where the uprising began on Feb. 15, said at least 228 people had been killed, including 30 unidentified bodies, and 1,932 injured.
U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has cited reports that perhaps 1,000 have died amid the popular uprising and the government's violent crackdown on Gadhafi critics.
More than 140,000 people also have fled Libya to Egypt and Tunisia in a growing exodus from the chaos engulfing the country, refugee officials said.
U.N. refugee agency spokeswoman Melissa Fleming said Tuesday "the situation is reaching crisis point" at the Libya-Tunisia border where authorities say up to 75,000 people have fled Libya since Feb. 20. Egyptian authorities say 69,000 people have crossed over from Libya since Feb. 19.
International pressure to end the crackdown has escalated dramatically in the past few days.
France said it would fly aid to the opposition-controlled eastern half of the country. The European Union imposed an arms embargo and other sanctions, following the lead of the U.S. and the U.N. The EU and the U.S. have also talked about the possibility of creating a no-fly zone over Libya.
However, Russia's top diplomat ruled out the idea as "superfluous" and said world powers must instead focus on fully using the sanctions the U.N. Security Council approved over the weekend. Others suggested the tactic -- used successfully in northern Iraq and Bosnia -- to prevent Gadhafi from bombing his own people. But Russia's consent is required as a veto-wielding member of the Security Council.

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