Defence minister discounts Libya ground troops / News / The Foreigner

Defence minister discounts Libya ground troops. Minister of Defence Grete Faremo says she will not be sending Norwegian troops to Libya for the time being despite speculation at home. The minister’s announcement comes just two days following NATO’s resolve to extend operations for another 90 days. Allied jets carried out 181 sorties on 01 June. “This decision sends a clear message to the Gaddafi regime: We are determined to continue our operation to protect the people of Libya. We will sustain our efforts to fulfill the United Nations mandate. We will keep up the pressure to see it through,” NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen says in a press statement.

gretefaremo, libya, muammar-algaddafi, operationunifiedprotector



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Defence minister discounts Libya ground troops

Published on Friday, 3rd June, 2011 at 15:10 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson   .
Last Updated on 4th June 2011 at 13:05.

Minister of Defence Grete Faremo says she will not be sending Norwegian troops to Libya for the time being despite speculation at home.

Night shooting, mazar-e sharif (illus. photo)
Night shooting, mazar-e sharif (illus. photo)
Photo: Forsvarets mediearkiv/Lars Magne Hovtun


Little choice

The minister’s announcement comes just two days following NATO’s resolve to extend operations for another 90 days. Allied jets carried out 181 sorties on 01 June.

“This decision sends a clear message to the Gaddafi regime: We are determined to continue our operation to protect the people of Libya. We will sustain our efforts to fulfill the United Nations mandate. We will keep up the pressure to see it through,” NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen says in a press statement.

Norwegian officials will not be deciding the size and scope of the country’s military contribution past 24 June for now, but business remains very much as usual.

“Norway will still contribute to carrying out UNSCR 1973 to protect Libyan civilians. The government will come back to this issue presently,” Minister Faremo says.

Leading Norwegian researchers believe Norwegian infantry in Libya will be a fact.

“The option of the government giving up on Libya, both militarily and politically, is long-gone,” Vegard Valther Hansen, Senior Advisor at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI), tells The Foreigner.

Norway was one of the first NATO allies to support the operation, and “it is important it is seen as a trustworthy ally. It is also better off financially and scalability-wise. Contributing ground-based troops will be the sum of what is expected under an eventual burden-sharing agreement,” Mr Hansen continues.

UNSCR1973 opens for some sort of ‘boots on the ground’, according to him. The mandate does not open for the presence of an occupying force, but NATO will not be changing tactics for now because of political and time issues.

“There are indications Gaddafi’s powerbase has been substantially reduced. Several security, military, and political leaders are either fleeing or have joined opposition forces in the country.”

Stalemate

Mr Hansen thinks Norwegian troops will more likely be part of a stabilising force.

“Even though it will be a while before we see the effect of helicopter gunships, the fighting will go on, and resistance fighters will use the vacuum created when Gaddafi falls to increase their position. There have also been some signals from the US it will be carrying out a substantial withdrawal this summer,” he says, stating, “the third phase will be rebuilding, requiring the mandate to be changed.”

Norway has not been formally asked to contribute ground-based troops yet, and Minister Faremo officially denies there have been NATO and domestic discussions about sending ground-based troops, saying that, “we will cross that bridge when we come to it.”

Vegard Valter Hansen says there have been unofficial talks about the next two phases.

“Something will have to be decided in the next few days or weeks, and NATO will have to act in some way to shift the current military stalemate of the last two months. Nevertheless, the capacity of Norway’s military and the fact soldiers are already in Afghanistan will make committing infantry to Libya a difficult issue for the government,” he concludes.



Published on Friday, 3rd June, 2011 at 15:10 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson   .
Last updated on 4th June 2011 at 13:05.

This post has the following tags: gretefaremo, libya, muammar-algaddafi, operationunifiedprotector.





  
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