British Gaddafi hunters breach UN resolution

A large number of British Special Air Service officers are in Libya hunting for Muammar Gaddafi, who they believe is still in the country, ITV television reports.

Britain's Ministry of Defense refused to confirm the report, adding that it was government policy not to comment on special forces operations.

This can be seen as glaring proof that British special forces have launched searches for the fugitive strongman, particularly after reports that neighboring Algeria denied him entry and didn't even envisage granting him asylum. All this adds to the assumption that Col Gaddafi must still be in Libya. Judging by the activity of British special forces in Libya, Britain, a key member of the NATO-led campaign in Libya, is determined to take Libya's long-serving ruler, dead or alive.

What British SAS officers are doing in Libya is hard to explain, given that UN Resolution 1973 allows for a no-fly zone over Libya for the protection of civilians but forbids a ground operation in the country. However, the participation of British Apache helicopters and SAS soldiers in searches for Gaddafi on the territory of Libya testifies to a ground operation and is a direct violation of the UN resolution. Apparently, Britain doesn't recognize the authority of the UN any more and considers it possible to act as it pleases.

All this is happening despite that fact that the Libyan operation costs Britain a pretty penny. Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander said recently that Britain's expenditures for military operations in Libya would cost millions of pounds. According to British military experts, the funds spent on Libya may amount to one billion pounds this autumn. Given the current financial difficulties, the British economy may crack under the burden.

Top military officers are worried that the Libyan operation may undermine the country's Armed Forces. Air Chief Marshal Sir Simon Bryant said recently that participation of British air forces in NATO's mission in Libya could wear out equipment and personnel to such a point that future operations by the Royal Air Force would have to be cancelled. Sir Simon is echoed by First Sea Lord and Chief of the Naval Staff Sir Mark Stanhope, who says that the Royal Air Force will face a severe trial should the Libya operation drag on.

This opinion, however, is evoking little response from David Cameron, who told Sir Simon Bryant in no uncertain terms that the military must wage wars and he must assume the command. Given that the British prime minister is an ardent supporter of the Libyan campaign, the British special forces are free to launch a hunt for Gaddafi, confident that official London will provide them with an appropriate "cover".

[Source: The Voice of Russia, Moscow, 01Sep11]

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