In his weekly March 26 address, Obama said:
"As I pledged at the outset, the role of American forces has been limited. We are not putting any ground forces into Libya....And as agreed this week, responsibility for this operation is being transferred from the United States to our NATO allies and partners."
Earlier he said:
"United States forces are conducting a limited and well-defined mission in support of international efforts to protect civilians and prevent a humanitarian disaster."
As an earlier article explained, American aggression caused a humanitarian crisis. Moreover, the alleged NATO handover is a ruse. NATO is code language for Washington, the Pentagon. It's America's tool, its "missile," reigning death and destruction across Libya and other operational theaters. European allies concur. They're more pawns than partners. Reports now suggest they'll participate in a late April or early May ground operation if air attacks don't oust Gaddafi.
On March 25, Russia's RIA Novosti news service headlined, "Ground operation in Libya could start in April - Russian Intelligence," saying:
According to an unnamed high-ranking Russian intelligence official, "(t)he international coalition force is planning a ground operation that could start in late April. Information coming via different channels shows that NATO countries, with active participation of Britain and the United States, are developing a plan....From all indications, (it'll) be launched if the alliance fails to force Gaddafi....to capitulate."
The official estimates a late April-early May timetable. UN Resolution 1973 prohibits an occupation force, but authorizes "all necessary measures," including boots on the ground. Hawkish Western military analysts urge it, a March 25 Wall Street Journal report saying:
"The history of air-only military actions is that they rarely, if ever, defeat an adversary without" ground forces.
On March 26, Rick Rozoff's Stop NATO web site mentioned reports of US forces in Libya with a planned ground invasion coming next month. Various March 26 sources were cited, including:
(1) Sofia News Agency reporting:
"US forces are rumored to be already present on the ground in Libya," despite official denials. According to Reserve Colonel David Hand, American soldiers have been in Libya for 12 days. US intelligence Colonel Tony Scheffer confirmed it.
(2) Voice of Russia's Alexander Vatutin said:
"We are witnessing an attempt to seize oil and gas reserves by means of force. Apparently, coalition forces are pursuing targets other than humanitarian operations...." Dozens of civilian deaths are reported.
"In the meantime, NATO has suggested the possibility of a ground operation in Libya unless Gaddafi chooses to surrender. The military are guided by the Second World War saying 'Put on the Ground' which means you can never expect to win unless you reach the enemy's positions on the ground." About 4,000 US marines are positioned in the Mediterranean to invade.
According to Russian Strategic Research Institute's Azhdar Kurtov, "a ground operation is inevitable" whether or not Gaddafi stays or goes, to seize Libya's strategic oil and gas reserves.
(3) AFP reported:
Washington and NATO partners may supply weapons to opposition forces. According to the Washington Post, "recently withdrawn US ambassador to Libya" Gene Cretz said "administration officials were having 'the full gamut' of discussions on 'potential assistance we might offer,' both on the non-lethal and the lethal side."
(4) RIA Novosti said:
"Any foreign military ground operation in Libya will be considered as occupying the country, Russia's envoy to NATO Dmitry Rogozin said on Saturday," in violation of Resolution 1973.
(5) Russia Today reported St. Petersburg State University Professor Guman Isayev saying:
Libya, like Iraq, is becoming a "black hole....As soon as it became clear that insurgents lost the battle," Resolution 1973 was passed, providing wide latitude for intervention. As a result, "Libya may cease to exist, de facto, the way Iraq did. On the other hand, it's unlikely that Gaddafi's regime can be overthrown by air strikes alone. The hopes that insurgents (could oust him) are failing despite active external support."
On Monday, March 28, Obama will address the nation on the Libyan conflict. Expect none of this to be mentioned, just the usual boilerplate propaganda about "humanitarian intervention," when, in fact, Washington's aims are always imperial.
As previous articles explained, a protracted, destructive conflict is likely, including mass casualties so America can solidify its grip on the entire Mediterranean Basin, exploiting its resources and people freely.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.