Posted: 22 Mar 2011 07:26 AM PDT
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Below is a synopsis of military action in Libya so far, beginning with latest developments. New items marked with a *
TUESDAY, MARCH 22
* -- U.S. Air Force F-15E fighter jet crashed in Libya overnight after apparent mechanical failure but its crew were safe, a spokesman for the U.S. military Africa Command says.
* -- NATO meets again to try to resolve a fractious debate on who should command the military campaign in Libya once the United States steps back from leading the operation.
* -- Forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi attack two Libyan towns after a third night of air raids on Tripoli. Western campaign faces questions over the future of its command structure.
MONDAY, MARCH 21
* -- Anti-aircraft fire and explosions reverberate across Tripoli for a third night and state television said several sites had come under attack.
* -- Commander of U.S. forces General Carter Ham says attacks on Libya likely to slow in the coming days.
-- U.S. and British forces fire 12 Tomahawk missiles at targets overnight, including command and control operations, a Scud surface-to-surface missile facility and an air defense site that had previously been hit.
-- French, Spanish, Italian, Danish and U.S. warplanes fly missions to enforce no-fly zone over Benghazi and conduct reconnaissance. General Carter Ham says Libyan military jets have not been sighted since the start of coalition operations and no use of air defence radar had been detected.
-- French Mirage destroys an armoured vehicle about 65 miles (100 km) south of Benghazi, a spokesman says. Some 20 French aircraft involved in operations. A French AWACS surveillance and control aircraft patrolling the area and six French tanker aircraft refueling jets enforcing the no-fly zone. French aircraft carrier Charles-de-Gaulle expected to join operations on Tuesday.
-- Coalition warships patrol the Mediterranean enforcing a U.N. provision barring shipment of arms to and from Libya.
-- Canadian jets fly first missions, with four CF-18s and two refueling tankers conducting a patrol off northern Libya.
-- Forces loyal to Gaddafi pull back from rebel stronghold Benghazi, and advances against Benghazi, Ajdabiya and Misrata "stalled", according to a U.S. national security official.
-- Forces loyal to Gaddafi fire on a crowd of unarmed people in the centre of the rebel-held city of Misrata, killing at least nine, a resident tells Reuters. Rebel spokesman says forces loyal to Gaddafi bringing civilians from nearby towns to Misrata to use as human shields.
-- Libyan officials take foreign reporters into Gaddafi's compound, which houses his private quarters as well as military barracks and other installations, to show a building they said was destroyed in an allied missile attack.
-- Effectiveness of compound strike led by British forces on Sunday remains unclear, says U.S. military official
SUNDAY MARCH 20
-- U.S. commanders say the weekend strikes "very effective", succeeding in crippling Gaddafi's air capability and allowing effective enforcement of a no-fly zone.
-- Aerial assault appears to have halted an advance by Gaddafi's armoured units on the rebel-held city of Benghazi and killed at least 14 government soldiers.
-- Fifteen French combat planes patrol Libyan skies without encountering resistance.
-- Italian aircraft joined the operation for first time when six Tornado jets took off from Trapani in western Sicily.
-- French aircfat carrier Charles de Gaulle, carrying around 15 fighter planes, heads toward Libya accompanied by a submarine and half a dozen support ships.
-- Qatar to move four French-made Mirage 2000/9 combat planes toward Libya, a French official says.
OVERNIGHT SATURDAY MARCH 19-SUNDAY, MARCH 20
-- U.S. AV-8B Harrier fighter planes backed by Growler jamming aircraft strike on Gaddafi's ground troops and air defences. Three U.S. Air Force B2 stealth bombers, and 12 F-15 and F-16 fighter jets also took part in the air strikes
-- Britain launches Stormshadow missiles from a number of Tornado GR4 jets flown from base in England. Operation supported by VC10 and Tristar air-to-air refueling aircraft and E3D Sentry and Sentinel surveillance aircraft. Typhoon jets were also standing by to provide support.
SATURDAY, MARCH 19
-- France says its aircraft fired the first shot in the Western assault on Libya.
-- About 20 French aircraft -- including Rafale multirole war planes, Mirage 2000 fighter jets, refueling planes and an AWACS surveillance aircraft -- were involved in operations. French jets destroyed four tanks and armored vehicles near Benghazi, officials said.
-- United States and Britain, in a joint attack including two U.S. guided-missile destroyers, three U.S. submarines and one British Trafalgar-class submarine, launch over 110 Tomahawk cruise missiles at around 22 Libyan targets, mostly air defence launch, communications, or command sites.
POSITIONING OF FORCES IN THE MEDITERRANEAN
-- The United States positioned 11 ships and submarines in the Mediterranean to support Libya operations, according to U.S. figures. That includes three submarines, two amphibious assault ships and two guided-missile destroyers.
-- There are no U.S. aircraft carriers currently stationed close to Libya, but the French carrier Charles de Gaulle is expected to arrive on Tuesday.
-- Britain has two frigates off the Libyan coast. Government sources have also said destroyers could be deployed.
-- Canada has sent one warship to the Mediterranean, officials say, along with six CF-18 bombers deployed to Europe.
-- Italy, which the United States said had 11 ships supporting the Libya operations in the Mediterranean, has assigned one aircraft carrier and one destroyer to reinforce air defense and surveillance.
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Posted: 22 Mar 2011 07:26 AM PDT
PARIS (Reuters) - France's foreign ministry said on Tuesday that NATO would provide support to military intervention by the Western-led coalition in Libya when the United States scaled back its participation.
"When the Americans decide to take a bit of a step back, NATO could come in to support, that seems fairly clear," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Christine Fages.
A heated meeting of NATO ambassadors on Monday failed to agree on whether the 28-nation alliance should run the operation to enforce a U.N.-mandated no-fly zone.
Fages reiterated France's concern that Arab members of the coalition were opposed to NATO taking sole command of the operation.
Foreign Minister Alain Juppe suggested on Monday that NATO could take leadership at a planning and coordination level, but political leadership of the mission would need to come from coalition partners.
Fages said, however, that the issue of who should run the alliance was not pressing for the time being, as Washington's leadership was working.
"We have no problem with seeking (NATO) help. What matters at the moment is implementing the U.N. resolution and for the time being, the U.S. leadership is working," Fages said.
(Reporting by Daniel Flynn; Writing by Catherine Bremer; editing by Ralph Boulton)
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