Friday, July 22, 2011

US Imperialists May Send More Predator Drones to Libya

'US may send more Predators to Libya'

Fri Jul 22, 2011 5:16AM GMT

The United States is considering sending more Predator drones and other surveillance aircraft to join the Libya conflict at the request of NATO.

A senior Pentagon official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the US Department of Defense is looking at all the possibilities for sending more unmanned aircraft to Libya, The Los Angeles Times reported Thursday.

NATO has asked the Pentagon for additional drones, saying it has become difficult to find targets since Libyan regime forces are increasingly using civilian facilities, a senior NATO official said.

Some US officials and commanders oppose the measure because the US Department of Defense will be forced to bring back its drones from war zones in Afghanistan and Iraq, according to the Pentagon official.

"The reason why this is hard is that everything we have is currently committed elsewhere," the official added.

The move reveals a big shift in the US strategy in Libya since Leon Panetta took over the Pentagon early this month.

Robert Gates, the former US defense secretary, had demanded that the European allies do more in the Libya military campaign. However, Panetta has said victory in the Libya war is one of his top priorities.

The drones can remain in the air for a dozen hours or longer and send live videos and other intelligence information to the headquarters on the ground and have the capability to carry two air-to-ground missiles.

The US official added that Washington may decide to deploy military equipment as well, following the recognition of Libyan opposition organization, the Transitional National Council, by the US.

"Now that the recognition has taken place, I think that discussion" of providing military aid "will be back on the table," the official concluded.

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