Canadian general to lead Libya mission

Canadian Lieutenant-General Charles Bouchard has been tapped to lead the no-fly and arms-embargo elements of the Libya intervention now that NATO has agreed to run those operations (Daniel Leblanc, “Canadian general to take command of NATO mission in Libya,” Globe and Mail, 25 March 2011).

However, the Alliance has not yet formally agreed to run the civilian-protection element of the mission, which is attempting to prevent attacks on Libyan civilians by conducting airstrikes on Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi’s forces. NATO spokespersons stated on Friday that “NATO is actively considering whether to take on a broader role under the UN Security Council Resolution. Without prejudging the deliberations, we would expect a decision to take over all operations in the next few days.”

According to the Globe and Mail,

Canada’s current deployment as part of Operation Mobile in Libya is now comprised of [sic] 435 personnel mainly stationed at air bases in Italy and on HMCS Charlottetown, at sea. The fleet of six CF-18s and two refuelling planes grew on Thursday to include two CP-140 Aurora reconnaissance aircraft. The planes, fully equipped with modern sensors and radar, will patrol the Mediterranean to help prevent the smuggling of munitions and arms into Libya.

A seventh CF-18, which has been sent to Italy as a spare, is also participating in the operation.

Update

NATO agreed on March 27th to take control over all elements of the Libya mission (Laurent Thomet, “NATO takes command of Libya campaign,” Agence France-Presse, 27 March 2011). Statement by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen here.

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