Though the UN mandate for Libya was primarily about the “no-fly zone,” and additional warplanes from various nations mean the US role in this is declining somewhat, it does not mean the US role in the war is shrinking. Rather, Pentagon officials say, they are planning escalations in other areas.
In particular the Pentagon appears keen on moving more specialized aircraft, and helicopter gunships, into Libya to launch attacks on ground troops, and to engage in fights in and around the major cities being contested by the rebels and the Gadhafi regime.
Some officials have been downplaying the war in Libya, and NATO says they believe it will last about 90 days. At the same time, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates says there is no time limit at all on the war, and British officials say there is no exit strategy in place.
Fighting across Libya is continuing, and President Obama is simultaneously insisting that the UN mandate isn’t about regime change, but the US goal is Gadhafi’s ouster. It seems therefore that the war is liable to linger, and a number of officials are openly talking of a stalemate with a semi-permanent no-fly one as a possible result.
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