News / Africa

US Deploys Predator Drones in Libya

A US 'Predator' drone (file photo)
A US 'Predator' drone (file photo)

The Pentagon says the United States is now authorized to use armed Predator drones in Libya as yet another means to end the conflict there.  Earlier Thursday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her Dutch counterpart, Uri Rosenthal, met at the State Department to discuss other ways to bring the violence to an end.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates told reporters at the Pentagon Thursday that President Barack Obama has authorized the use of Predator drones in Libya.   

"And I think that today may in fact have been their first mission, so I think that will give us some precision capability," said Secretary Gates.

Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General James Cartwright explained the benefits of unmanned, armed drones.  

"...their ability to get down lower, therefore to able to get better visibility on particularly targets now that have started to dig themselves in to defensive positions," said General Cartwright. "They're uniquely suited for urban areas where you can get low collateral damage, and so we're trying to manage that collateral damage, obviously, but that's the best platform to do that with."       

Cartwright said the first flights launched Thursday, but the weather was poor, so the drones could not stay out the full day.

Earlier Thursday, Secretary of State Clinton met with Dutch Foreign Minister Rosenthal at the State Department.  Speaking jointly after their meeting, Clinton said the two agreed that carrying out the United Nations Security Council mandate to protect Libyan civilians remains critically important.     

"Colonel Gadhafi's troops continue their vicious attacks, including the siege of Misrata," said Secretary Clinton. "There are even reports that Gadhafi forces may have used cluster bombs against their own people.  In the face of this inhumanity, the international community remains united in our resolve."  

She said that while the U.S. deeply regrets all loss of life, she was particularly saddened by the deaths of two journalists Wednesday.

British-born Tim Hetherington, an Oscar-nominated film director and war photographer, and Chris Hondros, an American working for Getty Images, were killed by a rocket-propelled grenade in Misrata, the main rebel stronghold in western Libya.  

Holland's foreign minister called the men "two formidable journalists."  

"It's just part of the human tragedy, humanitarian tragedy in Libya, a tragedy which is simply unacceptable," said Foreign Minister Rosenthal. "And that is why we are an active partner in the NATO campaign Unified Protector and why we also provide humanitarian aid whenever we can.  And we are, with you, particularly concerned at the moment about the situation in Misrata."

Clinton called the conflict in Misrata "a very brutal, urban battle," and she said the Gadhafi regime is directly targeting civilians.

"But the opposition fighters are holding their own against that onslaught, and in large measure because we've taken Gadhafi's planes out of the air," she said. "We target every large vehicle that we think is theirs to be used against the opposition and civilians who are trying to stand against him."

Clinton added assessments indicate that the vast majority of opposition fighters are young men who had never participated in any such activity before.

You May Like

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Agei
X
Elizabeth Lee
July 20, 2014 2:36 AM
Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.
Video

Video Diplomatic Crisis Grows Over MH17 Plane Crash

The Malaysia Airlines crash in eastern Ukraine is drawing reaction from leaders around the world. With suspicions growing that a surface-to-air missile shot down the aircraft, there are increasing tensions in the international community over who is to blame. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Undocumented Immigrants Face Perilous Journey to US, No Guarantees

Every day, hundreds of undocumented immigrants from Central America attempt the arduous journey through Mexico and turn themselves over to U.S. border patrol -- with the hope that they will not be turned away. But the dangers they face along the way are many, and as Ramon Taylor reports from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, their fate rests on more than just the reception they get at the US border.
Video

Video Scientists Create Blackest Material Ever

Of all the black things in the universe only the infamous "black holes" are so black that not even a tiny amount of light can bounce back. But scientists have managed to create material almost as black, and it has enormous potential use. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Fog Collector Transforming Maasai Water Harvesting in Kenya

The Maasai people of Kenya are known for their cattle-herding, nomadic lifestyle. But it's an existence that depends on access to adequate water for their herds and flocks. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA, on a "fog collector."

AppleAndroid