2011/05/03

A legitimate target

The reported deaths in a Nato air strike of a son of Muammar Gaddafi and three of his grandchildren has moved the battle for control of Libya on to a new plane. Mobs have sacked the British and Italian embassies in Tripoli, Britain has expelled Libya's ambassador in London, and Russian criticism of the coalition has intensified. Yet this should not come as a surprise. UN Security Council Resolution 1973 authorised "all necessary measures", a phrase allowing broad interpretation, to stop Col Gaddafi killing civilians.

From obvious targets such as tanks on the road to Benghazi, Nato has moved on to strike what it calls "command and control" centres: that is, any point from which government action against the rebels is being prosecuted. As the chief prosecutors are Col Gaddafi and his immediate entourage, they have become legitimate targets, whatever the coalition may say about targeting structures and not individuals. telegraph

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