US looking to pull back
Eager to reduce its front-line combat role in the air assault on Libya, the Obama administration pushed yesterday for allies who first advocated the campaign to come up with a workable alternative.
United States officials say the leadership handoff is a certainty, and it will come within a few days. NATO powers held crisis talks about the Libya operation.
In Ankara, Turkey, state-run television quoted Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu as saying Turkey's objections concerning NATO's role had been met, and NATO would indeed take command. No official action on such a switch was announced immediately.
Meanwhile, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton held a conference call with British Foreign Secretary William Hague, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe and Davutoglu about coordinating the process. The US has been vague about what combat role the American military might continue to play once allies take the formal lead.
US and allied planes and ships pummelled Libyan air defences and other military targets yesterday as the international alliance confronting Moammar Gaddafi moved towards shifting its command lead from Washington to NATO, raising questions about the scope and length of American military participation.