No U.S. troops in Libya, Mullen says

April 22, 2011 at 2:33 PM
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BAGHDAD, April 22 (UPI) -- There will be no U.S. forces on the ground in Libya in any capacity, the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff said Friday from Iraq.

Libya announced it was opening humanitarian corridors in parts of the country to allow aid workers access to those in need. At the same time, British, French and Italian officials said they were sending military officers to Libya, though they stressed they were only serving as advisers.

U.S. Navy Adm. Mike Mullen said while on a visit to Iraq that U.S. forces wouldn't be following their European counterparts into Libya.

"The president has been very clear," the Pentagon's press service quoted him as saying. "No boots on the ground, and I can assure you that's where we are."

NATO forces are charged under a U.N. mandate with enforcing a no-fly zone over Libya in an effort to protect civilians from attacks by forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.

Opponents and advocates of military intervention in Libya are debating the language of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973, which authorized the use of force in Libya.

London argued that its decision to send military officers to Libya wasn't a violation of language in the mandate banning foreign occupation forces. Though Western allies are reluctant to say Gadhafi is a specific target, Mullen said a post-Gadhafi Libya could be a by-product of the mission.

"The long-term political end-state is to have (Gadhafi) gone," he was quoted as saying. "Globally, the guy is a pariah and every single action the vast majority of countries are taking are going to continue to put the squeeze on him until he's gone."

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