Wednesday 22 November 2017

Six months to topple a tyrant

Here is a timeline of significant events since the approval of UN Security Council resolution 1973.

:: Thursday March 17 - The United Nations Security Council approves resolution 1973 authorising a no-fly zone and "all necessary measures" to enforce it.

:: Friday March 18 - RAF fighter planes are deployed to the Mediterranean in preparation for expected military action.

:: Saturday March 19 - Prime Minister David Cameron reveals that British forces are in action over Libya.

A British submarine has fired a number of Tomahawk missiles at Libyan air defence targets. Stormshadow missiles are launched from Tornado GR4 jets, which fly 3,000 miles from RAF Marham in Norfolk and back.

:: Sunday March 20 - As the bombardment continues, Mr Cameron says all military attacks on Libya will be "fully consistent" with the United Nations mandate, as he faces pressure to clarify whether Colonel Muammar Gaddafi could be a target.

:: Monday March 21 - Foreign Secretary William Hague and Defence Secretary Liam Fox both refuse to rule out the possibility that Gaddafi could be a legitimate target.

:: Sunday March 27 - Nato ambassadors meeting in Brussels agree the alliance will take command of all international military operations in relation to Libya, including airstrikes on Gaddafi's forces.

:: Wednesday March 30 - The Foreign Office reveals Gaddafi's foreign minister Musa Kusa has fled to the UK and is "no longer willing" to represent the dictator's regime.

:: Thursday April 14 - As the military operation approaches the end of its first month, David Cameron, Barack Obama and Nicolas Sarkozy signal their determination to fight on and say Gaddafi must "go and go for good".

A newspaper article sparks claims that Britain is now following an overt policy of regime change.

:: Tuesday April 19 - British Army officers are being sent to Libya to advise rebels fighting Gaddafi's forces, it is announced.

:: Tuesday April 26 - Mr Hague cautions Cabinet colleagues that despite some progress by the Nato-led mission, the UK should be braced for a "long haul".

:: Thursday April 28 - Mr Cameron says Britain has not ruled out arming rebels in Libya.

:: Sunday May 1 - An airstrike apparently hits a building where Gaddafi is staying, killing his youngest son.

Mr Cameron insists individuals are not being targeted, and UN Security Council resolutions permit attacks on "command and control" bases.

Meanwhile, Britain expels Libya's ambassador after the UK embassy in Tripoli is attacked by a mob.

Mr Hague says Omar Jelban is "persona non grata" and has been given 24 hours to leave the country.

:: Wednesday May 4 - A UK-funded aid ship is caught in Misrata harbour during a bombing raid by Gaddafi's forces that is believed to have killed four people.

The Red Star One docked at the besieged Libyan port to deliver 180 tonnes of humanitarian supplies and evacuate 1,000 stranded migrant workers and injured civilians.

:: Thursday May 5 - Mr Hague orders the expulsion of two more Libyan diplomats from the UK in a attempt to ratchet up the pressure on the Gaddafi regime.

:: Thursday May 12 - Mr Cameron invites Libyan rebel leaders to establish a formal office in London.

:: Wednesday May 18 - A British journalist held by the Libyan government for six weeks is freed.

Nigel Chandler, who had previously worked as a freelance journalist for the BBC, was detained on April 5 alongside American journalists Clare Morgana Gillis and James Foley and Spanish photographer Manuel Varela, who works under the name Manu Brabo.

:: Saturday May 28 - RAF jets and other Nato forces strike a command and control centre where Gaddafi sometimes lives.

The alliance said the dictator was not a target and there was no way of knowing whether he was there at the time of the raid.

:: Wednesday June 8 - Defence Secretary Liam Fox calls for a renewed effort to free the Libyan people from "the excesses of the Gaddafi regime", saying there should be a sense of greater urgency "in some quarters" as the campaign enters its second month.

:: Thursday June 23 - Dr Fox announces UK military operations in Libya are costing taxpayers more than £40 million a month.

:: Monday June 27 - Britain hails the issue of an international arrest warrant for Gaddafi, saying it shows he has "lost all legitimacy".

:: Wednesday July 27 - Foreign Secretary William Hague announces Britain formally recognises the opposition National Transitional Council as the "sole governmental authority" in Libya.

Mr Hague says he is expelling from the UK all remaining Libyan diplomats working for the regime of Muammar Gaddafi.

He says the Libyan embassy in London's Knightsbridge is to be handed over to the NTC, which has been invited to appoint a diplomatic envoy.

Britain unfreezes assets worth £91 million belonging to an oil company now controlled by the NTC, to help it provide for the material needs of civilians in liberated areas of the country.

:: Thursday July 28 - It is revealed that rebel military commander General Abdel Fattah Younes has been shot dead. Rebels claim the commander and two aides were killed by gunmen after being recalled from the front. Tripoli said the death of the former government minister who defected to the rebels was "a nice slap to the face" of the UK and proof the NTC could not rule Libya.

:: Monday August 15 - The rebels make key advances as fierce fighting is reported in Zawiya, just 30 miles west of Tripoli, and Gharyan, 50 miles to the south.

:: Saturday August 20 - A rebel spokesman says they have launched their first attacks in Tripoli, amid reports of explosions and heavy gunfire in the capital.

:: Sunday August 21 - Downing Street says it is clear the "end is near" for Gaddafi and calls on the Libyan leader to "go now" as euphoric rebels sweep into Tripoli.

:: Monday August 22 - Rebels and civilians are seen celebrating in jubilant scenes in Tripoli's Green Square, having met little resistance from Gaddafi's supporters.

The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court says Saif al-Islam Gaddafi - a son of Muammar Gaddafi indicted along with his father on crimes against humanity charges - has been detained.

A spokesman for the rebels says another of Gaddafi's sons, Mohammed, is reported to have been in contact with the rebels and is asking for guarantees for his safety. He reportedly says rebels have entered his house.

President Barack Obama says Libya is "slipping from the grasp of a tyrant" as the battle between rebels and Gaddafi reached a "tipping point."

Press Association

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