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Gates hints at open-ended war in Libya

The US defense secretary says there is no timeline for the end of the US-led assault on Libya as international opposition to the invasion continues to grow.

During a visit to Cairo, Robert Gates said no one was in a position to predict what would happen in Libya.

Gates also rejected criticism with regards to the air strikes in Libya which have resulted in civilian causalities over the past five days.

However, he predicted that the aerial attacks would be scaled back within days.

Gates also failed to suggest a political solution to the unfolding crisis in the North African country.

“It seems to me that if there is a mediation to be done, if there is a role to be played, it is among the Libyans themselves. This matter at the end of the day is going to have to be settled by Libyans. It’s their country,” he said.

Five days ago, coalition forces led by the US, France and Britain launched attacks on Libya from air and sea.

A British commander now claims that the air force of embattled Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi has been totally disabled.

Gaddafi has vowed to defeat both the opposition and the foreign forces.

Reports say forces loyal to the Libyan ruler have killed at least 17 civilians, including five children, in Misratah over the past 24 hours.

Residents in Misratah say Western forces have also hit the city’s air bases where Gaddafi’s brigades are based. Water and electricity has been cut off to the city.

Medical personnel say at least 90 people have died in Misratah in the past five days.

Meanwhile, in a hospital in the city of Benghazi, bodies are piling up in the morgue.

This comes as US-led military operations in Libya have received negative responses from different countries and also parties within the US.

Some US senators have severely slammed President Barack Obama for his decision to attack Libya, saying it is outside the US constitution and that Obama must be impeached for the move.

Russia, China and India as well as several other countries have also opposed the military campaign in Libya.

Germany has already announced that it has pulled out of NATO operations in the Mediterranean.

Italy says it will review the use of its bases for attacks on Libyan regime forces unless NATO leads the operations.

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