Having accepted that the rebels can’t defeat Moammar Gadhafi themselves, NATO is aggressively expanding its list of targets in Libya. The scope of NATO’s mission had initially been limited to providing aerial support for rebel troops on the ground. However, Gadhafi has regained momentum and control of a significant part of the country.

NATO and its allies will now continually attack major government institutions including palaces, offices and communications centers in an effort to thwart Gadhafi’s command over his soldiers in the field. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said the new strategy is too destructive and violates the mandate given by the U.N. to “protect civilians.” — KDG

The New York Times:

Officials in Europe and in Washington said that the strikes were meant to reduce the government’s ability to harm civilians by eliminating, link by link, the command, communications and supply chains required for sustaining military operations.

The broadening of what the alliance views as legitimate targets in recent days comes at a time when the rebels and the government in Libya have been consolidating their positions along more static front lines, raising concerns of a prolonged stalemate. Although it is too soon to assess the results of the shift, a NATO official said on Tuesday that the alliance was watching closely for early signs, like the recent reports of desertions from the Libyan Army.

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