Amid mounting fears that the conflict might end in stalemate, Gen Richards has called on Nato governments backing the military offensive against Colonel Muammar Gaddafi to increase the range of targets the alliance's warplanes are allowed to attack.
Strict restrictions imposed by Nato member states mean that its forces can only attack targets that are deemed to pose a direct threat to Libyan civilians, such as tanks and artillery.
But in an interview with The Sunday Telegraph, Gen Richards said he wanted the rules of engagement changed so that direct attacks can be launched against the infrastructure propping up Gaddafi's regime. Otherwise he fears the Libyan dictator will survive in power.
"The vice is closing on Gaddafi, but we need to increase the pressure further through more intense military action," Gen Richards said. [Ron: UN Resolution 1973 apparently already unlawfully allows NATO et al to bomb Libyans and Libyan targets that are hundreds of kilometres away from ANY Al Queda and other CIA backed terrorist "rebels" and ANY fighting, sooo General Richards' request must be designed to obtain some pseudo justification for NATO to start bombing Libya and Libyans BACK TO THE STONE AGE!].
"We now have to tighten the vice to demonstrate to Gaddafi that the game is up and he must go."
Gen Richards and other senior Nato officers want backing from member states to intensify the war effort by directly targeting Col Gaddafi's regime, rather than simply protecting Libyan civilians.[Ron: WTF does that mean???]
"The military campaign to date has been a significant success for Nato and our Arab allies, [?!?] but we need to do more. [Ron: WHY? Is there ANY evidence at all that Gaddafi and the Libyan government are harming genuine (ie unarmed) civilians? If so, where is that evidence?] If we do not up the ante now there is a risk that the conflict could result in Gaddafi clinging to power," [Ron: Sooo, why should he not remain in power - 98% of Libyans want him to remain. What possible justification does General Richards and NATO have for deposing him?] said Gen Richards.
"At present Nato is not attacking infrastructure targets in Libya," said Gen Richards. [Ron: WHY does NATO seek to bomb Libya's INFRASTRUCTURE??? The Libyan people depend on that infrastructure to live, work and have a civilised life. Why should the US, UK, France and NATO destroy Libyan infrastructure? Bombing infrastructure means returning Libyans to the Stone Age. That has been done to Germany, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Iraq and Afghanistan already, WHY should humanity allow it to happen to Libya???] "But if we want to increase the pressure on Gaddafi's regime then we need to give serious consideration to increasing the range of targets we can hit."
He added that, while Nato forces were not targeting Col Gaddafi directly, he could nevertheless become a legitimate target if he was caught directly attacks against Libyan civilians.[Ron: What FKN bullshit!!! The only ones killing civilians are the US, UK, French and NATO military AND their mercenaries masquerading as "Libyan rebels". See: Libya Rebels Execute, Behead & Mutilate Gaddafi Army who Surrender! Where is CNN now?: http://abundanthope.net/pages/True_US_History_108/Libya-Rebels-Execute-Behead-Mutilate-Gaddafi-Army-who-Surrender-Where-is-CNN-now.shtml
And: Color Revolution's Mystery Gunmen. See: http://abundanthope.net/pages/True_US_History_108/Color-Revolution-s-Mystery-Gunmen.shtml
"The United Nations resolution allows Nato to use 'all necessary means' in Libya," he said.[Ron: TO DO WHAT???]
"We are not targeting Gaddafi directly, but if it happened that he was in a command and control centre that was hit by Nato and he was killed, then that is within the rules."[Ron: What FKN rules???]
And Gen Richards insisted that Col Gaddafi cannot be allowed to remain in power, even though the UN resolutions backing the mission were implemented to protect Libyan civilians.[Ron: WHY???]
"If Nato withdraws its forces with Gaddafi still in power, then there is a significant risk that he will launch fresh attacks against the rebels," [?!? The "rebels" are armed mercenaries seeking to destroy the legitimate government of Libya!!! WHY are they to be protected while they do that???]he said.
"The Prime Minister and I are on the same page. We are in total agreement that the only solution to this conflict is for Gaddafi to go."[Ron: Sooo?!]
There is mounting concern among senior Nato officers that, under the current rules of engagement, the Libyan conflict could end in stalemate with Col Gaddafi surviving in power.
Although Nato forces have been in action in Libya for two months, the Gaddafi regime still controls Tripoli, the nation's capital, and shows no sign of relinquishing power.[Ron: Why should it? Millions of Libyans LOVE Gaddafi!].
Last week it was reported that Col Gaddafi had been injured in a Nato air strike and had fled the capital. The latest Nato intelligence reports also suggest that Col Gaddafi and his family have been "badly rattled" by the Nato bombardment.[Ron: Sooo? How would General Richards feel if Libyans were bombing London and threatening to flatten the UK's infrastructure and to BOMB his home and KILL him and other UK leaders? I suspect HE would be "rattled" too.].
But senior officers warn that Nato still needs to make a decisive breakthrough to force the regime from power if the conflict is not to end in stalemate. "If we just carry on like this, then Gaddafi will survive, and we will have reached strategic stalemate, which no one [?!?] wants to see," said a senior Nato officer.
Although Gen Richards wants to see an intensification of the military campaign, he insists that Nato must also take care to avoid civilian casualties.[Ron: As NATO is doing in Afghanistan?]
"So far there have been hardly any civilian casualties as a result of the extreme care Nato has taken in the selection of bombing targets," he said. "If any risk is posed to Libya's civilian population then we do not hit the target. No one wants to kill innocent civilians."[Ron: Really? So killing 11 Imams and wounding 40 other people doesn't count? Or were they trying to kill innocent civilians even though they were asleep when killed by NATO? And the three tiny children killed along with their civilian father in their own home were legitimate targets because they were related to Colonel Gaddafi ?!]