US and NATO warplanes turned their firepower Wednesday against ground forces loyal to the regime of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. The change in tactics is a further demonstration that the war in Libya is driven not by humanitarian concerns, but rather the imperialist aims of dominating the country and seizing its oil wealth.
The air strikes on the fifth day of the war targeted pro-government forces battling for control of the coastal city of Misrata, about 130 miles east of the Libyan capital, Tripoli, and Ajdabiya, the strategic highway junction just 100 miles south of Benghazi, the stronghold of the anti-Gaddafi insurgency.
The British Guardian reported Wednesday: “Nearly 12 hours of allied air strikes have virtually wiped out Muammar Gaddafi’s forces that were attacking the rebel-held town of Misrata.” It quoted residents of the town as saying the attacks, which began shortly after midnight, continued until 11:30 Wednesday morning. A former hospital used as a headquarters for the military force was almost destroyed by the bombing. Attacks were also carried out against the nearby air force academy and airport.