* Tensions with Britain as Gates rebukes UK government over suggestion Gaddafi could be assassinated
* French propose a new political ‘committee’ to oversee operations
* Germany pulls equipment out of NATO coalition over disagreement over campaign’s direction
* Italians accuse French of backing NATO in exchange for oil contracts
* No-fly zone called into question after first wave of strikes ‘neutralises’ Libyan military machine
* U.K. ministers say war could last ’30 years’
* Italy to ‘take back control’ of bases used by allies unless NATO leadership put in charge of the mission
* Russians tell U.S. to stop bombing in order to protect civilians – calls bombing a ‘crusade’
Deep divisions between allied forces currently bombing Libya worsened today as the German military announced it was pulling forces out of NATO over continued disagreement on who will lead the campaign.
A German military spokesman said it was recalling two frigates and AWACS surveillance plane crews from the Mediterranean, after fears they would be drawn into the conflict if NATO takes over control from the U.S.
The infighting comes as a heated meeting of NATO ambassadors yesterday failed to resolve whether the 28-nation alliance should run the operation to enforce a U.N.-mandated no-fly zone, diplomats said.
Yesterday a war of words erupted between the U.S. and Britain after the U.K. government claimed Muammar Gaddafi is a legitimate target for assassination.
U.K. government officials said killing the Libyan leader would be legal if it prevented civilian deaths as laid out in a U.N. resolution.
But U.S. defence secretary Robert Gates hit back at the suggestion, saying it would be ‘unwise’ to target the Libyan leader adding cryptically that the bombing campaign should stick to the ‘U.N. mandate’.