Libya: Journalist killed, France and Italy to send ‘advisers’
April 20, 2011 - 11:49 am
Tim Hetherington, photojournalist, filmmaker, and Vanity Fair contributing photographer, was killed today while covering the conflict in Libya. “Tim died about two hours ago,” said Peter N. Bouckaert, of Human Rights Watch, in Geneva, a friend of Hetherington’s. “Three other journalist were also hit [in an] R.P.G. attack, one being Getty photographer Chris Hondros [who was seriously wounded]; photographer Guy Martin, of the Panos Agency, who is in very serious condition; and a freelancer, Michael Brown, who is slightly wounded.”
The U.K.-born, Brooklyn-based Hetherington, 41, who had dual British and American citizenship, was best known for work in Afghanistan, much of it shot for Vanity Fair.
The French and Italians are set to join the British, in inserting “military advisers” into the conflict. Boots on the ground.
The French and Italian governments said Wednesday that they would join Britain in sending a small number of military liaison officers to support the ragtag rebel army in Libya, offering a diplomatic boost for the insurgent leader, Mustafa Abdel-Jalil, as he met with President Nicolas Sarkozy in Paris.
The decision to send military advisers seemed to push the three countries closer toward the limits of the United Nations Security Council resolution in mid-March authorizing NATO airstrikes but specifically “excluding a foreign occupation force of any form on any part of Libyan territory.” But the promised deployments also seemed a tacit admission that almost five weeks of airstrikes have not been enough to disable Colonel Qaddafi’s troops and prevent his loyalists from threatening rebel forces and civilians.
The French government spokesman, François Baroin, told reporters on Wednesday that the number of military liaison officers would be in single digits and that their mission would be to help “organize the protection of the civilian population.” The British deployment could involve up to 20 advisers.
This headline from yesterday seemed to sum things up: NATO says it cannot stop shelling of Libyan city of Misrata.