January 22, 2012
The United States has sent some 12,000 soldiers to Libya, in the first phase of deployments to the oil-rich North African nation.
According to Asharq Alawsat, the troops landed in the eastern oil port city of Brega.
Although the deployment is said to be aimed at generating stability and security in the region, the troops are expected to take control of the country’s key oil fields and strategic ports.
Brega, the site of an important oil refinery, serves as a major export hub for Libyan oil. The town is also one of the five oil terminals in the eastern half of the country.
Following the popular uprising of the Libyan people, NATO launched a major air campaign against the forces of the former regime on March 19, 2011 under a UN mandate to “protect the Libyan population.”
The Western military alliance, however, was heavily criticized for its failure to protect civilians and taking action beyond the terms of the UN mandate.
On October 20, Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi was killed in his hometown of Sirte, eight months into an uprising that put an end to his 42-year dictatorship.
Human rights groups have accused NATO of committing war crimes and human rights violations against Libyans.