Speaking to CNN on Thursday, a top NATO official confirmed that the alliance considers Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi a “legitimate target.” Officials had previously denied targeting Gadhafi and were vague about whether or not he might be targeted in the future.
But of course, after the past two months of escalations, NATO has destroyed virtually all of Gadhafi’s compound as well as assassinating one of his sons and several grandchildren in their home. NATO denied targeting residences. The official pointed to the UN Resolution 1973′s call to use “all necessary measures” to protect civilians and claimed that this would include assassinating Gadhafi as head of the military. The resolution was intended to authorize a no-fly zone but its scope has grown massively since then. Despite two months of attacks, the situation on the ground in Libya is little changed, and officials have even conceded that the war could last through the end of the year and beyond. The latest suggestion about killing Gadhafi will likely spark concerns from UN Security Council members who would never have approved the resolution if this was the result, but shows NATO is increasingly desperate to find something that will appear to be a major change on the ground.