Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta said the NATO campaign in Libya served… (Michael Reynolds / European…)
Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta on Tuesday praised the NATO mission that has been assisting rebel forces in their effort to overthrow Libyan dictator Moammar Kadafi, saying the rebels had made “significant gains,” thanks in large part to the help of NATO forces.
Speaking at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif., Panetta said that while the situation in Libya remained uncertain, it was “clear that the regime forces are collapsing and that Kadafi’s days are numbered.”
“It is a credit to the great job of nations working together on a common mission, something that is absolutely essential if we are to provide security in the future,” he said.
Rebel forces appeared to have made some gains in Tripoli on Tuesday. But as fighting continued, Panetta said the situation was still “very fluid.”
Panetta credited the NATO mission, which he said serves as a model for the future.
"We have protected civilians, we've established a no-fly zone and we have worked with our NATO partners in going after a kind of important support and assistance that was, I think, part of the key in helping opposition forces there ultimately be able to succeed," Panetta said.