Qaddafi loses about 25 percent of army

Boris Tadic, President of Serbia then Minister...Image via Wikipedia

Libya leader Muammar Gaddafi's armed forces are not close to breaking point despite hundreds of allied air strikes, American military chiefs have said.

Adm Mike Mullen told a US Congress committee Col Gaddafi's troops still had 10 times the rebels' firepower.

At the same hearing, Defence Secretary Robert Gates reiterated the US would put no "boots on the ground" in Libya.

Rebels and pro-Gaddafi forces appear to have reached a stalemate in their fight for control of the country.

In recent days, rebels have been urging international forces to conduct more air strikes.

Adm Mullen told the House of Representatives armed forces committee that bad weather had stopped them from identifying targets over the past three or four days.

"[The weather] has more than anything else reduced the impact... reduced the effectiveness, and has allowed the regime forces to move back to the east," the AFP news agency quoted him as saying.

Despite the weather, he said the air strikes since the beginning of the operation had wiped out between 20% and 25% of Col Gaddafi's forces.

"We have actually fairly seriously degraded his military capabilities. That does not mean he's about to break, from a military standpoint, because that's not the case," he said.

The opposition needs to make effective use of "Jersey barriers" to slow the advance of Qaddafi forces on the highway. They also need to get some construction equipment to dig defensive barriers and to protect cities they control.

The weather problem is probably what is stalling the effective use of the AC-130 gunships and A-10s. Both could blow away Qaddafi's forces on the open highway. They could easily cut his effectiveness below 50 percent.
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