After Libyan rebel forces suffered their second deadly "friendly-fire" attack from NATO air strikes, rebel leaders have taken an unusual step in trying to protect themselves from their global protectors. Soldiers in the rebel campaign have now started to paint the roofs of their vehicles bright pink in order to alert NATO air forces that they are not allied with the Gadhafi regime--and therefore should not be singled out for attacks from the air. For its part, NATO's leadership today offered an grudging apology for accidentally killing at least four Libyan rebels in an air strike on Thursday.
At first, NATO had refused to apologize for its air strike on a Libyan rebel tank convoy en route to front lines in the oil-rich town of Brega. NATO officials said that no one had informed NATO forces that Libyan rebels were deploying tanks and characterized military conditions around the Brega operation as extremely volatile and confusing. "I am not apologizing," Rear Adm. Russell Harding, the British deputy commander of the NATO-led Libya air campaign told journalists in Naples Friday, according to the New York Times. "The situation on the ground was extremely fluid and remains extremely fluid, and until yesterday we did not have information."
But alliance leaders eventually reconsidered. In an interview with the BBC, British Foreign Secretary William Hague--a civilian leader whose authority formally outstrips Harding's in this context--did offer an apology, since a Libyan rebel commander had by then publicly insisted that the rebels had indeed communicated their plans to NATO.Read More »from Libyan rebels paint vehicles pink to avoid NATO friendly fire