Friday, March 18, 2011

Unitied Nations Authorizes No Fly Zone For Libya

Rebel groups are rejoicing as the United Nations has authorized a no fly zone and the British have already begun operations to support the effort.
Britain is poised to move fighter jets to bases from where they can help enforce a no-fly zone over Libya, after the UN Security Council gave the green light to conduct air strikes against Colonel Gaddafi’s forces, Prime Minister David Cameron said on Friday.

“Preparations to deploy these aircraft have already started and in the coming hours they will move to airbases from where they can start to take the necessary action.” Mr Cameron told parliament.

French president Nicholas Sarkozy will host talks in Paris on Saturday to discuss co-operation and co-ordinated action against Libya with representatives “at the highest level possible level” of the European Union, Arab League and African Union.

The UN Security Council on Thursday night approved a resolution authorising “all necessary measures’’ to protect civilians under threat from the Libyan regime.

As Col Gaddafi threatened to launch an imminent assault on the rebel stronghold of Benghazi, the Security Council passed a resolution endorsing a no-fly zone to halt government troops that are now around 60 miles from the city.

The UN Security Council also authorised “all necessary measures” – code for military action – to protect civilians against attacks by Col Gaddafi’s forces. Following the vote, Barack Obama, the US president, conferred with David Cameron, UK prime minister, and Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president, to co-ordinate “next steps”, according to the White House.
A no fly zone would give rebel groups the opportunity to regroup without fear of airborne attack by Khadafi loyalists. Khadafi's thugs have been using airstrikes to beat back rebel advances towards Tripoli and retake territory captured by rebel groups including several important oil facilities.

For its part, China has expressed reservations about the no fly zone.

A no fly zone is not without serious risks, and could draw in foreign nations, including the US, into a potentially ugly civil war. Still, the benefit of preventing further harm to civilians is the driving concern here - Khadafi has shown a willingness to attack civilian populations, not including the attacks against protesters.

Has the no fly zone already prompted Khadafi to moderate? According to MSNBC, his foreign minister is claiming that the Khadafi loyalists will stop military further military actions, but I wouldn't trust that to last.

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