NO-FLY ZONE LIBYA SHOULD NOT BE LED BY US
By Diana M.
Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, has made it clear that any decision to impose a no-fly zone over Libya is a matter for the UN and should not be led by America.
Col Qaddafi aircraft and tanks pounded rebels in Zawiyah, the closest rebel-held city to the Libyan stronghold of Tripoli in the west. A relentless government barrage blocked rebels in the east from advancing west to his strategic hometown of Sirte.
Counter-attacks by Qaddafi loyalists suggest he will not go quietly or relatively quickly as fellow leaders in Egypt and Tunisia did in a tide of popular unrest now shaking the Arab world.
Rising casualties and threats of hunger and a refugee crisis have increased pressure on foreign governments to act, but many were fearful of moving from sanctions alone to military action. President Barack Obama has faced criticism for being cautious.
“We want to see the international community support it (a no-fly zone),” Clinton told Sky News. “I think it’s very important that this not be a US-led effort.”
David Cameron, who talked with Obama about a no-fly zone by telephone, said planning was vital in case Qaddafi refused to step down in response to the popular uprising that erupted mid-February.
“I think now we have got to prepare for what we might have to do if he goes on brutalizing his own people,” the prime minister told the BBC.
In the telephone call, the two leaders “agreed to press forward with planning, including at Nato, on the full spectrum of possible responses, including surveillance, humanitarian assistance, enforcement of the arms embargo, and a no-fly zone“.
Britain and France are seeking a UN resolution to authorize such a zone to ground Qaddafi aircraft and prevent him moving troops by air. Russia and China, which have veto power in the UN Security Council, are cool towards the idea, which would be likely to require bombing Libyan air defenses.
Hafiz Ghoga, spokesman for the rebel National Libyan Council, said in the rebel base of Benghazi in eastern Libya:
“We will complete our victory when we are afforded a no-fly zone. If there was also action to stop him (Qaddafi) from recruiting mercenaries, his end would come within hours.”
Image Courtesy of GETTY.