Libya: UN Air Strikes Coming; Gaddafi Threatens to “Get Crazy”

Gaddafi’s radio address from earlier today:

I know you’ve all heard that the UN Security Council has approved international intervention in the Libya conflict. What does it mean? What will happen next? Your guess is as good as mine, but we might as well talk about it anyway, right? Here are a few links to get us started.

The Guardian UK: Libya: UN security council backs no-fly zone and air strikes

British and French military aircraft are preparing to protect the Libyan rebel stronghold of Benghazi after the UN security council voted in favour of a no-fly zone and air strikes against Muammar Gaddafi’s forces.

With Gaddafi’s troops closing in on Benghazi, the French prime minister, François Fillon, said “time is of the essence” and that France would support military action within hours of the vote. But US sources were more cautious, speaking of action in days rather than hours.

Fighter jets and bombers could take off from French bases along the Mediterranean coast, about 750 miles from Libya. Several Arab countries have promised to join the operation. Washington supported the resolution, a complete turnaround after weeks of resisting no-fly zone proposals, but has not yet said what role, if any, it would play in military action.

The 15-member security council voted in favour of a resolution authorising all necessary measures, other than occupation, to protect civilians under threat of attack, including Benghazi. Ten members voted in favour, with five, including China, Russia and Germany, abstaining. The resolution ruled out putting troops on the ground.

Reportedly, the opposition forces were heartened by the decision. I hope it won’t be to late to make a difference.

Simon Tisdall, Guardian: Libya finally forces Barack Obama’s hand as he goes for broke

With a boldness that the world had begun to believe he lacked, Barack Obama has gone for broke. The US wants Muammar Gaddafi’s head. It will not rest until he is deposed and there is regime change in Libya. And it will fight to get it.

Obama spent weeks pondering, prevaricating and posturing, infuriating Britain and France, arch advocates of military intervention. He used public appearances to prate professorially about plans, contingencies and downsides. He allowed senior administration officials such as Pentagon chief Robert Gates to give full vent to their doubts and misgivings about a possible Libyan quagmire.

Obama finally made his mind up. The US would intervene to stop him. And there would be no half measures. All steps short of boots on the ground, as the US under-secretary of state William Burns put it are now urgently contemplated, with a view to immediate implementation.

Whatever. My hypothesis is that Obama couldn’t take the criticism or the worldwide attention that Hillary has been getting during her recent travels.

Gaddafi is not happy.

Whoa! WTF?!

Muammar Gaddafi has pledged to retake the rebel stronghold of Benghazi and warned that any foreign attack on Libya would endanger air and maritime traffic in the Mediterranean area, as the UN security council voted for military intervention.

In a defiant and menacing radio address, the Libyan leader sought to pre-empt the UN. “No more fear, no more hesitation, the moment of truth has come,” he declared. “There will be no mercy. Our troops will be coming to Benghazi tonight.”

The defence ministry in Tripoli issued its threat of retaliation in the Mediterranean in the apparent hope of influencing deliberations in New York that approved an assault on Libya’s air defences and ground forces.

The Independent UK reports tough talk from the British and Americans:

After the vote, British Foreign Secretary William Hague reiterated the case for the resolution. “We have said all along that Gaddafi must go,” he said.

“It is necessary to take these measures to avoid greater bloodshed, to try to stop… attacks on civilians and the people of Libya.”

His US counterpart Hillary Clinton took a similar stance, speaking during a visit to Tunis. “Gaddafi must go,” she said. Calling him a “ruthless dictator,” she added: “If Gaddafi does not go, he will just make trouble. That is just his nature. There are some creatures that are like that.”

Defence sources in London meanwhile indicated that the coalition’s first targets would be the tank convoys closing on Benghazi or ships attempting to bombard the city. Arab participation is likely to be provided initially by Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, although there were already reports as the resolution was passed of Egypt shipping arms to the rebels across the border.

In the wake of the UN decision, Gaddafi has stepped back a bit: After pounding rebel hub, Gaddafi calls for truce as UN action looms

Libya’s army said it would halt operations from Sunday to allow rebels to lay down their arms, softening repeated threats by Muammar Gaddafi to crush them, as world powers edged towards adopting tough measures to shut down the strongman’s military machine.

Libyan troops pushed forward towards the insurgent stronghold of Benghazi on Thursday and launched air raids on its outskirts as Washington raised the possibility of air strikes to stop the forces. The international debate on what action to take may have dragged on too long to help the anti-Gaddafi uprising, now struggling to hold its ground one month after it started.

What do you think? Is is too little, too late? Or are we getting ourselves into another Iraq?

UPDATE: Dakinikat called my attention to this article at the Foreign Policy blog: Inside classified Hill briefing, administration spells out war plan for Libya

Several administration officials held a classified briefing for all senators on Thursday afternoon in the bowels of the Capitol building, leaving lawmakers convinced President Barack Obama is ready to attack Libya but wondering if it isn’t too late to help the rebels there.

Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Bill Burns led the briefing and was accompanied by Alan Pino, National Intelligence Officer for the Near East, Gen. John Landry, National Intelligence Officer for Military Issues, Nate Tuchrello, National Intelligence Manager for Near East, Rear Adm. Michael Rogers, Director of Intelligence for the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Rear Admiral Kurt Tidd, Vice Director of Operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Several senators emerged from the briefing convinced that the administration was intent on beginning military action against the forces of Col. Muammar al-Qaddafi within the next few days and that such action would include both a no-fly zone as well as a “no-drive zone” to prevent Qaddafi from crushing the rebel forces, especially those now concentrated in Benghazi.


36 Comments on “Libya: UN Air Strikes Coming; Gaddafi Threatens to “Get Crazy””

  1. bostonboomer says:

    Patrick Cockburn: To have an impact, this kind of intervention needs clear objectives

    Western nations will soon be engaged in a war in Libya with the noble aim of protecting civilians. But the course of such a conflict is impossible to predict. The UN Security Council has authorised the use of “all necessary measures”, including aerial bombing, to avert a military victory by Colonel Gaddafi. It was not at all clear what this authorisation will mean in practice.

    The Americans, the British and the French have come to understand that establishing a no-fly zone is not enough. Colonel Gaddafi’s main strike force consists of tanks and infantry, so inability to use aircraft might not be sufficient to stop him capturing Benghazi and eastern Libya. Given that most of the Libyan population lives in cities and towns close to the sea, air strikes on the main coast road might stop the regime’s motley forces. But it is the tradition of wars in the Middle East that the first days of foreign involvement are always the best.

    And then everything basically goes to hell….

    • Seriously says:

      AJE’s been saying that Gadaffi’s ground forces are nowhere near as close to Benghali as everyone seems to think. OTOH, they’re also saying the rebels are also exaggerating their successes, they can find no evidence of the regime’s planes they claim to have shot down. So who knows how capable they are of repulsing a ground attack if Gadaffi does get there anytime soon.

      • bostonboomer says:

        Who knows? I’m sure both sides are exaggerating their successes and minimizing their losses.

  2. bostonboomer says:

    I have to say, Gaddafi is one of the wackiest-looking guys I’ve ever seen.

  3. TheRock says:

    Notice how fast Gaddaf started talking about peace when US leadership actually got serious. How many lives could have been saved had Obumbles done this last week?

    Asshat Extraordinaire.

    Hillary 2012

  4. paper doll says:

    To have an impact, this kind of intervention needs clear objectives

    as in: ” let me be clear” ?

    help

  5. Minkoff Minx says:

    Italy to make bases available for Libya no-fly zone-source | Reuters

    Italy is ready to make its military bases available to enforce a U.N. Security Counci resolution imposing a no-fly zone on Libya, an Italian government source told Reuters on Thursday.

    The airbase at Sigonella in Sicily, which provides logistical support for the United States Sixth Fleet, is one of the closest NATO bases to Libya and could be used in any military operation.

    • boogieman7167 says:

      this whole idea is bad i think no fly zone just call it what it is WAR . it looks like nobody want to face the reality of what will happened . if these air strike do happen you can bet on seeing a domino affect and this time it wont be democracy it will be other countries and governments coming to his aid .

      • boogieman7167 says:

        oh and one other thing there’s nothing glorified about going to war in the end nobody wins .

      • dakinikat says:

        Gadhafi’s not going to get help from any other country. The Arab league already approved action against him. He had to hire mercenaries to do stuff on the ground already. He’s got no friends.

      • WomanVoter says:

        Gaddafi just bombed the Power Plant for Benghazi and it doesn’t look good…this poor kid is trying to get the fire department over to put it out.

        Libya, Benghazi: March 17th, Fuel tank on fire at Ezwetina power station, Ajdabiya

  6. boogieman7167 says:

    ohh ans the next time that you make a post that seems have a them like its the honorable thing to do and that this is good way . don’t forget to posy about all the sons and daughters that will never know there fathers and the widows it will make.
    that’s the reality of war .
    REALITIES BITES doesn’t it

    • dakinikat says:

      Do you think the world should sit by and watch him slaughter people? How many foreign troops died in Bosnia or US troops? It’s like that not Iraq.

      • boogieman7167 says:

        these no reason to go to war were our military stretch as its is with 2 ongoing wars one that has no one that has no end in site
        Gaddaffi has not attacked the US or any of its allies . this is nothing like Bosnia .
        hey if France and Italy want to send there military in go for it . but that them im just talking about the united states

      • bostonboomer says:

        Right now the U.S. *isn’t* contributing any military forces. It’s only France and Great Britain.

    • boogieman7167 says:

      send them humanitarian aid sure. but this is not our fight.

      • Seriously says:

        How would you propose sending them humanitarian aid when Gadaffi’s forces want to surround the area and slaughter everyone in the vicinity? Humanitarian aid workers aren’t going to be allowed to the scene of a city-wide mass murder and it wouldn’t be safe for them anyway.

      • boogieman7167 says:

        don’t buy onto the whole idea that they are trying to sell you that’s its just a no fly zone no drive zone or what ever they want to call it . it an act of war . there not going to call it that because the know the public wont support that. but hey if its just a no fly zone . they might jut be abel to get away with that.

      • Seriously says:

        People aren’t stupid, boogie. They understand the concept of a no-fly zone. Been there before. They understand it can go seriously wrong in 20 different ways. Right now Gadaffi’s tanks are in Misurata taking civilians to use as human shields to ward off airstrikes. There aren’t any good options here.

      • bostonboomer says:

        The Red Cross already pulled out of Benghazi. That was the humanitarian aid that was already sent in. But they had to leave because of the bloody fighting.

  7. Minkoff Minx says:

    Japan tsunami and earthquake: 30 children sit silent in classroom after parents vanish | Mail Online

    Even amid the carnage and despair of Japan’s tsunami victims, the plight of the 30 children at Kama Elementary School is heartbreaking.

    They sit quietly in the corner of a third-floor classroom where they have waited each day since the tsunami swept into the town of Ishinomaki for their parents to collect them. So far, no one has come and few at the school now believe they will.

    Teachers think that some of the boys and girls, aged between eight and 12, know their fathers and mothers are among the missing and will never again turn up at the gates of the school on the eastern outskirts of the town, but they are saying nothing.

    Read the comments if you get a chance…