Tag Archive: No-fly zone


Muammar al Gaddafi Mouammar Kadhafi Colonel Qu...

Image by Abode of Chaos via Flickr

Over the past 24 hours, the Libyan opposition has made major gains against Gaddafi‘s forces – under the cover of the no-fly zone. The cities of Ajdabiya and Brega, crucial outposts on the main highway along the coast, have been retaken. This makes a full attack on Benghazi difficult. There are also reports emerging that the rebels have retaken the city of Ras Lanuf, a crucial oil-supplying town. Hurting Gaddafi’s economy can only help in his (hopeful) eventual overthrow.

What has changed? We changed. Thanks to the Western (and now Qatari) imposed no-fly zone over Libya, the rebels are benefitting from a huge boost in morale, knowing that the international community supports them, and from the no-fly zone grounding Gaddafi’s deadly air force.

Apparently, Ajdabiya was taken mostly because of the RAF. A devastating bombardment of the city by RAF Tornadoes led to Gaddafi’s forces melting away.

The French air force has also been suppressing Gaddafi’s air force around Misurata, a city besieged. It took down, reportedly, three planes and two helicopters last night.

Liam Fox has claimed that we will not be directly suppling the rebels with arms, citing the presence of a UN weapons embargo.  Mind you, Resolution 1973, only cites arms delivered to the “Libyan Arab Jamahiriya“, the name of Libya under Gaddafi. The Transitional Council calls the country the Libyan Republic. As France recognises the rebels as the legitimate government, are they bound by this embargo? I’m no lawyer, but it’s a point to explore…

So, that’s the latest updates on Libya. A clear change of fortunes for the rebel forces, that we can only hope will continue.

British planes are in action over Libya, Prime Minister David Cameron has said.

He spoke after hosting a meeting of the government’s emergency management committee Cobra in Downing Street.

Earlier he said Libyan leader Colonel Gaddafi had broken his own ceasefire and will now face the consequences of his actions.

Speaking after a summit of world leaders in Paris, Mr Cameron said “the time for action has come”.

After the Cobra meeting, he said: “British forces are in action over Libya. They are part of an international coalition to enforce the will of the United Nations.

“We have all seen the appalling brutality meted out by Col Gaddafi against his own people.”

He added that the action was “legal, necessary and right”.

Mr Cameron praised the British servicemen and women involved and said they were the “bravest of the brave”.

It was a “just cause” and in “Britain’s best interests”, he said.

via BBC News – Cameron says British forces are in action over Libya.

 

In case you’re relying on me as a source of news, it is confirmed – Britain has just entered a new conflict, the intervention in Libya. We will deploy planes in support of an international no-fly zone over the country

Libyan rebels are retreating from the strategic town of Ajdabiya under heavy bombardment by Muammar Gaddafi’s forces, according to reports, as the international community continues to debate a possible no-fly zone to protect an anti-government uprising.

The town on Libya’s east coast is all that stands between the advance of Libyan government troops and the rebel stronghold of Benghazi and lies on a road junction from where Gaddafi’s forces could attempt to encircle the city.

via Key town ‘falls’ to Gaddafi forces – Africa – Al Jazeera English.

The fighting in Libya is going incredibly poorly for the Opposition if this is true.

Ajdabiya is, as it says, the last town before Benghazi, effective centre of the opposition forces. With Ajdabiya and Brega, cities with no more than 100,000 inhabitants, falling to Gaddafi’s forces, the way is open for him to take the coast road directly into the rebellion’s heart.

It’s also where the rebels are strongest – Benghazi is a city of around one million inhabitants, most virulently anti-Gaddafi, and many armed. Gaddafi’s forces probably number no more than 100,000, and a frontal assault on the city would be a disaster, for both sides. Far more likely will be a drastic escalation in the conflict, involving bombing Benghazi into submission.

Unless a no-fly zone is implemented within the next few days, probably by the end of the week, we could see the rebellion’s best hope of toppling Gaddafi end before it even had a chance.

BBC News – Viewpoint: Libya intervention ‘brings huge risks’.

Steve Clemons, in this article for the BBC, argues well against the institution of a no-fly zone over Libya, claiming that we should not distract from the rebels themselves, and impose a “Western” no-fly zone that would only serve to bolster Gaddafi’s rhetoric against the West’s neocolonialism.

This is entirely true. However, I don’t agree that we can’t have a no-fly zone.

I think that this article unfortunately suffers from the problem of blogging and journalism. With major events, such as the rebellion in Libya, events move so quickly, that articles and posts may be out of date and redundant within hours of publishing. In this case, it was out of date even when it was published.

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Amr Moussa, the secretary-general of the Arab League, has called for a no-fly zone over Libya, and has said the bloc wants a role in imposing it.

The comments comes as the organisation meets in the Egyptian capital Cairo on Friday for talks on the ongoing crisis.

“I do not know how nor who will impose this zone, that remains to be seen. The Arab League can also play a role, that is what I will recommend,” Mussa said in an interview with a German magazine.

“I am talking about a humanitarian action. It consists, with a no-fly zone, of supporting the Libyan people in their fight for freedom against a regime that is more and more disdainful.”

Support from the West for a no-fly zone appears to hinge on the outcome of the meeting as consensus is sought for such an action.

“The European Union and the [UN] Security Council are not going to do anything unless they get support from the Arab League,” Qatar University’s Youcef Bouandel told Al Jazeera.

via Libya tops Arab League agenda – Africa – Al Jazeera English.

 

Please, please Arab League…agree to a no-fly zone.

The Gulf Cooperation Council, with Saudi Arabia a key member, has already agreed that Gaddafi’s government is illegitimate and support’s a no-fly zone. If Saudi Arabia can convince Egypt to join in, then two of the best equipped air forces in the Arab/North African world could ground Gaddafi’s fearsome air-force.

The Arab community must be the one to front and support any foreign intervention in Libya, or else the neocolonial arguments will just fracture the country more and send waving nationalists over to Gaddafi’s side.

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