Skip to comments.Bombs away: UN airstrikes could begin tonight as Qaddafi’s troops near Benghazi
Posted on 03/17/2011 2:03:34 PM PDT by SeekAndFind
His air force is already bombing the outskirts of the city, but not for much longer. The Security Council’s expected to vote at 6 p.m. ET and the French are telling people that airstrikes against Libyan air defenses — and maybe more — could begin immediately thereafter. At the same time, Qaddafi just delivered another insane stemwinder against the rebels on Libyan radio warning people in Benghazi that the army will be rolling into town tonight and that, if they don’t surrender, they’ll receive “no mercy.” Which means, unless someone blinks in the next few hours, that city will be a bona fide international war zone by the time America goes to bed tonight.
This is turning out to be some week.
Ibrahim Dabbashi, the deputy Libyan UN ambassador, warned that, “in the coming hours we will see a real genocide if the international community does not act quickly.”
Dabbashi, who defected early on from the Gaddafi regime, said “about five” Arab states were ready to help police the no-fly zone if it was adopted…
Al Jazeera’s Bays in Tobruk said that people in the city said they were confident of winning against Gaddafi, but still needed international help.
“I can tell you that when you speak to the people here, they say they’re winning, they say they’re beating back Gaddafi. Then you ask them the question should the international community do more, and they say ‘Yes, we’re all going to die if they don’t help’. So very contradictory answers to those questions,” Bays reported on Thursday.
The regime’s threatening to retaliate by attacking air and sea traffic in the Mediterranean, which is unlikely in the near term with NATO overhead but more likely if Qaddafi brokers a deal to stay in power and inevitably returns to his old terrorist-y ways. (He’s worried enough about imminent airstrikes to have opted for radio over video today.) Meanwhile, I’m intrigued by those five Arab states who are allegedly ready to help “police” the NFZ. What does that mean, exactly? McClatchy reported earlier that only two were on board so momentum is building across the region to help make this happen, but in practical terms it means — what? Certainly use of local air bases; possibly also … Arab air forces joining NATO patrols?
As for which five states are involved, Tunisia and Egypt are obvious candidates since they’re adjacent, have revolutionary fever themselves, and want to maintain good relations with the west in the near term to keep the foreign aid flowing while they reorganize. The obvious risk is that if Qaddafi somehow remains in charge, then they have to live with him and wonder if he’s plotting revenge. That’s not a big concern for Egypt, which could crush him if need be, but little Tunisia may think twice. Assuming they’re both in, though, then who are the other three states? Given the current circumstances in the region, would the Saudis dare lend logistical support to dislodging an Arab dictator — even one they despise? Stay tuned.
Exit question: How’d the NATO powers get China and Russia to go along with a no-fly zone on the Security Council? Exit answer: In a way, they didn’t.
Update: According to one report, four of the five Arab countries involved are the UAE, Qatar, Jordan, and … Saudi Arabia. No word on the fifth. I guess Tunisia and Egypt don’t want to make the mad dog mad.
Why the rush to war? Lybia had nothing to do with 9-11! Give sanctions a chance to work! No blood for oil!
And coming up the rear is Obama’s golf cart.
But is it equipped with a teleprompter powerful enough to deal with this crisis?
Did I need a /s tag?
A UN CF. This administration is completely insane.
Genocide does not matter to you?
I was wondering whether Russia or China would veto this.
But on second thought, since we now seem to heading into a gradualist, incrementalist mission creep in the quagmire of the quicksands of Libya.......they’re probably smiling at the prospect of another war for the USA.
Do the advocates of going to war against Qaddafi understand the concept of contagion......a war that spreads to Egypt....who by the way have refused the use of their airfields for this upcoming war?
And make no mistake, war it is. Most the liberals and conservatives advocating war seem to think a nofly zone will be an antiseptic affair.
Khadafy now has every incentive to widen the area of conflict.
We have no vital interest in Libya, I will repeat.
Genocide does not matter to you?
See #4. Apparently I did need one.
Sorry-I certainly did not interpret your comment correctly. Very slow<-——over here. :)
War mongering Obama...
Will he have to give up his Nobel Peace prize?
Let’s hope it spreads to Russia. It would be well deserved, imo.
What is our exposure here. Is this just French and Italians bombing Libyans? Or are we going to be sending in aircraft.
Uhbama is a coward.
Perhaps if there were a way to convince him that all of the rebels in Libya were UNION MEMBERS he would hop to. You know, actually take action. But that would also require a decision. And we all know uhbama only makes decisions when there is a benefit in it for himself.
He HOPES that the rest of the world will see America as he dreams it will become.
Perhaps this is the one foreign policy so to speak that he is succeeding in bringing forth. An America on her knees (bending towards the east, of course).
oooops Fredd-—change my first line ‘their’ to ‘there’ in your head, ok? Just duh!
Uh, Bahrain should be our main concern now, not Libya.
The US Fleet is harbored there, the Shias of Iraq are agitating and the Saudis have actually sent in troops.
Iran is smiling as we obsess on Libya.
Strategic blinders are on.
I don’t know what to think. Obama came out today to make some comments on Japan and just like always he said, âLet me be clear . . â. I have been trying to figure out for over 2 years what Obama is trying to make clear. Does anyone know?
The USA is NOT leading this charge ( I don’t think Obama is capable of leading ).
US has just finally begun considering a military strike against Moammar Gaddafis forces in Libya in an effort to save beleaguered rebel forces in Benghazi.
In other words, we’re “mulling” it.
If the US had decided from the beginning that military action was off the table, that would have been a defensible position to take. If the US wanted to impose a military solution to support the rebels, that also would have been defensible.
Had Barack Obama seized the moment to lead the West in either direction, at the very least we would have set an example and demonstrated some sort of principle, either Wilsonian defense against tyranny and oppression or a recognition of the international constraints of sovereignty.
The lack of leadership and the vacillation on whether to take military action is utterly indefensible, and this thirteenth-hour suggestion that we will now prepare to think about committing our military against Gaddafi after the game is almost over demonstrates nothing but weakness and incompetence.
At this point in time, if Obama ever makes a decision, he’d be following the UN’s lead.