Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Gadhafi Forces Surge As NATO Ponders NFZ

Updated at 3:20 p.m.

President Obama consulted by phone with British Prime Minister David Cameron this afternoon on the issue of a no-fly zone over Libya and related topics(as previously reported here, Britain and France are moving forward with a United Nations resolution calling foir a conditional no-fly zone).

"They agreed that the common objective in Libya must be an immediate end to brutality and violence; the departure of Gadhafi from power as quickly as possible; and a transition that meets the Libyan peoples’ aspirations for freedom, dignity, and a representative government," the White House said in a statement.

"The President and the Prime Minister 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," the statement said.

End update

Forces loyal to Moammar Gadhafi pushed forward today as NATO and the Western nations pondered the creation of a no-fly zone over Libya.

There is a chance NATO could decide by the end of the week whether to take action. Meetings have gone on all week at NATO headquarters in Brussels, ahead of a gathering on Thursday of defense ministers from member nations.

The meetings are aimed at determining "how to enforce an arms embargo and how to establish a no-fly zone to protect the Libyan people against military attack," said Ivo Daalder, U.S. ambassador to NATO.

"That will happen all in the course of the first half of this week, so that by the time the defense ministers get here on Thursday, we will have had intensive discussions, both at the military level and the political level, within the NATO apparatus," Daalder told reporters.

European nations are now engaged in 24-hour reconnaissance flights to track activity by Gadhafi's air attacks on rebels and protesters.

The Obama administration is squeamish about the idea of military intervention in Libya, and is hoping that the threat of a no-fly zone will ground Gadhafi's air force.

"We have not removed any option from the table," said White House spokesman Jay Carney.

"I simply would suggest that we are actively considering every option, and that the military aspects of humanitarian assistance are being actively discussed. The no-fly zone is being actively discussed. The enforcement of the arms embargo that the U.N. has mandated is being actively discussed," Carney added.

The NATO consultations come as Gadhafi's troops launch offensive in the oil port of Ras Lanuf and in the formerly rebel-held city, Zawiyah, according to multiple reports.

Gadhafi's troops are also moving toward Sirte today to cut off that potential launching area for attacks on Tripoli, according to reports.

Resilient rebels were nonetheless undeterred by Gadhafi's ground forces and air attacks, boldly giving the steadfast Libyan dictator 72 hours to resign.

No comments:

Post a Comment