Sunday, March 6, 2011

Obama Boss Mocks Idea of No-Fly Zone

Updated 9:45 p.m. est

Ouch, the first line of The Guardian's editorial on Britain's bumbling special forces foray into Libya: "David Cameron is not having a good Arab revolution."

Updated 5:45 p.m. est

The mysterious British "diplomatic team" has been released by rebel forces in Eastern Libya, AlJazeera reports.

The team was believed to be made up of about a half-dozen British Special Air Service commandos and a lone diplomat, according to various reports. They did not have proper stamps in their passports and are suspected of entering Libya clandestinely.

"The team went to Libya to initiate contacts with the opposition," said British Foreign Minister William Hague in a statement."They experienced difficulties, which have now been satisfactorily resolved."

end update

Libyan rebels say a no-fly zone would help make for a swift victory over Moammar Gadhafi, but President Obama's top aide balked today at the idea of providing any immediate air cover to the insurgents.

"We can be in Tripoli within three days and take it if the West imposes a no-fly zone," rebel military spokesman Abdullah al-Mahdi in Benghazi told The Australian.

White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley, however, nixed the idea of taking such bold steps to help bring down Gadhafi.

"Lots of people throw around phrases of 'no-fly zone,' and they talk about it as if it's just a ... video game or something. Some people who throw that line out have no idea what they're talking about," Daley said on NBC's "Meet the Press" program.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-Mass.) continued to press for a no-fly zone,  arguing it falls short of being a military intervention. "The last thing we want to think about is any kind of military intervention. And I don't consider the no-fly zone stepping over that line," Kerry said on CBS' "Face the Nation" Sunday.

Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Bill Richardson also called for a no-fly zone over Libya during an appearance on CNN's "State of the Union."

Bush administration national security adviser Stephen Hadley says he supports some type of action, “maybe even covertly starting to get weapons to the rebels so that they could create their own no-fly zone," National Journal reported.

Meanwhile, as the West tries to figure out how it can help topple Gadhafi, Libyan rebels reportedly are detaining British special forces in Eastern Libya.

But, as BBC World Affairs Editor John Simpson explains, this uprising is a peasant revolt, and it takes time for people to figure out which side they really are on.

Simpson contends that other generals under Gadhafi realize the despot is doomed they will join military leaders like Gen. Younis in switching sides.

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