UN Authorizes Air Strikes Against Gaddafi’s Forces in Libya

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Salem-News.com (March 17, 2011 16:34)

Tim King and Robert O’Dowd Salem-News.com

(SALEM, Ore.) – Look for a quick air strike against Muammar Al-Gaddafi. France said they could strike within hours. It’s now dark in Libya, but a daylight attack against his forces appears imminent.

Air Force A-10's

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on Libyan leader  Muammar Al-Gaddafi’s Government Wednesday to cease hostilities immediately, warning that a potential assault on the rebel-held city of Benghazi could endanger huge numbers of civilians.

“Those responsible for the continuous use of military forces against civilians will be held accountable,” a statement issued by his spokesperson said.

The Telegraph reports that Gaddafi threatened to launch retaliation attacks against passenger aircraft in the Mediterranean if foreign countries launch air strikes against Libya. It was reportedly stated that Libya would view “any foreign military act” would expose “all air and maritime traffic in the Mediterranean Sea” as targets for a counter attack.

Media reports indicate that Gaddafi’s forces had intensified offensives in the east and the west of the North African country against what began a month ago as mass protests by peaceful civilians seeking his ouster.

The United Nations Security Council today effectively authorized the use of force in Libya to protect civilians from attack, specifically in the eastern city of Benghazi, which Colonel Muammar Al-Gaddafi has reportedly said he will storm tonight to end a revolt against his regime.

It isn’t clear exactly what assets we have in the Mediterranean, but it appears that U.S. forces will participate, however that is not yet confirmed. USA Today reported at 6:53 p.m. ET that British and French warplanes could make initial air raids on Libyan positions as early as Friday. The BBC reports senior U.N. sources saying that Arab allies might provide logistical support.

U.S. planes could easily take out his “army” with air power, e.g., A-10s taking out the tanks in a matter of minutes.

Acting under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, which provides for the use of force if needed, the Council adopted a resolution by 10 votes to zero, with five abstentions, including those of veto-wielding China and Russia, authorizing Member States “to take all necessary measures… to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack in the Libyan Arab Jamhariya, including Benghazi, while excluding an occupation force.”

Security Council members are holding consultations over an Arab League request that it impose a no-fly zone against Mr. Qadhafi’s air force, which has been pounding cities held by his opponents.

Last month the 15-member Security Council imposed sanctions against the Libyan authorities, placing an arms embargo on the country and freezing the assets of its leaders, while referring the violent repression of civilian demonstrators to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, Netherlands.

An international prosecutor subsequently announced that he is opening an investigation into Mr. Qadhafi, some of his sons and members of his inner circle for crimes against humanity in repressing peaceful protesters in violence that has claimed hundreds or even thousands of lives, according to media reports. Mr. Ban has said Mr. Gaddafi lost his legitimacy when he declared war on his people.

An interesting note in all of this; according to FOX News, despite believing the United States should always promote democracy, most American voters don’t want their military sent to Libya.

These are the same Americans who wholeheartedly backed an illegal war against Iraq that has left the national economy in shambles. The Fox News poll released Thursday found 59 percent of voters think the primary goal of U.S. foreign policy should “always be promoting democracy.” But at the same time, 65 percent oppose the U.S. military getting involved in Libya.

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