Sun, 20th Mar 2011 14:55
By Maria Golovnina and Michael Georgy
TRIPOLI, March 20 – Western forces pounded Libya’s air defences and patrolled its skies on Sunday, but their day-old intervention hit a serious diplomatic setback as the Arab League chief condemned the ‘bombardment of civilians’. …
European and U.S. forces unleashed warplanes and cruise missiles against Gaddafi on Saturday in a United Nations-backed intervention to prevent the veteran leader from killing civilians as he fights an uprising against his 41-year rule.
But Arab League chief Amr Moussa said what was happening was not what Arabs had envisaged when they called for the imposition of a no-fly zone over Libya.
‘What is happening in Libya differs from the aim of imposing a no-fly zone, and what we want is the protection of civilians and not the bombardment of more civilians,’ he said.
In comments carried by Egypt’s official state news agency, Moussa also said he was calling for an emergency Arab League meeting.
Arab backing for a no-fly zone provided crucial underpinning for the passage of the U.N. Security Council resolution last week that paved the way for the Western intervention, the biggest against an Arab country since the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
Withdrawal of that support would make it much harder to pursue what some defence analysts say could in any case be a difficult, open-ended campaign with an uncertain outcome.
The U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, said the no-fly zone was effectively in place. But he told CBS the endgame of military action was ‘very uncertain’ and acknowledged it could end in a stalemate with Gaddafi.
Mullen said he had seen no reports of civilian casualties from the Western strikes. But Russia said there had been such casualties and called on Britain, France and the United States to halt the ‘non-selective use of force’.
Cyprus says against use of British bases for Libya: here.
Concern over British action in Libya: here.
David Sirota: Obama & Clinton both explicitly promised to seek congressional declaration of war before doing anything like Libya: here. They Lied.
“All Out War on Libya, Surge in the Price of Crude Oil”: here.
Maintaining Libya no-fly zone has cost more than $100 million so far: here.
Australia and the Libya war: here.