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U.N. Approves No-fly Zone over Libya
March 17, 2011

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Col. Moammar Gadhafi now faces a host of opponents who are much better equipped than the sometimes ragtag opposition that has nonetheless seized much of eastern Libya. The prospects of air strikes on Gadhafi's troops by airplanes from other countries is very real, after the United Nations Security Council approved a no-fly zone over Libya. If Gadhafi's forces continue to attack the unarmed opposition, the result will include "all necessary measures" from countries like France and the United Kingdom that are determined to stop the violence against civilians.

Gadhafi's response was the equivalent of "Who cares?" Whether he continues to say that after French and/or British warplanes bomb his attack and defense forces is another matter.

The ideas of a no-fly zone and airstrikes from other countries have been bandied about for weeks while Gadhafi has steadily retaken territory once held by those who want to end his nearly 40-year rule. The second-largest city, Benghazi, is still in rebel hands, as are some of the key ports on the Mediterranean coast. The people who have spoken out against Gadhafi and taken over these towns and ports, however, are running out of ammunition. Gadhafi, on the other hand, has behind him the country's military, small though it may be, and the muscle of mercenaries from other African countries.

The Security Council resolution, which was passed on a 10-0 with five abstentions (Brazil, China, Germany, India, and Russia), prohibits foreign intervention on land, so the U.N. is certainly not calling for occupation. However, pressure can be applied in other ways, and the resolution does just that, reinforcing an arms embargo and travel ban against Gadhafi and many other people and companies associated with him.



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