News / Africa

Libyan Airstrikes Prompt Debate on No-Fly Zone

Libyan rebels who are part of the forces against Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi ride in a truck carrying an anti-aircraft gun on their way to the front-line near Ras Lanuf, west of the town of Brega, eastern Libya, March 4, 2011
Libyan rebels who are part of the forces against Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi ride in a truck carrying an anti-aircraft gun on their way to the front-line near Ras Lanuf, west of the town of Brega, eastern Libya, March 4, 2011
Meredith Buel

As Libyan warplanes continue to launch new air strikes against areas under the control of opposition rebels, international debate is growing about whether a no-fly zone should be established over the country to protect civilians.

Some influential voices in the United States and international community are calling on the United Nations and NATO to consider establishing a no-fly zone over Libya, where the warplanes of the country's leader Moammar Gadhafi continue to bomb targets held by rebel forces.

U.S. Senator John Kerry, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said, "I believe that the global community cannot be on the sidelines while airplanes are allowed to bomb and strafe. A no-fly zone is not a long-term proposition, assuming the outcome is what all desire, and I believe we ought to be ready to implement it as necessary."

U.S. President Barack Obama said the world is outraged by what he called the "appalling" violence against the Libyan people and is urging Gadhafi to step down.

Obama says a no-fly zone is one of the options he is considering in order to stop the violence in Libya. He also is working with the international community to create solutions in case of a humanitarian disaster.

"There is a danger of a stalemate that, over time, could be bloody, and that is something that we are obviously considering," said the president.  So what I want to make sure of is that the United States has full capacity to act, potentially rapidly."

In the 1990’s the international community imposed no-fly zones over Iraq and Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Related Carolyn Presutti Video Report

Analysts caution that any far-reaching military action against Libya would require a mandate from the U.N. Security Council. However, they say it is likely Russia or China would use their veto power to stop such a move.

U.S Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Washington and its allies are considering a no-fly zone, but any American intervention in Libya would be controversial within Libya and the broader Arab community.

Clinton said that while the U.S. is a long way from making such a decision, all possibilities are under discussion. "We are taking no option off the table, so long as the Libyan government continues to turn its guns on its own people."

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the military is working on a range of options, but emphasizes a no-fly zone in Libya would involve "a big operation in a big country."

Gates also said such a mission is complicated and would require a major air assault on Libyan military installations. "There is a lot of frankly loose talk about some of these military options and let’s just call a spade a spade, a no-fly zone begins with an attack on Libya to destroy the air defenses."

Analysts say nations on the U.N. Security Council are not likely to approve a no-fly zone unless there is a dramatic escalation of violence by the Libyan Air Force.

Still, opponents of Gadhafi in Libya are calling on western powers to conduct airstrikes to help them topple the dictator.

Robert Wexler, a former U.S. Congressman who currently is president of the S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East peace, said, "The inclination of many Americans, when they see a lunatic like Gadhafi engaging in violence against his own people, is to rush to help."

Wexler said while a no-fly zone sounds appealing to an international community eager to help Libyan protestors, the intervention of outside military force could actually weaken the rebels.

"The use of American engagement may actually undermine their efforts because today it is a homegrown effort. If they become allied with the United States, their effectiveness may be somewhat compromised."

Some European countries are drawing up contingency plans to prevent Gadhafi from using air power against his own people.

Arab League foreign ministers say they would consider backing a no-fly zone and will pursue talks on the best way to protect Libya’s citizens and guarantee their security.

Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Changing Under Pressure, IS ‘Potent’ as Ever

US intel officials describe Ramadi's fall as concerning, but say it isn't emblematic of larger effort to degrade IS capabilities More

Nigeria Fuel Shortage Shows Fragility of Africa’s Oil Giant

Although it is the largest oil producer in Africa, country has nearly ran out of fuel it needs to power its generators, cars and airplanes over the past week More

Arrested Football Officials Come Mainly From the Americas

US Justice Department alleges defendants participated in 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through corruption of international soccer More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Cari
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
May 27, 2015 9:31 PM
Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.

VOA Blogs