News / Africa

Questions Remain Concerning No-Fly Zone Over Libya

An anti-Gadhafi rebel fires on a government warplane flying overhead in Ras Lanouf, eastern Libya, March 9, 2011
An anti-Gadhafi rebel fires on a government warplane flying overhead in Ras Lanouf, eastern Libya, March 9, 2011

The United Nations Security Council has approved a no-fly zone over Libya by a vote of 10 to nothing with five abstentions (Russia, China, Germany, Brazil and India). But experts say there are a number of questions that need to be resolved before a no-fly zone is put in place.

The U.N. Security Council resolution establishes the no-fly zone to protect civilians from attacks by the forces of Libyan leader Colonel Moammar Gadhafi. And it also authorizes member states to “take all necessary measures” to enforce the ban on flights. A no-fly zone is defined as airspace in which certain aircraft - especially military ones - are forbidden to fly.

The resolution was co-sponsored by Britain and France, with backing from the United States.  
French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé told the council that Gadhafi’s forces are continuing their violent attacks on cities and regions.

"We cannot let these warmongers do this," he said. "We cannot abandon the civilian populations and victims of brutal repression. We cannot allow for legality and international morality to be struck down."

Russia was one of five council members to abstain. Moscow's ambassador Vitaly Churkin said there were questions raised by Russia and others during consideration of the resolution that were not answered.

"Questions which were both concrete and legitimate: questions regarding how the no-fly zone would be enforced, what the rules of engagement would be and limits to the use of force would be," he said.

Experts say there are other key questions that need to be resolved before a no-fly zone is put in place. These include will the no-fly zone cover all of Libya - or just over areas occupied by pro-Gadhafi forces? Who will be involved and for what length of time?

Retired U.S. Navy Captain Ben Renda, who flew aircraft patrolling the no-fly zone over southern Iraq in the late 1990s, voices a serious concern.

"When you are sitting at 1,000 feet, or 5,000 feet or 35,000 feet, figuring out who are the civilians and who are not civilians can be particularly hard because it’s a difficult thing to do from the get-go," he said. "Determining who are the rebel forces versus the government forces and on the assumption that mercenaries have also been brought in, figuring out which one of three buckets the good guys are in and the bad guys are in, will be exceedingly difficult - particularly if there is no ground presence, doing it strictly from the air will be challenging."

Renda says in theory, a no-fly zone could be put in place rather quickly.

"A no-fly zone assumes air superiority - so you need to make sure that there is nothing on the ground can shoot things down - so that would be the first step. So that depending upon the level of sophistication of the Libyan air defense, it will necessitate some type of minimization or neutralization of those defenses. Once that is assured, then you can move in with aircraft carriers or start doing over-flight operations depending on the allies’ capabilities and the types of assets that the U.S. wants to deploy in the area," he said.

Renda adds that when you begin a new military operation there is always the resource issue.

"Because every country’s military operates pretty leanly and the U.S. is no exception - and we’ve got already significant commitments," he said. "So the question is what are you going to divert into this area to help solve this problem - and if you are robbing Peter to pay Paul, at what cost? So there is always the question of resources and who can bring what to bear."

Renda says it will be interesting to see how an international military coalition can be put together, given that different countries have different sets of forces with different levels of training.

You May Like

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land In French Port

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching 'Fortress Europe' More

Video Westgate Mall Attack Survivors Confront Painful Memories

On anniversary of terror attack, survivors discuss how they have coped with trauma they experienced that day More

New Hints That Dark Matter Exists

New evidence from International Space Station hints at existence of dark matter and dark energy 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.
Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calaisi
X
Lisa Bryant
September 19, 2014 5:04 PM
The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video CERN Accelerator Back in Business

The long upgrade of the Large Hadron Collider is over. The scientific instrument responsible for the discovery of the Higgs boson -- the so-called "God particle" -- is being brought up to speed in time for this month's 60th anniversary of the European Organization for Nuclear Research, known by its French acronym CERN. Physicists hope the accelerator will help them uncover more secrets about the origins of the universe. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid