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

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year 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.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More