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

VOA Exclusive: Interview With Myanmar President Thein Sein

Thein Sein calls allegations that minority Muslim Rohingya are fleeing alleged torture in Rakhine state a media fabrication More

Video Better Protective Suit Sought for Ebola Caregivers

Current suit is uncomfortable, requires too many steps for removal, increasing chance of deadly contact with virus More

UN Rights Commission Investigates Eritrea

Three-member commission will start collecting first-hand information from victims and other witnesses in Switzerland and Italy next week 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.
Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concernsi
X
November 19, 2014 11:39 PM
The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.
Video

Video What Jon Stewart Learned About Iran From 'Rosewater'

Jon Stewart, host of the satirical news program "The Daily Show" talks with Saman Arbabi of Voice of America's Persian service about Stewart's directorial debut, "Rosewater."
Video

Video Lebanese Winemakers Thrive Despite War Next Door

In some of the most volatile parts of Lebanon, where a constant flow of refugees crosses the border from Syria, one industry continues to flourish against the odds. Lebanese winemakers say after surviving a brutal civil war in the 1970s and 80s, they can survive anything. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon.
Video

Video China's Rise Closely Watched

China’s role as APEC host this week allowed a rare opportunity for Beijing to showcase its vision for the global economy and the region. But as China’s stature grows, so have tensions with other countries, including the United States. VOA’s Bill Ide in Beijing reports on how China’s rise as a global power is seen among Chinese and Americans.

All About America

AppleAndroid