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Week Of Warfare In Libya

  • March 22nd, 2011
  • Posted by EUEditor

military-aircraftorg.jpegThe weekend rush to protect civilians under attack from the Gaddafi regime’s army in Libya has moved on to full air supremacy and a warfare of words about what happens next.

A full no-fly zone has been imposed on Libyan air space preventing any air movements by the Gaddafi forces, and positioned to shut down movement along the highway.

This week began with mixed and confusing events:

Friday’s UN Security Council Resolution 1972 (18.3.11) had included a clause permitting all appropriate measures short of intervention by ground troops, enabling a devastating attack by French aircraft on an armoured column moving against the rebel-held city of Benghazi.

The United States command then assumed control of operations, using hundreds of cruise missiles to demolish air defences and get the no-fly zone in place; by Tuesday it was denying that close air support would be given to rebel troops and was looking to hand over to another authority, possibly NATO.

Fighting was reported on the ground, in and around towns and cities along the coast.

Campaigning continued in Tripoli, with claims of major civilian casualties from allied bombing, and broadcast rhetoric on the theme of an attack by “Crusaders”; the Arab League equivocated over what it had meant in supporting the no-fly zone operation; and some Gulf states were expected to join the international military operation, otherwise being run by NATO powers.

As divers outside interests, e.g. India, criticised the allied operation as itself too threatening for civilians, speculation had to focus on real options open to Muammar al-Gaddafi, his chances of holding on, his fate, the kind of alternative government  – if any- that could be put in  place, and which bidders would get best access to Libyan oil at the end of the conflict.


BBC News, London, “Air strikes keep pressure on Gaddafi”, 22.3.11., (22.3.11).

Deutsche Welle, Bonn, “Gadhafi takes a pounding as West squabbles over operation’s future”, 22.3.11., (22.3.11).