Reuters–U.N. okays military action on Libya

The United Nations authorised military action to curb Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi on Thursday, hours after he threatened to storm the rebel bastion of Benghazi overnight, showing “no mercy, no pity.”

“We will come, zenga, zenga. House by house, room by room,” he said in a radio address to the eastern city.

Al Jazeera television showed thousands of Benghazi residents in a central square celebrating the U.N. vote, waving anti-Gaddafi tricolour flags and chanting defiance of the man who has ruled for four decades. Fireworks burst over the city.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Libya

20 comments on “Reuters–U.N. okays military action on Libya

  1. Br. Michael says:

    Great. Now will the US Congress? Or will Obama launch a war illegally?

  2. carl says:

    Remember that once you provide military support to a faction, you become responsible for the actions of that faction. Counter-factuals about what the other side would have done won’t matter at that point. Also remember that it is not necessarily so easy to keep your involvement at the sterile clean level of airstrikes. If a pilot gets taken prisoner, you have a problem that isn’t easily solved. But other countries are free to act as they see fit. So long as US forces do not participate, it isn’t really my concern.


  3. Cennydd13 says:


  4. Pageantmaster Ù† says:

    There is a clearer version of the UN Security Council Resolution 1973 in the Guardian here – in due course the official final resolutions should be published here. There is a report from the UN here

    So far, offers of aircraft have been received from inter alia Canada and Denmark. The early action until the weekend is likely to be undertaken by France and the UK when Nato will be able to coordinate its actions. Italy has offered use of its airstrips and so far there have been offers from Arab states including some of the Gulf States on behalf of the Arab League and the Gulf Cooperation Council, but perhaps it is premature to name the countries being mooted. It sounds as if Egypt is providing tacit support if reports are correct.

    Most importantly, it would appear that a more conciliatory tone is coming out of the Foreign Ministry in Tripoli compared with the murderous rant of Gaddaffi a few hours earlier, for which we must be thankful. Thanks are also due to the United States for supporting the pushing through and beefing up of a resolution which however late in the day, may yet have come in time to prevent a horrendous bloodbath.

    Five nations abstained from the vote: China, Russia, Germany, Brazil and India. China and Russia could have vetoed action but again thankfully and remarkably opted not to use it, for which one should also be thankful.

    Perhaps we should pray for the Libyan people and for the four US journalists who have been missing since the ‘cleansing’ of one of the towns in West Libya and for their safe return.

  5. Pageantmaster Ù† says:

    It is also worth mentioning that the UNSC resolution takes sanctions much further to enable the flow of funds to Libya from outside sources is cut. This is likely to be very helpful. Also there is a no flight ban on civil aircraft to try to stop the flying in of African mercenaries and provides specifically for those states who have been supplying them.

  6. Isaac says:

    Pageantmaster, I’d guess that BRIC abstained after some assurances that this sort of thing won’t be tried in their particular areas of influence or where their economic interests are at stake. Total shot in the dark, though.

  7. Pageantmaster Ù† says:

    #6 Isaac – interesting thought – establishing precedent could well give some of these countries cause for concern.

    I was concerned listening to reports from Tripoli this evening that they had had contacts with China and India, suggesting that they might bring their workers back to Libya to get the government going again. This along with rumors that Libya has been trying to bribe some of those countries not to vote yes, perhaps makes it all the more remarkable that they decided to abstain/not use their veto.

  8. Caedmon says:

    Daniel McCarthy today at The American Conservative blog:

  9. MichaelA says:

    Soon after Qaddafi took power in the 1960s, the founder of the SAS (David Stirling) prepared a plan to topple him and restore the monarchy. Apparently the US put the word out that this was not to happen, because the Americans were impressed with Qaddafi’s anti-marxist credentials!

    Since then, as we now know, the country has been awash with blood. It is estimated that 20% of the country have been recruited as informers on the others, often unwillingly.

  10. Pageantmaster Ù† says:

    Some interesting developments today:
    – Libya has been bombarding Miserata from tanks and artillery.
    – the Libyan foreign minister has just said that Gaddaffi’s government will cease all military operations immediately
    – Libya has admitted it holds the four New York Times journalists and will release them.
    – the foreign minister seems most concerned with the impact the financial sanctions and loss of foreign workers has meant in freezing the Libyan economy
    – Norway has pledged planes and Britain is moving Tornado and Typhoon aircraft to nearby airbases in the next few hours along with AWACS and air to air refueling planes. France has said it is ready to start operations and the coallition is forming
    – the UK parliament has been briefed by the PM this morning and there will be a debate in Parliament on this on Monday.

    So, it looks as if the UNSC resolution is having a positive effect already. Mind you it is hard to believe a word coming out of the Tripoli government. Prayers that Benghazi and the civilians will be safe.

  11. Caedmon says:

    From a combox discussion at another blog:
    “The cheapest way out would be to buy all the Neocon loudmouths a rifle and a parachute and drop ’em out over Tripoli. That would give us some relief one way or another.”

  12. Sarah says:

    RE: “So long as US forces do not participate, it isn’t really my concern.”

    Me too — but I think we all know how long that will last.

  13. Pageantmaster Ù† says:

    #8,11,12 I think you need to expand your reading to include some quality factual news sources, Caedmon.

  14. Caedmon says:

    I think you need to brush up on your logical fallacies, Pageantmaster. The “genetic fallacy” and “poisoning the well” for starters.

  15. Pageantmaster Ù† says:

    #15 – that’s pretty random, Caedmon – it makes no sense to me at all.

  16. Caedmon says:

    “it makes no sense to me at all.”

    Not surprising.

  17. MichaelA says:

    I am recruiting both Caedmon and Pageantmaster for my new mercenary unit to operate in Libya, “the Wild Ducks”.

    Its important that members of mercenary units have a hard exterior, hearts of gold, and are continually sniping at each other (in a verbal sense). Hollywood tells me so.

  18. Pageantmaster Ù† says:

    #18 Heh, MichaelA
    “Wild Ducks”? More likely to be “Cooked Geese”, I suspect. I would be no use there – unable to fire indiscriminately into the air and not worry what will happen when the rounds come back to earth!

  19. Caedmon says:

    Well, that may be the one thing Pageantmaster and I have in common.

    Except that I thought your government took away all your guns, PM. If so, look me up. I can loan you an FN-FAL if you need it.