International intervention in Libya may near
Refugees and journalists based at the Tunisia-Libyan border today could observe a build-up of pro-Gaddafi troops close to the Libyan border post. According to witnesses, an attack on the "liberated" town of Nalut, 60 kilometres into Libya from the border, was in the making.
World leaders are now constantly meeting on the situation in Libya. Strong condemnation of the violence by Mr Ghaddafi's troops has already been unanimously adapted by the UN Security Council and the world community - with the odd exception of Venezuela and Nicaragua.
Importantly, the US, Europe and even Russia have now called for Colonel Ghaddafi to step down. Thereby, they have recognised the legitimacy of the Libyan popular rebellion; indirectly also recognising Libyan interim authorities as the true representatives of Libya. Several countries, including France, have now established direct contact with these Benghazi-based authorities.
This fact alone would legitimise an international intervention. Additionally, the continuous reports of violence against foreign nationals and the difficulties of evacuating foreigners provide legitimate reasons for intervention, even without a UN Security Council resolution.
Indeed, several unauthorised military operations by foreign countries have already taken place. The British air force, the RAF, has on several occasions sent military airplanes into Libya to evacuate UK and other foreign citizens. At one occasion, an RAF aircraft in Libya was even shot at - the London government has confirmed - but the Britons did not shoot back.
The UK is using Malta, a tiny island s
Many other countries have built up their military presence close to Libya or off the Libyan coast. Even the US confirms it has moved marine and air forces closer to Libya. The US military "is in the planning and preparing mode" on Libya, and will be able to provide the full range of options for national leaders, said Pentagon spokesman Dave Lapan, not excluding a military intervention or imposing a no-fly zone.
Both the EU and the US are sending clear signals they now seriously consider imposing a no-fly zone over Libya. The decision could be made already today, diplomatic sources in Brussels indicated.
But an outright invasion or military support to the Libyan protesters is still an option not desired by most actors. Benghazi interim authorities have issued strong statements against a possible US ground intervention following the news of US military movements close to Libya.
Libyan rebels say they fear "an Iraq scenario" following a possible intervention of US or Western ground forces, which would only lead to the dictatorship being changed with occupation and chaos.
By staff writers
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