See also:
» 29.01.2013 - Libya peace very fragile, warns UN
» 31.03.2011 - Libya's Foreign Minister defects
» 24.03.2011 - How cyber-activism lent savvy to North African protests
» 18.03.2011 - Ten nations ready to attack Ghaddafi regime
» 18.03.2011 - Africa defies AU chief's support for Ghaddafi
» 18.03.2011 - France: We can start bombing Libya tonight
» 17.03.2011 - Libya rebels shoot down fighter jets
» 15.03.2011 - Ghaddafi thanks Germany, Russia and China

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International intervention in Libya may near

British air force (RAF) evacuating foreigners from Libya

© RAF/afrol News
afrol News, 1 March
- Several world leaders now are considering a no-fly zone over Libya. And as the Ghaddafi regime's forces now threaten the Tunisian border and refugee streams, even a military intervention is considered.

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.

An attack on Nalut, in addition to the humanitarian crisis it would cause in the town, would further disturb the continuous flow of refugees - mostly non-Libyan nationals - pouring out of the country towards Tunisia. UN sources put the flow into Tunisia at 14,000 persons at a daily basis.

This disruption of the flow of foreigners trying to flee the fighting in Libya gives further strong arguments for an international intervention in Libya. The continued deadly attacks on protesters provide another argument.

According to interim authorities based in Benghazi, an estimated 6,500 persons already have died as consequence of the fighting in Libya. This figure can not be confirmed, however. Also, several hundred thousands have fled the country, into Egypt, Tunisia, Niger and Chad.

Libyan protesters keep urging the international community to implement a no-fly zone over the country, which would effectively hinder pro-Ghaddafi troop movements and bombing of "liberated" towns and cities in the country. With a no-fly zone, also Benghazi interim authorities say, Libyans by themselves would manage to oust Co

German soldiers protecting a military aircraft evacuating foreigners from Nafurah, eastern Libya

© Andreas J/Bundeswehr/afrol News
lonel Ghaddafi from his last few strongholds in Tripoli.

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

British air force (RAF) evacuating foreigners from Libya

© RAF/afrol News
tate close to Libya and a European Union (EU) member, as basis for its operations towards Libya. Also Germany, from nearby Cyprus, confirms several non-authorised military operations in Libya, as have France, Italy and other countries. They all risked military confrontations with pro-Ghaddafi troops.

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.

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