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Italy to provide bases for Libya no-fly zone

By Misty - Posted on 18 March 2011


Source: Reuters Africa

Italy is ready to make its military bases available to enforce a U.N. Security Counci resolution imposing a no-fly zone on Libya, an Italian government source told Reuters on Thursday.

The airbase at Sigonella in Sicily, which provides logistical support for the United States Sixth Fleet, is one of the closest NATO bases to Libya and could be used in any military operation.

"It's a positive development," an Italian goverrnment source told Reuters minutes after the U.N. Security Council voted in favour of the no-fly zone.

Asked whether Italy would offer its bases for the enforcement of the U.N. resolution, the source said: "Yes, we've said we are ready to do that."


Source: BBC

The Canadian government will despatch six fighter jets to enforce the UN-backed no-fly zone over Libya, Canadian media have reported.

The decision in Ottawa could see aircraft departing as soon as Friday. The CF-18 planes will be supported by as many as 200 Canadian military personnel, the Globe and Mail newspaper reported.


The full 8 pages of the resolution here.


Costs for a No-Fly Zone Over Libya - Assuming an operational tempo similar to that of the no-fly zones in Iraq, the ongoing cost might be in the range of $100 to $300 million per week. Because US and allied aircraft would be flying directly over hostile territory and would be within range of Libyan surface-to-air missiles, establishing this no-fly zone could require a series of coordinated strikes to degrade Libyan air defense systems. Depending on the number of ground targets, this one-time strike operation might cost between $500 million and $1 billion.

I know there are no easy answers since we want to protect innocent civilians, but this is very distressing in terms of risk and money. But hey, maybe if we defund NPR and Planned Parenthood, we can afford more of these military missions...

France sees chance to lead. Can Americans tolerate the United States playing anything less than the predominant role in an international military intervention in the Middle East? French President Nicholas Sarkozy is willing to give Washington a chance to find out.

We are not taking the lead...

President Obama in his speech mention Arab league seven times.

The Arab League and the European Union joined us in calling for an end to violence.

Yesterday, in response to a call for action by the Libyan people and the Arab League, the U.N. Security Council passed a strong resolution that demands an end to the violence against citizens.

The United States, the United Kingdom, France, and Arab states agree that a cease-fire must be implemented immediately.

That’s why I have directed Secretary Gates and our military to coordinate their planning, and tomorrow Secretary Clinton will travel to Paris for a meeting with our European allies and Arab partners about the enforcement of Resolution 1973

We will provide the unique capabilities that we can bring to bear to stop the violence against civilians, including enabling our European allies and Arab partners to effectively enforce a no fly zone.

Indeed, our British and French allies, and members of the Arab League, have already committed to take a leadership role in the enforcement of this resolution, just as they were instrumental in pursuing it.

But I want to be clear:  the change in the region will not and cannot be imposed by the United States or any foreign power; ultimately, it will be driven by the people of the Arab World.

It feels good to let other nations lead in times of crisis. Sharing or ceding power and responsibility on the national stage is a good thing-not a sign of weakness.

On March 19, 2011, 112 Tomahawk missiles were fired by U.S. and British forces against at least 20 Libyan targets around Tripoli and Misrata.

Tomahawk, introduced by General Dynamics in the 1970s: Price tag $569,000

The SAM (surface-to-air missle) sites are probably the most important sites to destroy in a first strike mode. These sites can shoot down western aircraft.  Mobile launchers and AAA (anti-aircraft artillery) would still be a threat after the SAM sites are taken out, but it would be very difficult to take these out.



Sean O’Connor [blog], an air-defense analyst, wrote in a May 2010 assessment... doubted Libyan SAMs would survive long in a shooting war. “Advances in electronic warfare and [Electronic Counter-Measures] have made many of the older Soviet-era SAM systems obsolete in a modern air combat environment. Libya’s … systems are no exception.”

This was true more than two decades ago.

In 1986, the U.S. Navy and Air Force bombed Libyan targets in retaliation for Gadhafi’s support of international terrorists. Forty-five American planes expended nearly 400 bombs and missiles on Libyan targets. Just one U.S. plane was lost. “Lieutenant General Vladimir Yaroshenko, a former officer in the Soviet PVO SAM Troops, was assigned to analyze the poor performance of the Soviet supplied SAM systems in that operation,” O’Connor recalls. “LTG Yaroshenko has reported his discovery that poor command and control, poor radar coverage, and a lack of appreciation for American anti-radar weapons and tactics precluded effective target engagement.”

In the 25 years since, Libya has not upgraded its weaponry — but the U.S. has.

U.S. Navy launches Tomahawks

A US national security official reports that Libya's air defense systems have been "severely disabled", according to Reuters.

Comment from that video.

Operation Iraqi Freedom March 19 2003. Operation Odyssey Dawn March 19 2011

 a little weird.

Odyssey definition: a long wandering adventure

Let's hope not

In his brief statement, Col Gaddafi says Libyans will confront the "colonial crusader" attacks... adds that the Mediterranean has become a "ground of war"... calls for Libyans to arm for "revolution".  He says he will "open the arms depots to defend Libya, it's unity and sovereignty and might".


Why are we (the US and the UN) doing this? It makes no sense -- it's none of our business. Gaddafi is not threatening anyone external to his own country and Libya is not facing any kind of genocide situation like Rwanda and The Sudan and the Balkans were in the past.

I mean, I know why (oil) but still. It just irks me how we can be so... selective in our support for people who want so-called "freedom". 


Just like Obama caving on the GOP insistence on extending the tax cuts, I'm mad when so-called "doves" change their mind at the drop of a hat. 

"I'm mad when so called "doves" change their mind at the drop of a hat."

Which "doves" are you talking about?  Certainly not Obama.  I wouldn't call him a dove.  I know he was against the misadventure in Iraq, but that certainly does not make him a dove.  He did continue, and in some ways, escalate the situation in Afghanistan.

I guess you are referring to Obama's stated objection to the U.S. always being the world's policeman on everything.  I just don't think that necessarily makes him a "dove."

I'm not talking about Obama. I'm talking about people in general.

I'm actually pretty happy about Obama's handling of Iraq and Afghanistan, although I am disappointed in his handling of Guantanamo Bay and Egypt and now Libya.

But he wasn't who I was talking about. 

Sorry, Tin!

Misinterpreted what you were saying.


I must say this is a tough one. It breaks my heart to know that this monster would fire on his own people and it feels right to intervene to save innocent lives. But, we all know deep down that oil did drive this decision and how can we be selective as to which innocent lives are worth saving?

Also, it irks me that a decision to spend this much money-and the risk of lives-can be made at the snap of the fingers with little resistence, but when we want to fund jobs programs, health care, or education, it takes months, years and much resistance by our politicians.Where are our priorities?

I am glad this is not just a U.S. solo job like Iraq (gives me some comfort)-the U.N. is pretty united here-but it's hard to swallow after the impacts of the Iraq War and thinking of the lack of gains after years and a fortune spent in Afghanistan. I just hope this ends quickly and a new leader emerges in Libya. If Gaddafi somehow survives politically, I don't think will be worth it. Is that the goal here and do you think he will survive?

Well, that's just it.

We waffled on Egypt, are still waiting and seeing with regards to Yemen and Bahrain (where we have a significiant military and civilian presence); we don't hear much about Jordan even though things are going on there.

Don't take my skepticism wrong, I am fully in favor of freedom and democracy in Libya. And I do see differences between that and our nation-building in Iraq and Afghanistan (both of which are still better off than under their previous regimes). I have no problems using diplomatic or economic pressures in order to press for change.

But with Libya posing no threat whatsoever to its neighbors, with no threat of genocide, with them not harboring terrorist camps ready to strike at the West, I cannot be in favor of the use of military force. It's not our business, even for those who believe in the most liberal interpretation that the US is the "world's policeman". 

"Who The Hell Do You Think You Are?" Farrakhan Blasts Obama For Calling For Qaddafi to Step Down (Video)


This is leading to interesting discussions in the right wing world about somewhat taking sides between those two, or being in favor of the Libya interference, or agreeing with Farrakhan about Obama etc. It's a careful balance. One wrong move and you might lose Tea Party cred.

Damn, those comments are hard to go through.  


We need to stop meddling in the affairs of other countries. Should we get involved in every civil war in the world?



I'm not saying we should do nothing, we should certainly have an opinion and use diplomatic and economic pressure where necessary, but internal matters are internal matters.

But then, there's no money in that. You can't sell guns unless people are fighting. "Hey, let's you and him fight!" 

That's rather cynical, I think.

But, I think it (LIMITED intervention) does make a certain amount of sense, to get rid of the dictator.

Egypt, yes.  Tunisia, yes.  Libya, in between these two, not yet.  But, it's coming.

You're damn right it's cynical.

In the absence of agression or the threat of agression, in the absence of genocide (which we also prosecute selectively), under what principle of international law do we have to intervene militarily in Libya?

And I mean "we" as in anyone outside of Libya itself. 

What am I missing, other than a cynical take (oil, guns)? 

United Nations Resolution 1973, approved by the Security Council by a vote of 10-0, with five nations abstaining.

Russia and China, two of the five permanent members of the council, could have vetoed the resolution, but chose to abstain instead.

Right, but what's the principle?

I see that Resolutions 1970 and 1973 cite the UN Charter Chapter VII.

Now that concerns "threat to the peace, breaches of the peace, or act[s] of aggression" and the actions which the UN can take.

Those actions are in Articles 41 and 42. Article 41 discusses options short of the use of force. Article 42 discusses the use of force in situations where the actions in article 41 are inadequate and/or "such actions [...] as may be necessary to  maintain or restore international peace and security." (Emphasis mine.)

Now this is what I'm talking about. Is the situation within the borders of Libya threatening to disrupt "international peace and security"? If so, then why hasn't the UN done this in other cases? Does this mean that the UN is going to start using Chapter VII more often? Or are they just going to continue to "wait and see" until some trigger of what we don't know until they (we) intervene?

The Libyan people want freedom. Ghadafi needs to go. But it's their business, IMO. 

Two things:

1/ I don't know if genocide is mentioned in these articles or not, but genocide is a concern.

2/ Conflict spilling over international borders, vis-a-vis refugees.  I know there have been no reports of refugees either from eastern Libya (specifically Benghazi area) possibly crossing the border into Egypt; or people from western Libya crossing over into Tunisia. However, sometimes situations need to be anticipated, rather than waited for, and then reacted to.  Anticipating and planning for a situation generally works out far better than waiting for a situation to develop, then reacting to it.

Genocide is not mentioned in those articles, although I personally see that as a reason to intervene, with precedent behind me.

Okay, has that happened yet? No? Then WTF? Let Egypt and Tunisia deal with it. 

I still say that there is ZERO justification for bombing Libya or enforcing a no-fly zone or whatever. 

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Hillary Is The One Acting Presidential Right Now

Mar. 20: Khamis Gaddafi, son of Muammar Gaddafi is dead, due to severe burn injuries he sustained a few days ago. The burns were caused when a fighter jet pilot performed a martyr mission and crashed his fighter jet into Gaddafi’s compound Baab Al Aziziyah.

Mar. 15: This is a photo of Muhammad Mukhtar Osman: The martyr who allegedly flew his fighter jet into Bab Al-Azziziyah on March 15.

Feb 21: Khamis Gaddafi recruits mercenaries to shoot protestors

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