Yesterday, the UN passed a resolution that gave members a mandate to enforce a no-fly zone over Libya and to use ‘all necessary measures’ to protect civilians. In response Colonel Gaddafi announced a ceasefire, which – had it been upheld – would have illegitimised any military action. There was a high potential for extreme embarrassment, until reports came that the ceasefire had been broken.
NATO countries started to gather planes in the Mediterranean in preparation for an attack. The main countries involved were France, the UK and the US, who had been accused of not knowing what to do. It was a very difficult dilemma – on one hand, NATO and the UN could not ignore the awful plight of the rebels and the civilians caught up in the fighting. On the other, if military action did not go according to plan, they risked increased terrorism and a repeat of the failures in Iraq. Neither scenario was without its problems.
Within the last few hours, however, French planes have begun firing at pro-Gaddafi forces, with reconnaissance missions also being carried out. As yet there are no plans from any country to deploy ground troops, but multiple air forces and navies are involved. This is not all out war – yet – these forces are simply trying to stop Gaddafi from killing his own people.