Open Thread & News Round-Up: Libya

Here's some of what I've been reading this morning...

CNN—UN Security Council approves no-fly zone in Libya: "Jubilant Libyan rebels in Benghazi erupted with fireworks and gunfire after the U.N. Security Council voted Thursday evening to impose a no-fly zone and permit 'all necessary measures' to protect civilians. The opposition, with devoted but largely untrained and under-equipped units, has suffered military setbacks this week. It has said such international action was necessary for it to have any chance of thwarting Moammar Gadhafi's imminent assault on the rebel stronghold."

New York TimesAs UN Backs Military Action in Libya, US Role Is Unclear:
Diplomats said the resolution — which passed with 10 votes, including the United States, and abstentions from Russia, China, Germany, Brazil and India — was written in sweeping terms to allow for a wide range of actions, including strikes on air-defense systems and missile attacks from ships. Military activity could get under way within a matter of hours, they said.

Benghazi erupted in celebration at news of the resolution's passage. "We are embracing each other," said Imam Bugaighis, spokeswoman for the rebel council in Benghazi. "The people are euphoric. Although a bit late, the international society did not let us down."

The vote, which came after rising calls for help from the Arab world and anguished debate in Washington, left unanswered many critical questions about who would take charge, what role the United States would play and whether there was still enough time to stop Colonel Qaddafi from recapturing Benghazi and crushing a rebellion that had once seemed likely to drive him from power.
GuardianWar in Libya: A Scramble to Action: "If this had been a Bush-era 'coalition of the willing' operation, it could have been put into action quite rapidly. The US would have done all the fighting with a few token British and French planes along for company. But the Obama administration, which tried very hard to avoid this moment, is insistent that the Arabs and Europeans must at least be seen to take the lead, and that will take more time. There is a trade-off between speed and making it look right."

Foreign PolicyInside classified Hill briefing, administration spells out war plan for Libya: "Several administration officials held a classified briefing for all senators on Thursday afternoon in the bowels of the Capitol building, leaving lawmakers convinced President Barack Obama is ready to attack Libya but wondering if it isn't too late to help the rebels there."

PoliticoClinton Warns No-Fly Zone Could Require Bombing:
"A no-fly zone requires certain actions taken to protect the planes and the pilots, including bombing targets like the Libyan defense systems," Clinton said in Tunis, her last stop on a trip that also took her to Cairo and Paris.

In all her stops, Clinton's done a mix of stressing the need for democracy in post-revolution Tunisia and Egypt, and pushing for international cooperation in responding to the crisis in Libya. On Thursday, her only full day in Tunisia, Clinton promised that the United States "will stand with you as you make the transition to democracy, prosperity and a better future."

The United States, she said, would support U.N. actions that gain a "broad base of participation, including from Arab nations." Military action might be needed, she said, but ground intervention is not being considered.
Foreign PolicyLugar: No-fly zone requires declaration of war: "The top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee argued against implementing a no-fly zone over Libya on Thursday, and also said that Congress must pass a formal declaration of war if the Obama administration decides to take that step." Lugar also "opposes military intervention in Libya on the grounds that the nation can't afford it at a time of deep fiscal debt and called on Obama to explain why attacking Libya is in America's national interest. The humanitarian argument just isn't enough, he said."

Glenn Greenwald—Obama on presidential war-making powers: "The dangers from unilateral, presidential-decreed wars are highlighted in the Libya situation. There has been very little public discussion (and even less explanation from the President) about the reasons we should do this, what the costs would be on any level, what the end goal would be, how mission creep would be avoided, whether the 'Pottery Barn' rule will apply, or virtually anything else. Public opinion is at best divided on the question if not opposed. Even if you're someone who favors this intervention, what's the rationale for not requiring a debate and vote in Congress over whether the President should be able to commit the nation to a new military conflict?"

Washington PostLibya declares-cease fire after UN approves intervention: "The Libyan government declared a cease-fire Friday in its battle against rebels seeking to oust longtime leader Moammar Gaddafi, saying it was acting to protect civilians in the wake of a U.N. Security Council resolution that opened the door to military action."

Mother JonesWhat Will Happen When the US Attacks Qaddafi?: "The Obama administration—already overstretched occupying two Islamic nations, responding to the Japan crisis, combating a sluggish economy, and battling conservatives at home—has received criticism for its lack of a forceful response to Qaddafi. But there are good reasons to be skeptical of a military intervention: Can another heavy-handed regime change in the Arab world really be to America's, and the world's benefit? Will it work? Is it morally justified?"

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