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Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Is a Libyan no-fly zone a bluff?

The oft-discussed idea of a no-fly zone to stop Muammar Gadhafi from murdering his own people may be nothing but a bluff.
America and Britain have been discussing closing the skies above the crisis-torn country to prevent Moammar Gaddaffi carrying out air strikes on opposition forces.

But General James Mattis, commander of U.S. Central Command, said today: ‘It would be a military operation – it wouldn’t be just telling people not to fly airplanes.

'You would have to remove air defence capability in order to establish a no-fly zone, so no illusions here

It comes as the international plan to deal with the crisis in Libya was tonight mired in confusion.

British Prime Minister David Cameron has been forced into an embarrassing retreat over military action against Libya after his government announced the biggest cull of the country's armed forces in a generation.

Within 24 hours of announcing that British warplanes might enforce a no-fly zone above the North African state, the UK Ministry of Defence revealed plans to axe two RAF Tornado squadrons and fire 170 trainee fighter pilots.

Britain's Defence Secretary Liam Fox’s decision to axe 11,000 military personnel in four years cast doubt on Britain’s ability to carry out such ambitious missions with the U.S.
So Britain isn't able to participate and France won't participate unless there is UN approval which is unlikely to come (think "Russian or Chinese veto"). That leaves Obama. Does anyone really believe that the US under Obama is going to go it alone to enforce a no-fly zone over Libya? You've got to be kidding.....

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