Thursday, March 17, 2011
No Fly Zone: France and Britain Leading - US and Germany dragging feet
Joe: see the two articles below. Note the term "striking reversal" of US policy below. Obama is seen as weak on this issue, not a leader. When the US does not lead it seems Europe & Australia will, this is good news. France and Britain leading the way? Australia pushing the hardest? All true – it is the USA is that is the dithering idiot in this scenario. If we decide to take military action then we must do it, if we decide to go forward as a result of tomorrow’s UN no fly vote then all we did was give the Libyan leader more time to rout the rebellion. Europe leading the way, imagine that. It’s amazing to read that France’s Sarkozy is adamant about pushing forward. It’s about time Europe stepped up and realized their way of life can be under threat. Too bad Germany isn’t more vocal, I understand their concern may be about the expense, it’s mine too. According to the figures below it may be $300 million a week to enforce the NFZ. But what the heck, we have large numbers of troops in Europe that have been there since the end of WWII might as well put them to work and in regard to the money what’s millions compared to the trillions we are spending now that is just completely wasted and least the printed money would bring stability to this all important area of the world. -Bob
Mar 17, 2011 – 6:02 AM
AP UNITED NATIONS -- Supporters of a no-fly zone over Libya called for a vote Thursday on a U.N. resolution aimed at preventing Moammar Gadhafi's planes from carrying out aerial attacks, while the United States, in a striking reversal, pushed for broader action to protect civilians from ground and sea attacks as well.
U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice said the Obama administration is "fully focused on the urgency and the gravity of the situation on the ground," where Gadhafi's fighters are intensifying attacks and heading toward rebel-held Bengazi, Libya's second-largest city, and is working "very hard" for a vote on Thursday.
President Barack Obama and his top national security aides had been cautious with calls for a no-fly zone, which the Pentagon described as a step tantamount to war. The U.S. fears involvement in Libya could further strain its already stretched military and entangle the country in an expensive and messy conflict in another Muslim country.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, traveling in the Mideast, said the turning point was the Arab League's support over the weekend for a no-fly zone over Libya.
The diplomat said Russia, which has veto power, raised serious questions about the use of force against Gadhafi and other council nations reacted cautiously including Germany and India.
Lebanon, France and Britain introduced the draft resolution Tuesday afternoon, spurred by the Arab League's urgent call for a no-fly zone.
Russia's U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin, whose government had expressed misgivings about a no-fly zone, proposed that the council vote first on a resolution calling for a cease-fire in Libya.
While Russia and Germany expressed doubts, France pushed for rapid action with Foreign Minister Alain Juppe saying in Paris that several Arab countries have pledged to participate in possible military action in the North African country.
Libya's deputy U.N. ambassador Ibrahim Dabbashi, who supports the opposition, said five Arab countries have offered support.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy called on leaders of the 14 other Security Council nations to "fully shoulder their responsibilities and give support to this initiative."
SYDNEY MORNING HERALD
March 18, 2011
THE Foreign Affairs Minister, Kevin Rudd, says the United Nations Security Council represents the last hope for the people of Libya and must impose a no-fly zone as a matter of urgency.
As reports from Libya painted a grim picture for the rebels fighting loyalists to the dictator, Muammar Gaddafi, and Libya's UN ambassador warned of imminent genocide, the Security Council remained divided over the need for action.
Negotiations over a draft resolution proposing a no-fly zone ended yesterday without consensus among the 15-member council and talks were scheduled to begin again this morning.
Mr Rudd, who has been among the most vocal proponents for the imposition of a no-fly zone, criticised those members of the Group of Eight nations who went ''weak at the knees'' two days ago when the organisation failed to agree on a resolution for a no-fly zone.
''It now is up to the UN Security Council,'' he said yesterday, adding that each day that passed was ''a day too late''.
Mr Rudd was criticised last week for being too emphatic about a no-fly zone when the official government position and that of the US was one of cautious embrace.
Mr Rudd made no apology yesterday. ''The business of Australian diplomacy is not to give up; the business of diplomacy is to keep batting away and to seek to influence change.''
The US ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, will be pushing for a vote in the council tomorrow but not just for a no-fly zone.
A no-fly zone alone ''has inherent limitations in terms of protection of civilians at immediate risk'', she said. But the US remained reluctant to take a lead role in a no-fly zone and said it must have a strong Arab presence.
''The Arab League has spoken with a clear voice,'' he said.
America's reluctance is driven, in part, by its financial position.
A paper by the US Centre for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments estimated that enforcing a no-fly zone would cost the US up to $US300 million a week. Initial strikes to wipe out air defence systems would cost between $US500 million and $US1 billion.