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Terrorism & Security

Qaddafi forces push into Libya's east

Forces loyal to Muammar Qaddafi have launched what seems to be a campaign to take back parts of eastern Libya after a week of focusing on keeping control of Tripoli.

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However, whether that foreign intervention will happen is unclear. The US and other Western powers, remembering the Iraq invasion, seem reluctant to get involved. The United Nations has yet to request intervention, and the Arab League is preparing to draft a resolution rejecting such action, according to Reuters.

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Meanwhile, the US is repositioning two military ships, moving them through the Suez Canal toward Libya in preparation for "emergency evacuations and also humanitarian relief," according to CNN, although the Obama administration says that all options were still on the table. Any action will require UN permission, which has not yet come.

For now, the repositioning is seen as a "symbolic" move, according to Reuters.

The repositioning of US ships and aircraft closer to Libya was widely seen as a symbolic show of force since neither the United States nor its NATO allies have shown any appetite for direct military intervention in the turmoil that has seen Gaddafi lose control of large swaths of his country.

On Monday the USS Barry, a destroyer, moved through the Suez Canal and was now in the southwestern Mediterranean.

"We are looking at a lot of options and contingencies. No decisions have been made on any other actions," Defense Secretary Robert Gates said, noting the United Nations had not authorized the use of force in Libya.

Qaddafi's campaign in the east also brought bombings of military camps, including a large arms cache, in the opposition-controlled town of Ajdabiya, the BBC and CNN report.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon estimates the death toll from the uprising, already the bloodiest of the Arab world revolts, at more than 1,000. Libya’s ambassador to the US puts it at 2,000, according to CNN.

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