As Libya's conflict deepens, nations weigh long-term options
After another day of clashes between Qaddafi forces and antigovernment rebels, the UN called for an end to the progovernment troops’ “indiscriminate” violence.
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The UN’s efforts come amid calls from prominent Republicans in US to increase American assistance to rebel forces. Sen. John McCain (R) of Arizona said the US should provide humanitarian assistance, in addition to potentially “providing technical assistance, intelligence and training; and by declaring support for a provisional government,” reports the Wall Street Journal. Sen. Mitch McConnell (R) of Kentucky has suggested that providing insurgents with munitions could also be an option.Skip to next paragraph
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But the Obama administration is hesitant to provide support to antigovernment forces who presently lack clear leadership and may not prove to be trustworthy allies in the long run. The Washington Post reports that the White House is considering a variety of options, including humanitarian support and different levels of military intervention, but it also recognizes that there may be no immediate end to the violence.
The US may also have difficulty getting international support for any kind of intervention. Russia, China, and Brazil have said they would not support a UN-backed military intervention and the Arab League is also strongly opposed to any Western-backed military interventions. It has floated the idea of taking action in conjunction with the African Union.
Western powers are likely to be especially cautious with any military interventions after a botched British mission resulted in the detention of six soldiers believed to be part of the elite British Special Air Services unit. The team, which was likely accompanying a British diplomat trying to make contact with opposition leaders, has since been released.
The BBC’s Jon Leyne called the operation a “embarrassing miscalculation" and said that Britain was "obviously unaware of the reaction likely to be provoked in this tense situation by a group of armed men arriving on a helicopter, in the dead of night."
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