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Terrorism & Security

Who's rethinking support for Libya's no-fly zone – and why

After a few days of Western airstrikes on Libya, initial international support is beginning to fall apart as disputes arise about what levels of military action are authorized by Thursday's UN resolution.

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Although Russian President Dmitry Medvedev still stands behind the Western strikes, on Monday, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin called the UN resolution “defective and flawed” and compared it to “medieval calls for crusade,” the Monitor reported. And CNN reports that on Tuesday, in a meeting with US Secretary of Defense Bill Gates in Moscow, Russian defense secretary Anatoly Serdyukov called for an immediate cease-fire from both sides.

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Calls for a cease-fire also came from South African President Jacob Zuma, who said that a no-fly zone was “just that," according to South African newspaper The Times.

"As South Africa, we say no to the killing of civilians, no to the regime change doctrine, and no to the foreign occupation of Libya – or any other sovereign state," President Zuma said in a speech Monday.

The African Union, which counts both Libya and South Africa as members, has also come out against the intervention, The Telegraph reports. However, an AU mediation team to Libya that included Zuma was denied entry to the country Sunday, presumably out of anger over South Africa's vote in favor of the resolution last week.

Other African leaders, such as Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe, have strongly criticized the UN resolution.

Meanwhile, NATO members are butting heads over the question of whether to involve NATO in the operations in Libya and, if so, to what degree, Reuters reports.

Italy is pushing for NATO command of the operations, arguing that it should either have no role at all or should be in charge, and has threatened to stop allowing Western forces to use its air fields if NATO is not brought in.

France and Turkey, however, are resisting Italy's call.

France insists that even if NATO forces are used, the operation in Libya should not be under NATO command because doing so would undermine broad support for the UN resolution. Turkey has not expressed clear support for NATO involvement, let alone NATO command of the operation, and on Monday Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said that air strikes have already gone beyond that was allowed in the UN resolution.


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