Libya uprising: 5 steps the world is taking

Military moves

What, if any, military action will be taken against Qaddafi remains in question. The Libyan opposition today indicated that it may request foreign military intervention – something other countries seem reluctant to provide.

The option mentioned the most often is imposing a no-fly zone over the country to prevent Qaddafi from using aircraft to attack the opposition. This would require UN approval. While a no-fly zone has been framed as a relatively mild action, Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Wednesday warned that direct military action would be necessary to carry it out, according to Reuters. “A no-fly zone begins with an attack on Libya to destroy the air defenses … and then you can fly planes around the country and not worry about our guys being shot down,” he said.

The UK has also floated the idea of a no-fly zone, with Prime Minister David Cameron requesting that the military draw up plans. Britain already has aircraft in nearby Malta and a naval destroyer and frigate “in position” off of Libya’s coast, Mr. Cameron said, according to the Washington Post.

But the UN appears hesitant to authorize a no-fly zone because it could lead to escalation of foreign military action, the Post reported. A Pentagon official noted that the US and NATO have enough forces in the Mediterranean region to take swift actions.

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