Gates, Others Talk Up US No-Fly Zone in Libya

Gadhafi Regime Jets Scramble on 'Diplomatic' Missions Ahead of Grounding

Though Secretary of Defense Robert Gates had previously cautioned against a hasty move toward a no-fly zone in Libya, insisting it was far more involved than anyone seemed to think, he and others within the Pentagon are now insisting it remains “on the table” and the threats seem to be growing.

Indeed, Gen. Ray Odierno, the former commander of troops in Iraq, insisted the US would be able to establish a no-fly zone quite easily, and that it would only take “a couple days” if the administration decided to do so.

Which will likely have to be unilateral as so far it does not appear that Russia and China will support a UN resolution to that end, but with the threats out there, and growing Congressional calls for military action, the Gadhafi regime is scrambling jets out on last minute “diplomatic” missions across the region.

The US has moved considerable naval and military forces into the region over the past weeks, but the establishment of a “no-fly zone” seems to be a serious problem, because as Secretary Gates mentioned earlier, it would require the US to destroy the existing the air defenses in Libya, the vast majority of which are in East Libya and controlled by the rebels. This would mean the US would have to attack the rebels, ostensibly to “aid” them. It is also a serious enough obstacle that some are calling for a no-fly zone only over the Gadhafi controlled parts of the country, which solves that problem but also appears to create others, as “Gadhafi-controlled Libya” isn’t exactly a static entity and its borders are changing by the day, if not the hour.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.