UN Resolution Passes: Attack on Libya Looms

France, Britain Race to Strike Targets in Libya

by Jason Ditz, March 17, 2011

In a 10-0 vote (with five members abstaining), the United Nations Security Council Thursday approved an attack on Libya, urging nations the world over to use “all necessary measures” to move against the Gadhafi regime.

The resolution, UNSC Resolution 1973, mandates a no-fly zone and authorizes strikes against Libyan territory, but explicitly excludes, in Paragraph 4, the possibility of a “foreign occupation force of any form.” It is unclear if this rules out a ground invasion, or only requires them to be “temporary” deployments.

The five abstaining UNSC member nations were Russia, China, India, Brazil and Germany. Russia and China could have vetoed the measure, but declined to do so. Germany has explicitly ruled out participating in the forthcoming attacks.

Other nations, however, appear quite eager to start attacking, with France in particular saying it was prepared to start launching air strikes “immediately” following the vote. Britain likewise was said to be likely to launch attacks in short order.

This has led to speculation over when such strikes will start, but it is believed that there will be bombs falling on Libyan territory as soon as Friday morning. Qatar and the United Arab Emirates are also expected to join in the attack.

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