Libya live blog: NATO will enforce no-fly zone over Libya, secretary general says
Libyan rebels escort marchers in the streets of Benghazi on March 23 to show their support for a no-fly zone.
March 24th, 2011
07:52 PM ET

Libya live blog: NATO will enforce no-fly zone over Libya, secretary general says

The latest developments on the situation in Libya, where coalition forces launched a series of coordinated airstrikes on Saturday after they were convinced Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi was not adhering to a cease-fire mandated by the United Nations. Read our complete story and check out our full coverage on unrest in the Arab world. Also, don't miss a gripping, high-resolution gallery of images from Libya.

[7:52 p.m. ET Thursday, 1:52 a.m. Friday in Libya] White House Press Secretary Jay Carney issued a statement Thursday welcoming the "important contribution by the United Arab Emirates to the enforcement of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973 in Libya," referring to the UAE's announcement that it will contribute 12 military aircraft to the operation. He added: "This critical participation by the UAE further underscores the broad, international support for the protection of the Libyan people."

[7:13 p.m. ET Thursday, 1:13 a.m. Friday in Libya] All 28 NATO allies have authorized military authorities to develop a plan for NATO to take on the broader mission of civilian protection under U.N. Resolution 1973, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Thursday. Clinton said she will travel to London to attend an international meeting on Libya on Tuesday.

[7:04 p.m. ET Thursday, 1:04 a.m. Friday in Libya] The international coalition is in control of the skies above Libya and humanitarian relief is beginning to reach people who need it, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Thursday.

The number of U.S. planes being used has decreased significantly while the number of non-U.S. planes has increased, she said. Troops have pushed back Gadhafi's forces but they remain "a serious threat to the safety of the people," Clinton said.

[6:45 p.m. ET Thursday, 12:45 a.m. Friday in Libya] Command of enforcing a no-fly zone over Libya is expected to be handed over to NATO by Sunday night, NATO sources told CNN Thursday.

[6:20 p.m. ET Thursday, 12:08 a.m. Friday in Libya] NATO has reached an agreement to take over the no-fly zone in Libya from the United States "in a couple of days," NATO's secretary general said Thursday.

"NATO has now decided to enforce the no-fly zone over Libya. We're taking action as part of the broad international effort to protect civilians," Anders Fogh Rasmussen told CNN's Wolf Blitzer. "We will cooperate closely with our partners in the region and welcome their contributions."

NATO is considering enforcing a wide range of measures called for by the U.N. Security Council resolution on Libya, including the protection of civilians from Gadhafi's ground forces, Rasmussen said.

Military authorities will decided which country will take the initial lead using the "already established chain of command," Rasmussen said.

[5:35 p.m. ET Thursday, 11:35 p.m. Thursday in Libya] The United Arab Emirates says it is committing planes and humanitarian effort in support of the U.N. resolution regarding Libya.

"In support of UN resolution 1973 The UAE is fully engaged with humanitarian operations in Libya. As an extension of those humanitarian operations the UAE Air Force has committed six F-16 and six Mirage aircraft to participate in the patrols that will enforce the No Fly Zone now established over Libya. UAE Participation in the patrols will commence in the coming days."

[5:29 p.m. ET Thursday, 11:29 p.m. Thursday in Libya] Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Mike Mullen, and DNI James Clapper will brief members of Congress next Wednesday on the situation in Libya, according to Speaker John Boehner's office. It will be a classified briefing.

[5:00 p.m. ET Thursday, 11:00 p.m. Thursday in Belgium] At the United Nations, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he sees no signs of a cease-fire by Libyan government authorities. Ban told council members, "to the contrary, fierce battles continue in and around the cities of" Ajdabiya, Misrata and Zinan. Ban gave his briefing, as required by U.N. Resolution 1973, seven days after that resolution was passed by 10 votes and five abstentions.

[4:39 p.m. ET Thursday, 9:39 p.m. Thursday in Belgium] A tentative agreement for NATO to take over operations in Libya may be in jeopardy, CNN's Paula Newton reports. The Turkish delegation is not happy with the timing of the transition and wants the United States to give up command sooner than previously agreed upon. If a consensus is not reached in the next 20 to 25 minutes, talks will stop for the evening and resume tomorrow.

[4:23 p.m. ET Thursday, 10:23 p.m. Thursday in Libya] Airstrikes were carried out Thursday near Tripoli, Misrata and Ajdabiya, a Pentagon spokesman said. "The only civilian casualties we know are for certain are the ones that the Libyan government itself has caused," U.S. Navy Vice Adm. Bill Gortney said. In response to a question, he further said the U.S. military was not communicating with Libyan opposition forces.

[3:31 p.m. ET Thursday, 9:31 p.m. Thursday in Libya] Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen and National Intelligence Director James Clapper will brief members of Congress on Libya on March 30, a Republican source said. The briefing will be classified, the source said.

[3:29 p.m. ET Thursday, 9:29 p.m. Thursday in Libya] A CNN team on the ground has reported hearing explosions and anti-aircraft fire in Tripoli.

[3:21 p.m. ET Thursday, 9:21 p.m. Thursday in Libya] U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said during a Security Council briefing that he sees no signs of a cease-fire by Libyan government authorities. Ban told council members that "fierce battles continue in and around the cities of" Ajdabiya, Misrata and Zinan. He added that his envoy to Libya told Libyan authorities that if the government did not comply with the cease-fire resolution, "the Security Council was prepared to take additional measures."

[3:10 p.m. ET Thursday, 9:10 p.m. Thursday in Libya] A deal has been reached for NATO to take command of the military mission in Libya in the coming days, two diplomatic officials said. The deal was reached after a conference call between U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her counterparts from Britain, France and Turkey.

[2:42 p.m. ET Thursday, 8:42 p.m. Thursday in Libya] A doctor told CNN that 109 people have been killed and more than 1,300 wounded in the western Libyan city of Misrata over the past week.

[1:45 p.m. ET Thursday, 7:45 p.m. Thursday in Libya] The Libyan mission is a "time-limited, scope-limited" military action to protect civilians in Libya, White House spokesman Jay Carney said. "It is certainly not a large-scale, open-ended military action," he added, emphasizing that no ground troops or military invasion were involved. Asked earlier about criticism over President Barack Obama's consultations with Congress on the mission, Carney said the president "believes that he is the commander in chief and leadership requires him to take action where action will save lives." Carney cited a series of meetings, hearings and briefings by top administration officials, including Obama, with members of Congress. Had Obama not acted on Libya, Carney said, Moammar Gadhafi would control the rebel stronghold of Benghazi and large numbers of people would have been killed.

[1:04 p.m. ET Thursday, 7:04 p.m. Thursday in Libya] The United States still expects to hand over control of the Libya military mission within "days, not weeks," White House spokesman Jay Carney said Thursday.

[12:34 p.m. ET Thursday, 6:43 p.m. Thursday in Libya] French jets fired on a Libyan combat aircraft Thursday as it was landing at a military airfield in the western city of Misrata, the French Defense Ministry said. The Libyan plane was in violation of the no-fly zone, the ministry said. You can follow CNN's full coverage of the incident here.

[7:33 a.m. ET Thursday, 1:33 p.m. Thursday in Libya] A Misrata resident told CNN he heard a single large explosion within the past hour and pro-Gadhafi snipers were operating in the city, Otherwise Misrata was quiet Thursday, he said. He claimed that rebels remained in control of the port.  The resident also said there had been airstrikes on the outskirts of Misrata Wednesday night.

[7:28 a.m. ET Thursday, 1:28 p.m. Thursday in Libya] At least 30 French aircraft were engaged over Libya in the past 24 hours, the French Defense Ministry said.

[5:44 a.m. ET Thursday, 11:44 a.m. Thursday in Libya] Libyan state television showed footage of what they said were the charred bodies of 18 civilians and military officials killed in a coalition attack in Tajura. Leaders with the coalition forces have in the past refuted Libyan reports that civilians were killed by airstrikes. "It is not likely that civilians were a part of any airstrike today," said Joint Task Force Operation Odyssey Dawn Lt. Cmdr. Jim Hoeft.

[2:20 a.m. ET Thursday, 8:20 a.m. Thursday in Libya] The coalition air effort to halt the Libyan government's attacks on civilians continued into Thursday for a sixth day, with an airstrike in the Tripoli suburb of Tajura, a government official said.

After enduring five days of air strikes by coalition forces, Libyan government troops retain the upper hand. Government forces' move on Benghazi has been reversed, but attacks on Misrata and Ajdabiya continue. One witness said personnel in the main hospital were "paralyzed with fear."

Meanwhile, the Libyan government reported that military and civilian locations in Tripoli neighborhoods were struck. A U.S. official calls that assertion "unlikely" and says coalition forces have been using "all necessary measures" to protect civilians.

Members of Moammar Gadhafi's inner circle are contacting the United States and Arab states, but have been unclear about their intentions, senior U.S. officials said.

However, the officials said that none of Gadhafi's inner circle have indicated Gadhafi was ready to leave, nor have any of them suggested they are ready to abandon Gadhafi, CNN's Elise Labott reported.

They are indeed reaching out, but it's not clear to what end," one senior official said. "It's not clear what's the purpose of all these calls."

House Speaker John Boehner has written a letter to President Barack Obama complaining of "limited, sometimes contradictory" information so far on the U.S.-led military mission in Libya and asked for the president to provide "a clear and robust assessment."

Boehner, R-Ohio, wrote that he and other House members were troubled that the president committed U.S. military resources to war "without clearly defining for the American people, the Congress and our troops what the mission in Libya is and what America's role is in achieving that mission," CNN's Deirdre Walsh reports.

soundoff (373 Responses)
  1. ***dude***


    March 24, 2011 at 3:07 am | Report abuse |
    • Roelof

      Do we get to see the money back of this operation. Because Libya does have money and it's their problem we're solving.

      March 24, 2011 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Amygadalus communis-formerly bbarc

      The Parable of the Lost Sheep

      Then all the tax collectors and the sinners drew near to Him to hear Him.
      And the Pharisees and scribes complained, saying, "This Man receives sinners and eats them."
      So He spoke this parable to them, saying:
      "What man of you,having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one whichis lost until he finds it?
      "And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing.
      "And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'
      "I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance."

      March 25, 2011 at 7:55 pm | Report abuse |
  2. talal

    America must put an end. to lies of Arabic-speaking Russia today tv Channel .. Which focuses on all news bulletins on the Bombardment on civilians only in their words

    March 24, 2011 at 4:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Avi Shlomo

      so you want to replace their lies with our more sofisticated lies

      March 24, 2011 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |

      Hey hey, hey you, I am taling to you . . . . listen here . . . are you listening? Hello? forget it . ..

      March 24, 2011 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Umbra

      I suggest you stfu and gtfo, moron.

      March 24, 2011 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • seeallpoints

      wow you're real fu**ing cool Avi Shlomo

      March 24, 2011 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • cput

      Why does everyone have to point the finger at the US? A lot goes on behind the scenes between nations that we never hear about. Some of this came out with WikiLeaks – such as the Arab world wanting the US to Cut off the head of the snake – meaning Iran. If this were only about oil – trade agreements can settle that.

      March 24, 2011 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • thinktank1

      When you listen to some American politicians talk, you have the impression that they just think others are fools. There we go now talking of ousting Ghadaffi and aiding rebels take over control. Did we say "rebels" ? Let's try to figure out the same situation in USA or France; some foreign powers aiding rebels in the USA or in France to take over power. A few days ago, the same politicians told the world that their aim was not to change the regime in Libya. Now everything is clear. And wherever these guys go, the corrupt media goes with them. Libya seems to be the only attention now, meanwhile some other civilians are being massacred a few miles always, In media reports, if a rebel speaks to the media, the journalist reports it as gospel truth. If a pro-government speaks, "it could not be independently verified" ! Shame on you. You can always try to twist things the way you want, but you can't take away our rational. The truth shall always catch up with you.

      March 24, 2011 at 6:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Amygadalus communis

      Let us pray on it instead.

      Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy Name. Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done. On earth, as it is in the Heaven. Give us this Day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us all from evil. Amen.

      March 26, 2011 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Austin

    l wonder why african leaders can not understand that leadership is not about them but the gorverned. When the people say go, just go. This is a lesson for people like mugabe

    March 24, 2011 at 5:05 am | Report abuse |
    • GT66

      LOL. Do you think if that happened here that they would "just go?" I doubt it. Our government would kill its own citizens in a heartbeat rather than lose power.

      March 24, 2011 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • neolander

      No its their inheritance let them die on it

      March 24, 2011 at 8:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Amygadalus communis

      I can not believe people are still writing such hateful things . I'm so Blessed to have recieved my 'wake up call' yesterday!
      Praise, the Lord Jesus Christ.

      Try not to use the snooze button. Time is a commodity none of us can depend on. Pray, Just Pray.

      March 26, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
  4. hsr0601

    I get the impression that the Same Old Chinese Hypocrisy! presents major troubles for coalition courtiers

    March 24, 2011 at 5:20 am | Report abuse |
  5. anonimous

    In every single war coalition forces have been into, civilians were killed or wounded when a city or sorroundings were submited to heavy shelling. If one looks into the destructive power of a tomahawk missile, visibility matters and how fast and high up war planes operate, one can easily make his own pronostics. I think the US government and coalition forces this time can not allow any leakeage about innocent killed by missile and air force strikes and they are hiding the truth. I honestly think Obama should be revoked his nobel peace prize for lying to people of america and the world for insulting our shrewdness.

    March 24, 2011 at 6:35 am | Report abuse |
    • Eric

      Yep, revoke Obama's nobel peace prize and give it to Gadafi who surely better deserves it.

      March 24, 2011 at 6:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Avi Shlomo

      The department of missinformation is in high gear as always. sadly our people became so de-sensitized about the mayhem we bring onto others.

      March 24, 2011 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Catalyst

      Do you people honestly think "peace" comes without fighting for it? It is a crappy paradox, but it is real. Evil men conspire, good men must fight (yes, war, killing, all that terrible stuff) to save the weak and obtain peace. It is just a fact. Sometimes we must fight war with war. It is a sad truth.
      So revoking Obama's Nobel peace prize because he sends forces to protect people is both ignorant and foolish. It shows a gross misunderstanding of some key facts of human life.

      March 24, 2011 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Dexter

    Anonymous I think you are right. Obama should lose his nobel peace prize and give it to Gadalfi. He has his forces murder protesters. Obama has no right to join the UN forces to try and help the Libyan people. Who does he think he is. Long live Gadalfi and Anonymous you are so smart. We need more smart people like you in the world. I bow to you oh master of wisdom.

    March 24, 2011 at 6:50 am | Report abuse |
    • AZLib

      to bad you didn't have a seat on Pam Am Flight 103...

      March 24, 2011 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • tcollins

      you're a quick one, AZ

      March 24, 2011 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michael

      Right on! US should better take care of its own backyard, which by the way kind of stinks nowadays, instead of ordering every country what to do, instead of pulling strings around the globe (of course, only in countries where their interests are high, like oil!) and instead of killing people in every country where they dont like the president or the system! And could somebody create please one day a REAL tribunal for the REAL war criminals in the world: the americans?

      March 24, 2011 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • jrhurt76

      Michael – Try learning what is really going on in the world and you might not sound so ignorant with your brainless rants about the USA being evil.

      March 24, 2011 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kakete

      For long I hailed Ghaddafi for standing up for the rights and dignity of Africans, foe seeking to unite Africa into one country, because in truth Africa's problem is the fragmentation imposed on it at the Berlin Conference of November 25 1884 which was put in practice by colonial masters, who only gave African countries "Independence" when they were no longer economically viable for them, yet thereafter continued, and continue with Neocolonialism practices.

      BUT, Ghaddafi lost my support and respect when he started killing his own people, destabilizing nations, and supporting terrorism. I threw in the towel when instead of dialogging with his opposition, he chose to massacre them. At that point, he lost all vision of leadership in Libya.

      March 24, 2011 at 6:16 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Bent

    Yaeh one should go back in time and think a bit more about Lincolns speach, anyhow Daffy need to be removed from office, no doubt about that, futhermore I'd like to say to the Amaricans, don't start what you can't finish. The Lybien people need the help they are getting, even Donald Duck have a better vocalbulary then Daffy (ghadafi) long live the free people of Lybia

    March 24, 2011 at 7:33 am | Report abuse |
  8. Frotogo

    What kind of motorcycle is that? I can't read the name on the gas tank.

    March 24, 2011 at 8:11 am | Report abuse |
    • psx2rulz

      its a libyan harley-davidson sportster

      March 24, 2011 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Cesar r

    It is a German Frotogo bike. Truly the best. Only 95 in the world.

    March 24, 2011 at 8:18 am | Report abuse |
  10. Sad

    Here is a nice piece written by a journalist in Benghazi. So it appears the future under the rebels will be no better than the Gadhafi regime. Nice one UN. So much for a democratic revolution. It appears that if you aren't with the rebels, you are going to wind up "missing". It's going to be interesting to see what happens when the rebels arrive at Tripoli. Will the UN step in to stop a blood bath there? What a joke.

    By Rob Crilly, Benghazi 8:13PM GMT 23 Mar 2011

    Libya: it wasn't supposed to be like this in free Benghazi
    The young gunmen at the roadblock took no chances. They put a knife to the throat of the driver before hauling the three men and one woman from the car, dragging them through the street into a nearby mosque for a rough round of interrogation.
    They were beaten on their feet and the woman was slapped around the face until she admitted planning an attack on the mosque," said Basim Mohamed, muezzin at Quiche mosque.
    Inside the car they say they found an AK-47 and 10 cartridges of ammunition.
    A frenzied mob formed outside the mosque as word spread that Gaddafi assassins had been cornered. It only dispersed when rebel gunmen arrived to take away the suspects to an uncertain fate.
    It wasn't supposed to be like this in free Benghazi. After throwing off the shackles of Gaddafi's brutal rule, Libya's young opposition movement is rounding up suspected opponents and delivering its own brutal form of justice in a city living in fear that they have been penetrated by a fifth column of government loyalists.
    Rebel leaders admit that dozens of Gaddafi supporters have been arrested or killed.

    March 24, 2011 at 8:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Aubrie

      So what are they supposed to do? Invite them to dinner? Let them go to kill more rebels? Play pat-a-cake? Unfortunately fighting for justice can be ugly. It's just the way it is. We didn't hug and kiss the British during the American Revolution. And because of that, we won our freedom from oppressive rule, started our road to democracy and our way of life. Sad that it has to be that way, but you can't reason with people like Gadhafi. It's not going to happen. No matter how smiley and huggy kissy you want it all to be.

      March 24, 2011 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lotto Cheatah

      @Sad. From an ex-soldier 8 years, war is hell, but Momar is no friend of the west. War brings out the saying "the enemy of my enemy is my friend". We are making new friends. This is a good thing.

      March 24, 2011 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Over It

      Interesting. If you want to sign up to support a mob that carries out summary executions in a back alley, go ahead and support the rebels.
      Let's not forget this is an internal tribal conflict. Let's see you cheering when the rebels close in on the Tripoli population and start their payback slaughtering.

      March 24, 2011 at 10:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sad

      Look, I love the coverage provided by CNN. But the reporting is very much in favour of the rebels. If you want something more unbiased, take a look at the Al Jazeera news site (in English of course). Here the warring participants (latest shots show kids touting AKs) are often referenced by their tribe, which is further afiliate with either the rebels or pro-Gadhafi.
      I agree Gadhafi is a nutcase. But before climbing into bed with his successor, let's here a bit more about what their future plans are.

      March 24, 2011 at 11:03 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Jazz7

    Don't quote me on this but I think Germany also makes the SAAD car , nice litte look a like BEETLE

    March 24, 2011 at 9:31 am | Report abuse |
  12. Cesar (Communist from Tx)

    Hi Mary 😉 I can wink at you now because that nice Riddick troll whom was chasing necromongers showed me/us. I'm thinking about a trip to NY if you're ok with seeing how us latin lovers get down. Aye mi bonita Maria....

    March 24, 2011 at 10:22 am | Report abuse |
    • Amygadalus communis


      March 25, 2011 at 8:37 pm | Report abuse |
  13. TripleD

    I'm wondering how far this will go. The rebels were asking for heavy weapons, but can't the US/UN just take out Gadhafi's heavy artillery now that we control the skies? I don't think they understand our level of involvement. We're evening the playing field for them not dropping in tanks that these guys have no idea how to use.

    March 24, 2011 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |
  14. Colin

    Where did those guys get weapons?? are they militias or army soldiers???

    March 24, 2011 at 10:29 am | Report abuse |
    • stonetrails

      Looks like at least one of them got his from Mattel®

      March 24, 2011 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lotto Cheatah

      I see some guy with with what looks like a 22-cal rabbit gun. Others have AK 47's or knockoffs, still another had a shotgun.
      Two thumbs up to America and the coalition. If CNN news reports are correct their prompt action saved at least 150,000 lives. How can anyone abject to saving an entire city and their population?

      March 24, 2011 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
  15. TripleD

    @Colin: From what I understand the rebels are all tribesmen from around the country. I'm sure many military personnel switched sides bringing their weapons with them including tanks. Also after the peaceful protests turned into a massacre many police stations and military bases were looted. I don't know if the UN/US is supplying small arms or not.

    March 24, 2011 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
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