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. socrates

    This is not a full scale war anyway, call it war when ground forces are deployed, which is not happening. By the way, part of the $30 billion of Libya’s assets which are frozen by the U.S government will pay for the cost of operation. The Libyans can afford it. The whole country is floating on a sea of oil iii. Even if we have to carry the cost, we have to spend money to make money. We will see the benefits of this operation later on, you need to be patient.

    March 25, 2011 at 12:06 am | Report abuse |
  2. dan

    If we really wanted we could wipe all arabs off the face of the earth then we will see world peace seriously a race of people who cant govern themselves are an inferior race arabs should be embarrased that they cant control their part of the world.

    March 25, 2011 at 12:44 am | Report abuse |
  3. dan

    Nato isnt ready for any war without the u.s in controls arab nations are so coward that they sit back and watch they cant handle business in their own backyard what a joke how embarrasing is that!

    March 25, 2011 at 12:55 am | Report abuse |
  4. dan

    Why not go old school and have the rebels and government officials face off with swords we know you all like swords

    March 25, 2011 at 1:16 am | Report abuse |
  5. dan

    Really???rebel fighters looking like old star wars characters minus any jedi power i see them wip

    March 25, 2011 at 1:28 am | Report abuse |
  6. bbarc

    Daniel 12:1-6
    Prophecy of the End Time
    "At that time Michael shall stand up,
    The great prince who stands
    watch over the sons of your
    An there shall be a time of
    Such as never was since there
    was a nation,
    Even to that time.
    And at that time your people
    shall be delivered,
    And many of those who sleep in the
    dust of the earth shall awake,
    Some to everlasting life,
    Some to shame and everlasting
    Those who are wise shall shine
    Like the brightess of the
    And those who turn many to
    Like the stars forever and ever."

    "But you, Daniel, shut up the words,
    and seal the book until the time of the
    end; many shall run to and fro, and
    knowledge shall increase."

    Then I, Daniel, looked; and there
    stood two others, one on this riverbank
    and the other on that riverbank.

    And one said to the man clother in
    linen, who was above the waters of the
    river, "How long shall the fulfillment of these
    wonders be?"

    March 25, 2011 at 1:42 am | Report abuse |
    • Amygadalus communis

      I PRAY it is not with in me life time!

      March 25, 2011 at 8:19 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Cassandra

    I'm just happy to be able to read comments with a minimum of ignorant statements. Of course there are a few people here that I believe are bound with paranoia...that is besides the point. All my opinions in support of our current standings have been stated.

    March 25, 2011 at 1:51 am | Report abuse |
  8. Jim Kendall

    The many people who appear to back Gaddafi are ALL – to a man, to a child – of the minority who has most directly profited from proximity to their "leader." They all are accustomed to Eating Better from being in his employ. Their homes are nearby, in Tripoli. Notice their better-fed complexions than those of the rebels. The economy of life is rough in Libya. If they exercised their moral feelings about Gaddafi they would probably lose everything they have. And suffer torment.
    They are jumping around and pointing at Gaddafi's image and waving green flags because by doing so they get to be better-fed, housed than the majority slave-class of Libya, and remain creature-safe.
    Besides, they're so accustomed to living under a regime-of-lies which "seems to work" (in their pragmatic experience) that they find it not too much of a stretch to go along with, and propagate THE LIE.
    He's hiding down below them, in his bunker, using them as human-shields to protect his worthless "life."

    March 25, 2011 at 3:35 am | Report abuse |
  9. wolvedrive

    protecting civilians, heck (pc),thares just about widespread chaos and mid air collisions of the hindenburg variety, the humanity in the stampede to save or accidentlly mis-identify friend or foe hereos or villians,,,what are the unfortunate collaterall hapenstance statistical whitewash coverup numbers, maybe a little standoffish is the order, unless like a sheriff ya get a call,take it easy will ya

    March 25, 2011 at 6:28 am | Report abuse |
  10. Tony

    There are many signs that will precede him; a general and very important sign is that he will come at a time when there is great confusion, intense disputes and violent death. When people are afflicted by disturbances and fear. Calamities will fall upon the people, so much so that a man shall not find shelter to shelter him from oppression. There will be many battles and fitnaas before his appearance. Every time a fitnaa has come to an end, another will start, spread and intensify. The people will be troubled to such extent that they will long for death. It is then that Imaam Mahdi will be sent.

    March 25, 2011 at 8:56 am | Report abuse |
  11. Tony

    The beast which is the sun began producing explosions and lunching sun flairs and calamities here on earth, the end is near the 11 year war will begin in the Middle East soon people will be troubled to such extent that they will long for death

    March 25, 2011 at 9:03 am | Report abuse |
  12. Misurati

    I'd like to say a few thinga, thank you the Amarican people and the people of europe who stood by us to achive freedom and democracy, and to those who are ignorent and now when its the right cause making a stink about it!(diffrence we asked for help) well one asked who will pay?? the libyan people will pay the bill for the help, your tax dollers wont unless your goverment pockets the money, second, yes indeed the french amaricans and countrys that helped us will benfit from contracts, to rebuild libya and oil contracts but on mutual agreement and respect, but like some say there going to come and put ground forces and take our oil feilds, with that mentality you will never gain peace respect and just diging a grave ,but do it for the good of people and to also benfit from the contracts thats fine, and you will gain respect ,tolrance

    March 25, 2011 at 10:04 am | Report abuse |
  13. Colonel

    Gaddafi Dictature!!!

    March 25, 2011 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Deno

    Peacful protest is one thing picking up arms and rebeling are completly different Have you ever been in a big family argument yeap thats what we just did and to be Honest Gadhafi is only protecting what is his leave this tribal war alone and get out know these people have been fighting for years.

    March 25, 2011 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
  15. makomAim

    The NEW WORLD ORDER GOV does not include any KINGS or DICTATORS. Does anyone believe that all these protests and uprising just happened on their own. This is a movement to create the NEW WORLD ORDER. The reason Libya was attacked is that the Dictator found out that all he had to do was fight back against the protesters. Words will not defeat these uprisings. If you sit and do nothing your nation will be destroyed along with you. One by One every DICTATOR AND KING will be taken down. Every KING and DICTATOR will have to stick together and help each other if any of them hope to survive this uprising. With every nation that falls there is less of a chance that any will survive. If you let Libya fall then the only Question is "What nation is next...."

    March 25, 2011 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
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