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. rod

    two questionsi just want to know whag you guys think or know about the questions.

    1- why is the briefin clasified to cngress? do you think just cuz of safety concerns? or is there smething they cant tell us?
    2. NATO takes over..isnt hte us part of nato. sso wouldnt the US still be involved pretty comitted?

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

      wow your english sucks

      March 24, 2011 at 9:41 pm | Report abuse |
  2. California

    Time will tell.

    The U.S. deal should be kicking in tomorrow or Saturday or are they already stretching it out?

    March 24, 2011 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
  3. bubblebuster

    If NATO is put in charge who has the largest number of troops serving that will be sacrifice in a don't shoot zone until you are wonded?

    March 24, 2011 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Lotto Cheatah

    NATO action and U.S. jet fighers have saved at least one entire 150,000 population city from a massacre. One U.S. jet was downed near this city. A local came to the rescue of the pilot; hugged him, kissed him on the cheek and called him his brother. He and his son were critically wounded by U.S. rescue forces who shot first and asked questions later (normal for the U.S., it seems). Nonetheless the local interviewed in hospital said it was a small price to pay. He praised America for coming to their rescue. These people, with American help will form the next Lybian government. The west needs all the support it can get within these Islamic natons.
    Thank you America!

    March 24, 2011 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |

    May God bless these people who fought to fight the mentally disturbed gaddafi , he may be winning now but God will never let him go

    March 24, 2011 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
  6. omar

    hi UNSC you pass a resolution to overthrow colonel gadhafi because what u are doing is help the rebel to kick out gadhafi. and do you know these rebel and what there intention less we all know gadhafi he was a dangerous man but that was then.his son was helping to bring his father to the world for good manners but you people make it very hard stop the fight and ask the rebel to lie down there weapons.

    March 24, 2011 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Mike B

    Who do the world leaders think they are? 40 years they did nothing when it should have been done. Now they all decide Libya is open for their wishes. In other countries the people are demonstrating, aggressively but not shooting the countries troops, in Libya it is an armed up rising, the Government have the right to deal in their own way in a sovereign country. UN and the rest of the world including USA get off their soap boxes and keep your nose out of Libya.
    If this happened in Texas what would Obama do send in the troops. USA do not have a good record of civil or uncivil response. I suggest countries like Britain France and others take stock of their own actions from their past and keep their war planes at home.
    I do not approve of the killing but it is happening on both sides neither is better than the other. Moammar Gadhafi does not come across well in interviews. Remember English is not his language.

    March 24, 2011 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Me

    If any of you people ever been in the military, you would know what is going on here. But, we have so many idoit out there talking out the side of your necks need to realize the situation as a whole. So, stop talking about thing you do not understand.

    March 24, 2011 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike B

      If you refer to me then I have been in the military and been in many war zones. I also I am able to think for myself are you?

      March 24, 2011 at 5:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cam Rankin

      Only about 1% of US serves in the Armed Forces (if your American, maybe Canuck, Brit, Kiwi etc. ) so I'd say prob very few of these people have military service, lucky if to have even handle a fire arm of any kind, so yep your right on speaking to mainly deaf ears.

      March 26, 2011 at 3:45 am | Report abuse |
  9. Jim

    Bravo! Pres. Obama and Sec. Clinton are managing this crisis extremely skillfully. They did a magnificent job in bringing together our allies, the UN, NATO and the Arab League to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe. They recognize America’s long-term interests lie with democracies, not dictators. They gave clear parameters for our limited military role in Libya: work through a coalition, protect Libyan civilians, show Qadhafi the door, NO troops on the ground. Obama is redefining the exercise of American power. He has set a new standard for using diplomacy and military action to advance America’s and humanity’s interests. I am so proud of our President and the USA in this moment!

    March 24, 2011 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Art of Lying about War

    "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."

    Wrong. You're carefully worded propaganda on behalf of western governments world-wide is not true. Gadhafi began a cease-fire and ariel assaults where launched telling him that any cease-fire will apparently begin when the west is ready. I realize how grateful towards western governments, CNN and others must be, for these "gripping, high-resolution images" of death and destruction; but that really isn't the role of a free press. You're suppose to criticize and not take sides on anything except the full truth with full transparency.

    So. VERY WRONG HERE. No sovereign leader anywhere in the world would sit by and allow his country and land targets to be attacked under the pretense of a cease fire "when the coallition of the willing is finished setting up our no fly zone requirements under this pretty open ended U.N. resolution. But until then, you just sit pretty and wait while this minority of rebels with ties to Al Queda continues to take over the entire country from a much larger majority of the Libyan population - and then the ceasefire on our side will begin."

    This is blatant misinformation about who aggressively denied a cease-fire until they were good and ready. ACT OF WAR and WAR CRIME by western nations. Sorry, no two ways about it.

    March 24, 2011 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike B

      Very well spoken and written you are a thinker who questions the two faced politicians in the Western governments. It is a same the general populace is always ready to follow. War is not the way killing is not acceptable by either side.

      March 24, 2011 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Dwayne Herbert Alizondo Mountain Dew Comacho

    @MikeB: You're wrong. You don't even know the whole story, yet you chime in like you know. The Libyans were peacefully protesting after being influenced by the protests in Egypt. Gadhafi gunned them down. The world and Libya begged for help, so the world powers decided to help nudge this rebellion. Rebels are tribal ex military members and some protesters looted military and police compounds to get weapons. If our government ever turned its guns on us then yes I'd want help. Our military won't do that though. Too many military brass have come out publicly against getting involved in an American civil war. Besides it would be the masses against Washington and Washington would lose dearly. Please stop blurring every conflict together. Each one has different moving parts.

    March 24, 2011 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cam Rankin

      Yeah Libyans started out peaceful and it turned out violent after Gaddafi attacked them. As far as The USA, as a people we have always been defiant and rebellious so we easily get violent and attack (not always good thing ofcourse) but makes us very hard to put under someones thump (i.e some kind of American Dictator) But really that all BS any how. Govenrment still fears the people here, that by definition by Thomas Jefferson is Liberty my friends.

      March 26, 2011 at 3:54 am | Report abuse |
  12. Chris

    It's like this...none of you including myself know anything about the entire picture. Everything you're all saying is up for speculation. None of you get paid for your opinions and you wish you had a grip on reality. The only thing we can all agree on for sure is that we know nothing at all and THATS just the way it is, some things will..."never" CHANGE.

    March 24, 2011 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Dwayne Herbert Alizondo Mountain Dew Comacho

    @Lotto: Every ethnicity has racism. It's not uniquely white. Europeans exploited the weaknesses of less developed cultures, but anytime a "tribe" or nation conquers another historically slaves are taken, women are taken, men are killed and children are assimilated. I agree with everything else you wrote though. Sunni/Shia violence in Islam is the same as racism. It doesn't have to involve skin color. There is genocide in areas of Africa which has the same treatment of humans, but making the attacker black doesn't reduce it's cruelty. Wrong is wrong. Like I said though everything you've typed is pretty accurate.

    March 24, 2011 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lotto Cheatah

      @Dwayne. You are right, and wrong is wrong. The massacre in Rawanda is an example. America and NATO stood back and did nothing in Rawanda as the rivers ran red with blood. Lesson learned. NOT THIS TIME! Thank you America.

      March 24, 2011 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
  14. outawork

    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." Qaddafi's really scarred now.

    March 24, 2011 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
  15. voiceofreason

    We have no reason to be Libya especially with our budgetary and economic problems. This is Obama wagging the dog in order to have the dumber Americans rally around him. This is between the Tripoli tribe and the Benghazi tribe and we should let them settle it. We need to leave Libya along with Afghanistan and Iraq. We can't afford it because 35% of the Federal Budget is from borrowing.

    March 24, 2011 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
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