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. Mike B

    Why do all religious people think they have the right one, live and let live there is but one GOD with many names.

    March 24, 2011 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • purnellmeagrejr

      So what you're saying is that GOd is like a rapper who might have been born Justin Smurfley but releases recordings under the name BIG SMURF while all his friends call him Jake?

      March 24, 2011 at 6:41 pm | Report abuse |
  2. robert

    i think those people(Europe and the Americans) should say in their country. we alll know them.they are there because of the oil.

    March 24, 2011 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
  3. MN Tom

    UN out of US of A. Stop Socialism.

    March 24, 2011 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • EatMeNowPleez

      Sadly, its looking like our future. Our race is yet to overcome coruption. I however believe that the day is coming, because throughout history we have been slowley evolving for the better.

      March 24, 2011 at 6:47 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Lou50

    wait a minute, I saw where POTUS threatened him to the fullest extent.

    March 24, 2011 at 5:36 pm | Report abuse |
  5. ParkerMedia

    My own opinion is that the coverage over who is functionally and nominally in charge of the operation is diplomacy and public relations. But at the end of the day, the administration is clearly providing the brunt of the military force, as confirmed in the DoD briefing that just ended. You can follow a recent analysis of this and near real-time monitoring and analysis of foreign and military sources on Facebook:

    March 24, 2011 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Cesar Milan The Communist Whisperer

    @MikeB: Right on my communist ally! Viva Mao! Down with democracy! Down with freedom! Down with free press! Yay genocide and suppression! You're my kinda guy Mike. Wanna get together for some cerveza? You're buying of course.

    March 24, 2011 at 6:02 pm | Report abuse |
  7. grizzle grump

    The UN taking over the command of the no fly zone in Lydia???!!! I don't like our people being under UN control. It'll be
    one big cluster!!!! Just like our President. Then there is the idea of a French Steering Committee taking over command.
    Can't imagine what a cluster of chaos that would be. Our guys must be under US command, not a bunch of politicos.

    March 24, 2011 at 6:07 pm | Report abuse |
  8. madmad

    Oh come on CNN, don´t you know where brussels is yet?

    March 24, 2011 at 6:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • parkmore

      Nooooooooo comment. It's the same like 57 States. How trustful they are. We know that Media and government are very strong in mostly one thing LIE LIE LIE and LIE

      March 24, 2011 at 9:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • marion mize

      And so WHERE ARE the Arabs? Has anyone heard of or seen of even ONE ARAB plane? Yet THEY were soooo concerned that the Libya government be stopped??? Where are the ARAB planes????? DO

      March 24, 2011 at 10:40 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Shadowcarver

    The Map – this all you need to know.

    March 24, 2011 at 6:38 pm | Report abuse |
  10. purnellmeagrejr

    Look at that photograph of the rebels. I'm packing my bags – they look like they're on their way to Burning Man.

    March 24, 2011 at 6:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • f

      Rebel dude on a Harley is going to Spring Break in Misrata to meet hot Libyan rebel chicks in burkas!

      March 24, 2011 at 7:27 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Jared

    whats funny is that obama stated that it was a group effort but nato is taking over the no fly zone from the US... funny how that works out.. the US needs to stop being the police of the world. we have our own problems... two wars, economy is horrible... hey obama fix your own problems first!!!!!! the world is a rough place... its life...

    March 24, 2011 at 6:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • tODD

      Jared-you are not very bright so I will cut you some slack.The US isapart of NATO so we will still be part of the no fly zone.The NATO General IS American !

      March 24, 2011 at 6:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • zach

      I agree, we try to control the world but we can't control ourselves.

      March 25, 2011 at 9:42 am | Report abuse |
    • Alex

      CNN please start reporting troth like yo supposed to do not show lies you area reporters not attorneys!!! US needs to work on our local problems instead of wasting money and time on other country! All we can do is pray that our congress will have enough brains to make good decisions with Gods help. If I remember it right its "In God we trust" not in "In our politicians we trust" ever since they took God out of the picture our country went in the hole.

      I kind hoping that Russia and Chine will tell NATO to STOP booming runs.

      March 26, 2011 at 4:40 am | Report abuse |
  12. Lila1350

    Godd bless America and the allied the freedom fighters , the Libyan will bel foever greatfull . I imagine Libya post Quiddafi and his tugs would be like UAE enjoying freedom good life modern cities and most important peac with all nations that is the tru Libya.It is the Libya before Quidaffi. I was there I lived thru it.
    And for Turky you let the Libyan people twice by giving it to the Italians in 1900 and now to Quidaffi the terrorist , shame on you.

    March 24, 2011 at 6:41 pm | Report abuse |
  13. rich

    First let me state that I am no fan of Kaddafi! But someone please explain to me how it is okay for the Sudanese, Bahrain, Syria, and Iran governments to kill their own citizens, but some how it is not okay for the Libyan government!
    What is the clear and present danger that Libya presented to the US? They had adopted an anti Al-Qaida stance, which was good for us! Their weapons are 20-30 years old! Is it we picked on someone that we thought we could beat? Are we not presently amply occupied in Iraq and Afganisthan?
    Is it necessary for the U.S. to spend $100 million per day to attack Khaddaffi? Could we not use this money more effectively in lowering our Federal Debt?
    Obama stated during his campaign that the President does not have the right to unilaterally deploy our armed forces when the U.S. is not under imminent threat! Way to LIE to us Obama!
    The Libyan revolution is more similar to a civil war and outside governments such as the U.S. or anyone else should be involved!
    We, the U.S. have made an unprovoked attack against a sovereign government and are as such in violation of International Law! We are the aggressors!
    So when are we going into Bahrain, Iran, Syria, etc? I think never! This is just Obama's personal war! Isn't he the guy that was going to get us out of Afganistan and Iraq? Why has he instead increased the troop count in Afghanistan?
    What is his end-game in Libya, and how long timewise and financially is the U.S. committed?

    March 24, 2011 at 6:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • gaigai

      You missed one thing, one important thing. Liby has oil, good quality, low cost oil. That's why French is there, that is we
      want to be there. We are locked out of oil contracts in Libya. The thinking is if we have a friendly government, we will get all the oild contracts. But Obama miscalculated, French will be there first. AlQada will not give oil to us. We need boots on the ground to get the oil

      March 25, 2011 at 12:53 am | Report abuse |
    • bbarc


      March 28, 2011 at 1:30 am | Report abuse |
    • Amy


      March 28, 2011 at 2:09 am | Report abuse |
  14. Harry Seveneagles

    CNN needs to hire an editor.

    March 24, 2011 at 6:45 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Mark

    This is a scam. NATO will just be in charge as America fronts the cost and effort

    March 24, 2011 at 6:48 pm | Report abuse |
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