Libya developments: NATO agrees in principle to protect civilians
Libyan rebels pray while preparing for battle against government forces near the city of Ajdabiya.
March 25th, 2011
06:34 PM ET

Libya developments: NATO agrees in principle to protect civilians

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.

[6:33 p.m. ET Friday, 12:33 a.m. Saturday in Libya] President Obama will speak to the nation about Libya on Monday evening from the National Defense University at Fort McNair in Washington, D.C., the White House announced.

[4:18 p.m. ET Friday, 10:18 p.m. Friday in Libya] NATO has agreed in principle to protect Libyan civilians and will work out details this weekend, said Gen. Carter Ham, commander of U.S. Africa Command.

Ham, who is overseeing U.S. military involvement in the Libyan mission, said the biggest challenge in going after Moammar Gadhafi's troops and snipers is when they are in close proximity to civilians.

He also said that removing Gadhafi by military means is not the aim of the mission.

[1:10 p.m. ET Friday, 7:10 p.m. Friday in Libya] Canadian Lt. Gen. Charlie Bouchard will command the NATO military campaign over Libya, CNN has confirmed.

[11:45 a.m. ET Friday, 5:45 p.m. Friday in Libya] British Tornado fighter jets identified Libyan tanks with their weapons pointed north toward the eastern Libyan city of Ajdabiya and destroyed them, Air Vice Marshall Phil Osborne said Friday.

[10:00 a.m. ET Friday, 4:00 p.m. Friday in Libya] The Libyan delegation attending an African Union meeting in Ethiopia said Friday that Libya is committed to a cease-fire and is ready to let the African Union monitor the cease-fire.

"We demand the cessation of the air bombardment and the naval blockade carried out by Western forces and the United States, for the invalidity of its argument to protect civilians since it is killing them by the hundreds and is attacking and destroying our armed forces, and paving the way for the other side to attack," said Mohammed al-Zwai, speaker of the Libyan People's Assembly.

[3:15 a.m. ET Friday, 7:15 a.m. Friday in Libya] The UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sheikh Abdulla bin Zayed Al Nahyan issued a statement Friday saying that the UAE air force will send 12 aircraft to help patrol and enforce the No Fly Zone in Libya, and that participation will start in the coming days.

Warplanes roared through the skies over the Libya capital, Tripoli, early Friday, dropping bombs on the outskirts of the city where military bases are located.

In Ajdabiya, about 430 miles (700 km) south-southeast of the capital, the British Ministry of Defense on Friday reported airstrikes on "Libyan armoured vehicles which were threatening the civilian population."

NATO members agreed to take over enforcement of the no-fly zone over Libya. Under the agreement, NATO forces will be able to close air space to all flights except for humanitarian ones and will be able to use force in self-defense.

That mandate is not being interpreted as a license to attack Libyan government troops who may be threatening unarmed civilians.

Michael Burns, a former U.S. ambassador to NATO, said he expects the defense alliance to take over command of the entire operation in a few days to keep pressure on Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.

"The no-flight zone alone can not protect the civilians of Libya," Burns said on CNN's "AC360" Thursday night "Gadhafi is still attacking ... He is still on the move in some places."

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Filed under: Libya • War • World
soundoff (129 Responses)
  1. chipper

    Judging by the "intellectual" level of most of these comments, we've got the government we deserve. It's so mature to draw two hands giving some one the finger and then copy and paste it several times. Congratulations, you've mastered a basic computing function. But can you participate in an informed conversation and debate about a very important issue. Evidently not.

    March 25, 2011 at 8:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • IV:XX

      Like you just added discourse of note.

      March 26, 2011 at 1:02 am | Report abuse |
  2. Flecter

    @Mumar Ghadafi
    What the hell is wrong with u people... U cant even spell my name right it is Mumar (Moo-marr) Ghadafi – (Ge-had-afi) not Gad but Ghad u stupede americans...

    Who gives a crap how you spell the dudes name.

    March 25, 2011 at 8:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill Kolek

      "Al Jazeera spells his name differently. Sometimes Muammar Gaddafi and sometimes Gadhafi.

      March 25, 2011 at 10:08 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Charlie Pedersen

    come on folks...Kadhafi has billions that the EU and USA etc. nations gave him...Why? To get a better position to get oil.
    Many companies paid for his compensation for victums, many paid signing bonuses of $1 billion for long term contractsd.Now he has billions to bribe his military and political leaders in Libya. Could the battle really be because his current wealth generation from his low cost/easily extractable sweet crude, isn't being "fairly" distributed. Are EU and the USA just tired of his payouts. Are the people that know the increase in cash flow Since Bush reconciled with Kadhafi over Nuclear disarmament..or was it to get inside with the oil exraction party. Sure Kadhafi would give up nuke production for billions in oil profits. Know we know why we're fighting, so how can we end it. Only 4 options
    1.he wins...2.he dies...3. his military kicks him out, 4. someone invades. President Obama knows this The Repubs know this The Dems knows this NATO knows this. Kadhafi knows this. Everyone is calling for disclosure of the end-game. strategy. Meanwhile, Kadhafi has the cash to try to bribe many. No politicians have the guts to discuss options 2 3 and 4. He has more money than "the rebels". So let President OBama and Allies dance amoung the pit of hard choices.
    Obama has discounted the #4 option, So onl;y 2 and 3 are possible. But we don't condone targeting regime heads for assassination, so 2 is out . So, like Egypt , I'm sure there is a bribe contest going on between Kidahafi, his internal foes,
    and the Allies. WE'd hope the Arab league would take out this out of control godfather. He's interfereing with the oil monopoly....now that's more money than Khadfi's billions. Now how can any American leader discuss that with the citizen's. Give President Obama some slack, as long as he doesn't choose option 4. At the end of the day, you will get
    more politicalspeak....and it's ok for now!

    March 25, 2011 at 9:03 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Herbert

    Hey CNN, so what's with the bird?

    March 25, 2011 at 9:05 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Glenn Gorrie

    Nancy Grace for President, friends.

    March 25, 2011 at 9:07 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Hear Ye

    Nancy G vs Sarah P = fun catfight

    March 25, 2011 at 9:09 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Amygadalus communis

    For the Decision Makers: Let us Pray

    Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament, and those who turn many to righteous like the stars for ever and ever. Daniel 12:3

    March 25, 2011 at 9:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • IV:XX

      May the Force be with you.

      March 26, 2011 at 1:04 am | Report abuse |
  8. Sam

    Make no mistake. If it wasn't for oil, the U.S and Nato would not be in Libya.

    March 25, 2011 at 9:17 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Daniel

    Look at those easy simpletons bowing to their God.

    March 25, 2011 at 9:19 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Bill Kolek

    "Anyone looking for an answer to how this situation could end should look no further than recent history, the last time Gadhafi tried to use his military to crush someone he thought was crushable. The Toyota War is the name commonly given to the last phase of the Chadian–Li­byan conflict, which took place in 1987 in Northern Chad and on the Libyan-Cha­dian border. It takes its name from the Toyota pickup trucks used as technicals to provide mobility for the Chadian troops as they fought against the Libyans. The 1987 war resulted in a heavy defeat for Libya, which, according to American sources, lost one tenth of its army, with 7,500 troops killed and 1.5 billion dollars worth of military equipment destroyed or captured.C­hadian losses were 1,000 troops killed. What is most surprising is what made the difference­..........­.French Jaguar fighters, overhead, helping the Chads.\"

    March 25, 2011 at 9:54 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Michael

    Do anybody have something for sure? everything is just rumor . I wonder about the impartial media on this event.

    March 25, 2011 at 9:59 pm | Report abuse |
  12. algodoma

    As I write this, 8 Divisions of Canadian soldiers in Durham boats are passing The Pillars of Hercules and moving into the Mediterranean.The should be landing in Libya by 6am Newfoundland time. As is their custom, they will kill everything...men, women, children, animals.....using only small arms....I'm sorry it came to this.

    March 25, 2011 at 10:00 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Hi!

    Hey Dafy, a war crimes tribunal is gearing up too, and you're the star.

    March 25, 2011 at 10:01 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Cidaris

    This is the hottest potato the US handed us as yet. The CNN just announced escallation in the conflict:
    http://news.blogs.cnn.com/2011/03/25/libya-live-blog-uae-to-support-enforce-no-fly-zone/?hpt=T1
    Meaning boots on the ground, helping the Al-Qajda infested rebels. Do we really want this? On the other hand, we may not have an alternative. After all, al three parties readily agreed to get involved. There is a bad feeling about this one.

    March 25, 2011 at 10:22 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Jim

    "And I saw A Horse & the Rider was given Power to take Peace from the Earth"

    March 25, 2011 at 10:47 pm | Report abuse |
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