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. nell

    I honestly believe the media is blowing this situation out of the sky. I listened carefully to what the commentators said, each one was blasting the same crap, " we don't understand" all day long. One certain cable news operation is beginning to sound just like Fox. They want to keep the madness going and it's shameful.

    March 25, 2011 at 10:47 pm | Report abuse |
  2. morris wise

    A long stalemate would starve Libyans, they would then be happy accepting a NATO appointed administrator. He would form a benevolent new government who would supply food to the conquered and hand out oil contracts to the conquerors.

    March 25, 2011 at 10:53 pm | Report abuse |
  3. HIH

    Why not make the Arab league be the front on this? It should be Muslims telling Muslims this will not be tolerated not the western countries. Then if your going to loose the dogs of war take off the leash, get it done with overwhelming power and force.

    March 25, 2011 at 10:54 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Jazz7

    @ the Bird , this guy has to much time on his hands.

    March 25, 2011 at 11:02 pm | Report abuse |
  5. L64

    Seems almost all news is biased. I watch public television news and bbc. I think they show more balance.

    March 25, 2011 at 11:33 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Lila1350

    to Marek Boudain
    I know what I am talking about , Turky is against bombong Guiddafi compound while he is bombing civilians at other cities, and you know what it is free country I can express my opnion go back to your cave

    March 25, 2011 at 11:37 pm | Report abuse |
  7. PGPugsley

    Kadhafi and other violent Dictators must be put out of commission. Thankful that Obama has enough faith in his government to handle this while he takes care of business in other areas. You go Obama take care of this Evil Dictator and his regime and allow the Libyan to finally see at least a glimpse of freedom.

    March 25, 2011 at 11:48 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Joe

    A lot of people have been posting about 'Why Libya?' Its fairly simple: 1) Two other countries nearby (Tunisia, Egypt) have recently had successful revolutions. Libya makes it 3 out of 3, and leaves nothing in this area 'unstable'. 2) Quadaffi has been a pariah for quite a long time. Its likely that he is funding terrorism. Its certain that he was behind the 1988 bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie Scotland, killing all 243 passengers and 16 crew members, along with 11 people in Southern Scotland, killed by wreckage. 3) People in his country are tired of his totalitarian rule. When he started attacking them, countries could just sit by, or act. Since there is no big country nearby he can call on for aid, then these air attacks are suddenly 'the art of the possible'. Can forces win in Afghanistan? Doubtful, because of the porous border with Pakistan, and Taliban pouring over the border. Can forces win a war against North Korea? They have a 1.1 million man army, but are a poor country. Their northern neighbor has 1.33 billion people, are highly industrialized, and an army of 3 million. Not good. Bahrain? Home of the US 5th fleet, a key ally of the US in the middle east, and oil. Like Saudi Arabia, not a good bet. Syria and Iran? Both with reasonably large militaries, possibly winnable, but with a heavy cost (more than Iraq). Quadaffi kept a large well trained personal body guard, but let the army go slack because he didn't want generals trying to oppose him. There is a chance, that without Western/NATO boots on the ground, this one is winnable.

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

    For All:

    Daniel 6:22-23

    "My God sent His angel and shut the lions' mouths, so that they have not hurt me, because I was found innocent before Him; and also, O king, I have done no wrong before you."
    Now the king was exceedingly glad for him, and commanded that they should take Daniel up out of the den, and no injury whatever was found on him, because he believed in his God.

    March 26, 2011 at 12:07 am | Report abuse |
    • IV:XX

      What does Jewish mythology have to do with current events?

      March 26, 2011 at 1:06 am | Report abuse |
  10. Bill Kolek

    "The last time Libya's leader Muammar al-Gaddafi, decided to overpower a neighboring country was back in 1987. He invaded neighboring Chad thinking that his military would overpower these young rebellious men in days. He was wrong. 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 made the difference.................French air support!"

    March 26, 2011 at 12:08 am | Report abuse |
  11. joe

    now Obowma would have us bow to the new world order un/nato..

    March 26, 2011 at 12:31 am | Report abuse |
  12. Perez

    I beleive in helping people that have been hurt and been harmed, espeacially by their government. I am glad someone stepped up to help the lybian citizens.. i do hate that us AMERICANS have to take the bashing for helping others. I know if the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA wasnt here, there would be more violence with in countries. I do wish we wouldnt have gone into this war, but my question is. Who else would intervene. I Just wished ever country would get along so the world would be better for us and our children.

    March 26, 2011 at 12:47 am | Report abuse |
  13. blackguy


    March 26, 2011 at 1:23 am | Report abuse |
  14. SSampson

    Canadian General – hmmm – I never spent any time with their Air Force, but I did work with some Canadian PPCLI guys that were with CAR in a unit now called JTF2 (I hope I got those letters right)... They were a tough bunch – pretty crazy like the SAS... At that time they were as good as anything on our side of the border... There was that Canadian General who was in Rwanda too...One brave guy – not a desk-sitter by any stretch...

    Of all the countries who could have control over some of our guys, I certainly trust the Canadians – I hope I can say that later...

    Maybe they'll play Gadhafi Hockey....


    March 26, 2011 at 1:43 am | Report abuse |
  15. shane

    nothings better than watching rag heads die live on cnn i say nato should nuke all raghead countries then there will be peace in the middle east

    March 26, 2011 at 4:20 am | Report abuse |
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