In a 10-0 vote with 5 abstentions, the UN security council authorized a no-Fly zone over Libya. Proving that Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi was prepared for this in advance Libya Calls Cease-Fire After Britain and France Vow Action ‘Soon’
Hours after the United Nations Security Council voted to authorize military action and a no-fly zone, Libya executed a remarkable about-face on Friday, saying it would call an “immediate cease-fire and the stoppage of all military operations” against rebels seeking to oust Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi.
It was unclear what effect a cease-fire, if honored, might have, but the offer drew some skepticism in the West. Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain told the BBC of Colonel Qaddafi: “We will judge him by his actions, not his words.”
Mr. Cameron told the House of Commons that the Royal Air Force would deploy Tornado jets and Eurofighter Typhoon warplanes, “as well as air-to-air refueling and surveillance aircraft.”
“Preparations to deploy these have already started, and in the coming hours they will move to air bases from where they can take the necessary action,” Mr. Cameron said.
The Typhoon is a fighter jet armed with air-to-air missiles for shooting down airplanes, as well as laser-guided bombs for targets on the ground. The Tornado is especially well suited for attacking runways — that was its first combat mission, in the Persian Gulf war, when the planes swooped in to bomb runways in Iraq, facing thick anti-aircraft defenses that shot down several of the planes.
Before the cease-fire was announced, the Libyan leader signaled his intentions in Benghazi. “We will come house by house, room by room,” Colonel Qaddafi said Thursday on a radio call-in show before the United Nations vote. “It’s over. The issue has been decided.” To those who continued to resist, he vowed: “We will find you in your closets. We will have no mercy and no pity.”
In a television broadcast later, he added: “The world is crazy, and we will be crazy, too.”
Military Planning Continues
Bloomberg reports Qaddafi Cease-Fire Bid Fails to Deter Allies’ Military Planning
Western allies pressed on with plans for military action against Libya after Muammar Qaddafi’s regime declared an immediate cease-fire and said it was willing to talk to rebels.
U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron, who was preparing a set of demands with President Barack Obama and French President Nicolas Sarkozy, said he would judge Qaddafi by his actions and not his words.
Cameron told lawmakers the U.K. would “in the coming hours” deploy Tornado and Typhoon warplanes, air-to-air refueling craft and surveillance aircraft to enforce the no-fly zone. After Cameron spoke in London, Libyan Foreign Minister Moussa Koussa made the cease-fire announcement in a televised news conference carried by Al Arabiya television.
Cameron told Parliament in London that the UN resolution falls short of giving the authority for regime change in Libya, saying “we have to restrict ourselves” even though “almost every leader has actually said the Qaddafi regime has to go.”
Obama called Cameron and Sarkozy last night to discuss enacting the resolution, the White House said in a statement. The three agreed to work closely with Arab and other international partners on enforcing the terms of the resolution and called for an end to the violence against civilians in Libya, the White House said.
Italian newspapers, including Corriere della Sera, reported today that the government would make three bases available to support a no-fly zone — Sigonella and Trapani Birgi in Sicily and Gioia del Colle near the southern city of Bari.
France’s Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier is at its base in the Mediterranean port of Toulon and could be called into service on the mission.
Denmark has committed to sending six F-16 fighter planes to help back the no-fly zone, Copenhagen-based newswire Ritzau reported, citing Defense Minister Gitte Lillelund Bech. Canada will deploy six CF-18 fighter jets, Postmedia News reported, citing unnamed sources.
Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said in Madrid today he will seek Parliament’s approval to deploy air and naval forces to back the UN resolution on Libya and will cede bases in Spain to back the operation.
Turkey, a majority-Muslim member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, does not support military intervention in Libya “for the moment,” said Selcuk Unal, spokesman for the Foreign Ministry.
NATO member Germany said it wouldn’t join any intervention. “German soldiers won’t take part in a military mission in Libya,” Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said.
What now? What good does it do to bomb runways if Qaddafi does honor the cease-fire? What if the rebels break the cease-fire?
A cease-fire leaves Libya in a divided state. Invading Libya with ground troops is out of the question, at least it should be.
What appeared a few weeks ago would be over quickly, certainly isn’t.
Mike “Mish” Shedlock
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