Gadhafi's Son Says Regime Will Take Back Key City With 48 Hours
From Sky News: "The Libyan rebel stronghold of Benghazi will fall to government forces within 48 hours, Saif Gaddafi has said in a television interview." Saif Gadhafi, the son of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, spoke with France's Euronews.
Sky News adds this video report:
From the Libyan capital of Tripoli, NPR's David Greene reports that "there's a growing air of confidence among Libyan officials that they are ... taking it to the rebels":
Earlier today, William Hague, Britain's foreign secretary, said that the country was "prepared to impose a no-fly zone without the authority of the UN." But, reports The Guardian,U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was reticent:
"We are well aware that the clock is ticking," the secretary of state said as she praised the Arab League for its "courageous stand" over the weekend in calling for a no-fly zone.
But Clinton made clear the US was highly sceptical about the merits of a no-fly zone. Asked whether there was still time to impose one, she said: "There will be other things considered in addition to a no-fly zone. That will certainly be one of the actions considered. But there are other ways to assist the opposition. All of those are on the table and are being examined."
Update at 6:32 p.m. ET: NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro has a great piece on All Things Consideredtonight. She talks about how the spirit of the rebels in Libya has been crushed. And as she left Libya to cross back into Egypt, they asked her, "Where is the West? Why don't they help us?" Here's the piece:
Update at 1:20 p.m. ET: Very little has been reported about the refugee crisis in Libya. The United Nation's International Organization of Migration estimates that about 285,000 migrants have fled Libya to the neighboring countries of Egypt, Tunisia, Niger and Algeria since the crisis began. Many of them, reports the IOM, are black foreign workers.
Tell Me More's Michel Martin spoke to one Nigerian man who was forced out of his home in Libya. Speaking via cellphone at a transit camp near the Tunisia-Libya border, Ben Asika Obi said that he wasn't just running from the violence. He was forced out of the country, when Libyans turned against him after Al Jazeera reported that Gadhafi was using African mercenaries to fight against the rebels.
They thought every black person was a mercenary, he said. The full interview will be posted here. But here's a bit of audio, where Obi describes how he and his two Libyan-born children were forced out of his home:
Update at 12:11 p.m. ET: Since we've been looking at the big picture in Libya, it's worth noting a conversation that's been going on at Ross Douthat's blog at the New York Times. Douthat has advocated staying out of Libya. He ponders The United States' moral obligation now, but also focuses on what he thinks is the greater obligation that could come out of an intervention:
We would become partof the government of Libya, in a sense, if we engage our forces in that country's civil war. And thus our obligations to Libyans would increase, and so would our share of the guilt if things turns out badly.
With that, Douthat was responding to Peter Feaver, of Foreign Policy, who believes those against a military intervention are leaving out a huge part of the argument:
Every untoward development that happens or is speculated to happen after military intervention is blamed on the intervener, but every untoward development that happens in the absence of military intervention is left out of the calculus entirely.
Update at 12:01 p.m. ET: Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a member of the Armed Services Committee, took his concerns about the inaction in Libya to Twitter. In three separate tweets he wrote:
The biggest winner of an indecisive America refusing to stand up to dictators who kill their own people, will be the Iranian regime. #scpol
The French & British are right to call for a no-fly zone over Libya, and they are correct to recognize the forces opposing Gaddafi. #scpol
One test in foreign policy – at least be as bold as the French. Unfortunately, when it comes to Libya we're failing that test. #scpol
Update at 11:49 a.m. ET: The New York Times reports that options for the United States in Libya are quickly narrowing. The U.S. has, they report, repeatedly sidestepped the issue of a no-fly zone, insisting they would go along with an international coalition.
But the Times says that the Obama administration is considering a few other options: more aggressive airstrikes, sometimes called a "no drive zone," that target Gadhafi's tanks and heavy artillery, or even providing the $32 billion in frozen Gadhafi money to rebels in aid or weapons.
But, they note, all of this is unlikely, given that the U.S. has made it clear that Libya isn't a "vital strategic interest."
Update at 9:22 a.m. ET: Reuters reports that a message on Libyan State TV calls on "all the armed forces in the eastern area who have not joined the traitors ... to join the [pro-Gadhafi] forces as they advance towards Benghazi."
(NPR follows Associated Press style on the spelling of Gadhafi. Other news organizations follow different rules.)
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