A coalition of Western nations – led by the United States – is preparing to launch air strikes against Libya a day after the United Nations authorized the use of military force against the regime of Muammar al-Qaddafi.
“The international community will impose consequences and the resolutions will be enforced through military action,” U.S. President Barack Obama said on Friday.
The only way al-Qaddafi can avoid military “consequences” is by immediately stopping all attacks against rebel forces aligned against him, restoring electricity and gas to four Libyan cities currently held by the rebels and permitting humanitarian aid to reach those cities.
“”These terms are not subject to negotiations,” Obama said.
Obama said that U.S. ground troops would not be sent to Libya – although the U.N. resolution does not rule out the use of ground troops.
Not everyone in Washington is sold on the idea of a military intervention …
U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Indiana) and several Democrats cautioned Obama that American involvement would “escalate” the conflict and said that the administration should “seek congressional debate on a declaration of war” before American forces participate in any international action.
The public is also highly skeptical of U.S. involvement.
According to a Rasmussen Reports poll released earlier this month, 63 percent of Americans oppose the United States getting involved in the Libyan crisis.
Will the American-led action succeed?
Testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee, U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz said that “taking out Libyan air defenses and jamming communications” was “certainly within our capability.”
Schwartz added that most of al-Qaddafi’s forces were “very exposed” and “out in the desert.”
America has launched air strikes against Libya in the past. In 1986, a joint U.S. fighter force dropped 300 bombs and launched nearly 50 missiles against multiple military targets in Libya – although this air strike failed to kill al-Qaddafi.
That attack was in response to the 1986 bombing of a Berlin discotheque frequented by American soldiers.