Washington: As US and NATO military
commanders mulled over complexities of enforcing a `no-fly
zone` over Libya, the strife-torn nation`s newly emerged
opposition leaders are approaching the United Nations to ask
for foreign air strikes to pulverise Mummar Gaddafi`s
capabilities to hit civilian targets.
By invoking the United Nations, a council of opposition
leaders based in Libya`s second largest city of Benghazi said,
"We hope to preempt more massacres by Gaddafi`s air force in
the coming days as the tide turns against the despot."
"There needs to be an intervention under the cover of
UN," Muftah Queidir, a lawyer close to Benghazi`s governing
coalition was quoted as saying by The Washington Post.
Facing an unprecedented challenge to his 41-year-old
rule, Gaddafi`s regime has used air force jets to launch
systematic strikes on civilian protesters as well as
presidential areas in a bloody crackdown.
The misuse of fighter planes to target civilians has
enraged the international opinion, with US Senate late Tuesday
adopting a resolution calling for a `no-fly zone` over Libya.
The Senate made a call to the UN Security Council to
consider a `no-fly zone` to protect Libyan`s from Gaddafi.
Though US Defence Secretary Robert Gates has ruled out
for the moment a Western military intervention in Libya saying
"there is no unanimity within the NATO for the use of armed
In an apparent reference to demand for enforcing a
`no-fly zone`, Gates said, "The kind of options that have been
talked about in the press and elsewhere need to be considered
"An intervention beyond humanitarian assistance would
have to take into account the effect of US led war in
Afghanistan and likely hostile perceptions in the region to US
military action," Gates said at a news conference along with
the top American military officials Admiral Mike Mullen.
But US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Libya was
at "crossroad and the stakes were very high."
British Prime Minister David Cameron, a leading advocate
of `no-fly zone` option said, "It is not acceptable to have a
situation where Gaddafi can me murdering his own people using
fighters and helicopter gunships."
"It is right for us to plan and look at plans for a
no-fly zone," he said.
Gaddafi`s son Saif al-Islam warned western forces not to
take military action against Libya and said the country is
prepared to defend itself against foreign intervention.
In Benghazi, another leading anti-Gaddafi movement leader
said he feared that the dictator was going to commit more
massacres. "Our effort should be on how to save the people."
Washington Post quoted another rebel leader in Misurata,
a town about 120 miles east of Tripoli that is besieged by
Gaddafi`s tanks as saying, "The residents also wanted foreign
help against Gaddafi."
"A no-fly zone would limit his (Gaddafi`s) movement, his
ability to move mercenaries from South to North and to recruit
mercenaries from sub-Saharan Africa," he said.