- Libya - United States
- Conflicts - Demonstration - Governance
Libya: International community to arm Libya opposition
The international community headed by Washington has considered arming the Libyan opposition to defend themselves against the Indifferent Muammar Gaddafi who continues to utilize violence in his bid to remain at the helm of the country.
The New York Times has reported that US defense planners were preparing a range of land, sea and air military options in Libya in case Washington and its allies decide to intervene. NATO agreed on Monday to increase surveillance flights over Libya from 10 to 24 hours a day to give the alliance a better picture of both the humanitarian and military situations on the ground.
The decision to arm the pro-democracy activists now defending themselves from the Gaddafi violent regime comes as fighter jets continue to target civilian defenses.
Gaddafi’ has used his air power against rebel positions, and reports that his jets bombed protesters in Benghazi in the early days of the revolt are among alleged atrocities being investigated by war crimes prosecutors from the International Criminal Court.
However, White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters that US officials were seeking to learn as much as they could about Libyan opposition groups, but that arming the rebels was only one option on the table.
"On the issue of ... arming, providing weapons, it is one of the range of options that is being considered. We are pursuing a number of channels to have conversations and discussions with the opposition, groups and individuals, as we try to learn more about what they are pursuing, what they want," White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters.
A doctor in Misrata told reporters there that 21 people, including a child, had been killed in shelling and clashes there on Sunday, and 91 people wounded, the "overwhelming majority" of them civilians.
The Gaddafi regime which is violently attacking its people has accused the United States, Britain and France of "a conspiracy to divide Libya.
"It is clear that France, Great Britain and the US are now getting in touch with defectors in eastern Libya. It means there is a conspiracy to divide Libya," said the minister, Mussa Kussa.
As the widespread and systematic attacks against the civilian population continues, protesters have began to pull back from the key oil port of Ras Lanuf and are throwing up palls of smoke amid fears that Gaddafi’s forces were preparing for an attack.
The outrageous response of Gaddafi’s regime to the protests has forced the international community and the UN to respond to protect and defend the opposition. Europe, meanwhile, kick-started international efforts to impose a no-fly zone and has recognized the opposition National Council.
“The violence perpetrated by the government in Libya is unacceptable. I want to send a very clear message to those who are around Col. Gaddafi. It is their choice to make how they operate moving forward. And they will be held accountable for whatever violence continues to take place," President Barack Obama declared as he authorized $15 million in new humanitarian aid to assist and evacuate people fleeing the fighting.