Yesterday, the UN Security Council adopted resolution 1973, authorizing a no-fly zone (NFZ) and military action against Libya (otherwise known as “all measures necessary to protect civilians”). Within hours of the resolution being passed, France and Britain announced that air strikes were imminent, the US positioned warships in the area, while other countries such as Poland, Qatar, Norway and Canada, pledged to support the enforcement of the NFZ by providing military jets for upcoming operations.
In the wake of the resolution being passed, the Libyan government declared a ceasefire, while Libya’s foreign minister announced that his country “takes great interest in protecting civilians.” Meanwhile, in an ominous declaration, Colonel Qaddafi said that “If the world goes crazy, so will we. We will respond. We will turn their lives into hell.” He added that the UNSC had “no mandate” for the resolution.
UK PM David Cameron noted that there is a “clear legal basis” for intervention, and has authorized the deployment of fighter planes from the Royal Air Force to assist with the enforcement of the NFZ. France, who has been particularly proactive throughout this crisis, promised that “strikes would come rapidly.” How, specifically, these operations will play out remains unknown. Though, as NATO ambassadors meet today to determine a plan of action, what is clear is that the conflict in Libya is about to enter a new – and very different – phase. The involvement of multinational forces will alter the balance of power between the retreating rebel forces and the Libyan government’s forces, and may create further resolve and retrenchment on Qaddafi’s part.