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Libya and the No-Fly Zone Dilemma
America is trying to walk a fine line. It wants Gadhafi out of Libya, freezes its billions in assets across the globe, openly declares support for the Libyan protesters, yet, stops short of a no-fly zone over Libya.
Libyan aircraft have already been used to attack the opposition forces in Benghazi and they will continue to do so unless a no-fly zone is established. This is the one thing the opposition forces have requested from America. A no-fly zone, while not without dangers, would finally embolden the opposition forces more and demoralize the Libyans under Gadhafi. It would be such an obvious thing to both sides.
But fear permeates the US Senate and Congress. Fear of another war. Fear that American planes might be shot down. Fear that oil prices would crash the American economic recovery. Fear that maybe the opposition group is no better than Gadhafi. Fear that the move would unleash an Islamic wrath towards America for intervening, even though it was invited. Fear that a no-fly zone will not succeed.
History has a mixed bag for no-fly zones. After the 1991 Gulf war, American planes had one over Iraq in hopes Saddam Hussein's regime would collapse. It did not. In 1993, a no-fly zone over Bosnia occurred, this time it did work. In 1999, NATO had a no-fly zone over Serbia and Kosovo, which also targeted Serb installations. This ended up not being successful since ground troops were needed but never sent.
America and NATO should at least look like they are going to do this. Do everything but create a no-fly zone, make it so apparent to Gadhafi that it will occur, that maybe, he will vacate the country or give up. If Libyan aircraft fly, intercept them, and if fired upon, fire back. Taking out some of the Libyan air defenses would send the same signal. But, doing nothing militarily while Gadhafi is gaining the upper hand is only emboldens him more.
The Libyans should make this simple, just assassinate him!