Thursday, March 17, 2011

U.S. Seeks Range of Strikes on Libya at U.N.

The Obama administration is seeking a U.N. Security Council resolution that would authorize a wide range of possible military strikes against the forces of Libyan leader Col. Moammar Gadhafi, aimed at preventing them from overrunning rebels and civilians in the country's east, officials said.

In discussions with other U.N. Security Council members, the Obama administration is making the case that a no-fly zone alone would be "insufficient" to save the rebel capital of Benghazi, in eastern Libya.

The Obama administration is seeking a broad U.N. authorization for strikes aimed at holding back Libyan ground and air forces with the aim of protecting Benghazi and avoiding a humanitarian crisis there. Military operations could include a no-fly zone but would not be limited to that, officials said.

A no-fly zone alone would have limited effectiveness because Col. Gadhafi could strike the city with ground forces, officials said.

The Obama administration doesn't plan to send any American ground troops to Libya, and wants any strikes to be conducted as part of a broad, U.N.-backed coalition.

"The U.S. doesn't want a war," an Obama administration official said. "But we want to prevent a slaughter."

The Security Council could vote Thursday afternoon on a draft resolution aimed at preventing Col. Gadhafi from using military force against his own people. (read more)