Should the U.S./NATO establish a no-fly zone over Libya?

The other night on CNN I heard a young Libyan on the phone begging for the U.S. to establish a no-fly zone. (However, he emphatically wanted no foreign military intervention beyond that – he said, “We want to do it ourselves, we want to earn democracy.”) But, what good would a no-fly zone do the rebels in this (what we should now start calling) civil war? That is, how much use has Gaddafi actually been making of his air power against the rebels? Nothing I’ve seen indicates he has.

Personally, if any hard interventions are set in motion, I would like to see the Europeans take the lead and pony up the resources, especially if it were a NATO operation. It is their backyard for one, and not to mention some member’s half-assed efforts in Afghanistan.

“Establishing a no-fly zone” sounds relatively benign but it is an act of war.

Do we really want to get involved in another Middle Eastern war?

It might be a first act of war but I don’t see how it would oblige us to take a second.

I’m for it, but I’d like for it to be a Nato operation.

No…the US and or NATO should not establish a no-fly zone over Libya at this time. And yes, it would be an act of war, at least that’s my understanding of violating a sovereign nations air space and dictating to them that they can’t fly in their own air space.


If we’ve learned anything in the last ten years, it’s that wars are a lot easier to start then they are to end.

This particular war looks astonishingly easy to end. Just needs a little bitty push.

We only did the no-fly zone thingy once before and that worked out just fine, didn’t it?

That’s assuming they comply with our declaration. What happens if Gaddafi tried to defy us and fly planes? Then we’re either backing down or we’re shooting down Libyan planes.

To make this a credible declaration, we’d have to station a carrier group in the Mediterranean and fly planes over Libya. Which would give Gaddafi targets to try for.

Finally, don’t forget the political results. What do you think Gaddafi would do in the face of a NATO attack against him? He’d loudly proclaim this is proof that the opponents of his regime are just the puppets of the Imperialist West, which is trying to overthrow a legitimate Muslim government and establish another crusader state in the Dar al-Islam.

As MacArthur said in 1950.

Kim Il-sung got backup from China. Where is Gaddafi gonna get backup?

The US or NATO should emphatically not establish a no-fly zone over Libya. Unilateral Western intervention is unlikely to turn out well. If the UN or the Arab League (Ha! Sure…) were to initiate something and ask NATO for some support enforcing it, that might be a different story.

Why would you need a carrier? Italy is just a hop away. It took the defectors who landed in Malta less than 10 minutes to get there from Benghazi. (cite) I have a hard time seeing how land-based forces in Europe couldn’t deal with this. Sure, you’d need Maltese permission to use their airspace, but you can’t do anything without that anyways.

The United Nations should do it. We can do it in their name.

Should the US/NATO unilaterally enforce a no-fly zone? Hell no. I doubt that is even being seriously discussed. Should the UN enforce one relying upon US/NATO assets? Possibly. I think as many Muslim/Arab assets should be used as possible, but any such effort has to go through UN channels. I think the Arab League would also give their endorsement.

I’ve argued in the other thread that I think a no-fly zone would end this sooner than later. I am not even sure Gaddafi has a claim on that many assets. The rebels do not seem to have any access to air support, or I think we would have heard of them intercepting mercenary transports. At the same time, Gaddafi has bombed weapons depots, but that seems like the extent of his capabilities besides bringing in more mercenaries from the south.

And my understanding is that the Iraq no-fly zone was fairly successful. Certainly the Kurds appreciated it. It certainly helped in Kosovo as well.

Does it completely prevent atrocities? No, and I don’t believe anyone is claiming that it would, but it helps equalize the forces on the ground and allows further humanitarian aid to enter. It does not mean automatic escalation to sending in ground troops - UN or otherwise, nor do I think that step would be beneficial.

But the writing is on the wall. Gaddafi is going to fall. At the most, he survives until the end of March, but he has lost the majority of the country, and there is no way they will submit to his rule again, or any successor regime by his sons or supporters.

It doesn’t look like it’s really needed anymore but if it were have somebody in Europe do it like Italy who is in spitting distance anyway.

About the last thing the US needs to do right now is get militarily involved in yet another middle eastern country.

That is why the UN has to decide it.

I think first it is a bad idea, there is no good reason for the Europeans to become involved.

And it seems as if all his airforce is defecting anyway. The talk of flying in mercenaries, these are things that seem to have already happened in the weeks proceeding.

This may be over, in any case, before such actions would be authorised. It is far better to think of organising medical supplies, assistance to the liberated territories, than to waste to organising a "no fly"where this is little flying, unless the sole purpose of the no fly was to authorise armed escort of humanitarian flights to Ben Ghazi or similar. If that.

It is naive to think that all the defections are valid ones. There are many who are leaving his sinking ship, but their habits and beliefs are not changing.