LONDON (Reuters) - The U.N. Security Council voted on Thursday to authorise a no-fly zone over Libya and “all necessary measures” — code for military action — to protect civilians against leader Muammar Gaddafi’s forces.
Below is some immediate reaction:
Rice said there was “no justification for his continued leadership (Gaddafi’s) now that he has perpetrated violence against his own people.”
“We have had the opportunity, as you have acknowledged, to meet with the opposition and we are actively looking at what options might follow.”
ANDREW EXUM, FELLOW, Centre FOR A NEW AMERICAN SECURITY, ON
“I worry for obvious reasons, but obviously enough, I hope this U.N. resolution alone forces Gadhafi’s hand and either causes him to step down or encourages someone in his inner circle to knock him off and cut a deal with the rebels. But hope is not a strategy, and ... I would also like to hear a little more about our strategic goals here.
“It really does seem like we are going to go to war with another country in the Arabic-speaking world. Incredible. I should be thankful for the broad international coalition we have put together, and for the fact that a large ground invasion is unlikely, but I mainly just have a horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach.”
FORMER BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY MALCOLM RIFKIND (TO BBC):
“I’m absolutely delighted. Without action of this kind, Benghazi would have been a bloodbath. By the standards of the last 20 years, this is a remarkable vote. This is a tremendous morale booster for Libyans, not just in Benghazi.”
“It’s very late for this no-fly zone. Gaddafi’s forces are very close to Benghazi and may now push on. This is now legal action (but) we know that Germany is against, it’s a very serious division in the European Union, and it’s also a very serious division in NATO.”
SHADI HAMID, DIRECTOR OF RESEARCH AT THE BROOKINGS Centre
“Still far from over. The beginning of what we hope will be the end. Military action will have to continue until Gaddafi is gone.”
Hague said the U.N. resolution was necessary “to avoid greater bloodshed and to try to stop what is happening in terms of attacks on civilians.”
“This places a responsibility on members of the United Nations and that is a responsibility to which the United Kingdom will now respond.”
JOHN DRAKE, SENIOR RISK CONSULTANT, UK-BASED RISK
CONSULTANCY AKE “We don’t think they have the capability to impose a no-fly zone over the whole country immediately, although they could try to impose one over Benghazi and maybe also Tripoli. The U.N. resolution will probably come as a morale boost to the defenders of Benghazi. Gaddafi’s air strikes haven’t been terribly militarily effective but they have been damaging morale. Gaddafi will still likely try to advance on Benghazi.
“In terms of retaliation, what could Gaddafi retaliate against? He probably won’t want to retaliate against oil facilities or oil companies because he would be hurting himself. If there is military intervention, it may be difficult to evacuate those foreigners still in Tripoli who are mainly media.
“The longer any conflict goes on, the more difficult it will be. Foreign military action in a Muslim country is always going to be difficult. It’s very difficult to predict what will happen next.”