UN authorizes military intervention in Libya

David Cameron making his speech in the British parliament

By Edoardo Zandona’

The U.N. Security Council approved a resolution last night endorsing military forces to intervene against Muammar Gaddafi in Libya. The decision was made in an emergency meeting, after Gaddafi warned rebels in Benghazi that loyalist forces will conduct an attack to the city with “no mercy and no pity”.

David Cameron stated in a parliamentary speech this morning that the U.K. “will take all the necessary measures short of occupation”. He announced that U.K. forces are preparing to set up a no-fly zone, deploying Tornadoes and Typhoon aircraft, but will not send any troop on the ground.  The French government declared that actions could follow within hours, and could include France, Britain, and possibly the U.S. and some Arab countries. Diplomatic sources in Bruxelles report that the European Union is ready to approve sanctions against the Libyan regime and Libya’s National Oil Corporation.

Libyan regime’s reaction to the U.N. decision has been immediate. Colonel Gaddafi declared: “This is craziness, madness, arrogance. If the world gets crazy with us, we will get crazy too. We will respond”. Gaddafi’s son Saif al-Islam said Libya is “not afraid” of the U.N. move.

The resolution passed with 10 out of 15 Council’s member states votes. Russia, China and Germany were among the countries who abstained. Germany’s Foreign minister Guido Westerwelle explained the abstention: “Military intervention is to take part in a civil war that could go on for a long time. Germany has a strong friendship with our European partners, but we will not take part in any military operation”.