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West divided on Libya `no-fly` options
Date 08/03/2011 14:32  Author webmaster  Hits 1130  Language Global
08 MAR 2011

Britain and France are seeking UN authority for a no-fly zone over Libya but Western allies still appear divided over both the wisdom of the idea and exactly how it would be implemented.

US Defence Secretary Robert Gates has said any implementation of a no-fly zone would involve a large-scale military operation, including strikes on Libyan air defences.

But Barak Seener, an analyst at London's Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), said Britain appeared to favour a narrower plan limited to preventing flights in Libyan airspace but without a big preliminary campaign against ground targets.

Douglas Barrie, military aerospace expert at London's International Institute for Strategic Studies, also said destroying air defences was not a prerequisite.

"There's no hard-and-fast rule in the establishment of a no-fly zone that you have to go in and take out all of your opponents air defences.

"It's desirable in that you would minimise the risks to your own air assets, but you don't have to do it. It comes down to how much risk you are willing to accept."

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See also:
Western powers mull Libya options at NATO, EU crisis talks (AFP)
Libya crisis: William Hague statement to parliament in full (video, The Telegraph)
Britain and France push for Libya no-fly zone (EUobserver)
Italy in discreet talks with Libyan rebels (Times of Malta)