Libya news - round up

Posted on: 21 March 2011 by Alexander Hay

As the Libyan crisis hots up, the media reports

A tomahawk launches from USS Barry: Destination - LibyaWhile the missiles and bombs start to take their toll on Gadaffi's regime, and perhaps provide the turning point anti-government rebels need, how has the press reported it?

Foreign intervention has always been controversial, but it is yet to be decided whether this is a new Kosovo or a new Afghanistan...

The BBC starts with the most high profile casualty in the air campaign so far – one of Gaddaffi's key command centres, as pro-government press officers claim the raids have killed 64 civilians so far.

The Telegraph offers an opposing view – the raids have been a godsend to rebels in Benghazi, which was overwise threatened with a massacre. Of course, they're thanking the French rather than the British, as the former were first in with their jets...

But as The Independent reports, the Arab League is somewhat inevitably beginning to voice concerns over the raids, having previously backed the UN resolution that allowed them to happen – a cynic may presume this is a case of them having their cake and eating it (again).

Still, perhaps they may have a point. As Max Hastings argues over at the Daily Mail, getting rid of Gadaffi will be easy in comparison to fixing Libya afterwards.

An even more sceptical note is struck, somewhat inevitably, by the ever-contrarian Spiked Online, which argues that the bombing has only made things worse for the rebels. (Who presumably must be cursing their luck in not getting brutally killed this weekend.)

As Salon.com reports, however, a more nuanced approach comes from, of all places, the United States military, which says the initial phases of the campaign have been successful, but the 'endgame' remains uncertain.

Finally, Al Jazeera's political correspondent argues that the no-fly zone (and accompanying air raids) should be used as sparsely as possible, while the rebels should focus more on building political alliances in the region than on fighting. But will Gadaffi allow them this luxury?

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Alexander Hay

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