US Ready to Back Airstrikes on Libya

Fears no-fly zone is too late, backs broader resolution
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 17, 2011 7:28 AM CDT
Updated Mar 17, 2011 7:46 AM CDT
US Ready to Back Airstrikes on Libya
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meets with Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil el-Arabi, unseen, in Cairo, Egypt, March 15, 2011.   (AP Photo/Grace Kassab)

With a siege in Benghazi looking like a distinct possibility, the White House is suddenly looking to use some muscle in Libya. After weeks of discussion, the administration has concluded that a no-fly zone would likely be “too little, too late” to save the rebels, the New York Times reports, so it's instead pushing for a broader UN Security Council resolution, which would also allow airstrikes to slow Gadhafi's march.

“The turning point was really the Arab League statement on Saturday,” Hillary Clinton said yesterday. “That was an extraordinary statement in which the Arab League asked for Security Council action against one of its own members.” The resolution is being sponsored by Arab League member Lebanon, and has the backing of France and Britain. Still, the US remains reluctant to make a major military commitment. “The United States is pretty busy with two wars,” one senior official says, “and we don’t want a third.” (More Libya stories.)

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