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US warns of civil war as Gaddafi digs in

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US warns of civil war as Gaddafi digs in


For the moment the west is only talking about a possible military response to the Libyan crisis.

NATO, whose forces have been taking part in a pre-planned exercise in southern Spain, says that any intervention would have to be authorised by the UN.

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The US is moving ships closer to Libya, and is weighing up the pros and cons of imposing a no-fly zone.

The UN General Assembly is meeting in New York. For now the emphasis is on words against Gaddafi.

“He has lost his legitimacy when he declared war on his people. This is again a totally unacceptable situation, I hope, I sincerely hope and urge him to listen to their people’s call,” said the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Monday.

So far the Libyan leader has not given much sign that he is paying heed.

There has been more condemnation of his defiance to suggestions he should go, and his dismissal of protests against him.

“They love me, all my people with me, they love me all. They will die to protect me, my people,” said Muammar Gaddafi to suggestions that the people were against him, in an interview with western journalists.

There have been reports that Gaddafi’s forces have been attempting to regain control of rebel areas in western Libya.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has warned that the country could descend into a drawn-out civil war. “The stakes are high,” she said.

A top US military commander said Libyan air defences would have to be destroyed before a no-fly zone could be implemented.

The message seems to be: there are no easy options.

The rebels may be buoyant after recent successes. But Gaddafi’s departure may not be as imminent as some had hoped.

His son Saif al-Islam said on Tuesday: “we live here, we die here”.

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