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Coalition cracks widen over Libya

Coalition cracks widen over Libya
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The fifth successive night of aerial bombardments on Libya has brought the coalition no closer to agreeing on who will take charge of what happens next.

The British and the Americans both want NATO to take command as the alliance has experience and the hardware needed to maintain a no-fly zone, effectively scramble communications and cut off the Libyan army’s supply lines.

Turkey, which provides NATO’s second largest army, wants to limit its participation to the enforcement of an arms embargo.

Turkish forces are a key part of the naval blockade, but the country’s foreign minister expressed concern about going further.

“We don’t find it appropriate for NATO to undertake such a mission on the one hand while on the other hand coalition forces carry out a parallel and separate operation,” said Ahmet Davutoglu.

NATO’s role has also been called into question by France, one of the coalition leaders. It believes any alliance involvement would send out the wrong signals to the Arab world, giving the operation too much Western control. France also has a particular view of the UN resolution.

Alain Juppe, France’s foreign minister, said:

“It’s about protecting civilians. It’s also about giving an advantage to the anti-Gaddafi forces fighting for democracy and freedom, and it’s for that that we are targeting Gaddafi’s military resources and nothing else.”

The resolution does allow member states to take “all necessary measures to protect civilians under threat of attack”, but how that is interpreted remains the main sticking point.

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