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US threatens military action against Libya

world Updated: Mar 19, 2011 00:42 IST
Yashwant Raj

The US on Friday delivered an ultimatum to the Gaddafi regime to begin complying immediately with the UN SC resolution, stop attacks on protestors, pull back its forces or face military action.

The US will not stand by and watch, said president Barack Obama.

But, he added, the US will not go into this alone but as part of an international coalition, and it will not deploy ground troops in Libya.

This would become the US’s third military front, following Afghanistan and Iraq, if Gaddafi decides to dig in and fight. It will get sucked into an armed conflict – a phenomenon being called ‘mission creep” by military planners here.

The lead is being taken by France and the UK – the UN SC resolution passed on Thursday was drafted by France -- and the US will be there as part of the coalition, which would also have Arab League members.

The Security Council resolution imposed a no-fly zone over Libya and allowed all necessary action to enforce a ceasefire, which the Gaddafi regime announced Friday morning.

Fighting continued in some area though, according to reports. Obama said defense secretary Robert Gates has been instructed to start coordinating military actions with the coalition partners.

And secretary of state Hillary Clinton will be in Paris for consultation with the partners.

The US president laid out the terms for Gaddafi very clearly.

*Stop troops from advancing on Benghazi, Libya’s second largest city now in Rebel hands
*Gaddafi’s troops must leave cities taken by force
*Restore electricity and all humanitarian facilities to its citizens.

Those are not negotiable terms, Obama said, and they must come into immediately.