The West Continues Strikes, the Arab League Isn’t Happy


American and European forces are hitting locations around Tripoli, but the U.S. says it is not specifically targeting Colonel Muammar Qaddafi. And as the fighting headed into its fourth day, the campaign shifted from efforts to win control of Libyan airspace to targeting the regime's ground forces.

Libyan officials claim there have been 64 civilian deaths as result of Western attacks, though that figure hasn't been confirmed. And many wonder who will be held accountable on the allied side. "No partner in this coalition wants to assume the leadership of fighting this campaign," read an editorial in Monday's Guardian. "The Americans are hiding behind the Europeans, and both are using the Arab League as cover. But whether they like it or not, each country involved will bear responsibility for how this ends. It may not be pretty."

The Times:

The Americans, working with the British, French and others, flew a wider array of missions than the day before, when Navy cruise missile barrages were their main weapons. They deployed B-2 stealth bombers, F-16 and F-15 fighter jets and Harrier attack jets flown by the Marine Corps striking at Libyan ground forces, air defenses and airfields. Navy electronic warplanes, EA-18G Growlers, jammed Libyan radar and communications. British pilots flew many of the bombing missions, and French, British and American planes all conducted ground attacks near Benghazi, American commanders said.

The Arab League's outgoing chairman, Amr Moussa, told Egyptian state media that he was calling for an emergency league meeting to discuss the chaotic situation in the Arab world, and particularly Libya.

“What is happening in Libya differs from the aim of imposing a no-fly zone, and what we want is the protection of civilians and not the bombardment of more civilians," said Moussa.

The Atlantic's James Fallows, in a Sunday column, expressed concern that there is no defined exit plan:

After this spectacular first stage of air war, what happens then? If the airstrikes persuade Qaddafi and his forces just to quit, great! But what if they don't? What happens when a bomb lands in the "wrong" place? As one inevitably will. When Arab League supporters of the effort see emerging "flaws" and "abuses" in its execution? As they will. When the fighting goes on and the casualties mount up and a commitment meant to be "days, not weeks" cannot "decently" be abandoned, after mere days, with so many lives newly at stake?

Libya: Shifting sands [Guardian UK]
On Libya: 'What Happens Then?' [Atlantic]
Allies Target Qaddafi’s Ground Forces as Libyan Rebels Regroup [NYT]
Western powers strike Libya; Arab League has doubts [Reuters]