On Thursday, NATO took over the enforcement of the no-fly zone over Libya, making the multi-state organization responsible for monitoring and enforcing Libyan air space. And under U.N. Resolution 1973, NATO has expanded rules of engagement in order to ensure that civilians are protected. NATO secretary-general Anders Fogh Rasmussen was vague as to whether NATO’s involvement would stem beyond no-fly zone enforcement. “That decision has not been made yet,” he said. “It is a broad international effort in which we will include partners from the region that have pledged to contribute to this protection of civilians in Libya.”
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was pleased with what the allied coalition had been able to accomplish in the past week. “We have made significant progress,” she said. “A massacre in Benghazi was prevented. Qaddafi’s air force and air defenses have been rendered largely ineffective, and the coalition is in control of the skies above Libya.” She stressed that the coalition includes aircraft and pilots from both Qatar and United Arab Emirates.
And while Muammar Qaddafi’s forces claim that the allied attacks have caused more than three dozen civilian deaths, “the only civilian casualties we know are for certain are the ones that the Libyan government itself has caused,” said U.S. Navy Vice Adm. Bill Gortney. Despite this, Qaddafi’s forces still continue to attack and, say U.S. officials, have the upper hand against rebel forces.
NATO may go for enforcement of ‘no-fly plus’ [CNN]