Libya Rebels May Seek UN Airstrikes

Opposition debates requesting strike on Gadhafi compound
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 2, 2011 1:20 AM CST

(Newser) – Libyan rebels seeking to topple Moammar Gadhafi are considering asking for airstrikes against the dictator under the United Nations banner, sources tell the New York Times. Rebel leaders say they are firmly opposed to intervention by other nations, but, “If it is with the United Nations, it is not a foreign intervention," said an opposition spokesman. Gadhafi "destroyed the army; we have two or three planes,” he added. If Gadhafi "falls with no intervention, I’d be happy,” said one rebel leader. “But my priority is to save my people.”

The rebels may request airstrikes against targets like radar stations and Gadhafi's fortified compound in Tripoli, although the UN may not consent. Russia, a Security Council member, has rejected the idea of imposing a no-fly zone to curb strikes by Gadhafi on his people, and China tends to vote against foreign intervention. The US administration realizes that the Libyan opposition wants to be seen "as doing this by themselves on behalf of the Libyan people—that there not be outside intervention by any external force," noted Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. (Read more Moammar Gadhafi stories.)

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