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Obama Presses Saudis to Arm Libyan Rebels

No response yet to top secret request
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 7, 2011 1:19 AM CST
Updated Mar 7, 2011 7:30 AM CST
Obama Presses Saudis to Arm Libyan Rebels
Libyan doctors tend to an injured man that was wounded during clashes with pro-Moammar Gadhafi forces in Ras Lanouf, in a hospital in the eastern city of Ajdabiya, Libya, Sunday, March 6, 2011. Libyan helicopter gunships fired on a rebel force advancing west toward the capital along the Mediterranean...   (AP Photo/Tara Todras-Whitehill)

(Newser) – The Obama administration is reluctant to take any obvious action to help rebels in Libya—so it's pressuring Saudi Arabia to do so instead, according to reports. Officials have asked the Saudis to airlift American weapons—paid for by the Saudis—into Benghazi. The Saudis haven't yet responded to the "highly classified" request, even though Saudi King Abdullah despises Moammar Gadhafi, who tried to have the king assassinated last year, reports the Independent.

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The aid would likely include anti-tank rockets and ground-to-air missiles. Supplies could reach Benghazi in 48 hours. US officials are reportedly hoping to arrange sufficient aid to the rebels to reduce pressure for a NATO-established no-fly zone, which would likely draw America into another war as US planes would be called on to enforce such a zone. US surveillance aircraft have been flying around Libya for several days tracking air traffic, including journeys by Gadhafi's private jet. Heavy gunfire was reported yesterday in Tripoli after government forces recaptured a town from rebels outside the capitol. (Read more King Abdullah stories.)

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