Muammar Gaddafi has vowed to retaliate against Canada, the UK, France and the UK for the enforcement of a no-fly zone over Libyan air space on Saturday through Sunday. Combined air and sea forces destroyed Gaddafi’s air defences with cruise missiles and attacked government forces outside the city of Benghazi.
Gaddafi responded to the attacks with defiance, threatening to retaliate against civilian and military targets in the ‘Mediterranean’ and calling for ‘a new crusade war’.
The attacks were launched yesterday and continued into the early hours of today (Sunday March 20) with military bases in Tripoli specifically targeted by missiles fired from US sea vessels anchored off the Mediterranean Sea coast and fighter planes from France, the UK and Canada.
A naval blockade is now being enforced by the US and UK as the uprising in Libya gathers pace, threatening to end Gaddafi’s 42-year dictatorship for good and potentially opening up the country’s borders with Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Niger, Chad and the Sudan.
The action was taken after Gaddafi’s forces continued to attack civilians – many unarmed – who are opposed to his regime and who have been inspired to take action after witnessing similar uprisings in neighbouring Tunisia and Egypt.
The attacks on Gaddafi’s forces were initiated after the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 1973 on March 17 with a 10-0 vote (five members abstained). This authorised the establishment of a no-fly zone and the use of ‘all means necessary’ to protect civilians within Libya.