Home > News > Russia Today: Libya “Bombing not quite ‘no fly zone'”

Russia Today: Libya “Bombing not quite ‘no fly zone'”

  1. March 20th, 2011 at 18:10 | #1

    In some ways, I feel this is a big failure of the U.N.. The countries abstained from the vote on the ‘no fly zone’ resolution (Germany and China included) should have known once approved, NATO would use it to justify other actions.

    As the Russia Today report says, this has certainly gone beyond enforcing no flying. It has turned into a bombing of the country.

    So, basically, if a country is weak and there is opposition to the existing government, and especially if that opposition takes up arms, then that government must pray that the big boys on the world stage don’t come in on grounds of “human rights” protection to bomb them.

    I bet Qadaffi is now going to step up trying to kill off opposition before a full-on invasion starts. He only needs to see what happened to Saddam as an example of what might happen to him.

    Sigh. Poor Libyans. The real bloodshed begins.

  2. Shylock
    March 20th, 2011 at 19:36 | #2

    The “No Fly Zone” is a cover to attack and overthrow Libya (a sovereign country) for it’s oil reserves.


  3. Charles Liu
    March 20th, 2011 at 22:07 | #3

    Sending million dollar cruise missiles to hit the Gaddafi residence, killing cilivian workers the UN no fly zone resolution is supposedly saving? This amounts to war crime in any ordinary sense.

  4. Charles Liu
    March 20th, 2011 at 22:08 | #4

    BTW, I voted for Obama, and this pains greatly.

  5. Wukailong
    March 20th, 2011 at 23:01 | #5

    I don’t think it’s for oil reserves, but what a horrible, horrible decision this is.

  6. March 21st, 2011 at 01:50 | #6

    China expresses regret for military strike against Libya

    BEIJING, March 20 (Xinhua) — China’s Foreign Ministry on Sunday expressed regret over the multinational military strike against Libya, saying that it did not agree with resorting to force in international relations.

    “China has noticed the latest development in Libya and regrets the military strike against Libya,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said.

    China, as it always, does not agree with the use of force in international relations, Jiang said, when asked to comment on the strike carried out by multinational forces early Sunday.

    China believes that the tenet and principles of the United Nations Charter and relevant international laws should be adhered to, and Libya’s sovereignty, independence, unification and territory integrity should be respected, she said.

    “We hope stability could be restored in Libya as soon as possible so as to avoid more civilian casualties caused by the escalation of military conflicts,” she said.

  7. john
    March 21st, 2011 at 02:58 | #7

    why the west does not accept that they don,t belong on the Africa mainland??

  8. March 21st, 2011 at 10:05 | #8

    Robert Gates was very clear before this resolution that a no-fly zone meant airstrikes, nor did the resolution prevent airstrikes. In fact, it was clear that the resolution allowed UN member states “all measures” to protect civilians, including those in Benghazi under threat from the advance of an armoured column. Had China or Russia objected to this, they could have vetoed the resolution. They didn’t.

    No doubt I will now be attacked for supporting the intervention. Actually I am highly dubious about it – I would have favoured a far more timely arming of the rebels rather than an open intervention. However, both the Chinese and the Russians were well aware what the outcome of Resolution 1973 would be.

    Here’s the relevant section:

    “4. Authorizes Member States that have notified the Secretary-General, acting nationally or through regional organizations or arrangements, and acting in cooperation with the Secretary-General, to take all necessary measures, notwithstanding paragraph 9 of resolution 1970 (2011), to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, including Benghazi, while excluding a foreign occupation force of any form on any part of Libyan territory, and requests the Member States concerned to inform the Secretary-General immediately of the measures they take pursuant to the authorization conferred by this paragraph which shall be immediately reported to the Security Council”

    (my emphasis)

    It should also be noted that this is not a NATO action – as can be seen by the abstention of Germany.

    Finally, let’s not forget that both China and Russia voted in favour of Resolution 1970 referring the Gaddafi regime to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (a court which China, the US, and Russia do not allow to have jurisdiction over their own citizens) for his use of heavy weapons against his own people. Given the certainty of charges being brought and a conviction being obtained, the logical conclusion of this resolution is the removal of Gaddafi and his cronies from power.

  9. March 21st, 2011 at 11:37 | #9

    “Given the certainty of charges being brought and a conviction being obtained, the logical conclusion of this resolution is the removal of Gaddafi and his cronies from power.”

    There goes more logic leaps.

    Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir was the ONLY 1 sitting head of state charged by the ICC, and he never submitted himself to the ICC jurisdiction, and was never brought to trial.

    “referring” someone to ICC investigation is one thing, Formal trial against a sitting head of the state is another entirely different. No country in the world, including US, has ever submitted their sitting head of the state to ICC trial. (NOT going to happen, simply because US doesn’t want that legal precedent!)

    “Removal of Gaddafi and his cronies from power” just because of ICC investigation? What sort of logic is that?

    Has any ICC investigation led to any “regime change”? Oh, Please! Not even under the Bush Doctrine. (Which, BTW, recalls, Bush doesn’t want to be under ICC jurisdiction either, for his War Crime charges). See INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT COMPLAINT FILED AGAINST BUSH, CHENEY, RUMSFELD, TENET, RICE AND GONZALES; INTERNATIONAL ARREST WARRANTS REQUESTED. http://www.ucimc.org/content/icc-complaint-filed-against-bush-cheney-et-al-uiuc-prof-francis-boyle-and-lawyers-against-wa

  10. March 21st, 2011 at 11:59 | #10

    China or Russia “not vetoing” a resolution has been used as an excuse/justification for pretty much all sorts of wars in recent history.

    What’s the point of “vetoing”, which China and Russia (and France) did Veto for 2003 Iraq, but there was a “Coalition of the Willing”?

    Let’s put this very clearly:

    An Abstention is “we are NOT going along”, A VETO is “we are NOT going along, AND we are OPPOSING it.”

    Your characterization that NOT VETO is going along, is equivalent to the Bush “With us or against us.”

    SIMPLY: China, Russia and Germany are NOT against it, NOR WITH it.

  11. Charles Liu
    March 21st, 2011 at 12:51 | #11

    IMHO the military action by US and major NATO nations have violated the terms of the UN resolution:

    – The air strikes against non-air defence related targets, specifically the ground force engaged with armed rebels (which are not civilians), has allowed the rebels to expand their attack beyond Benghazi, therefore threatening civilians outside Benghazi.

    What skewed logic leads to action prolonging the conflict as protecting civilians?

    – Where’s the air strike against the rebels on the move to protect civilans outside Benghazi? Absent of that it’s clear to me we’ve intervened in Libya’s civil war, in volation of UN resolution’s statement on non-interference:

    “Reaffirming its strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and national unity of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya”

  12. Charles Liu
    March 21st, 2011 at 13:13 | #12

    Ralph Nader has come out and said Obama should be impeached for war crime, just like Bush:


    Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Saturday warned against expanding Libya mission beyond what’s authorized by UN:

    “Gates warns against widening Libya mission”

  13. March 21st, 2011 at 13:22 | #13

    @Charles Liu – The resolution allows action against ground forces. Given that Gaddafi had promised to show the people of Benghazi “no mercy” once his armoured forces arrived there, a strike directed at those forces is allowed under the resolution.

    Clearly the result which the Western powers (not NATO, which acts on the principle of unanimity and therefore cannot play a role whilst Germany and other NATO nations are opposed) wish to achieve is for the Rebels to defeat Gaddafi and thus end the crisis. Thus far the Rebels have reportedly engaged in excesses against those they believe to have been mercenaries in the employ of Gaddafi, there is no report of them unleashing their firepower on the civilian population.

    Finally, given that the result of enforcing a regime of bombing whoever moves as you seem to want would be a permanent division of Libya, and also given that the resolution itself is an act of interference (as was the previous Resolution 1970, which all members supported), I cannot see how you can interpret the Resolution as requiring non-interference. Indeed, the section you quote is phrased as a statement of intent, and of the spirit in which the member states are supposed to act, not as a section over-riding all other sections.

  14. Charles Liu
    March 21st, 2011 at 13:41 | #14

    “1. Demands the immediate establishment of a ceasefire and a complete end to violence and all attacks against, and abuses of, civilians”

    The UN resolution is clear all attacks against civilians, including those initiated by the rebel, should stop. To not bomb the rebels who are counter attacking violates the “all necssary measure” requiement.

    As to analysis of the resolution, here’s one from BBC:


    “The first of a number of clauses emphasising that this is not about invading or seeking to divide or dismember Libya”

    And we’ve violated that when we take sides in Libya’s civil war by not bombing the rebels.

  15. March 21st, 2011 at 14:05 | #15

    Regarding NATO:


    US Defense Secretary Robert Gates said late Sunday that the US expects turn over control of the operation to a coalition headed by France, Britain or NATO “in a matter of days,” reflecting concern that the US military was stretched thin by its current missions. Turkey was blocking NATO action, which requires agreement by all 28 members of the alliance.

    So, sure, technically the current strikes are not “NATO” per se, but the only difference is how much other members like Germany end up shouldering the cost. Once it becomes officially a NATO operation, Germany will have to pay up.

    Who outside the NATO club is bombing Libya?

  16. March 21st, 2011 at 14:11 | #16


    re “Western powers”

    Weren’t you into this idea of no “the West” some comments ago? 😉

  17. pug_ster
    March 21st, 2011 at 16:05 | #17


    God knows when US troops will be in the ground, crap like this will happen.

  18. Charles Liu
    March 21st, 2011 at 17:41 | #18


    I have no doubt that guy was posing with his “kill”. I have friends who are hunters, and when I saw the photo I instantly recognized it as a A”deer kill” pose.

    Speaking of morally repugnant, whatever happaned to the typical “morally repugnant” accusation levied against China? Isn’t it morally repugnant to use the no-fly zone resolution to destablize Libya and induce regime change? Yet I hear silence.

  19. pug_ster
    March 21st, 2011 at 21:36 | #19



    UN resolution 1970 condemns the shooting of protesters in libya and enact sanctions against Libya. That’s it.


    UN resolution 1973 would introduce a no-fly zone to Libya, which China and Russia abstained. They very well know about what consequences of a no-fly zone and they want a peaceful resolution in the Libya crisis. The article says.

    The representatives of China and the Russian Federation, explaining their abstentions, prioritized peaceful means of resolving the conflict and said that many questions had not been answered in regard to provisions of the resolution, including, as the Russian representative put it, how and by whom the measures would be enforced and what the limits of the engagement would be. He said the resolution included a sorely needed ceasefire, which he had called for earlier. China had not blocked the action with a negative vote in consideration of the wishes of the Arab League and the African Union, its representative said.

    The delegations of India, Germany and Brazil, having also abstained, equally stressed the need for peaceful resolution of the conflict and warned against unintended consequences of armed intervention.

  20. March 21st, 2011 at 23:43 | #20

    @Pug_ster – Resolution 1970 refers Gaddafi’s regime to the Prosecutor of the ICC in points 4-8 of the resolution under the heading “ICC Referal”. Go and read the entire resolution rather than just the Wikipedia precis of it:


    Points 4 and 5 are key:

    “ICC referral

    4. Decides to refer the situation in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya since
    15 February 2011 to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court;

    5. Decides that the Libyan authorities shall cooperate fully with and provide
    any necessary assistance to the Court and the Prosecutor pursuant to this resolution
    and, while recognizing that States not party to the Rome Statute have no obligation
    under the Statute, urges all States and concerned regional and other international
    organizations to cooperate fully with the Court and the Prosecutor;”

    The decision of the security council was both to refer Gaddafi to the ICC, and to oblige the Libyan government to co-operate fully with the ICC prosecutor. Carried to its logic conclusion, the man who gave the orders for peaceful demonstrators to be fired on in Tripoli and elsewhere, and the men who helped carry out these orders, will end up on trial in the ICC, and would certainly be imprisoned as a result. Of course, the Libyan’s would not co-operate with this, but that would put them in breach of the resolution.

    As for the China and Russia’s abstention in Resolution 1973, China and Russia both knew the consequences of the Resolution, and they now claim to have abstained because of the wishes of local bodies. This is a long way from the idea that they were somehow duped into believing that the Resolution only allowed a no-fly zone and no airstrikes. It also recognises that the airstrikes have regional support.

  21. March 22nd, 2011 at 05:57 | #21

    “It also recognises that the airstrikes have regional support.”

    No, it recognized a “No fly zone” had local support of the African Union and the Arab League, not “airstrikes”.

    In fact, the Arab League has just criticized the “airstrikes”, at the same time China and Russia did. http://www.thenewstribune.com/2011/03/20/1592645/arab-league-criticizes-allied.html?storylink=rss

    Apparently, the African Union did not believe that the “No Fly Zone” would equate to “airstrikes”.

  22. March 22nd, 2011 at 09:30 | #22

    @Raventhorn – The Arab League representative retracted his statement of concern. Anyone who was under the impresion that an NFZ did not require airstrikes need only have listed to Robert Gates’s pronouncement on the matter two weeks ago where he specifically stated that an NFZ meant airstrikes.

    At any rate it was Jiang Yu who said that the Chinese delegation had not opposed 1973 (which specifically allowed “all measures” short of occupation to be taken to protect civilian life – something which clearly includes airstrikes) due to it having regional support, as you can see from Pug_ster’s quote above. Vladimir Putin also criticised the resolution on the grounds that it “allowed everything” – it is clear that he was under no illusions.

    @YinYang – . . . . in which I specifically said that I thought that it was quite OK to use the term “Western Powers” because we were all pretty sure what that meant.

    Qatar, of course, has committed to providing fighter jets to the NFZ, and many of the nations which supported 1973 were non-NATO, including the co-sponsor, Lebanon.

    @Charles Liu – Although, of course, the Rebels will argue that their counter-attack defends the civilian population from Gaddafi by eliminating his threat to them.

    As for taking sides, you could easily say that this was done when all UNSCR members, China included, committed themselves to refering Gaddafi’s attacks on his own people to the ICC in Resolution 1970.

    Guys, don’t get me wrong. I think this Resolution is merely a disguise by which those within the British, French, and American governments who favour intervention can intervene to overthrow Gaddafi, whilst those that do not wish to do so, or do not wish to be seen to do so, can stand by and do nothing. I also think that airstrikes inevitably result in civilian casualties, and can only be excused if they prevent more casualties than they cause. I also think that unless the situation is resolved quickly with a rebel victory, this intervention may end in a disaster for Britain and France not dissimilar to the 1956 Suez Crisis.

  23. March 22nd, 2011 at 10:19 | #23

    Robert Gates’s interpretation is his interpretation.

    And I don’t see where Arab League representative “retracted” criticism of the airstrikes. He restated his support for the “Resolution” and the “NO Fly Zone”. He mentioned nothing about the “Airstrike” in his 2nd statement.

    In any rate, the Arab League still criticizes the “Airstrike”, and made no retractions on that. Obviously, they did not see the “No Fly Zone” as including “Airstrikes”.

  24. Charles Liu
    March 22nd, 2011 at 10:55 | #24

    The “eliminate threat to defend civilian population” argument can be applied much more legitmatly towards Libyan government force, yet they are the ones being bombed.

    It’s obvious we are usurping the UN resolution to provide air cover for the rebel force, when resolution 1973 gave no such authority. By the terms of the resolution all hostility towards civilians should stop, including Rebel incursion against Kadaffi supporters. By not bombing the rebels, we are in fact violating the resolution [by allowing violence against civilians that do not support the rebels.]

    Bomb them both, short of that we are taking sides for our own self-serving agenda.

  25. March 22nd, 2011 at 12:41 | #25

    @Raventhorn – As far as I am aware, the opinion of the man in charge of the US’s armed forces is an expert one in matters of how the US armed forces are to be used. Vladimir Putin’s opinion would also count for something, as does the text of the resolution itself.

    @Charles Liu – Given that all members of the UNSC voted to condemn Gaddafi’s attacks on civilians, and to refer Gaddafi’s actions against his own people to the ICC, I wonder why exactly you believe that it is a greater protector of Libyan civilians than the Rebels?

  26. r v
    March 22nd, 2011 at 13:51 | #26

    “As far as I am aware, the opinion of the man in charge of the US’s armed forces is an expert one in matters of how the US armed forces are to be used.”

    Not an expert for the meaning of the Resolution, which is treaty matter. Military does not define civilian legal issues.

    “Vladimir Putin’s opinion would also count for something, as does the text of the resolution itself.”

    I would say he pretty much said he doesn’t care, when he abstained. Why would it count for any thing? Do you count the number of “abstain” vote to mean any thing? Apparently NOT.

  27. Charles Liu
    March 22nd, 2011 at 13:57 | #27

    Because it is a red herring to bring up resolution 1970 when we are talking about 1997 – 1990 gave no credence or legitmacy to the armed rebellion in Libya, and the Libyan military has the sovereign rights to prosecute and maintain Libya’s sovereignty per 1973 preamble.

  28. Charles Liu
    March 22nd, 2011 at 14:00 | #28

    At minimum, both side should be bombed to induce the cease fire demanded by resolution 1973 – but we are not doing that are we? We took sides and gave the rebels air cover, intervening in division of Libya’s sovereignty which the resolution preamble explicitely stated it does not authorize.

  29. March 22nd, 2011 at 14:10 | #29

    @RV – We also have the March 17th statement of Susan Rice that the Resolution required “more than a no-fly zone”:

    “The US view is that we need to be prepared to contemplate steps that include, but perhaps go beyond a no-fly zone, at this point, as the situation on the ground has evolved and as a no-fly zone has inherent limitations in terms of protection of civilians at immediate risk.”


    As for the Arab League’s position on the resolution, according to Resolution 1973:

    “Taking note also of the decision of the Council of the League of Arab States of 12 March 2011 to call for the imposition of a no-fly zone on Libyan military aviation, and to establish safe areas in places exposed to shelling as a precautionary measure that allows the protection of the Libyan people and foreign nationals residing in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya.”

    “Safe areas in places exposed to shelling” cannot be established without the removal, deterrence, or elimination of the guns artillery guns themselves. This cannot logically be done without at least the threat of force against artillery guns.

    Finally, are you really saying that abstention means nothing?

  30. Charles Liu
    March 22nd, 2011 at 14:23 | #30

    US troops shoots Libyan civilan in accordance to resolution 1973:


    This is whole thing F’d up, and I blame Barak Obama

  31. Charles Liu
    March 22nd, 2011 at 14:42 | #31

    “China escalated its opposition to American-led airstrikes on Libya on Tuesday, joining Russia and India in calls for an immediate cease-fire and suggesting that coalition forces were imperiling civilians by exceeding the United Nations-mandated no-fly zone”


    Good for you, China

  32. r v
    March 22nd, 2011 at 19:10 | #32

    “The US view is that we need to be prepared to contemplate steps that include, but perhaps go beyond a no-fly zone…”

    So Susan Rice admitted it, “Airstrike” was “BEYOND” a no-fly zone!! Was that position mentioned in the Resolution? Nope!

    She clearly stated her view that there were contemplated steps “BEYOND” a no-fly zone, and yet US did not bring that up in the Resolution.

    Clearly, US did not mean “airstrike” as part of the no-fly zone!!!

  33. Charles Liu
    March 22nd, 2011 at 19:31 | #33

    To be honest air strikes against air defense targets can be argued as no fly zone related. But what we ar doing is way beyond that:

    – targeting entire Libyan coast, even pro Kadaffi area where there’s no violence, punishing and endangering civilians res 1973 is suppose to protect;

    – not targeting rebel incursions endangering pro Kadaffi civilians, which 1973 also called to protect, effectively targeting civilians for punishment.

    – usurping res 1973 to divide Libya’s svereignty by providing rebel air cover, again contrvening res 1973

  34. March 22nd, 2011 at 23:52 | #34

    @RV – I’m afraid that it was very clear in the Resolution that it included measures beyond an NFZ. The measures implementing an NFZ are in points 6-10, the measures for protecting civilian life were in points 4-5. They were even listed under different headings. That this would go beyond an NFZ was very clear both from the statements of Susan Rice and Robert Gates, but also from the debate on the proposed Russian draft resolution, which was rejected because it did not go far enough.

    Once again, the part of the resolution authorising airstrikes is here:

    “4. Authorizes Member States that have notified the Secretary-General, acting nationally or through regional organizations or arrangements, and acting in cooperation with the Secretary-General, to take all necessary measures, notwithstanding paragraph 9 of resolution 1970 (2011), to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, including Benghazi, while excluding a foreign occupation force of any form on any part of Libyan territory, and requests the Member States concerned to inform the Secretary-General immediately of the measures they take pursuant to the authorization conferred by this paragraph which shall be immediately reported to the Security Council”

    (my emphasis)

    From the above you can see that the Resolution authorises all measures excluding occupation necessary to protect civilian life. The Chinese and Russian governments recognise as much when they criticise the coalition for carrying out airstrikes which, they assert, do not protect civilian life.

  35. March 23rd, 2011 at 05:23 | #35

    “Take all necessary measures”?

    Nuclear bombs perhaps?

    How is possible to even “to protect civilian life” without any ground troops? (Which is the criticism).

    NAME one war in history where bombs without ground troops “protected civilian lives”.

    *Oh, It’s clear that the Chinese and the Russians recognized the new “Coalition of the Willing” twisting “all necessary measures” as much as Bush Jr. did.

    At the end of the day, You are just twisting the Resolution to mean whatever you want it to mean, when even US Ambassedor Susan Rice admitted openly that Airstrike was “BEYOND” the no-fly zone scope.

    And “abstain” votes are NOT “yes” votes. They are not endorsing the Resolution, NOR your twisting of the Resolution.

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