Libya’s government has announced a cease-fire and a cessation of “all military operations” in the wake of the U.N. resolution authorizing establishment of a no-fly zone and other military measures. It is unclear whether this bombardment occurred before or after the cease-fire was proclaimed.
Qaddafi may be crazy, but he isn’t stupid. This looks like a shrewd move. Two weeks ago, with Qaddifi’s government seemingly in control of very little other than Tripoli, it wouldn’t have worked. Now, with the rebels mostly defeated and in possession of not much other than Benghazi, Qaddafi appears to have little to lose if the fighting stops for a while. The rebels presumably can’t stay in the field indefinitely, and to the extent they do, Qaddafi’s forces likely can deal with them at their leisure, now that they have established control over the bulk of the country.
It remains to be seen, obviously, how this will play out. For the moment, Qaddafi’s move puts NATO in a quandary. Does it proceed with the no-fly zone? Does it bomb Libyan anti-aircraft emplacements, as Hillary Clinton said would be necessary in order to implement such a zone? Stay tuned.
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