Fri March 18, 2011
The Two-Way

Live Blog: Military Action In Libya; Latest Developments

While the crisis in Japan continues, the world's eyes are turning back toward Libya today. As we reported, the U.N. Security Council has given the U.S. and its allies the OK to use "all necessary measures" to protect the Libyan people from forces loyal to the man who has run their nation for more than 40 years, Col. Moammar Gadhafi.

For his part, Gadhafi vowed Thursday that there will be "no mercy or compassion" for the people in Benghazi, the eastern Libyan city from which opposition leaders in recent weeks have been running their effort to topple the Gadhafi regime. Then today, in the wake of the Security Council vote, his foreign minister said there would be an immediate cease fire.

We'll follow Friday's developments as they happen. This post will automatically refresh every 30 minutes, or sooner if we jump in to add more news.

Update at 12:27 p.m. ET: On Explosions In Tripoli:

NPR's David Greene, who's in Tripoli, reports that neither he nor producer Jim Wildman have heard explosions. Earlier, Al Jazeera reported loud explosions were heard West of the capital city.

Update at 11:47 a.m. ET. Obama To Speak At 2 p.m. ET:

The White House just announced that President Obama will meet with a bipartisan group of congressional leaders at 12:30 p.m. ET in the situation room at the White House to discuss the situation in Libya. He's then scheduled to address the nation at 2 p.m. ET.

Update at 11:45 a.m. ET. Italy To "Participate Actively" In No-Fly Zone Enforcement; Allow Bases To Be Used:

From Rome, NPR's Sylvia Poggioli tells us that Italy's defense and foreign ministers say Italy will "participate actively" in enforcing a no-fly zone over Libya and that seven Italian bases will be available for use by U.S., U.K. and other fighters.

Update at 11:25 a.m. ET. Explosions Reported Near Tripoli:

Reports continue to come in about fighting that continues despite the Gadhafi regime's declaration of an immediate cease fire"

"Al Jazeera's Anita McNaught in Tripoli reports that a series of loud explosions have been heard coming from west of the capital. It is unclear what has caused them."

Update at 11:14 a.m. ET: The Telegraph notes Clinton says the U.S. wants to see Gadhafi's fighters 'physically move away from the eastern, rebel-held regions of Libya' controlled by the rebels. She's not certain the Libyan government ceasefire announcement is 'tied to anything resembling a ceasefire'.

Update at 11:00 a.m. ET: Clinton Says Gadhafi Must Go: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says the U.S. is not impressed by words and that the Libyan government must demonstrate that it's observing a ceasefire.

Update at 9:57 a.m. ET. "He Is Killing People Left And Right. There Is No Cease Fire":

CNN has a man on the phone who says he's in the western Libyan city of Misrata. According to him, Gadhafi's forces continue to shell the city despite the regime's announcement of an immediate cease fire. "He is killing people left and right. There is no cease fire," the man just told the news network. This supports the earlier report (via Al Arabiya and Reuters) of a doctor who said the city is still under attack.

Update at 9:50 a.m. ET. Shelling Continues In Misrata, Doctor Says:

Reuters reports that Al Arabiya television has been told by a doctor in the Libyan city of Misrata that Gadhafi's forces are still shelling the city and that at least 25 people have been killed.

Update at 9:35 a.m. ET. Judge Gadhafi By His Actions, Not His Words, Cameron Says:

British Prime Minister "David Cameron tells the BBC [that] Col. Gaddafi will be judged by his deeds not his words after the announcement from the regime of an immediate ceasefire." (NPR follows Associated Press style on the spelling of Gadhafi; the BBC does not.)

Update at 9:25 a.m. ET. Is Gadhafi Trying To Buy Time?

Here is how Al-Jazeera is reporting the news that the Gadhafi regime has agreed to stop its military operations aimed at opposition forces:

"Moussa Koussa, the Libyan foreign secretary, said his government was interested in protecting all civilians and foreigners in a statement televised on Friday. 'We decided on an immediate ceasefire and on an immediate stop to all military operations,' he said, adding '[Libya] takes great interest in protecting civilians.'

"Koussa said because his country was a member of the United Nations it is 'obliged to accept to UN Secutiry Council's resolutions.' Anita McNaught, Al-Jazeera's correspondent in Tripoli, said 'This is a very carefully crafted statement, very deliberate, almost forensic. Clearly the Libyans have been pouring over their United Nations charters to decide which bits to disagree with and on the whole they can't find very much.

" 'My hunch is that it is an effort to buy time because the Libyans I think have been taken completely by surprise by this sudden resurgence of an [international] consensus on action.' "

Update at 9:10 a.m. ET. But Fighting Continues?

Though Libya's foreign minister has said a cease fire will go into effect immediately, CNN's Nic Robertson says reports are coming in from eastern Libya that battles continue.

Update at 8:53 a.m. ET. Gadhafi's Military Operations To Stop Immediately?

More on the news that the Gadhafi regime says it will immediately stop its military operations (which NPR's Jim Wildman alerted us to earlier):

CNN's Nic Robertson just said that Libya's foreign minister told reporters that all military operations will immediately cease.

The regime appears to "be recognizing the terms" of the U.N. no-fly zone resolution that allows the U.S. and its allies to take military action against Gadhafi's forces, Robertson added. But it remains to be seen whether the regime follows through on this pledge.

Update at 8:47 a.m. ET. More On The Cease Fire Announcement:

Reuters just moved this alert:

"Libya has decided to halt all military operations to protect civilians in line with U.N. no-fly decision [says the Gadhafi regime's] foreign minister."

Update at 8:45 a.m. ET. Cease Fire?

From Tripoli, NPR producer Jim Wildman just alerted us that Libya's foreign minister says the regime has agreed to a cease-fire. We'll pass along more information as soon as it's available.

Update at 8 a.m. ET. Cameron Says West Will Not Choose Libya's Future Government:

Speaking to parliament a short time ago, British Prime Minister David Cameron "insisted the action was to protect civilians in Libya and avert a humanitarian crisis, not to choose the future government of the country," The Guardian writes.

Update at 7:45 a.m. ET. Gadhafi's Air Force Grounded By Monday?

"Even before the Security Council's 10-0 vote," The Associated Press reports, "the Obama administration readied plans to enforce the no-fly zone, with congressional officials describing a closed-door briefing in which the administration said it could ground Gadhafi's air force by Sunday or Monday. The effort likely will involve jet fighters, bombers and surveillance aircraft, officials said, and the U.S. is keen to have Arab countries such as Jordan, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates participate in the operation."

7:30 a.m. ET. Air Strikes Could Happen At Any Time:

On Morning Edition, NPR's Tom Gjelten told guest host Linda Wertheimer that air strikes could happen "any time" now. "We could very well see some strikes [aimed at Gadhafi's forces] before the day is out," he said.

Also on Morning Edition, NPR's David Greene reported from Tripoli on the threats Gadhafi made last night about his forces going from house-to-house in Benghazi to take revenge on the rebels. He also said that air strikes might first target Gadhafi's tanks and air defenses. Meanwhile, he said, it is "eerily calm" in the Libyan capital.

The New York Times adds that "French officials said on Friday that military action would start soon. News reports said British and French warplanes would spearhead the attack." Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.