A defected Libyan ambassador pleaded for military action against Gaddafi today, as the UN hinted it may soon adopt a no-fly zone -- or something stronger.
Gaddafi, however, is not waiting around for that. Reports out of Libya suggest that he promised to "cleanse" rebel cities in the coming hours.
"Gaddafi today has lost his mind," Ibrahim Debbashi, Libya's deputy UN ambassador said today outside the UN Security Council. According to him, Benghazi would resist the regime's forces, but a mercenary army of 400 vehicles was moving in Ajdabiya and likely to massacre every resident. "We will see a real genocide in Ajdabiya if the international community does not move quickly," he said. "The information we get is that they have clear instructions: destroy everything, and kill whoever you find."
He asked the international community to respond in the next ten hours.
Indeed, the situation for rebels seems perilous. Humanitarian organizations are now evacuating Benghazi, anticipating air-strikes which may have already begun.
And while it has "steadfastly" condemned the violence, the Obama Administration is probably not surprised that it has come to this; It just doesn't like its military options. As Chief of Staff William Daley recently said, enforcing a no fly zone is not like playing a video game. France, the UK, the Arab League, have pressured it to go that far to no avail. But today's meeting saw the US alter its position.
Speaking to press outside the UN Security Council, US Ambassador Susan Rice said she hoped they'd adopt a "serious" resolution tomorrow. They will discuss the no-fly zone, "but U.S. 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," she said.
So it appears that Gaddafi's brutal violence and the momentum for regime change may finally push the world to intervene. Whether that response turns out to be too little, too late is something we'll learn in the coming weeks -- if not sooner.
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