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UK, US Weigh Military Intervention in Libya

America, Britain weigh the possibility of military intervention in Libya as Qaddafi loyalists urge war “until the last bullet.”
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 3/1/2011, 3:53 PM / Last Update: 3/1/2011, 4:02 PM

British Prime Minister David Cameron has warned Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi that his country is weighing military action to prevent the slaughter of anti-regime protesters. Britain may create a no-fly zone over Libya and send weapons to protesters, he said.

Cameron suggested that Britain may even send troops to Libya as a peacekeeping force.

United States officials made a similar announcement, saying Monday that “all options” are open, including the creation of a no-fly zone. The U.S. military is moving naval and air forces closer to Libya, making it easier for President Barack Obama to order intervention.

A no-fly zone would prevent Qaddafi from turning the Libyan Air Force on rebels. Two Libyan pilots fled the country several days ago and asked for asylum, saying they had been ordered to bomb protesters.

Senior U.S. officials have also put financial pressure on Qaddafi, freezing $30 billion in assets held by his family in America. In addition, officials have been in contact with anti-regime fighters in Libya.

Obama remained cautious when riots broke out last week in Libya, failing to condemn Qaddafi even as more than 1,000 protesters has been killed. However, he has since come out strongly against Qaddafi, and called Saturday for him to step down from power immediately.

In Libya, Qaddafi continues to insist that he will fight to the end. A video has surfaced showing Qaddafi's son Saif Al-Islam brandishing a gun and urging supporters to fight “until the last bullet.” Al-Islam has previously attempted to portray himself as a moderate who favors democratic reforms.

According to reports in the international media, Qaddafi's troops tried and failed Monday to retake the city of Zawiya, 30 miles west of Tripoli, which had fallen to rebel forces days earlier.