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Monday, March 21, 2011     INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING

Jordan, Qatar, UAE backing coalition in Libya

LONDON — At least three Arab League states have joined a Western effort to establish a no-fly zone in Libya.


Diplomats said at least three Arab states have agreed in principle to join Western military intervention in Libya. They said the Arabs would provide such help as logistics to combat missions to enforce a no-fly zone over the war-torn North African state.

"They [Arabs] will not be in the lead but will participate in a range of operations as required," a Western diplomat said.

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The Arab states were identified as Jordan, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. The diplomats said Egypt and Tunisia would serve as bases for possible ground operations and resupply for the rebels who have been fighting the regime of Libyan Col. Moammar Gadhafi. Kuwait has already announced its support for the no-fly zone.

"The leaders agreed that Libya must immediately comply with all terms of the resolution and that violence against the civilian population of Libya must cease," the United States said on March 18.

A day later, France and other NATO members launched attacks on the Gadhafi regime. The French Air Force, joined by the British and U.S. navies were said to have fired more than 110 cruise missiles toward airports, air defense assets and other regime targets around Benghazi and Tripoli.

"At unity with our partners our air forces will counteract any attacks from Col. Gadhafi planes on the residents of Benghazi," French President Nicolas Sarkozy said. "Other French aircraft are ready to counter armored vehicles that may threaten civilians."

The Gadhafi regime announced it was shutting its air space while the Libyan Foreign Ministry announced a ceasefire even as the military continued to shell rebel-held cities.

"Any military operation against Libya will expose all air and maritime traffic in the Mediterranean to danger," the Libyan Defense Ministry said.

Germany and Poland marked two NATO states that have opposed the plan.

"German soldiers will not take part in a military intervention in Libya," German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said.

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