Saturday, March 26, 2011

U.S., NATO Consider Arming Libyan Opposition

The United States and its allies are considering supplying weapons to the Libyan opposition, The Washington Post reported March 26.

President Barack Obama's administration believe the U.N. resolution that authorized international intervention in Libya has the "flexibility" to allow such assistance, it reported, citing unnamed U.S. and European officials.

According to The Post, Gene Cretz, the recently withdrawn U.S. ambassador to Libya, said administration officials were having "the full gamut" of discussions on "potential assistance we might offer, both on the non-lethal and the lethal side."

But no decisions had been made, the paper noted.

France meanwhile backed training and arming the rebels, the report added.

Obama will address the nation about his Libya strategy March 28, the White House announced March 25, as coalition forces launched a fresh wave of air and missile strikes against the Libyan regime's forces.

Allied warplanes carried out raids late March 25 on the town of Zliten, 160 kilometers (100 miles) east of Tripoli, and in the western el Watiya region, Libyan state television reported.

A military site in Tripoli's eastern Tajura suburb was also in flames after three major explosions rocked the district.

According to the White House announcement, Obama will speak to the nation from the National Defense University in Washington at 7:30 p.m. (2320 GMT) to update Americans on the campaign so far, on plans to turn over control to NATO, and "our policy going forward."

On Friday, the U.S. president also briefed key congressional leaders about the operation.

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