No-fly zone for Libya would require attack: Gates

WASHINGTON Wed Mar 2, 2011 12:06pm EST

Related Topics

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Setting up a "no-fly" zone over Libya would require an attack to cripple its air defenses, the defense secretary said on Wednesday, as the United States intensified pressure on Muammar Gaddafi to step down.

"Let's just call a spade a spade. A no-fly zone begins with an attack on Libya to destroy the air defenses ... and then you can fly planes around the country and not worry about our guys being shot down," Defense Secretary Robert Gates told a congressional hearing.

The United States is moving several amphibious assault ships to the Mediterranean as the United States and other nations seek to force a defiant Gaddafi to end his 41-year rule in the face of an uprising by fragmented groups of rebels.

Western nations have also been considering a no-fly zone.

While the Obama administration says all options are on the table, Washington may be reluctant to initiate military action as it grapples with the financial and human costs of two long, bloody wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Gates said a no-fly zone for Libya "also requires more airplanes than you can find on a single aircraft carrier, so it is a big operation in a big country."

(Reporting by Missy Ryan; Editing by John O'Callaghan and Sandra Maler)

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see
Comments (2)
txgadfly wrote:
Yes let’s call a spade, a spade. This is another war. More billions added to the trillion we are already blowing in the Middle East. Who cares who runs these countries? We have no friends in the region anyway.

Mar 02, 2011 12:40pm EST  --  Report as abuse
Neurochuck wrote:
Figures I have seen say that the biggest sales of military stuff to Libya is from Russia, which seems to be exporting “defensive” X.??? air defense systems that supposedly “clear the air” of manned fighters, and cruise and ballistic missiles. F15s, F16s, F18s etc are probably “design objectives”.
Just my speculation as a non-mil techo nerd, but Gates needs to be listened to by the “mad dog” American and Israeli right wingers.
I actually feel sympathy for the American who joined the National Guard militia for a bit of extra money, and “home defense”, and is now conscripted to garrison some hostile patch of the planet to satisfy some political poseur sponsored by some investors in death and suffering.

Mar 02, 2011 4:25pm EST  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.