Humanitarian Crisis Worsens in Misurata
Qaddafi forces continued to barrage the Libyan city of Misurata (al-Jazeera), the lone rebel stronghold in the country's west that has endured weeks of siege. Medical personnel claim that fifty to sixty people are injured each day, and hundreds of people are reported to have lost their lives. Among the week's victims were two prominent photojournalists (Guardian), Tim Hetherington and Chris Hondros, who died while covering the escalating hostilities. In his reporting, Hetherington described indiscriminate shelling by regime forces and a lack of NATO presence.
Short of deploying ground forces, allied commanders are working on plans to provide military escorts for humanitarian missions to Misurata (FT). However, the UN has warned against blurring the lines between military operations and relief work in Libya. Officials maintain that aid is reaching both sides of the conflict, but concede that without a cease-fire (BBC), access to battle zones like Misurata would be determined by the intensity of the fighting. In its first offering of direct aid to the opposition, the White House told Congress that it would provide rebels with up to $25 million worth of bulletproof vests, vehicles, and other non lethal articles. (MSNBC)
This article from the Economist suggests that coalition allies are sending out dangerous signs of confusion just when resolution is most needed.
NATO's failure to apply sufficient military force to oust Qaddafi and protect civilians is a blow to the credibility of the alliance and the United States, says expert Robert E. Hunter.
In this op-ed for the Financial Times, Max Hastings writes that the coalition's Libya policy lacks an endgame, arguing that the declared objectives of the national leaderships are much larger than the means available to achieve them.
In this article for Foreign Affairs, Michael Scott Doran writes that not since the Suez crisis and the Nasser-fueled uprisings of the 1950s has the Middle East seen so much unrest. Understanding those earlier events can help the United States navigate the crisis today.
This interactive map from the BBC provides details of Qaddafi's siege of Misurata.