The Envoy
  • UN debates Libya resolution

    Debate continued into the night at the United Nations Security Council on a new resolution calling for international action to protect civilians in Libya.2011316154916243884_20small

    Diplomats said they expected a vote on a resolution as early as Thursday--but the exact elements in play are not yet clear.

    "We need to be prepared to contemplate steps that include but perhaps go beyond a no-fly zone," U.S. Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice told reporters at a stake-out after the Security Council deliberations Wednesday.

    Separately, all members of the U.S. Senate were invited to a classified briefing on Libya on Thursday at 2pm.

    Diplomatic sources said two draft resolutions have been distributed to Council members for consideration -- one introduced by the French, Lebanese and British -- and a second one by the Russians that just calls for a cease-fire that is not considered as serious.

    France and the UK may offer to operate the no fly zone without the United States, a U.S. official said.

    The Lebanese, French, and British have been most forceful in urging international military action to protect civilians and restrain Muammar Gadhafi's forces, which made further advances against rebel forces in the east of the North African country Wednesday.

    While ostensibly supporting a new resolution, the United States, led by Defense Secretary Robert Gates, has expressed concern about embarking on another military operation in the Middle East, especially if its goals are not limited and very well defined.

    In earlier debate this week, Germany, India, Russia and China have also expressed reservations about an international military intervention in Libya.

    CNN reported that while the draft resolution would set up a no-fly zone to help protect civilians, some nations wanted "more information from Arab countries regarding what areas need to be protected and where safe passage areas should be."

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  • The U.S. Embassy in Tokyo is advising Americans currently within a fifty-mile radius of Japan's Fukushima nuclear power plant to evacuate or stay indoors.

    "We are recommending, as a precaution, that American citizens who live within 50 miles (80 kilometers) of the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant evacuate the area or to take shelter indoors if safe evacuation is not practical," U.S. Ambassador to Japan John Roos said in a statement Wednesday.

    Read More »from U.S. urges evacuation from 50-mile zone around Japan nuclear plant
  • tobroukAs Libyan forces continue their rapid advance against poorly equipped rebels, many within the Washington and international foreign policy community have been urging the United States to stop deliberating and back a proposed multilateral no-fly zone to curb Muammar Gadhafi's brutal crackdown.

    But some in D.C. policy circles fear that humanitarian intervention in Libya could have the unintended effect of straining the international alliance trying to pressure Iran over its nuclear program, while also expanding anti-American sentiment in the volatile region. In particular, writes Jerry Seib of the Wall Street Journal, some national security hands in the Obama administration worry that a U.S.-led international military intervention in Libya would play directly into Iranian narratives about U.S. interference in the Middle East and designs on its oil fields:

    Those wary of intervening, including many in the Obama administration, worry that Western intervention will play directly into the narrative Tehran's leaders have been spinning to justify cracking down on their own dissidents: that the U.S. and its Zionist allies are waiting to take advantage of any Mideast unrest to seize control of the region and its oil assets.

    Read More »from Iran concerns fuel U.S. wariness on Libya intervention


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