And while all agree leaving diplomatic channels open is vital to any peaceful resolution, Europe remains too divided to make any decisive moves on Libya. While France and the UK advocate action, the majority of nations, including Germany and Spain, want Qaddafi out but are more wary of moving too fast. A smaller group with closer ties to Libya, led by Italy, is stalling.
But many security analysts and officials say it's up to Europe to lead the international effort to deal with the Libyan crisis since it has the most at stake. The US is much less exposed and is militarily strained by deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Timing is crucial as forces loyal to the embattled Libyan leader appear to be swiftly retaking the military momentum. And Friday’s EU summit in Brussels will either result empty words that embolden Qaddafi or in a roadmap to build a broader international coalition to hold him off.
“Europe is divided and stretched. There is quite the confusion,” says José Ignacio Torreblanca, senior policy fellow in the European Council on Foreign Relations and office head in Madrid. “Many are serious about reorienting policy, and others are still disoriented.”