NATO is unlikely to take action without a resolution from the Security Council, which could be forestalled by a veto from any of its five permanent members: Britain, France, China, Russia, and the US. President Obama said earlier this week he hasn’t ruled out any military options, but US Ambassador to NATO Ivo Daalder has indicated that the Obama administration isn’t overly keen on the idea at the moment.
“We have actually seen a decrease in both fighter and overall air activity over the weekend,” Mr. Daalder told reporters. “To date, the overall air activity has not been the deciding factor in the ongoing unrest.”
NATO has surveillance planes flying over Libya, so Daalder should have good information on Qaddafi’s raids. But on the ground in Ras Lanuf, local rebels see it differently.
Bomb strikes in the east have largely fallen harmlessly in the desert or been focused on munitions dumps in an effort to prevent the rebellion from arming itself. But yesterday afternoon and today, the bombs appeared to be dropped with more lethal intent.
Yesterday evening, two bombs hit the edge of the coastal highway that is the only east-west transport artery along Libya's Mediterranean coast, spraying shrapnel into a pickup truck and a station wagon filled with civilians fleeing the fighting.
In the pickup, there’s dried blood where the driver exited the car, and boys' and girls' sandals in the back. Sabra Mohammed, a militiaman, says he was one mile behind the car when it was hit, and that he thinks all the passengers inside were killed. But the director of the hospital in Brega says that it was a family, that the father driving the car was badly wounded, but everyone survived.
This morning in Brega, a Sukhoi jet dropped 200-pound bombs near the intersection of the highway and the road to Ras Lanuf, where hundreds of militia are massed. The bombs overshot, landing on a house a few hundred yards away, sheering off its front.