Libya no-fly zone would stretch resources: experts

8th March 2011, Comments 0 comments

A no-fly zone over Libya is a feasible military option but it would require resources to be switched from elsewhere such as the conflict in Afghanistan, military experts said Tuesday.

Douglas Barrie, a military aerospace analyst at the International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS), warned that the logistical requirements for a no-fly zone would severely stretch the West's capacities.

"A no-fly zone is feasible, it could be achieved, it would take a considerable amount of resources in terms of combat aircraft and support aircraft which would require basing in the region," Barrie told AFP.

"These have been implemented in the past both in Bosnia and Iraq but of course there is a cost both in terms of the fuel bill alone and also in terms of the assets you have to deploy from elsewhere."

International calls for a no-fly zone in Libya mounted Tuesday as Moamer Kadhafi's air force carried out new raids on a rebel-held town.

Diplomats said Monday that Britain and France are preparing a resolution on such an option which could go before the UN Security Council as early as this week.

Speaking after the launch of the London-based think-tank's annual report on the world's armies, another analyst, Brigadier Ben Barry, said there was "no doubt" the West had enough combat jet fighters to impose a no-fly zone.

But he added: "Whether it could generate the tankers, the intelligence-collecting aircraft... and also the surveillance aircraft to support it without having to move those assets from supporting the campaign in Afghanistan or indeed the counter-piracy operation off the Horn of Africa is not clear."

© 2011 AFP

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