UN Security Council approves Libyan no-fly zone, including use of “All necessary measures” to protect pro-democracy rebels.
The vote was 10-0 with Russia, China, India, Brazil & Germany abstaining.
Russia’s Defense Minister said,
“Russian forces will not participate in military operations against Libya… This is out of the question.”
Vitaly Churkin, a Russian Parliamentary leader, said,
“Any bombing of Libyan territory could provoke a large-scale conflict between the so-called West and the so-called Arab world,”
China’s abstaining vote seems to have been prompted by a desire not to upset relations with leaders of oppressive regimes And…
fears of uprisings much closer to home.
Two days ago, Lobsang Phuntsog, a 21-year-old monk, set himself on fire in protest of China’s presence in Tibet. He was then assaulted by police who threw bricks at him. China’s official news agency- Xinhua, confirmed his death.
China invaded Tibet 60 years ago.
Chancellor Angela Merkel decided Germany should stand with Russia and China.
This has marginalized Germany in the eyes of the US, UK & France– the three permanent members of the UN Security Council to champion the resolution.
The non-permanent members that supported the no-fly zone were:
South Africa, Colombia, Lebanon, Gabon, Portugal, Nigeria, & Bosnia and Herzegovina.
“Attitudes toward Germany will change as a result of this vote.” – Ruprecht Polenz, member of the German parliament.
Saudi Arabia sends 1,000 troops into Bahrain to quiet protestors.
“King Abdullah has been clear that Saudi Arabia will never allow Shia rule in Bahrain — never.” – senior Saudi official.
“The last few days have been filled with violence against the people.” – Bahraini Shiite cleric, Sheikh Isa Ahmed Qasim.
Saudi Arabia is the second largest supplier of
oil to the US &
Bahrain is home to the United States Navy’s Fifth Fleet.
King Abdulla has tried to assuage revolutionary momentum with gargantuan spending increases, including $67 Billion for housing and military/religious groups that supported the ban on domestic protests. There is a fear the Bahrain protests will further ignite the Saudi Shiite minority.
President Obama has called for “an end to the violence that has accelerated in Bahrain.”
Saudi Arabia was classified as the “least democratic” country in the Middle East in the Economist Intelligence Unit’s 2010 Democracy Index.