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Washington Institute: Options for Military Intervention in Libya

Author: Jeffrey White
March 8, 2011

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Jeffrey White outlines the different forms foreign military intervention in Libya might take.

Libya's internal conflict is entering its fourth week and shows no signs of coming to a rapid close. The fighting has reached a rough balance, with both sides possessing some strengths but neither able to achieve a decisive military advantage that could end the war. Depending on its scale and scope, military intervention against the regime could alter the balance and push the hostilities to a quicker and more favorable conclusion. Although much of the discussion regarding external action has focused on establishing no-fly zones, that is not the only option -- other approaches entailing greater or lesser risk and complexity should be considered. Any such discussion requires some understanding of the way the war is being fought and the factors shaping its course.

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