Arab eastern states join anti-Libyan coalition

Arab eastern countries joined the Western military operation that has effectively established a no-fly zone against Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s regime, world media reported.

Qatar was providing aircraft to support the no fly zone, world media reported.

“There are forces, airplanes in particular from Qatar, that are moving into position as we speak, into theater,” Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in a interview to CBS. “There are other countries who have committed, although I’d rather have them publicly announce that commitment,” he continued.

“Qatar is participating in the military action because it is necessary for Arab states to take part,” Al Jazeera TV-channel cited Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad as saying.

Qatar was the first Arab nation, which officially announced its support to the United Nations-backed no-fly zone in Libya.

According to world media, the United Arab Emirates was also providing aircrafts in the support to no fly zone, while Saudi Arabia and Jordan were prepared to participate in enforcing a U.N. Security Council resolution against Libya’s central government.

The military operation against Libya’s strongman Gaddafi who has ruled the country with an iron fist for more than 40 years began on Saturday, involving the United States, Britain, France, Italy, Canada and other countries.

The U.S. missiles hit at least 20 of Libyan 22 targets on Sanday, the U.S. Africa Command said.

The Arab League condemned the strikes, despite the organization appealing to the international community to enforce a no-fly zone.

“What has happened in Libya differs from the goal of imposing a no-fly zone,” the Arab League Secretary General Amr Mussa said. “What we want is the protection of civilians and not bombing other civilians.”

The Russian Foreign Ministry said on Sunday Russia urges western nations to stop the indiscriminate use of force in Libya.

The new UN Security Council resolution on Libya adopted on Thursday encompasses a no-fly zone and “all necessary measures” against forces loyal to Gaddafi.

Libyan television reported citing military officials that at least 50 civilians were killed and over 150 wounded in military attacks of the coalition forces, adding that many health and education facilities were ruined.

MOSCOW, March 20 (RIA Novosti) 

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