Preparing to enforce no-fly zone in Libya
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The growing unrest in Libya is forcing local National Guardsmen to prepare for what could turn into an overseas deployment.
At the 144th Fighter Wing Base in East Central Fresno, jets are in and out every day. Generally, this fleet protects the western portion of the United States. But, if the no fly-zone in Libya is enforced, and continues for a long period of time, these Valley-based National Guardsmen pilots may be asked to assist.
Lt Col Kirk Toomey said, "If it's prolonged like it has been done in the past like over in Iraq and stuff like that, the active duty is asked for assistance and we would go over there and help them out."
Lieutenant Colonel Kirk Toomey has deployed on three different no fly zone missions. He says when it comes to no fly zones; Americans are considered the worldwide experts. "If called upon, we ensure air dominance, so we ensure the skies are safe on the ground, any adversary aircraft that would be taking part."
And while President Obama says he does not foresee fighting a third ground war, he took on a strong stance during a news conference Friday. "If Gadhafi does not abide by the resolution, the international community will impose consequences. The resolution will be enforced through military action."
Dr. James Joseph, a political science professor at Fresno City College, says Libyan civilians welcome the United Nation's involvement. "This gives the population a chance and the rebels a chance to thrive and move Ghadaffi out."
He adds, with several countries offering assistance, it isn't likely the unrest in Libya will persist, unless Ghadaffi ignores international efforts to restore peace.
Dr. Joseph said, "If Ghadaffi's forces decide they're really going to draw down on allied coalition forces, rather than the rebels, then you have an ugly situation."
libya, local, shannon handy
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