Following opening French air-strikes near Benghazi, US and British warships launched more than 110 Tomahawk missiles at defense facilities along the Libyan coast. The strikes targeted specifically surface-to-air missile sites and radar detectors that are part of the Libyan military’s air defense infrastructure, said Vice Admiral William E. Gortney, commander of US Naval Forces Central Command. The campaign, code-named Operation Odyssey Dawn is being co-ordinated at a US headquarters in Germany. In a brief statement, Qaddafi pledged resistance to the “colonial crusader” attacks. (LAT, BBC News, March 19)
In Washington, several leading House Democrats are demanding President Barack Obama seek congressional approval for the military action. Rep. John Larson (CT), chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, joins Jerrold Nadler (NY) and Dennis Kucinich (OH) in raising the demand. On the Senate side, Sen. Richard Lugar (IN), top Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee, also called on Obama to seek congressional sign-off on the Libyan operation. (Politico, March 19)
See our last post on Libya.