"> Skip to main content

Libya's civil war and U.N. intervention

The U.N. Security Council voted March 17 to authorize a no-fly zone over Libya and to "take all necessary measures" - without using an occupation force - to protect civilians and population centers under the threat of attack in Libya. Click the markers to learn more about the intervention in Libya, and scroll down to learn more about the developments in Libya's civil war.

No-fly zone

The U.N. authorization establishes a ban on all flights in Libyan airspace to help protect civilians. The exceptions are:

  • Flights by U.N. member states for the purpose of enforcing the flight ban
  • Humanitarian flights (such as those delivering medical supplies, food and humanitarian workers)
  • Any flights "which are deemed necessary" by nations enforcing the no-fly zone

U.S. military officials have said that a no-fly zone would typically be enforced by fighter jets.

In addition to the no-fly zone, the U.N. resolution authorizes governments to freeze assets of Libyan authorities and inspect cargo of vessels suspected of carrying arms or mercenaries, by force if necessary.