7: 16 PM: What will it take for the international community to be effective in Libya? Foreign Policy's Blake Hounshell says what's needed is "swift military action against Qaddafi's heavy weapons--call it a 'no-drive zone,' and perhaps even the bombing of [Qaddafi's] compound in Tripoli."
7: 13 PM: It turns out the U.S. had begun intervening more aggressively even before the U.N. resolution. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Egypt's military is shipping arms over the border to Libyan rebels with Washington's knowledge.
7:09 PM: The BBC says the U.S. probably won't be involved in the first strikes, but that the British and French will likely get "logistical backup" from Arab allies.
6:36 PM: The Security Council has approved a no-fly zone resolution for Libya, 10-0 with 5 absentions, as expected. Al Jazeera is showing crowds chanting, cheering wildly, and waving flags in Benghazi.
6:17 PM: The U.N. Security Council is expected to vote any minute. You can watch the livestream here. As we wait, the BBC is reporting that British forces could be in action in Libya as soon as Friday if a resolution passes, according to a British official.
Libya's bloody, month-long uprising is reaching a pivotal and dramatic juncture as we speak, both militarily and diplomatically.
Muammar Qaddafi is promising "no mercy and no pity" for rebels who refuse to lay down their arms as his forces move in on the opposition stronghold of Benghazi and bomb the nearby Benina airport. Meanwhile, in New York, the U.N. Security Council appears ready to pass a U.N. resolution this evening authorizing U.S., European, and Arab states to impose a no-fly zone over Libya and more to keep Qaddafi from attacking civilians, Foreign Policy's Colum Lynch reports. The resolution (full-text here) calls for a cease-fire and authorizes member states "to take all necessary measures ... to protect civilians and civilian populated areas ... including Benghazi, while excluding a foreign occupation force of any form on any part of Libyan territory."
The measure, Lynch says, is expected to pass by a vote of 10-0, with Germany and the so-called BRICs--Brazil, Russia, India, and China--abstaining. Foreign Policy's David Bosco explains that the division "highlight the fissure in the UN between a Western-led interventionist group and a 'sovereignty bloc' led by Moscow and Beijing, but with real appeal to key emerging powers like Brazil, South Africa and India." What explains Germany's stance? The country's "militarist past makes it deeply hesitant to endorse military force absent clear evidence of a humanitarian catastrophe," he says.
If the resolution does indeed pass, it's unclear how soon military intervention would begin. French officials have said today that air strikes on Libyan military positions could begin hours after the resolution is adopted.
In an interview with Portuguese television, Qaddafi declared that the "Security Council has not got the right to interfere in the internal affairs of any state" and that doing so would constitute "a flagrant colonisation," according to Al Jazeera. "If the world gets crazy with us," he added, "we will make their lives hell, because they are making our lives hell. They will never have peace." Earlier, a Libyan government spokesman said any U.N. military action would be "illegal and immoral."