…while the allied effort won a rare military commitment in the Arab world when the United Arab Emirates said it would send warplanes to join patrols with Western allies.
Meeting late Thursday night, NATO agreed that it would not only take over command and control of the no-fly zone, but also of the effort to protect civilians through aggressive coalition airstrikes on Colonel Qaddafi’s troops on the ground, the officials said. Details of the second part of the operation will be worked out in a formal military planning document over the next couple of days, the officials said, but all NATO countries took the political decision that the alliance would command and coordinate the entire military campaign.
During NATO debates there was some contention about ground strikes, and the “no-drive zone” in addition to the no-fly zone.
Fighting is heaviest outside of Misurata, Ajdabiya, and Zintan. Allied forces are not striking within the cities, in order to avoid civilian casualties, but are making special efforts to cut off supply lines to Qaddafi loyalists outside.