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Reports From the Ground in Misrata Confirm Heavy Shelling From Gadhafi Forces; 20 French Aircraft Flying Over Libya; Canadian Jets Take Flight to Join Mission Over Libya; Turning Point in Japan: Two Mechanisms Pumping Water Into Damaged Nuclear Plants; Germany Abstains From Approving U.N. Resolution Against Libya
Aired March 19, 2011 - 14:01 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Meantime, we will return to our continuing coverage of all that's taking place in Libya.
We have an eyewitness with us in Misrata.
Thank you for being with us. You are live on CNN. What is the situation where you are?
WITNESS IN MISRATA (via telephone): Misrata is under heavy shelling from the dictator's forces. I don't know what cease-fire is talking about. The forces tried for two consecutive days to center the city. They were held off. And now they are terrorizing the people on the outskirts of the city and shelling the city from a distance.
HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: You are saying that Misrata is currently under heavy shelling right now?
WITNESS IN MISRATA: Absolutely. It has been since. This is the second day now. It is terrorizing people. It is creating havoc. It is absolutely -- we had 12 civilians killed last night, 15 today. It just gets worse. And I hope the international community can act on this very quickly. It will really save lives.
WHITFIELD: What kind of targets are being shelled in and around Misrata?
WITNESS IN MISRATA: Absolutely randomly into the city. His forces are going door-to-door on the outskirts about eight and 10 kilometers around the city. We are hearing stories of people thrown out of their homes and being terrorized, and heavy artillery and shelling the city randomly.
I live about three kilometers off the center of the city. Two shells landed not so far from where I live. It is crazy and random, and it is creating havoc in the city. People don't know what to do or where to go. They are looking for a safe place but nobody is safe. Nobody is secure.
GORANI: Is it your understanding that the people that you mentioned have been targeted -- the victims that have been found by the door-to-door efforts -- are they being asked to take sides? If they don't take sides of the Gadhafi government, are they being killed?
WITNESS IN MISRATA: Absolutely. They are being thrown out of their homes and their homes are being searched. We hear stories of Gadhafi troops rooting some homes and shooting some people, a lot of injuries, some deaths already from the outskirts of the city. We hear stories of them kidnapping people and trying to use them as shields in the confrontation, all kinds of horrible stories.
GORANI: All right. We hope you are able to stay safe. Thank you very much for joining us. We are not naming our eyewitness for security reasons. A call from Misrata, a very troubling call. Libya's third largest city is being heavily shelled as we speak.
This, of course, Fredricka, as French fighter planes are over Benghazi.
WHITFIELD: This is the nearest city, large city outside of Tripoli. We will be joined by our national correspondent there, Nic Robertson.
How are the people there? Are people are being targeted and killed for not supporting the Gadhafi government?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It doesn't translate to the people of Tripoli. Not people that we are seeing. We are on the streets of Tripoli now. There is quite an excitable atmosphere. It is a complete country if you just learned if it was struck and hit by an international force. There are people standing out on the street corners, fireworks going off in the sky, truckloads of people out waving green flags singing pro-Gadhafi songs, a truck just with his music, a national pro-Gadhafi song blaring out of his truck.
And the streets around the palace area where Moammar Gadhafi and his family lived are absolutely packed solid with cars and people out waving green flags to show their support for the leadership. The message is what is happening in the east of the country or what is happening in Misrata is completely passing by the population here that the government brings out and comes out to support Moammar Gadhafi. You would be shocked to see the streets and how full they are of people this evening.
GORANI: What is happening in Misrata? According to the eyewitness, there is heavy shelling. Pro-Gadhafi forces are going door-to-door looking for regime elements. That is very much contradicting what is coming from the government, that a cease-fire is in place where in fact in several parts of the country pro-Gadhafi forces are still mounting assaults.
ROBERTSON: I think what we heard from the government today, the government spokesman when he read a letter from Moammar Gadhafi to the British prime minister to the French president and U.N. secretary- general which said U.N. resolution is invalid really told us all we need to know about the situation. Whereas, yesterday, the government said they respected the resolution and they would abide by the cease-fire, the facts on the ground were different. Now they don't respect the U.N. resolution. It is invalid. It is a clear indication of what the government is really doing, which is continuing its military advances on the ground as far as it can go.
And while the international community is focusing on Benghazi, this government is acting as if they have unfinished business inside the country. We heard attacks in Misrata yesterday. We heard more than 20 people killed there and hundreds wounded according to opposition spokesperson from there. Today, it continues to be the same. The government here will be wary and tough of the international community to intervene in the build up like Misrata.
GORANI: Certainly not an option for air strikes. Thank you very much, Nic Robertson, is live in Tripoli, one of many crews working in that very dangerous environment.
WHITFIELD: Meantime, there are 20 French aircraft in the air flying over Libya. We want to check in with our correspondent in Paris Jim Bittermann.
JIM BITTERMANN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: These are the first aircraft in the air that are part of the coalition that came together four hours ago. In fact, they are out over the skies. The first part of the mission was to survey the area and try to find out which targets were out there. Now, apparently, they have at least struck one military vehicle, a target that was not described any further than that, a military vehicle.
There also may have been another attack which some of my colleagues are reporting we have not been able to verify. But the French military spokesperson told us this afternoon that it is up to the pilots. As they see targets of opportunity or tanks or other vehicles moving in and threatening Benghazi in any way, it is up to them to take out those vehicles. Fredricka?
WHITFIELD: How concerned is the French government about civilian casualties as a result of whether it could be firing at military vehicles? Sometimes accidents happen, and civilians too often end up becoming part of the casualties.
BITTERMANN: Well, I would say very concerned. In fact it came up at the briefing, the military briefing a short while ago. A spokesman pointed out if the Libyan army strategy is to move into the civilian areas, it will be difficult to operate with air power because you will have collateral damage.
This is an area where the Libyan forces are now well inside the city and integrated in the city. It's impossible to sort that out without having troops on the ground. And everybody in this coalition, the United States and all of the Europeans have said this is not about putting boots on the ground. It is about aviation. And that way they will support what the rebels are doing in the eastern part of the country. And they are, right now, only as we understand it, they are only protecting the exclusion zone as they are calling it around the Benghazi area. It is not an area that is extensive at the moment. It could grow as these other coalition forces could get involved.
And another thing I should say is all we are hearing is what the French perspective is. We are not hearing what the British or Dutch are doing, the Canadians as well.
WHITFIELD: Jim Bittermann, we appreciate that. We will get back to what is taking place in Libya and what is transpiring on the other side of the globe in Japan.
GORANI: That's right, as well as what is happening in Brazil where the president is on an official visit. We will connect with our Ed Henry after this.
GORANI: U.S. president Barack Obama is in Brazil for trade talks today, but he remains on top of the developments in Libya. Ed Henry is traveling with the president from the capital. What did the president say about Libya?
ED HENRY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: As you know, they are sensitive inside the White House. They want to make sure people are on top of the issue as they go on this Latin American tour. He has received two briefings from top officials, one from his national security adviser Tom Donilon. He also received a phone call from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who is in Paris to give the president some up to the minute details about the beginning stages of this military action and how those stages are playing out.
When the president spoke and he was very firm in saying that the coalition that they brought together is ready to act and act urgently.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The international community has demanded an immediate cease-fire in Libya and putting an end to the attacks against civilians.
Secretary Clinton joined the European partners in Paris to discuss the support of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973.
Our consensus was strong and our resolve is clear, the people of Libya must be protected. And in the face violence against civilians, our coalition is prepared to act and act with urgency.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HENRY: The White House is also very sensitive to the notion of the U.S. leading this in any way. They stress the international coalition they built. They don't want to be front and center as the U.S. was with Iraq and Afghanistan. And the president has repeatedly said that the U.S. would not commit ground forces to any such military options. That was repeated by Secretary of State Clinton in Paris. She also noted one of the many reason why the U.S. and its allies are acting here is because they believe if colonel Gadhafi is not stopped here in the words of Secretary Clinton, there would be unspeakable atrocities.
GORANI: Thank you very much, Ed Henry. He is in Brasilia, Brazil, following the president there on his official visit to that country.
WHITFIELD: And representation of the U.S. has been in Paris by way of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. There are delegates to many other nations who say they are onboard with the no-fly zone and all of the action that comes with it, among them Canada.
We have Paula Newton joining us from Ottawa, Canada.
Paula, in what way, shape or form, is Canada part of the mission?
PAULA NEWTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: These jets are on the way and they could be in the air there as late as Sunday, and a ship that is positioned in the Mediterranean with the naval blockade.
They also warned that they believe the international community doesn't act urgently that there could be a massacre in Libya. President Harper was there. He called the aerial bombardment "extensive." He did not give more detail but did say the aerial operations would be extensive. Fredricka?
WHITFIELD: Give me an idea. What kind of reinforcements?
NEWTON: Six CF-18 jets for right now. They will be based in Italy. To back that up, they have 150 to 200 military personnel. Canada is saying we are aware of mission creep, but they believe, it is interesting, Fredricka, the prime minister from Canada voicing something aloud. He admitted it. He said the belief around the table in Paris today is if we take out Gadhafi's military capability we do not believe he will not remain in power for long.
GORANI: Thanks very much, Paula Newton. He was also very clear and that this operation in no way involves ground troops taking part.
WHITFIELD: The U.S. under scored that as well with president Barack Obama yesterday.
GORANI: We will take a short break on CNN. When we come back, the latest from Japan. Stay with us.
WHITFIELD: Now to the crisis in Japan. Another strong aftershock has rattled the nerves there.
GORANI: Today's aftershock was a magnitude 5.9. The epicenter is 60 miles south of Fukushima. That is the same region as the damaged nuclear power plant.
WHITFIELD: There is worry over the food supply. Tested radiation from milk and spinach samples near the plant. The levels are low but still above the legal standard.
GORANI: That has to be worrying if you live in that area. The nuclear plant itself, a device is spraying seawater continuously to try to cool down one of the overheated reactors.
WHITFIELD: Also a revised death toll from the quake and tsunami. It is now at more than 7,300, with nearly 11,000 people still missing.
GORANI: All right, we could be looking at 20,000 when it is all done. We have CNN's Brian Todd with us.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We may have turned a corner in the effort to save that plant from leaking out further radioactive material. They now have at least two mechanisms pumping water into the plant. Two fire trucks, one has a huge crane on top of it where it is shooting water up and down into the number three reactor, the troubled reactor. And the other one is a fire truck that is not quite as big or quite as tall, but is successfully getting water in there.
What we are told is they have succeeded in cooling down the reactor. And as of a couple of hours ago, at that moment, there were near zero levels of radiation coming out, a positive development. But things have been inconsistent with this. They have a victory and a setback.
Is this a turning point? Possibly. They have successfully gotten water in the building of the number three reactor and cooled it down and now near zero levels of radiation.
The food supply situation that you mentioned is troubling indeed. It has some of the radioactive materials that have leaked out. Have reached trace samples of milk and spinach in Fukushima. We talked to Japanese government officials at a news conference a few hours ago. I pressed one of the officials on some of the other aspects of the food supply and what they have done regarding that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TODD: How can you be confident that other items in the food supply don't have abnormally high levels of radiation, other items of produce, dairy, meat? How much widespread tests have you done of those items? Can you tell us, has any of that been shipped out elsewhere in the country?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are carrying out additional surveys in the investigations. And we will come up with appropriate measures in terms of regulating shipments and so forth.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TODD: So they are considering regulating the shipments of food from the prefecture and the area out to other areas. He did not really answer our question when we asked, you know, have you tested out and are you confident that other aspects of the food supply have not been tainted by this. They are investigating. That is all they will say. They will not say how confident they are. This bears monitoring in the day as head.
GORANI: Brian Todd in Tokyo. Thanks.
WHITFIELD: I'm joined now by CNN Contributor and International security expert Jim Walsh. Anything you heard in Brian Todd's report that you find encouraging?
JIM WALSH, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I think Hala put her finger on it at the top of the report. The levels are so low they are not likely to cause physical effects at this point. But I think people will read into it that this is a dangerous thing. They will probably overreact. People think radiation and then think cancer.
So I think unfortunately what you will have, people will think -- they will overestimate the health dangers here. So suddenly this area, which has a farming component to it that supplies food to Tokyo and other parts of Japan, on top of having an earthquake and tsunami and nuclear crisis now faces economic troubles.
Whether there is a physical component. If you have a preexisting mental health condition, you have a nervous condition and you read there is spinach or milk and you are a mom and you read there is trace levels of radiation. You will be scared. That will add to your anxiety and problems.
WHITFIELD: These are people who have good reason to be especially nervous after living through Hiroshima and Nagasaki. So even 25 years after Chernobyl, it seems they absurd they will regulate the shipment as opposed to cease it.
WALSH: It raises an ongoing -- it is hard to criticize the government because they are a brand new government, the first time this party had been taken over. They get hit with an earthquake and tsunami and nuclear disaster in one big ball, and they are learning as they go.
But one problem is when you have press conferences and you say the minimum necessary and not forthcoming, people begin to doubt you. Let's say we turn the corner as suggested in the last report. We may be there and we may not be there. The best possible circumstance, we have turned the corner. We are talking about clean up and decontamination and we are trying to turn things around. Credibility is the most important commodity a government can have.
WHITFIELD: Jim Walsh, thank you so much.
WALSH: Thank you.
WHITFIELD: And you at home, to find out more how you can keep the people of Japan, visit our impact your world page at CNN.com/impact. More right after this.
WHITFIELD: Welcome back. I'm Fredricka Whitfield along with my colleague Hala Gorani here. So French fighter planes are in the sky over eastern Libya right now.
GORANI: And shots have already been fired. The French ministry is confirming a jet took aim at a military vehicle in Libya. The mission, by these European, Arab, and American nations as outlined by diplomats is to stop forces and Moammar Gadhafi from attacking civilians.
WHITFIELD: And a rebel fighter jet was shot down in the area. Look at the images there. It is nighttime right now. These are images from earlier. We understand that in nightfall, it is very calm, eerily calm.
Our Arwa Damon is in Libya. She is joining us right now. Earlier, you told us it was eerily calm there. What has happened since nightfall?
ARWA DAMON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Fredricka, people are very relieved and proud that they managed to survive another day, another assault by Gadhafi's forces. It appears it was the opposition that managed to drive Gadhafi's tanks and his military out of the city. Many people we were talking to telling us that they came barreling down the road, a long line of tanks and vehicles mounted with heavy machine guns barreling down the road in the early hours of the morning. They spoke about gunfire and hearing tank rounds. We were seeing artillery rounds as well.
One man we spoke to says Gadhafi's troops were firing their heavy machine guns and smiling and laughing. But people that we met were very joyous and flashing the victory sign. They said they did expect another attack by Gadhafi's forces, but this time around, everyone hopes that the French fighter jets will jump in and prevent that from happening, Fredricka.
GORANI: Arwa, it's Hala here. I know people in eastern Libya have been calling for weeks on the international community to impose a no-fly zone. Do they think it will be enough to protect them?
DAMON: They hope it will be enough, Hala. They hope it will be enough to even out the battle field. The difference, for example, were Gadhafi try to attack tomorrow, that those French fighter jets would have a mandate to prevent that from happening. That most certainly would help the opposition.
Their great concern is Gadhafi's forces will have enough time to regroup and rethink the strategy and strike once again. They managed to drive them out of the city once, and now with the fighter jets in the skies with the mandates to fire on the Gadhafi advancing military, they do feel this will have a significant impact. At the end of the day, this is not just about a no-fly zone. It is the critical language in the U.N. resolution that calls for using all necessary measures to protect the civilians. GORANI: Arwa Damon, thank you. WHITFIELD: General Wesley Clark is a former NATO supreme allied commander, and he is joining us right now from Little Rock, Arkansas. So General Clark, right now we see the French are leading this missing. We know they targeted a military vehicle in Libya. We understand the Canadian air support is on the way. How do you see this evolving over the next few hours and days?
GEN. WESLEY CLARK (RET.), CNN CONTRIBUTOR: We will have to see the technical qualities of the French and Canadian and British forces are and if they can effectively engage at night. My guess based on reports is that these were advanced elements of Gadhafi's forces which hit the outskirts of Benghazi. It sounds like the majority of the forces are still some miles away. There is still consolidating in Misrata where there is still fighting.
So this could have been a reconnaissance probe. A couple things could have happened. One, they could have been blown apart by the air strikes. Or, they could have already have left their tanks and dismounted and moved in on foot and be infiltrating into Benghazi at this time. We don't have enough information to really know.
It is a question, and I do not think we will not see Gadhafi back off. He will want a day or two show of strength to see if he can finish this job and present the powers to the world with a complete mission.
GORANI: And General Clark, we heard from a witness in Misrata that Gadhafi forces are showing, but they are going door-to-door. Air strikes cannot be effective against that type of assault and civilians in Libya, right?
CLARK: That is right. Without some air controllers on the ground, and even with air controllers on the ground, you will have collateral damage. And when you strike in a town, you may hit the tank and blow up a building. Gadhafi of course would be standing by ready to make propaganda films and show the west is attacking the Arab villages and killing innocent people. We have to be mindful of that.
WHITFIELD: How important is it that some Arab nations have to be involved. Not just symbolic support, but the United Arab Emirates may have the air support to be more involved. Do you see that happening?
CLARK: I think it is extremely important. I was very pleased to hear what secretary Clinton had to say about the very strong engage. From the international organizations and the many nations that were participating in Paris. I think the more they can do the better it is for everyone in terms of the outcome.
GORANI: Has there ever been an air strike campaign to enforce a no-fly zone to protect civilians without ground forces?
CLARK: Every situation is unique. We have not had the same circumstances. In Bosnia we had U.N. forces on the ground. And even they were not all that effective. We had the NATO intervention. When we did the no-fly zone over Iraq, we did threaten Saddam Hussein. We were successful with the small attachment of the 300 people on the ground in Kurdistan to deter the Iraqi forces from invading further into Kurdistan from 1991 on.
But in the south when the revolt was crushed by Saddam Hussein in 1991, there is not anything you can do when it gets into close fighting. You are pretty much reduced to attacking the logistics trail and hit command and control.
But there are lots more that the aircraft can do that they have not done. If they are only flying over Benghazi, they can go after the command centers and radio transmitters. There are a lot of other things they can do.
GORANI: So many have observed this situation and military officials are saying, not necessarily on the record, this is a war. This is the beginning of a long-winded effort that could turn ugly.
CLARK: I think that is everyone's concern. When you undertake an intervention like this, no matter how carefully you try to limit the objectives, and country President Barack Obama tried to do that and Secretary Clinton did very clearly try to limit the objectives today in her statement in Paris, nevertheless, it tends to be a slippery slope.
So this is a new circumstance for the United States. We are supporting but we are not leading. We are trying to help people we said Gadhafi has to go. The direct action is not against Gadhafi, but provide humanitarian relief or the humans caught in the fighting. It is difficult to maintain those lines of distinction as the day goes by if Gadhafi doesn't fold quickly.
GORANI: General Wesley Clark, thank you so much.
CLARK: Thank you.
GORANI: We will go live to Paris next.
GORANI: Welcome back. As we continue to cover the breaking news story out of Libya, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been discussing Libyan strategy with other leaders in Paris. She spoke with reporters a short time ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: Let me be clear about the position of the United States. We will support an international coalition as it takes all necessary measures to enforce the terms of resolution 1973.
As you may know, French planes are already in the skies above Benghazi. Now America has unique capabilities. We will bring them to bear to help our European and Canadian allies and Arab partners stop further violence against civilians.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: CNN's State Department Correspondent Jill Dougherty is traveling with Secretary Clinton.
GORANI: And she joins us from Paris.
Secretary Clinton there is meeting with other diplomats about the no-fly zone enforcement military plan, but also stressing the contribution of other countries. Very important for the U.S., Jill.
JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN STATE DEPARTMENT CORRESPONDENT: It is. One thing she repeated and you heard this from President Barack Obama as well, that the United States is not in the lead here. The United States is supporting this operation.
The other part of it which was very important is that the Arab countries, gulf countries, that were also here at the last-minute summit that was called by French President Sarkozy, they are very important too.
Secretary Clinton said they will be participating. She will not say exactly how. She is leaving that to the individual countries. Some of which are United Arab Emirates and Qatar.
But there was one thing that came up. It was quite dramatic, really, right as the world leaders were coming from the United States and Europe and from the Arab and Gulf countries. As they were meeting, there were reports of those planes in the air in Libya.
And she said that although there was a question, in fact I asked it, there had been some indications that things were quieting down in Benghazi. She said there were no indications that Moammar Gadhafi was ceasing his aggressive acts in other parts of the country. That is the key issue right now. He has to stop the violence.
And another very interesting thing, too, she said right now, the message of the United States is directed toward people around Colonel Gadhafi. She said there had been quite a number of defections and that they were hoping for more. She did not elaborate on that -- Hala, Fred.
GORANI: I thought it was interesting when she asked by all necessary measures. She said those are operational details. She doesn't want to go into the extent of the engagement or desire to act in Libya.
DOUGHERTY: Right. One reason, of course, is that she is the secretary of state and she is dealing more with the diplomatic side of it. She does know in quite detail, I'm sure, some of the military side.
But that is really operational. Some of that could change, because as we know, we had the French fighters in the air that apparently kept some of the Libyan planes from flying. They also attacked, we understand, a vehicle or a tank on the ground.
This will change as things develop. So you could have much more severe military action depending on how Gadhafi's forces react.
WHITFIELD: Thank you, Jill.
So when the U.N. Security Council authorized the no-fly zone over Libya, it was a big move that Germany abstained.
GORANI: It was one of the countries that abstained, including Brazil and China and Russia. They have a veto-wielding power. We have Frederik Pleitgen in Germany with the latest.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Certainly, Hala, they have a lot of explaining to do in Berlin. The Germans are the only western power that abstained from that vote. The way they tried to explain this is that they did feel the U.N. resolution was a good idea. They feel the goals of the U.N. resolution are good, but they don't feel the military action is the right way to do this.
They fear any military action over Libya could lead to destabilization in the region. They also fear a humanitarian exodus from the area. The Germans also say they don't want to get their troops involved in any way, shape or form. So they abstained from the vote, and that obviously has led to a lot of criticism here from inside the country.
The only thing the Germans say they are willing to do is they say they want to try to help out some of the countries that have to pull assets from Afghanistan to then go into the no-fly zone over Libya. That is one of the things the Germans will do. But certainly a lot of criticism in the country, Hala.
GORANI: Frederik Pleitgen there in Germany on why Germany abstained the U.N. Security Council 1973 which authorizes all necessary means to impose a no-fly zone over Libya. We will have a lot more after the break. Stay with us.
WHITFIELD: France is leading the mission with the no-fly zone in effect over Libya. Richard Roth is in New York with latest developments from the U.N.
RICHARD ROTH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Fredricka, interesting statements from the U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. He told the ministers there that quote, "last night the Libyan prime minister urgently called me saying they will abide by the resolution and adopt the cease-fire. He asked to stop military action on the international community." Then Secretary Ban said "He sounds rather desperate."
He called for organizing a monitoring team to observe the cease- fire. Libya has asked for certain countries who feel they are more partial to the views to come in. The U.N. had a special envoy who visited Tripoli, but they had not changed the Libyan disposition. The secretary-general says the envoy and his team saw worrisome signs and incitement.
Ban is calling for a cease-fire to be adhered to, and he is also calling for speedy action to follow-up on Security Council resolution 1973. There is a wire service report that the Russian ministry in Moscow is not happy with the French actions, though it is too early to say whether that probably presumed Russian unhappiness will call or lead to reversal of the Security Council action, which does not appear likely.
WHITFIELD: So, would they be unhappy with the fact that the French fighter jets have targeted military vehicles or unhappy with the fact that the French military is already doing air surveillance over Libya?
ROTH: Russia and the other countries that abstained warned the Security Council that the threat of any force will just open up to more casualties and more humanitarian disasters, which is what the west and others are saying they are trying to prevent.
Some of this could be for national consumption inside Russia to appear that they are countering western moves. This will be an interesting chess game to be played in the days and weeks ahead if the violence increases dramatically.
WHITFIELD: Richard Roth, thank you very much. We appreciate it. We will have more right after this.