The emergency European Union summit on Libya began with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso telling reporters: “Regarding Libya the problem has a name: Gaddafi. He has to go.” The EU leaders were unified in their call for Gaddafi’s resignation, but failed to agree beyond that. No one followed France in recognizing the authority of the rebels’ interim government, with Dutch Premier Mark Rutte calling it a “crazy move.” Nor was progress made on plans to aid the rebellion or the institution of a possible no-fly zone, pushed by Britain and France. President Sarkozy went further, saying that France and Britain were “open,” if the U.N. and Arab League backed them, to “defensive” air strikes against Gaddafi’s forces if they used warplanes or chemical weapons against civilians. Meanwhile, rebels have retreated from Zawiya after days of bombardment by Gaddafi’s forces, and air strikes continue in the oil port of Ras Lanuf, where rebels say Gaddafi’s forces have entered by boat and by tank. In Benghazi, the head of the rebel council said they need not only a no-fly zone, but a sea embargo, weapons, and humanitarian assistance if they are going to withstand the onslaught Col. Gaddafi’s son Saif al-Islam has promised is coming.
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