“At the moment it seems that the international community is not speaking with one voice on this issue, so in the meantime we will have to wait to see how this plays out,” Al Jazeera’s John Terrett, reporting from Washington, said. While Jay Carney, a White House spokesman, said on Tuesday that the ships are being moved in order to prepare for contingencies of a chiefly humanitarian nature, he was quick to add that "we aren't taking any options off the table."
Two US amphibious assault ships, the USS Kearsarge, which can carry 2,000 marines, and the USS Ponce, will pass through Egypt's Suez Canal on Wednesday morning, an Egyptian official said on Tuesday. David Cameron, the British prime minister, on his part said the international community cannot let Gaddafi "murder" his own people, as he justified considerations for a no-fly zone.
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"It's not acceptable that Colonel Gaddafi can be murdering his own people, using aeroplanes and helicopters gunships ... and we have to plan now to make sure that if it happens we can do something to stop that," he said. "If he starts taking that sort of action we might need to have a no-fly zone in place very quickly."
However, a senior US military official has warned that establishing a no-fly zone in Libya would be a "challenging" military operation. "My military opinion is that it would be challenging," General James Mattis, commander of US Central Command, told a Senate hearing. "You would have to remove air defence capability in order to establish a no-fly zone, so no illusions here. It would be a military operations - it wouldn't be just telling people not to fly airplanes."
Poised: U.S. Navy ships of the Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group and the Enterprise Carrier Strike Group sail in formation earlier this month
Mission: The USS Enterprise sails through the Suez Canal in Egypt today as the U.S. was said to be moving warships and aircraft in response to Gaddafi
Greens: Pro-Gadhafi security forces stand near a checkpoint on a street in Qasr Banashir, southeast of the capital Tripoli, in Libya, today
Support: A convoy of 18 trucks loaded with humanitarian aid bound for Benghazi, travels past a Libyan army tank and a mural lauding Gaddafi in the Tripoli suburb of Gaser Ben Ghisher today