As the coalition military operation in Libya continues, the United States seems to be inching closer to taking a smaller role in the effort. The Post's Scott Wilson and Karen DeYoung reported that the U.S. is close to "turning over command of the military operation in Libya, with key NATO countries tentatively agreeing that the alliance would take the leading role."
There are currently nine countries involved in the international effort to stop violence against civilians in Libya. The U.S. currently has 42 F-16s and other planes in the region, and France was the first country to launch air strikes in Libya last weekend. Here's a breakdown of who else is involved, with countries ranked by their level of involvement:
|Enforcing no-fly zone since Saturday|| || ||Not released by the Pentagon. Other bases in addition to Italy may be Greece, Spain and Turkey.|
|Participated in coordinated strike Saturday|| || ||Southern Italy|
|Participated Saturday, expected to resume Tuesday|| || ||Solenzara air base, Corsica|
|Joined a naval blockade off Libya but has not conducted strikes|| || ||Decimomannu air base, Sardinia, Italy|
|Ready to participate|| || ||A NATO base near Naples and seven others -- the Amendola, Gioia del Colle, Sigonella, Aviano, Trapani, Decimomannu and Pantelleria bases -- are available.|
|Ready to participate|| ||None||Sigonella air base, Sicily|
|Ready to participate|| || ||Rota in Cadiz and Moron de la Frontera in Seville are ready for use in Spain.|
|Planning to participate|| ||None|
|Not participating until clear command-and-control strategy has been formed|| ||None||Crete|
Whoever leads the effort once the U.S. takes a smaller role will have to face a resilient Moammar Gaddafi. As Liz Sly and Greg Jaffe reported for the Post, "Four days of allied strikes have battered Gaddafi’s air force and largely destroyed his long-range air defense systems, a top U.S. commander said Tuesday. But there was little evidence yet that the attacks had stopped regime forces from killing civilians or shifted the balance of power in favor of the rebels."