When NATO announced that it would soon take over control of the no-fly zone in Libya from the U.S., analysts wondered whether the decision would result in a fractured command structure. Would NATO lead the no-fly zone and arms embargo while Western powers separately continued their air strikes to protect civilians? Turkey--NATO's only Muslim member--believes the U.N. resolution to protect Libyan civilians shouldn't permit air strikes on Qaddafi's air and ground forces that could harm civilians, but the U.S. and its European allies have interpreted the mandate more broadly.
It increasingly appears, however, that NATO will assume control over the entire military operation, air strikes and all. The Guardian is reporting as much, and U.K. Foreign Secretary William Hague just predicted that the alliance would assume full command, according to the BBC.
The developments come as the international community takes other steps forward diplomatically on Libya. The United Arab Emirates has decided to become the second Arab country, after Qatar, to contribute warplanes to the military effort, overcoming its anger with the West for not, in its view, appreciating the extent of Iran's meddling in the uprising in Bahrain. The African Union, meanwhile, is holding talks today with representatives from Muammar Qaddafi's regime in Ethiopia, who reportedly say they're willing to negotiate with the rebels and institute political reforms and, perhaps, elections.
Not all is quiet on the diplomatic front, however. On Friday, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan noted the "positive" way in which NATO had sidelined France in Libya, according to Turkey's Anatolia news agency. AFP explains that Turkish officials may still be smarting from France not inviting them to last Saturday's Paris summit on Libya and from French President Nicolas Sarkozy's opposition to Turkey becoming a member of the European Union.