Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Thursday that he supports looking at all options besides direct military intervention in the unfolding civil war in Libya, including a no-fly zone, but that there's no tipping point for the U.S. to get involved.
While other senators have been more vocal in their support for a no-fly zone over Libya, including Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., McConnell had not said he was for or against the zone.
On MSNBC’s Morning Joe, McConnell said, “Short of putting American troops on the ground, we need to look at all these options. I think everybody agrees that anything we can do to speed any exit of Muammar Qaddafi would be a good thing.”
As Qaddafi’s supporters continue to crack down on rebel-held cities like Zawiyah, McConnell said that there was no tipping point for the U.S. to step in and take action.
“We will continue to follow it.... Our ability to impact most of this is quite marginal,” he said. “We might be able to be helpful in Libya; we're looking at all the options.”
NATO defense ministers are consulting in Brussels on the ramifications of imposing a no-fly zone over Libya, where Qaddafi’s supporters are engaged in fierce battle with rebels who have gained control of parts of the country and appear to be starting to coalesce as an organization. France on Thursday was the first country to recognize the Libyan rebel leadership run out of the eastern part of the country by former justice minister Mustafa Abdel-Jalil, with French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s government saying it would exchange ambassadors with them.
“During the Cold War, we would arm insurgents; we did it in a number of different places. Sometimes it was actually very effective. I think there are a number of different options the administration is looking at and that we're encouraging. Some of the Democrats in the Senate think a no-fly zone would be a good idea too; they would just like to have it done on a multilateral basis,” McConnell said. “I think we need to look at all of these options to see if we can be helpful without direct involvement in what could end up being, it seems to be, a civil war in Libya.”