Update: The U.N. Security Council resolution authorizing military force in Libya passed on Thursday evening, as expected. Ten countries voted in favor, while five countries (Russia, Germany, China, India, Brazil) abstained. According to a report by the BBC, British forces could begin making air raids as soon as Friday.
The U.N. Security Council was poised on Thursday evening to pass a U.N. resolution authorizing U.S., European, and Arab states to impose a no-fly zone over Libya and to use force to prevent Muammar al-Qaddafi's forces from capturing the rebel stronghold of Bengazhi and attacking civilians. It remained unclear whether the resolution will set the stage for immediate military intervention in Libya, but if passed, it would provide wide authority to Western and Arab powers to confront Qaddafi's forces.
The resolution demands the "immediate establishment of a cease-fire and a complete end to violence and all attacks, and abuses, of civilians." It authorizes member states -- after they have provided notification to the U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki moon and the Secretary General of the Arab League, Amr Moussa -- "to take all necessary measures...to protect civilians and civilian populated areas, including Benghazi, while excluding a foreign occupation force of any form on any part of Libyan territory."
Council diplomats said that the measures were expected to be pass by a vote of 10 to 0 in the 15-nation council, with five council members -- Brazil, India, China, Germany and Russia -- expected to abstain. Here is a copy of the entire draft text.
Follow me on Twitter @columlynch
Longtime Washington Post correspondent Colum Lynch reports on all things United Nations for Turtle Bay.