The war in Libya is about a lot more than Muammer Gaddafi. Its outcome will reverberate around the Middle East and will affect international politics for decades. A vital principle is at stake.

Gideon Rachman

As the Libyan rebels race along the coast towards Tripoli, foreign ministers from 35 nations are gathering in London to discuss what to do next. At least, I think that’s what they are doing. Talking to participants in the London conference, it isn’t entirely clear what the agenda is. Formally, they are establishing a “contact group” of 35 nations that can monitor and discuss the Libyan conflict. Informally, it seems to me there are several other goals. Read more

Gideon Rachman

There has been a certain amount of sniggering about the fact that it was Obama’s female advisers who were most prominent in pressing for military intervention in Libya, while the men hung back. Amongst the interventionists were the evocatively-named pair of Power and Slaughter – that is Samantha Power on the National Security Council and Anne-Marie Slaughter, who recently stepped down as head of the Policy Planning staff at the State Department and tweeted effectively from her new perch at Princeton. And then there was Susan Rice, the US ambassador at the UN and, finally (and decisively), Hillary Clinton. Read more

As events unfold in Libya and across the wider region, the FT is running live coverage on Gideon Rachman’s blog. This post will update automatically. Read more

The argument over whether to fight in Libya had many aspects to it – ideology, national interest, diplomacy, military calculation. But the most important divide in the western world was temperamental. The Libyan debate pitted the hotheads against the ditherers. The leaders of the hotheads are Nicolas Sarkozy, president of France, and David Cameron, the prime minister of Britain. The ditherer-in-chief is Barack Obama, the US president, backed up by Angela Merkel, the German chancellor.

As events unfold in Libya, the FT will be running live coverage on Gideon Rachman’s blog. This post will update every few minutes, although it may take longer on mobile devices. Read more

A tank being struck by a missileAs events unfold in Libya, the FT will be running live coverage on Gideon Rachman’s blog. Read more

As events unfold in Libya, the FT will be running live coverage on Gideon Rachman’s blog.

By Kiran Stacey in London and Anora Mahmudova in New York. All times are GMT, Libya is 2 hours ahead.

For the latest coverage, please go to our March 20th live blog.

23.40 Via Reuters: Libya has called for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council after it was bombarded by a coalition of Western states, Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya reported without giving a source or details about the purpose of such a meeting. Read more

Mure Dickie reports from Tokyo on the devastating earthquake. In the studio, James Blitz examines the options for intervention in Libya, and Richard Milne looks at eurozone debt – are defaults on the cards? We also hear from Jamil Anderlini in Beijing on the Dalai Lama retiring from politics. Read more

Gideon Rachman

There is a horrible sense that the military tide is turning in Colonel Gaddafi’s favour. So the West is faced with the prospect of watching an uprising that we have cheered on and encouraged, slowly crushed before our eyes. There is a nasty sense of deja vu. Isn’t this what happened in Iraq in 1991 – when the Shia in the South were encouraged to rise up against Saddam, and then slaughtered, while the West looked on? A couple of days ago, I heard a former French foreign minister comparing events in Libya to Hungary in 1956. “We encourage them to revolt. Then we do nothing when they are killed,” he said. His solution was a “no-fly-zone” Read more