SO as the news breaks this morning andl ast night the UN security council has backed a motion calling for military intervention.
Underneath is the BBC report on what was voted on and decided at last nights meeting with the UN permenant members.
Western powers are discussing how to enforce a no-fly zone over Libya after the passage of a UN resolution backing "all necessary measures" to protect civilians, short of an occupation.
France said there could be air strikes "within hours", though the details and timing of any action remain unclear.
Forces loyal to Col Muammar Gaddafi have been advancing eastwards towards the rebel stronghold of Benghazi.
They were also said to be bombarding the city of Misrata on Friday.
Col Gaddafi has promised to retake Benghazi, saying his forces would show "no mercy".
The BBC's Ian Pannell in eastern Libya says government troops are battling rebels forces in the coastal town of Al-Zuwaytina, which lies between Ajdabiya and Benghazi.
The rebels say they have lost a number of fighters and that civilians have also been killed, he reports.
It is not thought that the US would be involved in the first strikes. The British and French, along with some Arab allies, are expected to play a leading role. Norway has said it will also participate.
BBC diplomatic correspondent
In effect there are two air missions to be carried out. One operation is to establish a round-the-clock no fly zone. The other is to prevent Libyan forces bombarding or approaching Benghazi.
Both operations might require the destruction of some of the Libyan government's air defences, but it is not clear if this would be done at the outset or simply when aircraft were illuminated or engaged by Libyan government radars.
Initially it looks as though French and British aircraft will be involved, though there will be a strong desire in Paris and London to have some Arab air forces involved as well.
The goal though of the UN resolution is a cease-fire, so part of the aim of any air operation is the shock effect - to demonstrate to Col Gaddafi that the outside world means business and that he should seek another way out from this crisis.
French government spokesman Francois Baroin said on Friday morning that strikes could take place "rapidly" and "within a few hours". But he added: "You will understand that there's no question of talking as early as this morning about when, how, which targets or in which form."
British Prime Minister David Cameron said that "in the coming hours", Britain would send Typhoon and Tornado fighter jets, as well as air-to-air refuelling and surveillance aircraft, to airbases "from where they can start to take the necessary action".
Qatar will take part in international efforts to protect civilians, Qatar's official news agency reported, though it was not clear if this included military operations.
This situation has moved quickly and i fear too quickly in some ways it seems clear what will happen here western troops fighter craft and warships will flock to Libya now and look to neatralise Gaddafi's forces the best they can. But my point is how many more civilian people will loose their lives due to these ramped up military action now involving many more people and countries than it was before.
I am of course not a supporter of Gadaffi and support his removal as quickly and blood free as possible of course but just like with Iraq i do not agree with the west interveening. I am a bit more pleased this time with the UN coming on board properly but there are many factors behind the scenes playing out i do believe and we should be careful waht we read into over the next few days and weeks and probably months and years if the occupation of Iraq is anything to go by.
I have heard this morning the Libyian foreign minister coming out saying they will comply with UN regulations and call a cease fire. I would whole heartidly support this. Anything taht can result in fewer or no needless deaths i am all for as a socialist. But Gadaffi is a sneaky character and we must be wary again of his false promises. Great if it comes off but i somewaht feel he is trying to call the UN's bluff here.
As many of you may or may not know i am never in favour of all out war, i'm far more in support of all out peace.
But as it looks like this will not happen anytime soon and i will add my name to the list of anti war protesters and sign any petition i can. We must look for clear dialog with Gadaffi and his leaders and look for a peaceful solution to this conflict.
I worry for both British troops again who will be needlessly putting theirl ives on the line for our governments selfish drive to protect their own interests in the region which again i'm afraid to say is that thing they call Oil again.
I like many others will be watching carefully to see how this pans out in the next few days and weeks but i am not in support of what the west is doing it will look very imperialistic an like we are trying to interveen again where we have backed a dictator for years and years. To me it looks very hypocritical