News / USA

Clinton: Libyan Rebels Oppose Outside Intervention

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton testifies before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, March 1, 2011
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton testifies before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, March 1, 2011

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told Congressmen Libyan rebel factions fighting Muammar Gadhafi’s government oppose outside military intervention on their behalf. The United States and allies have moved forces closer to Libya in the face of unrest there and say enforcing a “no fly zone” there is an option.

Clinton reiterated the Obama administration takes no options off the table, including military ones, as long as Libya's Gadafi government continues to turn its guns on its own people.

But her comments, in budget testimony to the House Foreign Affairs Committee, reflected U.S. caution about direct intervention.

The Obama administration has opened contacts with disparate elements of the emerging Libyan opposition.

In an exchange with Republican committee chairwoman Ilena Ros-Lehtinen, who urged a tough approach on Libya, Clinton said the opposition does not want outside military support.

“We are also very conscious of the desire by the Libyan opposition forces that they be seen as doing this by themselves on behalf of the Libyan people, that there not be outside intervention by any external force.  Because they want this to have been their accomplishment. We respect that,” she said.

Clinton said the stakes for the United States are high in Libya, which she said could become a peaceful democracy, or descend into protracted civil war and chaos.

Chairwoman Ros-Lehtinen criticized what she described as past U.S. coddling of the Gadhafi government, despite its “deplorable” human-rights record, while Ohio Republican Steve Chabot said the U.S. response to the beginning of the popular uprising against Mr. Gadhafi was weak.

“It is difficult to look at the initial U.S. response to the unrest in Libya and think of any word other than tepid.  Although the administration has suggested that its initial reaction was tempered in order to avoid provoking a hostage situation, such fears did not seem to hinder other nations,” he said.

Clinton said unlike other countries, the United States was reluctant to use military assets to evacuate its  citizens from Libya out of concern it might be seen as a prelude to seizing the country’s oil assets.

“If you follow, as we follow, all the websites that are looking at what’s happening in the Middle East, you see a constant drumbeat that the United States is going to invade Libya to take over the oil.  Well, we are not going to do that, and we are going to side with the Libyan people and their aspirations.  But the last thing in the world we wanted was to start off with military assets when we very effectively got our people out,” she said.

The hearing was otherwise dominated by debate over Republican proposals to reduce foreign affairs funding, including a proposed 16 percent cut in the State Department budget for the remaining seven months of the current 2011 fiscal year.

Clinton said a cut of that magnitude would be “devastating” to U.S. national security interests and said its 2012 budget plan, the nominal subject of the hearing, is “a lean budget for lean times.”

The $47-billion package is one percent larger than the 2010 budget and Clinton warned the panel of retreating from responsibilities, as she said the United States did in Afghanistan after the Soviet withdrawal in 1989.

But Ros-Lehtinen said those complaining about reduced foreign affairs funding should consider how much less an “insolvent” U.S. government would be able to do.

You May Like

Video Experts Warn World Losing Ebola Fight

Doctors Without Borders says world is losing battle against Ebola, unless wealthy nations dispatch specialized biological disaster response teams More

Video Experts: Rise of Islamic State Significant Development in Jihadism

Many analysts contend the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years More

US-Based Hong Kongers Pledge Support for Pro-Democracy Activists

Democracy advocates call on Chinese living abroad to join them in opposing new election rules for their home territory More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid