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

VOA Exclusive: Interview With Myanmar President Thein Sein

Thein Sein calls allegations that minority Muslim Rohingya are fleeing alleged torture in Rakhine state a media fabrication More

New Yellow Fever Research May Lead to Improved Treatment

Researchers identify features of disease that may lead to more effective treatment More

UN Rights Commission Investigates Eritrea

Three-member commission will start collecting first-hand information from victims and other witnesses in Switzerland and Italy next week 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.
Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concernsi
X
November 19, 2014 11:39 PM
The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.
Video

Video What Jon Stewart Learned About Iran From 'Rosewater'

Jon Stewart, host of the satirical news program "The Daily Show" talks with Saman Arbabi of Voice of America's Persian service about Stewart's directorial debut, "Rosewater."
Video

Video Lebanese Winemakers Thrive Despite War Next Door

In some of the most volatile parts of Lebanon, where a constant flow of refugees crosses the border from Syria, one industry continues to flourish against the odds. Lebanese winemakers say after surviving a brutal civil war in the 1970s and 80s, they can survive anything. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon.
Video

Video China's Rise Closely Watched

China’s role as APEC host this week allowed a rare opportunity for Beijing to showcase its vision for the global economy and the region. But as China’s stature grows, so have tensions with other countries, including the United States. VOA’s Bill Ide in Beijing reports on how China’s rise as a global power is seen among Chinese and Americans.

All About America

AppleAndroid