News / Africa

Libyan Opposition Leader Hails Obama Speech

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks about the conflict in Libya during an address at the National Defense University in Washington, March 28, 2011.
U.S. President Barack Obama speaks about the conflict in Libya during an address at the National Defense University in Washington, March 28, 2011.


  • Clottey interview with Mufta Lamloom, leader of the main opposition Libyan National Movement

Peter Clottey

The leader of the main opposition Libyan National Movement says President Barack Obama’s speech late Monday demonstrates America’s commitment to not abandon ordinary Libyans in their time of need.

Mufta Lamloom says America’s intervention in the Libyan crisis has prevented forces loyal to leader Moammar Gadhafi from massacring ordinary unarmed Libyans who are opposed to what he describes as Gadhafi’s tyrannical rule.

“What I got from the speech is that he was very cautious trying to address the American people about what he did in Libya and that it was a decision that has to be taken without referring to anybody because there was a massacre about to happen in Benghazi,” said Lamloom.

“It means a lot to Libyans. It means that the United States has not abandoned them in their hour of need because, despite all the obligations of the United States, despite all the hardships the whole world is going through, despite their involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan, the United States has found a way to intervene in the last minute to stop the massacre in Libya,” he added.

In a nationally-televised address Monday from Washington, Obama accused Gadhafi of “brutal repression” and creating a “looming humanitarian crisis,” which he said forced the international community to act.

Lamloom hailed Obama’s speech saying Libyans are encouraged and pleased with America’s intervention.

“[Libyans] will take from the speech that United States has obligations towards the people of the world, especially those who are seeking to liberate themselves from dictatorship and want freedom. This has been shown in a very precise and clear language. He said, whoever is looking for their freedom, they will find a friend in the United States,” Lamloom said.

Obama's speech came 10 days after the Western air campaign against forces loyal to Gadhafi began. He pointed out that the campaign was authorized by what he called a historic vote in the U.N. Security Council and that NATO is to assume enforcement of the no-fly zone and the protection of the Libyan people.

Lamloom also says his expectations about Obama’s speech were met.

“What Libyans see in it [the speech] is that what the coalition or NATO has done is that they have opened the way for Libyans to talk to the chief of the dictatorship. At one point, the Libyans were desperate because Gadhafi was actually massacring the people…he uses the pretext of fighting fundamentalists or al Qaeda,” Lamloom said.

“But, nobody in Libya will believe that because we don’t have those elements in Libya. What Gadhafi was doing was just killing his people systematically. He was encouraging his troops to rape women; that is something that should not be accepted in the Arab World,” he added.

Obama repeated his pledge that the U.S. role would be limited and no U.S. ground forces would be used. The speech was designed to address the concerns of those in Congress and elsewhere who have criticized Obama for failing to clarify U.S. goals before involving U.S. forces in the air assault in support of Libyan rebels.

His speech comes on the eve of a 35-nation conference in London to discuss the situation in Libya and ways to bring about regime change there.

You May Like

Video Egyptian Journalists Call for Press Freedom

Despite release of al-Jazeera journalists and others, Egyptian Journalist Syndicate says some remain imprisoned More

Turkey Survey Indicates Traditional Distrusts, Shift to the West

Comprehensive public opinion survey also found a large majority of those interviewed distrust all countries other than country’s neighbor, Azerbaijan More

Pakistan Court Upholds Death Sentence in Blasphemy Killing

Highest court upholds sentence of Mumtaz Qadri convicted of 2011 killing a provincial governor for criticizing country’s controversial blasphemy law More

This forum has been closed.
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.
Making a Minti
October 07, 2015 4:17 AM
While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video Self-Driving Cars Getting Closer

We are at the dawn of the robotic car age and should start getting used to seeing self-driving cars, at least on highways. Car and truck manufacturers are now running a tight race to see who will be the first to hit the street, while some taxicab companies are already planning to upgrade their fleets. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Clinton Seeks to Boost Image Before Upcoming Debate

The five announced Democratic party presidential contenders meet in their first debate next Tuesday in Las Vegas, Nevada. Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton continues to lead the Democratic field, but she is getting a stronger-than-expected challenge from Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

Video South Carolina Reels Under Worst-ever Flooding

South Carolina is reeling from the worst flooding in recorded history that forced residents from their homes and left thousands without drinking water and electricity. Parts of the state, including the capital, Columbia, received about 60 centimeters of rain in just a couple of days. Authorities warn that the end of rain does not mean the end of danger, as it will take days for the water to recede. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

VOA Blogs