News / Africa

    Obama Warns Gadhafi of Possible Military Action

    President Barack Obama makes a statement on Libya in the East Room of the White House in Washington, March 18, 2011
    President Barack Obama makes a statement on Libya in the East Room of the White House in Washington, March 18, 2011
    Kent Klein

    President Barack Obama warned Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi Friday that he must stop attacking civilians or face a no-fly zone enforced with U.S. help. The president said the United States, however, will not send ground troops to Libya.

    Obama said the United States is ready to help European and Arab nations impose a no-fly zone on Libyan government forces if they continue military attacks on civilians.

    In the White House East Room, Obama angrily said Gadhafi has used brutal suppression against his own people, and has made it clear that he intends to continue.

    “Just yesterday, speaking of the city of Benghazi, a city of roughly 700,000 people, he threatened, and I quote, ‘We will have no mercy and no pity.’  No mercy on his own citizens.”

    The president said Gadhafi’s violence against the Libyan people could affect the entire Middle East if it is not stopped.

    “Left unchecked, we have every reason to believe that Gadhafi would commit atrocities against his people.  Many thousands could die. A humanitarian crisis would ensue. The entire region could be destabilized, endangering many of our allies and partners. The calls of the Libyan people for help would go unanswered,” said Obama.

    Obama spoke one day after the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution calling for a military response to the killing of Libyan civilians.

    Some Americans charge that Obama has not acted quickly or forcefully enough on the Libyan situation. But he pointed out that the U.S. and other countries have imposed economic sanctions on Libya and sent humanitarian aid to neighboring countries to prevent a refugee crisis.

    The president laid out the demands the U.S., Britain, France and several Arab states are making, including an immediate ceasefire by Gadhafi’s forces.

    “That means all attacks against civilians must stop. Gadhafi must stop his troops from advancing on Benghazi, pull them back from Adabiya, Mistrata and Zawiya, and establish water, electricity and gas supplies to all areas. Humanitarian assistance must be allowed to reach the people of Libya. Let me be clear: These terms are not negotiable.”

    Obama said Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will travel to Paris on Saturday to meet with America’s European allies and partners to discuss the enforcement of the U.N. resolution.

    He did not say exactly what U.S. involvement in a military action would include, but he said American forces could help other countries enforce a no-fly zone.

    “We will provide the unique capabilities that we can bring to bear to stop the violence against civilians, including enabling our European allies and Arab partners to effectively enforce a no-fly zone.”

    And the president emphatically stated that U.S. ground forces would not invade Libya.

    “The United States is not going to deploy ground troops into Libya. And we are not going to use force to go beyond a well-defined goal: specifically, the protection of civilians in Libya.”

    Before his announcement, the president met with congressional leaders from both parties to discuss the U.S. response to the situation in Libya.

    Among the lawmakers was Senator Richard Lugar, the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Lugar has supported other Obama administration foreign policies in the past, such as the New START nuclear weapons treaty with Russia. But he has said the president should not commit U.S. military forces or equipment to Libya without the approval of Congress.

    Earlier, Obama condemned the violence in Yemen, in which government forces fired into a crowd Friday and killed at least 40 people who had been demanding that President Ali Abdullah Saleh step down.

    In a written statement, Obama called on President Saleh to fulfill his pledge to allow demonstrations to take place peacefully. He also said those responsible for Friday’s violence must be held accountable.

    You May Like

    California Republicans Mull Choices in Presidential Race

    Ted Cruz tells state's Republican Convention delegates campaign will be 'battle on the ground, district by district by district,' ahead of June 7 primary

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, many Kurds are trying to escape turmoil by focusing on success of football team Amedspor

    South African Company Designs Unique Solar Cooker

    Two-man team of solar power technologists introduces Sol4, hot plate that heats up so fast it’s like cooking with gas or electricity

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

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora