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

Beijing Warns Hong Kong Protesters, Cracks Down at Home

In suppressing protest news, China reportedly has arrested more than 20 people on the mainland who acted in support of Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters More

Competing Goals Could Frustrate Efforts to Fight Islamic State

As alliances shift and countries re-define themselves, analysts say long-standing goals of some key players in Middle East may soon compete with Western goals More

Child Sexual Exploitation to Worsen in SE Asia

Southeast Asia’s planned economic integration is a key step for boosting the region’s productivity, but carries downsides as well 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.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid