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

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year 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.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More