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

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology 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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

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