News / Africa

Panetta Says Gaddafi’s Days 'Are Numbered'

US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta (R) take part in a televised conversation at the National Defense University in Washington, DC, August 16, 2011
US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta (R) take part in a televised conversation at the National Defense University in Washington, DC, August 16, 2011

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says Libyan rebels are advancing toward Tripoli from the east and west, and there now is a sense that Moammar Gadhafi's days in power “are numbered.” Panetta and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton discussed Libya, Syria and other Middle East issues at a public forum in Washington.

The Libyan rebels have been claiming battlefield advances in recent days. Panetta’s comments, though, were the first by a senior Obama administration official in that span suggesting Gadhafi’s position is indeed eroding.

Appearing with Clinton at Washington’s National Defense University, Panetta said Libyan opposition forces in the west are advancing along the coast toward Tripoli, and rebels in the east are advancing on Brega, a gateway to the capital.

Signs of regime's deterioration

The Pentagon chief said a combination of factors, including this week’s reported defection of Libyan Interior Minister Nasser al-Mabruk Abdullah, point to a decline in Gadhafi’s fortunes.

“Gaddafi’s forces are weakened. And this latest defection is another example of how weak they have gotten," said Panetta. "So I think, considering how difficult the situation has been, the fact is that the combination of NATO forces there, the combination of what the opposition is doing, the sanctions, the international pressure, the work of the Arab League, all of that has been very helpful in moving this in the right direction. And I think the sense is that Gaddafi’s days are numbered.”

Clinton downplayed reported splits within the Libyan rebel movement, and hailed what she said was the first “NATO-Arab alliance” providing military and political support for anti-Gaddafi forces. She also expressed satisfaction that it is not a case of the United States in the lead with everyone else on the sidelines.

Strength in numbers


In that same vein, she said, it is really not of central importance whether the United States has called for the departure of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad.

“It is not going to be any news if the United States says Assad needs to go. Okay, fine, what’s next? If Turkey says it, if [Saudi] King Abdullah says it, if other people say it, there is no way that the Assad regime can ignore it,” she said.

The appearance by Clinton and Panetta before military officers and other students at the Defense University came a day after suicide attacks and car bombings in Iraq killed 60 people and raised new concerns about the Baghdad government’s ability to maintain security after the U.S. troop withdrawal.

Iraq's security issues

Both officials said the Obama administration intends to adhere to the commitment to withdraw all combat troops by the end of the year, though Panetta said it is ready to consider an Iraqi request for a continuing training presence.

“We are leaving by the end of the year. Our combat mission is over. The discussions now are what kind of assistance we can continue to provide with regard to training, with regards to other assistance that can be provided. We have done it with other countries. We have done it with other countries in that region. And I think this would be what I would call a normal relationship.”

Clinton said the idea of a U.S. training presence past the end of the year is a discussion Iraqis are having internally and are “beginning to have” with the United States.

You May Like

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. More

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

Dropout rate at an all-time high in South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during 3-year civil war More

Tennessee Songbirds Fly Coop Long Before Tornadoes Arrive

Researchers say birds apparently alerted to danger by sounds at frequencies below range of human hearing 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.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid