News / USA

Two US Senators Urge Intervention in Libya

U.S. Senators John McCain, R-Ariz., left, and Joseph Lieberman (flle photo)
U.S. Senators John McCain, R-Ariz., left, and Joseph Lieberman (flle photo)
Michael Bowman

Two high-ranking U.S. senators are calling on the Obama administration to recognize Libya’s opposition, as France has done, and impose a no-fly zone to aid rebels battling forces loyal to leader Moammar Gadhafi. The senators introduced a resolution Monday urging prompt U.S. intervention in Libya.

Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona says the situation in Libya is growing increasingly grim. "At this moment, opponents of Colonel Gadhafi and his supporters are fighting for their very survival. Gadhafi has unleashed a merciless campaign of violence against the Libyan people, including civilian non-combatants, using every tool at his disposal," he said.

Forces loyal to the Libyan leader have been continuing an offensive against rebel-held towns in the east of the country. Over the past week, the rebel advance west has been pushed back nearly 200 kilometers.

Speaking on the Senate floor, McCain said the United States cannot remain on the sidelines of the conflict and watch Mr. Gadhafi reassert control over Libya.

"First, the president [Barack Obama] should recognize Libya’s transitional national council, which is based in Benghazi but representative of communities across the country, as the sole legitimate governing authority of Libya, just as France has done.  Second, the president should take immediate steps to implement a no-fly zone in Libya with international support," he said.

On Saturday, the Arab League endorsed the idea of a no-fly zone and said it would ask the U.N. Security Council to impose such restrictions. The White House said it welcomed the Arab League position, saying the international community is unified in sending a "clear message that the violence in Libya must stop."

McCain said a no-fly zone would not, by itself, assure defeat of Mr. Gadhafi’s forces, but would provide a boost to rebels when they need it most. "It is Libyans themselves who want to do the fighting against Gadhafi. But they want it to be a fair fight, and so should we [the United States]," he said.

President Obama has said that Mr. Gadhafi is "on the wrong side of history," and the U.S. leader has not decided on any military action but is still considering imposing a no-fly zone. Critics of a no-fly zone say it is an act of war, and could embroil the United States in another conflict in the Arab world on the side of forces whose ultimate intentions are not yet clear.

Those arguments are rejected by Independent Democratic Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, who also sponsored the proposed resolution. Lieberman said the anti-totalitarian revolution sweeping northern Africa must not be allowed to fail in Libya.

"There is a danger that what is happening in Libya is essentially a wall being put up, which says, 'this peaceful, democratic revolution in the Arab world ends here.' That the ‘Arab Spring’ might be going the way of the 'Prague Spring' of 1968. We simply cannot let that happen," he said.

For weeks, the two senators have urged a more active U.S. response to events in Libya. In the United States, the executive branch bears responsibility for conducting foreign policy. Congress may urge and advise the president on foreign matters. If adopted, the proposed Senate resolution cannot force President Obama to intervene in Libya, but could add weight and political backing to any decision he may ultimately make.

You May Like

Pundits Split Over Long-Term US Role in Afghanistan

Security pact remains condition for American presence beyond 2014; deadline criticized More

US Eyes Islamic State Threat

Officials warn that IS could pose a threat to US homeland More

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Moscow says Russian troops crossed into Ukrainian territory by mistake 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.
Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocksi
X
George Putic
August 25, 2014 4:00 PM
How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.
Video

Video Peace Returns to Ferguson as Community Tries to Heal

Thousands of people nationwide are expected to attend funeral services Monday in the U.S. Midwestern city of St. Louis, Missouri, for Michael Brown, the unarmed African-American teenager who was fatally shot by a white police officer August 9 in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. The shooting touched off days of violent demonstrations there, resulting in more than 100 arrests. VOA's Chris Simkins reports from Ferguson where the community is trying to move on after weeks of racial tension.
Video

Video Meeting in Minsk May Hinge on Putin Story

The presidents of Russia and Ukraine are expected to meet face-to-face Tuesday in Minsk, along with European leaders, for talks on the situation in Ukraine. Political analysts say the much welcomed dialogue could help bring an end to months of deadly clashes between pro-Russia separatists and Ukrainian forces in the country's southeast. But much depends on the actions of one man, Russian President Vladimir Putin. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Artists Shun Russia's Profanity Law

Russia in July enacted a law threatening fines for publicly displayed profanity in media, films, literature, music and theater. The restriction, the toughest since the Soviet era, aims to protect the Russian language and culture and has been welcomed by those who say cursing is getting out of control. But many artists reject the move as a patronizing and ineffective act of censorship in line with a string of conservative morality laws. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video British Fighters on Frontline of ISIS Information War

Security services are racing to identify the Islamic State militant who beheaded U.S. journalist James Foley in Syria. The murderer spoke English on camera with a British accent. It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for the Islamic State, also called ISIL or ISIS, alongside thousands of other foreign jihadists. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from the center of the investigation in London.

AppleAndroid