News / Middle East

US Senators Advocate No-Fly Zone Over Libya

Libyan rebels take their position during a battle against pro-Gadhafi fighters, in the town of Brega, east of Tripoli, March 2, 2011
Libyan rebels take their position during a battle against pro-Gadhafi fighters, in the town of Brega, east of Tripoli, March 2, 2011

Two influential U.S. senators say the United States should help implement a no-fly zone over Libya as part of a broader effort to engage and assist those who are fighting totalitarianism and repression across the Arab world. Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona and independent Democratic Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut spoke at a Washington forum after returning from a 12-day trip across the Middle East and North Africa.

Senators McCain and Lieberman said popular revolts in Arab nations may bring unpredictable end results and hold potential pitfalls that could impact the United States.  But, appearing at the Brookings Institution, they repeatedly expressed cautious optimism about unfolding events and changes taking place.

"For a long time, we [in the United States] have all said, ‘Where are the moderates in the Muslim world?  Why aren’t they speaking up?’ Well, they have spoken up now, and more powerfully than we ever could have imagined in the streets of Cairo and Tunis and Benghazi and beyond.  It’s really quite remarkable.  And we will rue the day if we as a country do not play an active leadership role in doing everything we can to support the moderates, to support the transition to democracy," said Senator Lieberman.

To that end, the senators recommend establishing a no-fly zone over Libya to impede forces loyal to its embattled leader, Moammar Gadhafi.  

"American policy is stated by both the president [Barack Obama] and very emphatically by the secretary of state [Hillary Clinton] as ‘Gadhafi must go.’  If that is American policy, then it seems to me that we should try to help the people of Libya achieve, effectively, that goal," said Senator McCain.

McCain said the United States is well-versed in establishing no-fly zones, having done so for years over Iraq.  He stressed, however, that he is not advocating direct armed intervention in Libya.

The Obama administration says it has discussed the possibility of taking control of Libyan airspace with NATO allies. U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates has said doing so would constitute ‘a big operation in a big country.’

For now, Libyan warplanes continue to strike opposition and rebel-controlled strongholds.

Senator Lieberman noted that protesters in many countries have made great use of social media like Facebook and other high-tech tools invented in the United States.  He said America’s engagement with the region must include greater economic and technological assistance and investment.

Both he and Senator McCain said popular uprisings could spread far beyond Arab countries. "It is thrilling that this has happened.  It is a direct repudiation of the Islamist Republic of Iran and their vision of government," Lieberman said.

"I think the Chinese are obviously [worried], and I think [Russia’s] Vladimir Putin and his KGB buddies ought to be a little more nervous than in the past.  I think this thing [popular uprising] is going to spread throughout the globe," McCain said.

Both senators acknowledged Israeli concerns about sweeping and unpredictable changes in the Middle East.  But Senator Lieberman noted that a successful transition to democracy in the region will bring the potential for what he termed "much warmer and mutually-beneficial relations."

You May Like

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

China to Open Stock Markets to Pension Funds

In unprecedented move, government to soon allow local pension funds to invest up to $94 billion in domestic shares More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age 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.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs