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

    Vietnam Urges US to Lift Lethal Weapons Ban Amid S. China Sea Tensions

    US president’s upcoming visit to Vietnam underscores strength of relationship, and lifting embargo would reflect that trust, ambassador says

    Are US Schools Turning a Blind Eye to Radical Qatari Preachers?

    Parade of radical Islamist clerics using mosque at Qatar’s Education City draws mounting criticism for American universities that maintain satellite branches there

    Why Islamic State Is Down But Not Out

    Despite loss of territory, group’s ferocious attacks over past three months seen as testimony to its continued durability and resourcefulness

    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.
    Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroadi
    X
    May 02, 2016 1:36 PM
    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With the conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, between the rebel PKK and the Turkish state, many Kurds are trying to escape the turmoil by focusing on the success of their football team Amedspor in Diyarbakir. The club is increasingly becoming a symbol for Kurds, not only in Diyarbakir but beyond. Dorian Jones reports from southeast Turkey.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora