News / Africa

VOA Exclusive: Libya’s Former US Ambassador Says West Should Intervene

Libya's former Ambassador to the US Ali Suleiman Aujali at VOA studios
Libya's former Ambassador to the US Ali Suleiman Aujali at VOA studios

Multimedia

Audio
TEXT SIZE - +
Cecily Hilleary

NATO members are meeting in Brussels to consider military options in response to the growing crisis in Libya.  One of NATO's chief concerns is how to impose a no-fly zone without descending into all-out war.

Ali Suleiman Aujali recently resigned his post as Libyan ambassador to the United States, but he remains in Washington on behalf of the newly-formed Interim National Transitional Council. VOA’s Cecily Hilleary sat down with Aujali in our studios and spoke to him about the issue of a no-fly zone and other challenges facing Libya today.

Listen to the full interview with Ambassador Aujali:

Aujali: You know the problem the uprising is facing now – they are facing the air superiority of [Libyan leader Moammar] Gadhafi. And the other challenge is the shortage of rebels. Of course, they are not professional fighters. They are young people, students, doctors and lawyers. We have no soldiers supporting the revolution, except for the soldiers who quit the Gadhafi regime.

We need protection, but our people will fight. But protection must be provided  by the international community. We must paralyze the Gadhafi superiority in the air. The world must do something. There are options on the table. They have to pick one which would stop Gadhafi killing his own people.

Hilleary: The no-fly zone is not a simple matter though. In order to stop Libyan airstrikes, you have to strike at the Libyan air defense and you also need to hit the missile sites on the ground.

Aujali: If the international community, the European Union and the United States want to do it, they can do it. If they don’t want to do it, then they make [the situation] very complicated. This regime [Gaddhafi’s] would not be able to [put up any resistance] if there was one strike or two. They would collapse.

Cecily Hilleary’s debriefer with Susan Yackee with additional insights into her interview with Ambassador Aujali:

Hilleary: Mr. Gadhafi has said that if we take any action, Libyans are prepared to take up arms.

Aujali: How can Gadhafi – he failed to control his own country and he is going to fight the West? He blackmailed the West with [the threat of a deluge of] illegal immigrants, he blackmailed the West with al-Qaida, their fighting in Libya, and unfortunately there are some countries that believe what he’s saying. But this is not true. Libya has never been a home to al-Qaida.

The Libyan society is a very open society, a very compassionate society. And when he said “al-Qaida,” everybody [listened] up, especially in the West, and he used this word to make the West worried. Now, the Gadhafi regime is preparing boats and sending ordinary African people who came to work in our country and sends them [off to other countries], saying – look, if I’m not here, this is the challenge you are going to be facing. Europe, I think, does understand [this trickery], and I hope they will be more serious [in the effort] to stop Gadhafi.

Hilleary: NATO has said it is not going in without U.N approval, and the U.S. is saying the same thing, but two key votes on the U.N. Security Council are likely to veto any action.

Aujali: If the United Nations cannot do it, I think NATO can do it.

Hilleary: NATO is reluctant, though.

Aujali: Then they will regret [this], because what are they waiting for? Everyday day that Gadhafi is in power [longer], this means killing. Everyday day that Gadhafi is in power [longer], he is controlling the air. He is taking no [risks] now when he strikes, because there is no action [in response]. What is the international community waiting for? Srebrenica? Rwanda? And then what will happen? They will come on TV and say how sorry they are for this to have happened.

Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Photogallery Pope's Easter Prayer: Peace in Ukraine, Syria

Pontiff also calls for end to terrorist acts in Nigeria, violence in Iraq, and success in peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians More

Abdullah Holds Lead in Afghan Presidential Election

Country's Election Commission says that with half of the ballots counted, former FM remains in the lead with 44 percent of the vote More

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

As tensions between Kyiv and Moscow escalate, so too has frequency of online attacks targeting government, news and financial sites 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.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid