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

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 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.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid