News / Middle East

White House Defends US Response to Libya Unrest

U.S. President Barack Obama with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (right) speaks about Libya at the White House,. February 23, 2011
U.S. President Barack Obama with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (right) speaks about Libya at the White House,. February 23, 2011

President Barack Obama’s spokesman denied Tuesday that the United States is moving too slowly in responding to the violence in Libya.  

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said events in Libya are moving with remarkable speed and that the Obama administration is responding at the same pace.

“Would anyone have predicted, two weeks ago or three weeks ago, that Colonel [Moammar] Gadhafi would be in this position that he is in now - where great swaths of the country are no longer in the control of his regime, where the entire international community, including Arab nations, have arrayed against him and called him illegitimate and not credible as a leader,” he asked.

Carney told reporters that the United States has done “quite a lot” unilaterally and is working with partners such as the European Union and the United Nations to respond to the violence in Libya.

The White House spokesman said the U.S. sanctions, ordered last Friday, already have led to $30 billion in Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi’s money being frozen.

When asked about U.S. warships being moved up the Suez Canal and into the Mediterranean Sea, Carney said Washington is preparing for contingencies, including humanitarian assistance.  He said the administration is not ruling out any options.

Carney did not say whether or when President Obama might deliver a speech focusing on the Middle East unrest.  He did, however, say that the president might address the situation on Thursday, when he and visiting Mexican President Felipe Calderon speak to reporters at the White House.

“There are many ways that the president can, has and will address what has been happening in the Middle East," he said.  "He has spoken now, I believe, four times on this issue, and will speak again on this issue.  In fact, I believe he will speak on it - Is it Thursday that the president of Mexico will be here? You may hear from him on that day about this.”

Carney also responded to statements by Yemen’s President Ali Abdullah Saleh that the Obama administration is working with Israel to destabilize the Arab world.  

“We have made clear to the leadership in Yemen, as we have to the leadership in other countries, that they need to focus on the political reforms that they need to implement to respond to the legitimate aspirations of their people," he said.  "We do not think scapegoating will be the kind of response that the people of Yemen or the people in other countries will find adequate.”

Mr. Obama’s spokesman also said it is clear that the Mideast unrest is not inspired by al-Qaida, as some leaders in the region have charged ...

". . . but is, in fact, demonstrative of a movement within this region of the world that is wholly counter to everything that al-Qaida believes in, and to the methods by which they believe change should come about - peaceful, nonviolent, pluralistic, nonsectarian demonstrations," he said.  "That is not in the al-Qaida manual.”

Carney said the United States is reaching out to those in Libya’s opposition who are interested in creating a government that respects rights and meets the aspirations of the people.  He said U.S. officials are using diplomatic and business channels as well as non-governmental organizations to hold these discussions.

You May Like

Photogallery Early Nigeria Results Show Buhari Leading; Tampering Concerns Mount

One local group monitoring polls is concerned politicians might use security agencies to 'fiddle with the election collation process' at state level More

UN: 7,300 Civilians Killed in Boko Haram Insurgency

A senior UN humanitarian official tells the United Nations Security Council 1,000 people have been killed this year More

Turkish President Warns Iran About Trying to Dominate Middle East

Warning comes amid growing concerns inside Turkey that it will be sucked into a sectarian conflict with its neighbor 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.
Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadistsi
X
Greg Flakus
March 30, 2015 6:48 PM
At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video With Coalition Airstrikes, Iraq Entering 'Last Page' of IS Battle

American warplanes joined Iraq's battle against the so-called 'Islamic State' in northern Iraq late Wednesday, as Iraqi ground troops launched a massive assault on Tikrit. Analysts say the offensive could take the coalition a step further towards Mosul, the largest city held by Islamic State forces. Others say it could also deepen already-dangerous sectarian tensions in the region. VOA's Heather Murdock has more from Cairo.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video DOJ: Illinois National Guard Soldier Tried to Join ISIS

U.S. federal law enforcement agents arrested two suburban Chicago men accused of trying to join ISIS overseas, while also plotting attacks in the United States. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, one of those arrested is a soldier of the Illinois National Guard.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More