News / Africa

White House: No Decision to Arm Rebels; Obama Considering All Options

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney (file photo)
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney (file photo)

The White House says no decision has been made to provide arms to rebel forces in Libya, but says President Obama is considering all options to help the Libyan people.  A White House statement late Wednesday came amid reports Obama approved a secret authorization in recent weeks for covert efforts to support international actions to protect civilians from attack by forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.

News reports late Wednesday quoting unidentified U.S. government sources said President Obama signed an order, known as a presidential finding, within the last two or three weeks to clear the way for a range of possible actions.

Approval of a finding does not necessarily mean weapons are now flowing to Libyan rebels, who on Wednesday were reported to have withdrawn from a key coastal town under attack by Gadhafi forces.

The president would also have to sign off on specific actions, and there was no immediate indication that this had occurred.

In addition, The New York Times also quoting unidentified officials, said the CIA has put an unknown number of operatives into Libya to gather intelligence and make contact with anti-Gadhafi rebels.

The newspaper said the CIA declined comment on the report, which also quoted what it called current and former British officials as saying British special forces and intelligence officers were in Libya.

CNN quoted a U.S. intelligence source as confirming a CIA presence in Libya to increase "military and political understanding" of the situation there.

In his major speech on Libya this week, President Obama said there would be no effort to oust the Libyan leader by military means.  But he has said that supplying arms to opponents of Mr. Gadhafi remains a possibility.

In response to media inquiries, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney issued a statement noting it was common practice to decline comment on intelligence matters.  

Carney reiterated what Mr. Obama said in television interviews the previous day, that no decision has been made about providing arms to the opposition or any group in Libya.

However, Carney said this is not being ruled out or in, adding that the administration "is and reviewing options for all types of assistance that we could provide to the Libyan people, and have consulted directly with the opposition and our international partners about these matters."

Earlier in the White House news briefing, Carney responded this way to reporters asking what specific considerations President Obama is wrestling with regarding any potential decision to provide other than non-lethal assistance to rebels.

"The broader question of assistance to the opposition is one that we are looking at very closely," said Carney. "We are coordinating with the opposition and exploring ways we can assist them with non-lethal assistance and we will look at other possibilities of assistance as we move forward."

Carney said Mr. Obama is committed not just to quick action, but making the right choices for the long-term.  The president, he added, is not going to rush into anything without carefully considering desired outcomes and how U.S. help can be most effective.

Reporters noted that conditions on the ground in Libya have changed even since President Obama's major speech on Libya this past Monday, with rebels losing ground to Gadhafi forces.

On concerns about possible al-Qaida influence or presence among Libyan rebel forces, Carney said the U.S. and partners in the international coalition continue to evaluate the makeup of the Libyan opposition.

News of the reported presidential finding came as administration officials, including Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the military Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper briefed U.S. lawmakers on Libya.

You May Like

Video Miami Cubans Divided on New US Policy

While older, more conservative Cuban Americans have promoted anti-Castro political movement for years, younger generations say economically, it is time for change More

2014 Sees Dramatic Uptick in Boko Haram Abductions

Militants suspected in latest mass kidnapping of over 100 people in Gumsuri, Nigeria on Sunday More

Video Cuba Deal Is Major Victory for Pope

Role of Francis hailed throughout US, Latin America - though some Cuban-American Catholics have mixed feelings 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.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid