Situation Fluid, But Gadhafi Regime Nears End, Obama Says

WASHINGTON, Aug. 22, 2011 — Though the sit­u­a­tion in Libya remains flu­id, the coun­try is at a tip­ping point and the last hours of Moam­mar Gadhafi’s regime are at hand, Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma said today.

The pres­i­dent spoke from Blue Heron Farm on Martha’s Vine­yard, Mass., where he has been fol­low­ing the sit­u­a­tion in the Libyan cap­i­tal of Tripoli dur­ing a vacation. 

NATO offi­cials do not know where Gad­hafi is, the pres­i­dent said, and the sit­u­a­tion on the ground is com­pli­cat­ed. “But this much is clear: the Gad­hafi regime is com­ing to an end, and the future of Libya is in the hands of its people.” 

As part of the Arab Spring revolts, the peo­ple of Libya took to the streets to end Gadhafi’s 42-year long dic­ta­tor­ship. While the peo­ple of Tunisia and Egypt were suc­cess­ful in top­pling their lead­ers, Gad­hafi sent the army after pro­test­ers in Libya. The Unit­ed States, the NATO alliance and Arab part­ners act­ed to pre­vent a whole­sale slaugh­ter of inno­cent Libyan men, women and chil­dren in Beng­hazi, Libya’s sec­ond-largest city and the seat of the revolt. 

“In the ear­ly days of this inter­ven­tion, the Unit­ed States pro­vid­ed the bulk of the fire­pow­er, and then our friends and allies stepped for­ward,” Oba­ma said. “The Tran­si­tion­al Nation­al Coun­cil estab­lished itself as a cred­i­ble rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the Libyan peo­ple. And the Unit­ed States, togeth­er with our Euro­pean allies and friends across the region, rec­og­nized the TNC as the legit­i­mate gov­ern­ing author­i­ty in Libya.” 

NATO’s Oper­a­tion Uni­fied Pro­tec­tor cut the regime off from arms and cash, and airstrikes steadi­ly degrad­ed Gadhafi’s mil­i­tary force. “From Beng­hazi to Mis­ura­ta to the west­ern moun­tains, the Libyan oppo­si­tion coura­geous­ly con­front­ed the regime, and the tide turned in their favor,” Oba­ma said. 

Over the past 48 hours, the rebels, who fought for their lives in Beng­hazi in March, moved into the cap­i­tal. “For over four decades, the Libyan peo­ple had lived under the rule of a tyrant who denied them their most basic human rights,” the pres­i­dent said. “Now, the cel­e­bra­tions that we’ve seen in the streets of Libya show that the pur­suit of human dig­ni­ty is far stronger than any dictator.” 

Still the fight­ing is not over. As the regime col­laps­es, regime units report­ed­ly have been threat­en­ing to con­tin­ue fight­ing. “Although it’s clear that Gadhafi’s rule is over,” Oba­ma said, “he still has the oppor­tu­ni­ty to reduce fur­ther blood­shed by explic­it­ly relin­quish­ing pow­er to the peo­ple of Libya and call­ing for those forces that con­tin­ue to fight to lay down their arms for the sake of Libya.” 

The pres­i­dent pledged to help the TNC as it takes on the duties of gov­ern­ment. “I’ve direct­ed my team to be in close con­tact with NATO, as well as the Unit­ed Nations, to deter­mine oth­er steps that we can take to deal with the human­i­tar­i­an impact,” he said. “We’re work­ing to ensure that crit­i­cal sup­plies reach those in need, par­tic­u­lar­ly those who have been wounded.” 

The pres­i­dent praised the efforts of Amer­i­can ser­vice mem­bers for their con­tri­bu­tions to the effort over Libya and in the Mediterranean. 

“We also pay trib­ute to Adm. Sam Lock­lear [com­man­der of Allied Joint Force Com­mand], and all of the men and women in uni­form who have saved so many lives over the last sev­er­al months, includ­ing our brave pilots,” he said. “They’ve exe­cut­ed their mis­sion with skill and extra­or­di­nary brav­ery, and all of this was done with­out putting a sin­gle U.S. troop on the ground.” 

The pres­i­dent praised NATO for demon­strat­ing again that it is the most capa­ble alliance in the world, and he also praised the Arab nations who opposed Gad­hafi. “Their actions sent a pow­er­ful mes­sage about the uni­ty of our effort and our sup­port for the future of Libya,” he said. 

More than 5,300 Amer­i­can sor­ties have been flown as part of Oper­a­tion Uni­fied Pro­tec­tor; 1,210 were strike sor­ties and 101 were Preda­tor unmanned aer­i­al vehi­cle strikes. The tar­gets includ­ed air defens­es, arms caches and ground forces. 

The esti­mat­ed cost to the Defense Depart­ment for Libya oper­a­tions was about $820 mil­lion through June 30, said Marine Col. Dave Lapan, a Pen­ta­gon spokesman. This cost includes amounts for dai­ly mil­i­tary oper­a­tions, muni­tions used in the oper­a­tion, and human­i­tar­i­an assis­tance, he explained. 

From the begin­ning of the NATO oper­a­tion through Aug. 19, the Unit­ed States has sold par­tic­i­pat­ing allies and part­ners about $221.9 mil­lion worth of ammu­ni­tion, repair parts, fuel and tech­ni­cal assistance. 

The depart­ment has spent about half of a $25 mil­lion fund to get non­lethal aid to the Tran­si­tion­al Nation­al Coun­cil. This is the val­ue of the aid only, Lapan said. DOD has received no addi­tion­al requests, he added, but will con­tin­ue to work with the TNC to deter­mine what addi­tion­al assis­tance the tran­si­tion­al gov­ern­ment may need. 

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs) 

Team GlobDef

Seit 2001 ist im Internet unterwegs, um mit eigenen Analysen, interessanten Kooperationen und umfassenden Informationen für einen spannenden Überblick der Weltlage zu sorgen. war dabei die erste deutschsprachige Internetseite, die mit dem Schwerpunkt Sicherheitspolitik außerhalb von Hochschulen oder Instituten aufgetreten ist.

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →