USA — Troops Re-Positioned to Provide Options on Libya

WASHINGTON, Feb. 28, 2011 — The Unit­ed States mil­i­tary “is in the plan­ning and prepar­ing mode” on Libya, and will be able to pro­vide the full range of options for nation­al lead­ers, Pen­ta­gon spokesman Marine Corps Col. Dave Lapan said here today.
The U.S. mil­i­tary is mov­ing naval and air forces to the region, he said.

Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma asked the mil­i­tary to pre­pare these options as the sit­u­a­tion in Libya gets worse. News reports indi­cate while Libyan ruler Moam­mar Gad­hafi is attack­ing rebels in and around the cap­i­tal of Tripoli, anti-regime forces hold the east.

In a Feb. 26 call to Ger­man Chan­cel­lor Angela Merkel, Oba­ma said: “When a leader’s only means of stay­ing in pow­er is to use mass vio­lence against his own peo­ple, he has lost the legit­i­ma­cy to rule and needs to do what is right for his coun­try by leav­ing now,” accord­ing to the White House.

The Defense Depart­ment has not been direct­ly tasked for any mis­sion, Lapan said.

“We have plan­ners work­ing var­i­ous con­tin­gency plans,” he said. “It’s safe to say as a part of that, we’re re-posi­tion­ing forces to pro­vide for that flex­i­bil­i­ty. We are re-posi­tion­ing forces in the region to pro­vide options and flex­i­bil­i­ty.”

Sec­re­tary of State Hillary Rod­ham Clin­ton also urged Gad­hafi to stop killing his own peo­ple and leave. She also said the Unit­ed States gov­ern­ment has been reach­ing out to Libyan rebels.

“We’ve been reach­ing out to many dif­fer­ent Libyans who are attempt­ing to orga­nize in the east and as the rev­o­lu­tion moves west­ward, there as well,” Clin­ton said at Andrews Air Force Base yes­ter­day. “I think it’s way too soon to tell how this is going to play out, but we’re going to be ready and pre­pared to offer any kind of assis­tance that any­one wish­es to have from the Unit­ed States.”

Lapan ruled noth­ing out. “Again, it goes back to hav­ing a full range of options avail­able,” he said. “So those forces could be used in any num­ber of ways. Re-posi­tion­ing them pro­vides that flex­i­bil­i­ty so they can be used if need­ed.”

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

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