Political Buzz August 22, 2011: President Obama Makes Statement on Libya Fighting, Qaddafi & the Toppling of Tripoli

POLITICAL BUZZ

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University.

IN FOCUS: PRESIDENT OBAMA MAKES STATEMENT ON LIBYA FIGHTING, QADDAFI & THE TOPPLING OF TRIPOLI

The President on Libya
White House Photo, Chuck Kennedy, 8/22/11

 

‘Tripoli is slipping from the grasp of a tyrant,’ President Obama says: In a statement released Sunday night, after a day of fast-paced changes coming from Tripoli, the president said the momentum against Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi had “reached a tipping point.”
“The surest way for the bloodshed to end is simple: Moammar Qadhafi and his regime need to recognize that their rule has come to an end. Qadhafi needs to acknowledge the reality that he no longer controls Libya. He needs to relinquish power once and for all.”

“The situation is still very fluid. But this much is clear: The Qadhafi regime is coming to an end, and the future of Libya is in the hands of its people.” — President Barack Obama

“A lot of it’s been thought through. Some of it’s a work in progress. And the president’s statement is pretty straightforward about everything from dealing with Kadafi, dealing with the opposition now in control, the basic standards we want to set….
“the progress, what’s going on, where things are. But I just haven’t had a chance to sit down and talk with our folks. And the president’s already made a statement that I read. So for me to go beyond the statement at this point would be imprudent.” — Vice President Joe Biden

“I was among those who were critical of the position of ‘leading from behind.’ I think as a general proposition that’s not a good position for the U.S. to be in. On the other hand, I think the outcome should give the administration some degree of satisfaction. After all, it worked. [Moammar] Kadafi seems to be finished. There will be some regime change there.” — L. Paul Bremer III, the presidential envoy to Iraq under former President George W. Bush

Statement by President Barack Obama on Libya: Text of President Barack Obama’s statement Monday on events in Libya, as provided by the White House…. – AP, 8-22-11

  • Libya Pictures: Photos Of Libyans Celebrating Capture Of Seif Al-Islam (PHOTOS): Supporters of Libyan rebels took to the streets on Monday as they celebrated the capture of Seif al-Islam, Moammar Gaddafi’s second-oldest son. Rebel forces came closer to winning the capital of Tripoli and ending the dictator’s 42-year rule…. – Huffington Post, 8-22-11
  • Obama urges Gaddafi loyalists lay down arms: President Barack Obama delivers a statement on Libya from his vacation on Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts August 22, 2011. President Barack Obama called on Monday for Muammar Gaddafi to end the bloodshed in Libya … – Reuters, 8-22-11
  • Barack Obama: Libya conflict ‘not over yet’: The US President says that events in Libya are evidence of “what the international community can achieve when it stands together as one” but cautions that the conflict has not been won yet. “This is not over yet,” the President warned in a statement…. – Telegraph.co.uk, 8-22-11
  • Obama on Libya: Khadafy needs to read the writing on the wall, admit his regime is ending: Col. Moammar Khadafy was being hunted across Tripoli Monday as the world cheered the sudden success of the Libyan revolution. “This much is clear: the Khadafy regime is coming to an end, and the future of Libya is in the hands of its people.”…. – New York Daily News, 8-22-11
  • The muddled politics of Libya: The United States’ involvement in Libya began as a political controversy. But now that the country’s rebel uprising has apparently succeeded, the politics are largely absent. And the truth is that it probably will have very little impact…. – WaPo, 8-22-11
  • Obama: Libya dictator Muammar Qadhafi’s rule ‘coming to an end’: President Barack Obama said on Monday that Libyan leader Muammar Qadhafi’s regime “is coming to an end” and put the rebels on notice their new government must uphold the democratic ideals that they have professed during six months of US and NATO-backed fighting… – Politico, 8-22-11
  • Fight for Gaddafi compound will be hard: rebels: The battle to take over Muammar Gaddafi’s compound in Tripoli will be fierce, but anyone inside has little chance of escape, a rebel spokesman told Al Jazeera television on Monday. “I don’t imagine the Bab Al-Aziziyah compound will … Reuters, 8-22-11
  • U.S. has nearly doubled air attacks on Libya in past 12 days: As the rebels in Libya push closer to ending the regime of embattled Col. Moammar Gadhafi, US warplanes have been increasing their attacks on government positions as part of the NATO … – CNN, 8-22-11
  • What should happen to Libya’s Gadhafi if captured?: Another day… another Middle East dictator on the verge of falling. Except no one can find him. Libyan rebels have control of most of the capital city of Tripoli… and they say they have three of Moammar Gadhafi’s sons in custody. … – CNN, 8-22-11
  • On Libya, Rick Santorum says Obama ‘had little to do with this triumph’: Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum, one of the first GOP contenders to criticize President Obama’s Libya policy, hailed Kadafi’s possible ouster as “a good thing” but said Obama “had little to do with this triumph.”… – LAT, 8-22-11
  • Former Bush envoy credits Obama’s Libya strategy, says providing security now critical: L. Paul Bremer III, the presidential envoy to Iraq under former President George W. Bush, said that while he was an early critic of President Obama’s strategy in Libya, the stunning developments in Tripoli show the merits of the … – LAT, 8-22-11
  • From Asia, Biden keeps quiet on Kadafi: Vice President Joe Biden says the U.S. has spent considerable time analyzing what could happen in Libya after Moammar Kadafi loses power, but he deferred to President Obama to outline the specifics of Washington’s potential role in the transition…. – LAT, 8-22-11
  • Libya: Overthrowing Gaddafi will be just the beginning: The overthrow of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s regime by rebel forces will merely be the first step towards rebuilding the country after more than four decades of authoritarian rule. September 1 is the 42nd anniversary of Gaddafi’s regime…. – Telegraph.co.uk, 8-22-11
  • Libya can now reimagine itself: With Qaddafi no longer in control after a six-month civil war, Libyans can finally begin to create an identity based on the ideals of democratic citizenship…. – CS Monitor, 8-22-11
  • Juan Cole: Top ten myths about the Libya warReuters, 8-22-11
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Full Text August 22, 2011: President Barack Obama’s Statement on Events in Libya — Qaddafi Regime Coming to an End

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

President Obama on Libya: The future is in the Hands of its People

Source: WH, 8-22-11
President Obama remarks on the Situation in Libya

President Barack Obama remarks on the situation in Libya during a statement on Martha’s Vineyard, Mass., Aug. 22, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

This afternoon, following a call with the National Security Council, President Obama spoke about the evolving situation in Libya. Over the past six months, the United States has worked with allies to protect the people of Libya from Muammar Qaddafi’s brutality and support them as they seek the opportunity for the citizens of Libya to determine their own destiny. Today, President Obama said, “The Qaddafi regime is coming to an end, and the future of Libya is in the hands of its people,” making it clear that the courage of the Libyan people has brought freedom within reach:

Earlier this year, we were inspired by the peaceful protests that broke out across Libya.  This basic and joyful longing for human freedom echoed the voices that we had heard all across the region, from Tunis to Cairo.  In the face of these protests, the Qaddafi regime responded with brutal crackdowns.  Civilians were murdered in the streets.  A campaign of violence was launched against the Libyan people.  Qaddafi threatened to hunt peaceful protestors down like rats.  As his forces advanced across the country, there existed the potential for wholesale massacres of innocent civilians.

In the face of this aggression, the international community took action.  The United States helped shape a U.N. Security Council resolution that mandated the protection of Libyan civilians.  An unprecedented coalition was formed that included the United States, our NATO partners and Arab nations.  And in March, the international community launched a military operation to save lives and stop Qaddafi’s forces in their tracks.

In the early days of this intervention the United States provided the bulk of the firepower, and then our friends and allies stepped forward.  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.

Over the last couple days, the situation in Libya has reached a tipping point. President Obama addressed the role Qaddafi could still play in decreasing bloodshed as his regime comes to an end:

For over four decades, the Libyan people have lived under the rule of a tyrant who denied them their most basic human rights.  Now, the celebrations that we’ve seen in the streets of Libya shows that the pursuit of human dignity is far stronger than any dictator.  I want to emphasize that this is not over yet.  As the regime collapses, there is still fierce fighting in some areas, and we have reports of regime elements threatening to continue fighting.

Although it’s clear that Qaddafi’s rule is over, 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 also discussed next steps and stressed that the United States will be a friend and a partner during a “transition that is peaceful, inclusive and just” for the Libyan people:

For many months, the TNC has been working with the international community to prepare for a post-Qaddafi Libya.  As those efforts proceed, our diplomats will work with the TNC as they ensure that the institutions of the Libyan state are protected, and we will support them with the assets of the Qaddafi regime that were frozen earlier this year.  Above all, we will call for an inclusive transition that leads to a democratic Libya.

As we move forward, we should also recognize the extraordinary work that has already been done.  To the American people, these events have particular resonance.  Qaddafi’s regime has murdered scores of American citizens in acts of terror in the past.  Today we remember the lives of those who were taken in those acts of terror and stand in solidarity with their families.  We also pay tribute to Admiral Sam Locklear and all of the men and women in uniform who have saved so many lives over the last several months, including our brave pilots that have executed their mission with skill and extraordinary bravery.  And all of this was done without putting a single U.S. troop on the ground.

To our friends and allies, the Libyan intervention demonstrates what the international community can achieve when we stand together as one — although the efforts in Libya are not yet over.  NATO has once more proven that it is the most capable alliance in the world and that its strength comes from both its firepower and the power of our democratic ideals.  And the Arab members of our coalition have stepped up and shown what can be achieved when we act together as equal partners.  Their actions send a powerful message about the unity of our effort and our support for the future of Libya.

Finally, the Libyan people:  Your courage and character have been unbreakable in the face of a tyrant.  An ocean divides us, but we are joined in the basic human longing for freedom, for justice and for dignity.  Your revolution is your own, and your sacrifices have been extraordinary.  Now, the Libya that you deserve is within your reach.  Going forward, we will stay in close coordination with the TNC to support that outcome.  And though there will be huge challenges ahead, the extraordinary events in Libya remind us that fear can give way to hope and that the power of people striving for freedom can bring about a brighter day.

Text of President Barack Obama’s statement Monday on events in Libya, as provided by the White House:

Good afternoon, everybody. I just completed a call with my National Security Council on the situation in Libya. And earlier today I spoke to Prime Minister Cameron about the extraordinary events taking place there.

The situation is still very fluid. There remains a degree of uncertainty and there are still regime elements who pose a threat. 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.

In just six months, the 42-year reign of Moammar Gadhafi has unraveled. Earlier this year, we were inspired by the peaceful protests that broke out across Libya. This basic and joyful longing for human freedom echoed the voices that we had heard all across the region, from Tunis to Cairo. In the face of these protests, the Gadhafi regime responded with brutal crackdowns. Civilians were murdered in the streets. A campaign of violence was launched against the Libyan people. Gadhafi threatened to hunt peaceful protesters down like rats. As his forces advanced across the country, there existed the potential for wholesale massacres of innocent civilians.

In the face of this aggression, the international community took action. The United States helped shape a U.N. Security Council resolution that mandated the protection of Libyan civilians. An unprecedented coalition was formed that included the United States, our NATO partners and Arab nations. And in March, the international community launched a military operation to save lives and stop Gadhafi’s forces in their tracks.

In the early days of this intervention the United States provided the bulk of the firepower, and then our friends and allies stepped forward. 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.

Gadhafi was cut off from arms and cash, and his forces were steadily degraded. From Benghazi to Misrata to the western mountains, the Libyan opposition courageously confronted the regime, and the tide turned in their favor.

Over the last several days, the situation in Libya has reached a tipping point as the opposition increased its coordination from east to west, took town after town, and the people of Tripoli rose up to claim their freedom.

For over four decades, the Libyan people have lived under the rule of a tyrant who denied them their most basic human rights. Now, the celebrations that we’ve seen in the streets of Libya shows that the pursuit of human dignity is far stronger than any dictator. I want to emphasize that this is not over yet. As the regime collapses, there is still fierce fighting in some areas, and we have reports of regime elements threatening to continue fighting.

Although it’s clear that Gadhafi’s rule is over, 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.

As we move forward from this pivotal phase, the opposition should continue to take important steps to bring about a transition that is peaceful, inclusive and just. As the leadership of the TNC has made clear, the rights of all Libyans must be respected. True justice will not come from reprisals and violence; it will come from reconciliation and a Libya that allows its citizens to determine their own destiny.

In that effort, the United States will be a friend and a partner. We will join with allies and partners to continue the work of safeguarding the people of Libya. As remaining regime elements menace parts of the country, 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, we’re working to ensure that critical supplies reach those in need, particularly those who have been wounded.

Secretary Clinton spoke today with her counterparts from leading nations of the coalition on all these matters. And I’ve directed Ambassador Susan Rice to request that the U.N. secretary general use next month’s general assembly to support this important transition.

For many months, the TNC has been working with the international community to prepare for a post-Gadhafi Libya. As those efforts proceed, our diplomats will work with the TNC as they ensure that the institutions of the Libyan state are protected, and we will support them with the assets of the Gadhafi regime that were frozen earlier this year. Above all, we will call for an inclusive transition that leads to a democratic Libya.

As we move forward, we should also recognize the extraordinary work that has already been done. To the American people, these events have particular resonance. Gadhafi’s regime has murdered scores of American citizens in acts of terror in the past. Today we remember the lives of those who were taken in those acts of terror and stand in solidarity with their families. We also pay tribute to Admiral Sam Locklear and all of the men and women in uniform who have saved so many lives over the last several months, including our brave pilots that have executed their mission with skill and extraordinary bravery. And all of this was done without putting a single U.S. troop on the ground.

To our friends and allies, the Libyan intervention demonstrates what the international community can achieve when we stand together as one — although the efforts in Libya are not yet over. NATO has once more proven that it is the most capable alliance in the world and that its strength comes from both its firepower and the power of our democratic ideals. And the Arab members of our coalition have stepped up and shown what can be achieved when we act together as equal partners. Their actions send a powerful message about the unity of our effort and our support for the future of Libya.

Finally, the Libyan people: Your courage and character have been unbreakable in the face of a tyrant. An ocean divides us, but we are joined in the basic human longing for freedom, for justice and for dignity. Your revolution is your own, and your sacrifices have been extraordinary. Now, the Libya that you deserve is within your reach. Going forward, we will stay in close coordination with the TNC to support that outcome. And though there will be huge challenges ahead, the extraordinary events in Libya remind us that fear can give way to hope and that the power of people striving for freedom can bring about a brighter day.

Thank you very much.

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