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Obama tells world to unite against Libya bloodshed

By Agence France-Presse
Wednesday, February 23, 2011 18:36 EDT
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WASHINGTON – US President Barack Obama told the world Wednesday to unite to hold Libya accountable for a vicious protest crackdown, stiffening a US response to the crisis that critics had cast as too mild.

In his first televised response to Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi’s decision to unleash vengeance on demonstrators, Obama reached out to US allies and promised to deploy a “full range of options” to halt “outrageous” bloodshed.

Obama spoke as officials said that Washington was considering fresh sanctions and other steps against Libya, and as political pressure mounted on his administration for a more activist response.

The administration’s careful previous line on violence that a former Libyan minister said had killed 1,000 people, appeared to be dictated by fears that American diplomats and citizens in Libya could face reprisals.

But by late Wednesday, a US-chartered ferry with a capacity of 575 passengers was riding out bad weather in Tripoli harbor before casting off on an evacuation mission to Malta.

“The suffering and bloodshed is outrageous, and it is unacceptable,” Obama said at the White House.

“So are threats and orders to shoot peaceful protesters and further punish the people of Libya. These actions violate international norms, and every standard of common decency. This violence must stop.”

Obama defended his administration against claims that its response to the violence, the latest wave of unrest crashing across the Middle East, had been too tempered.

“Over the last few days my national security team has been working around the clock to monitor the situation there and to coordinate with our international partners about a way forward,” he said.

But the president did not mention Libya’s ruthless and unpredictable leader Kadhafi, who has ruled for decades and frequently defied the United States, by name.

Seeking to corral international action on Libya, Obama said that in such a volatile situation, it was “imperative” for nations to speak with one voice.

He said he would dispatch Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to a ministerial-level meeting in Geneva on Monday of the UN Human Rights Council.

“Like all governments, the Libyan government has a responsibility to refrain from violence, to allow humanitarian assistance to reach those in need and to respect the rights of its people,” Obama said.

“It must be held accountable for its failure to meet those responsibilities and face the cost of continued violations of human rights.”

Though officials said that sanctions were among options being discussed, it was unclear whether calls for NATO to establish a “no fly zone” over Libya to protect civilians were on the table.

Obama’s call to US allies appeared to be a signal that Washington, which has sought not to inject itself into the Middle East revolts, preferred the safety in numbers of multilateral action.

Europe had already moved Wednesday to isolate Kadhafi, readying sanctions that one diplomat said could include an assets freeze, a travel ban, an arms embargo and the legal pursuit of those involved in violent repression.

Washington lifted sanctions on Libya in 2004 under a deal which helped the former pariah state back into the global community after it gave up its nuclear and chemical weapons programs.

Influential US lawmakers, including Democratic Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman John Kerry and his Republican House of Representatives counterpart Ileana Ros-Lehtinen have called for US sanctions to be reimposed.

US officials apparently feared that robust US rhetoric on the crisis could have made the plight of Americans even more perilous than that of other foreigners, given the tortured recent history between Washington and Tripoli.

In 1986, then president Ronald Reagan sent US warplanes to bomb Libya, in retaliation for the bombing of a discotheque in West Berlin. Kadhafi’s adoptive daughter was killed in the US raids on Libya.

On Wednesday, Libya’s former justice minister Mustapha Abdeljalil told the Swedish daily Expressen, that Kadhafi had then personally ordered the bombing of a US Pan Am jet over Lockerbie, Scotland in 1988, that killed 270 people.

Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
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  • http://twitter.com/Bootstrapbettys Bootstrap Betty

    There will be blowback for Drone-boy.

  • Anonymous

    In light of the information provided by the recent HBGary hacking, it isn’t a stretch to suggest that ‘somebody’ ordered military intelligence to use Facebook and Twiiter to water the seeds of discontent in places like Libya, Egypt, Tunisia, etc. and let the sparks fly. The revolutions that we’ve been seeing could be the direct result of such efforts.

    If that were the case, it would be easy to slap the Prez on the back a tell him what a great leader and humanitarian he is for toppling these totalitarian dictatorships and giving these people an opportunity at freedom.

    But so far,the responses of the President and his sub-ordinates have been tentative at best. How will leveling sanctions against an embattled Quadafi do anything to alleviate the bloodshed that is taking place?
    It won’t, and the President is yet to take an actual leadership role since the crisis in the Middle-East began.

    More and more it is looking like a stick of dynomite was stuck in the camel’s arse and the ‘stuckee’ is now standing back waiting to see how things splatter, desperately hoping it will become a work of art.

  • Johnny Warbucks

    “The suffering and bloodshed is outrageous, and it is unacceptable,” Obama said at the White House.

    If only hypocrisy could hurt, this guy would bet twisting in pain.

    “It must be held accountable for its failure to meet those responsibilities and face the cost of continued violations of human rights.”

    Human rights, he says. Ha!

    “So are threats and orders to shoot peaceful protesters and further punish the people of Libya. These actions violate international norms, and every standard of common decency. This violence must stop.”

    I’m saving this quote. This is a good one. And when the time comes, I will be the one out there protesting with this quote on a sign.

  • Johnny Warbucks

    To say that these people who have lived under the chains of oppression and repression for decades were brainwashed into revolting against their dictators by the less than smart CIA is an insult to each and every single one of those protesters, particularly, the ones that have been brutally slain while in pursuit of their freedom. It’s just sad that you Amerikans have to rationalize and quantify everything and can’t see or understand human suffering.

  • http://www.balmorheaprogressive.blogspot.com/ BaileyWuXiang

    So who is going to tell the world to unite against Afghan, Iraqi, Palestinian and Latin American bloodshed?

  • http://www.balmorheaprogressive.blogspot.com/ BaileyWuXiang

    I think it’s more likely that the CIA/MI6/Mossad are trying to hijack the revolutions.

  • http://www.balmorheaprogressive.blogspot.com/ BaileyWuXiang

    Drone-boy sees everyone else’s crimes but his own.

  • Spire

    Drone boy should look in a mirror.
    Would he see anything?

  • Anonymous

    The world said send a drone.

  • Anonymous

    “Like all governments, the Israeli government has a responsibility to refrain from violence, to allow humanitarian assistance to reach those in need and to respect the rights of the Palestinian people,” Obama said.

    Israeli airstrikes injure 16 Gazans

    Fresh Israeli strikes have left at least 16 people injured — two in a critical condition, witnesses and security sources say.

    Israel’s F-16 warplanes and Apache helicopters carried out multiple airstrikes on late Wednesday early on Thursday across the Gaza Strip, a Press TV correspondent reported.

    An Israeli tank opened fire on a group of Palestinians in the east of Gaza City. The Islamic Jihad movement said that three of its members were injured by Israeli tanks firing from positions inside Gaza late Wednesday.

    Separately, two other Palestinians were wounded by Israeli gunfire in Beit Lahiya.

    And in yet another attack, Israeli drones targeted the east of Gaza City, injuring at least two people.

    Israeli F-16s as well as Apache fighter helicopters also hovered over the Gaza City, where witnesses reported two intensive explosions.

    Meanwhile, Hamas said it has evacuated all its security posts, police stations and government buildings as it expects more Israeli attacks.

    http://www.presstv.ir/detail/166754.html

  • Anonymous

    Obama spoke as officials said that Washington was considering fresh sanctions and other steps against Libya.

    I suppose he had to wait five days to see which way the wind was blowing on this one. The boy is starting to catch on to how it’s done.

    Sanctions, is that like sending them to bed without supper?

  • Anonymous

    oh my gosh. well of course Qadaffi has to be held accountable, any sane person knows that. he and his clique are slaughtering hundreds of innocent and unarmed people. his own ministers are resigning and many of his ambassadors/embassy personnel are in an uproar….
    but the double standard of it all for as the US occupies two moslem countries; and perhaps just as bad, after the US backed Ali in tunisia for 23 years and mubarak for 30 years plus and all the other arab-moslem dictators and monarchs from morocco to bahrain for decades and ages, with saudi arabia as one of the worst nations in the world. well it’s just too much…..but that’s real politic for y’all

  • Anonymous

    juan cole now reports that according to various accounts, at least 30% of Libya is now under dissident/youth movement/people’s control and there are other reports that the main tribes in those area have switched sides too – that’s a lot considering the resistance of the vicious central gov’t

    http://www.juancole.com/2011/02/30-of-libya-in-hands-of-youth-movement.html

  • Anonymous

    100,000 plus dead Iraqis and 1000 plus dead Libyans. Which countries united against American bloodshed? Gaddafi is a reprehensible dictator rehabilitated in 2004 by George W. (love that back gold) Bush.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/6EX2KJ7LSZMDCBZWCH62Q7CABY Sandra

    Having this happen at the very time that Ghadafi’s plan of letting municipalities take a much bigger share of oil revenue and plan the new Libyan Conststution is suspect. This threatens the profits of US interests.

    We also must remember, the very media they fed us the revolution stories also shaped our opinions about their leaders to begin with.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/6EX2KJ7LSZMDCBZWCH62Q7CABY Sandra

    Those reports are confounding the terms “rebel. “insurgent”, revolutionaries, and “dissident” because they really don’t know which side is which. If it’s young people, they are almost certainly pro government because they want SAIF Qadafi to take over. He’s a reformist and wants a Libyan Constitution created, but not a sell out to the US.

  • Anonymous

    “The suffering and bloodshed is outrageous, and it is unacceptable,” Obama said.

    He could just as well be describing what happens every day in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan courtesy of the American military.

    “It must be held accountable for its failure to meet those responsibilities and face the cost of continued violations of human rights.”

    Who will hold Obama responsible for his war crimes and violations of human rights?

  • NadePaulKuciGravMcKi

    “The Controlled Media is force-feeding lots of disinformation about Libya.”

  • Anonymous

    When you stop blowing up weddings with drones.

  • Anonymous

    No, the second step is to arrest Obama, Gates and Clinton for the continuation of the same war and torture policies. They are and have committed war crimes every bit as heinous, immoral and unlawful.

  • Johnny Warbucks

    Oh, yes, it’s all very suspicious. In fact, according to Fidel Castro, it’s all the US/CIA/NATO/IMPERIALISM doing this. According to Quaddafi it’s: drugs, foreigners, the Egyptians, the Western media (the one that isn’t allowed in Libya), drugs that are bad for the heart, married people, the Muslim Brothers – although he retracted that one today and replaced with Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden. So, yeah. Very suspicious indeed. And only after 31 years of taking the guy’s shit too. The least they could have done was wait another 30 years or so.

    As for that “we” I’d appreciate it if you count me out of it. I do not eat anything the media serves. As for those revolutions spoon-fed by the media I happen to have lived one and, trust me, I know better than you – from first hand experience not because the media told me – how it pans out. So, please, be a bit more careful who you dish out your condescending crap to. “We” are not all the same and some of “us” aren’t even Amerikan. Thankfully!

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