Saturday, March 19, 2011

Difficult Choices: U.N. Begins to Implement the No-Fly Zone Over Libya

“Qaddafi has the penchant to do things of a very concerning nature," John Brennan, the top White House counter-terrorism official, told reporters Friday evening...

Brennan also warned that "terrorist elements may try to take advantage of this situation" in Libya.

"Al Qaeda has a demonstrated track record of trying to exploit either political vacuums, or political change, or uncertainty in a number of countries throughout the world," he said. "Libya and the situation in Libya now will be no exception." ---The Christian Science Monitor (3-19-11)


Qaddafi has released four New York Times reporters he was holding, perhaps in order to blackmail the White House, but Secretary of State Hilary Clinton says that Qaddafi will commit unspeakable atrocities against his citizens if he is not stopped.

The New York Times (3-18-11) reports:

The United States is bracing for possible Libyan-backed terrorist attacks, President Obama’s top counterterrorism official said on Friday.

The official, John O. Brennan, said that the military attacks on civilians ordered in recent days by Libya’s leader, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, coupled with his track record as a sponsor of terrorism, had heightened worries within the administration as an international coalition threatens military action against Libya.

Asked if American officials feared whether Colonel Qaddafi could open a new terrorism front, Mr. Brennan said: “Qaddafi has the penchant to do things of a very concerning nature. We have to anticipate and be prepared for things he might try to do to flout the will of the international community.”

Among the threats the United States is focusing on is Libya’s stockpile of deadly mustard gas, he said.

Mr. Brennan spoke to reporters after addressing the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University Law School in Manhattan. [See the full text.]

The Christian Science Monitor (3-19-11) reports on the implementation of the anti-Qaddafi resolution in the United Nations:

Obama’s actions...have been deliberate, indicating a
clear hesitance to be out front in yet another war in a Muslim country.

He seemed to be listening closely to Defense Secretary Robert Gates and uniformed military leaders warning of what they saw as great difficulties in implementing a no-fly zone in Libya. Only when some Arab nations, plus major European powers, were ready to take on Muammar Qaddafi militarily did Obama indicate the same...


So far, at least, the US military role looks like it’ll be largely supportive as Britain and France take the lead following the United Nations declaration approving military efforts to prevent Libyan President Muammar Qaddafi from further attacking his government opponents among the civilian population...

One concern is that a desperate Qaddafi could resort to acts of terrorism or the use of the mustard gas he’s known to possess.

“Qaddafi has the penchant to do things of a very concerning nature," John Brennan, the top White House counter-terrorism official, told reporters Friday evening.

"We have to anticipate and be prepared for things that he might try to do to flout the will of the international community,” Brennan said, according to NPR. “Terrorism is certainly a tool that a lot of individuals will opt for when they lose other options."

Brennan also warned that “terrorist elements may try to take advantage of this situation” in Libya.

“Al Qaeda has a demonstrated track record of trying to exploit either political vacuums, or political change, or uncertainty in a number of countries throughout the world,” he said. “Libya and the situation in Libya now will be no exception.” [See full text.]

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