In February of 2011 a number of factors led to protests in numerous Libyan cities. A hostile response by the Libyan military led to further conflict and the eventual organization of those people into rebel groups. Fighting broke out between forces loyal to Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi and the rebel groups.
The US was quick to respond to the crackdown by the Libyan government and implemented sanctions against Libya On February 25, 2011. The UN responded in kind and issued United Nations Security Council Resolution 1970 which called for a cease fire, referred Gaddafi's actions to the International Criminal Court, placed an arms embargo on Libya, froze Libyan assets, and implemented a travel ban.
Days later, on March 3, 2011 President Obama stated that Muammar Gaddafi must go. Rebel forces continued to secure control of cities, and reached a climax of control on March 5, 2011. After that, Gaddafi loyal forces began to fight back against rebels using air forces and artillery and began to reclaim cities lost to the rebel forces.
On March 18, 2011 the UN Security Council passed 1973 which authorized member states to enforce a no-fly zone and protect civilians. After weeks of stating that Gaddafi's actions invalidated his authority and must halt his military advances and step down, President Obama used UNSC 1973 as authorization for military action in Libya known as Odyssey Dawn on March 19.
These military actions involved the bombing of runways, tanks, anti-aircraft locations, and homes of Libyan military leaders and Gaddafi himself. The US justified these actions by stating that they were removing the ability to coordinate air strikes, but the League of Arab states which had previously supported the enactment of a no-fly zone stated that the actions exceeded the mandate to enforce a no-fly zone.
In keeping with the War Powers Resolution, President Obama sent a letter to the Speaker of the House citing the UNSC Resolution 1973 as justification of military action. He states that refugees to neighboring states was causing pressure that could destabilize the region. On March 23, two days after that letter, Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes referred to the fighting in Libya not as a war, but as kinetic military action.
On March 25, 2011 President Obama announced that the mission in Libya was focused and clear. He stated that while the UN Resolution did not authorize the removal of Gaddafi, it was difficult to see a future with him as leader. President Obama also announced that leadership in the efforts in Libya were transitioning to NATO. Over the next week, President Obama gave numerous addresses and speeches, and even wrote an op-ed with President Sarkozy of France and Prime Minister Cameron of Great Britain. In these efforts he reasserted the points that leadership was transitioning to NATO, and that while not legally authorized to remove him, Gaddafi should step down.
As the fighting in Libya continued, rebel forces began to overtake more cities that were held by pro-Gaddafi forces. In April of 2011, President Obama granted $25 million in aid to the rebels, and authorized the use of Predator drones in Libya.
As the 60 day time limit given in the War Powers Resolution passed, President Obama had not submitted a request for the consent of Congress, had not asked for a declaration of war, and had not asked for an extension on the deadline. On June 3, 2011 the House responded by passing a resolution directing the President to send a report relating to his authority to continue to use the military, but the House failed to pass a measure to remove the troops.
On June 15, 2011 roughly a dozen Congressmen filed a lawsuit against the President. The lawsuit stated that the President did not have the authority to use military action, and that he must cease such action.
That same day, President Obama sent a report to Congress detailing the funds used in Libya, the actions taken, and the authorization. The document states that while the War Powers Resolution granted President Obama the initial use of the military, it no longer applied because the military actions did not constitute the "hostilities" defined in the War Powers Resolution. The document asserts that military advisors, support personnel, and drone attacks do not place military personnel or threaten to place military personnel into imminent hostilities.
On June 24, 2011 the House failed to pass legislation to defund the military in Libya.
War Powers Resolution of 1973
The War Powers Resolution was passed in 1973 to give the President of the United States a mechanism to respond to military threats to the United States without having to wait for a declaration of war or the consent of Congress as designated in the Constitution. While the legislation does not grant the President the right to go to war on his own, it allows the President 60 days to respond to threats and then report to Congress. Congress may grant an extension of 30 days to this deadline, but if no extension is granted the military must be removed from hostilities. The full text of the legislation can be read here.
§ 1541. Purpose and policy
(a) Congressional declaration
It is the purpose of this chapter to fulfill the intent of the framers of the Constitution of the United States and insure that the collective judgment of both the Congress and the President will apply to the introduction of United States Armed Forces into hostilities, or into situations where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances, and to the continued use of such forces in hostilities or in such situations.
(b) Congressional legislative power under necessary and proper clause
Under article I, section 8, of the Constitution, it is specifically provided that the Congress shall have the power to make all laws necessary and proper for carrying into execution, not only its own powers but also all other powers vested by the Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any department or officer hereof.
(c) Presidential executive power as Commander-in-Chief; limitation
The constitutional powers of the President as Commander-in-Chief to introduce United States Armed Forces into hostilities, or into situations where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances, are exercised only pursuant to
- (1) a declaration of war,
- (2) specific statutory authorization, or
- (3) a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces.
§ 1542. Consultation; initial and regular consultations
The President in every possible instance shall consult with Congress before introducing United States Armed Forces into hostilities or into situations where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances, and after every such introduction shall consult regularly with the Congress until United States Armed Forces are no longer engaged in hostilities or have been removed from such situations.
§ 1543. Reporting requirement
(a) Written report; time of submission; circumstances necessitating submission; information reported
In the absence of a declaration of war, in any case in which United States Armed Forces are introduced—
- (1) into hostilities or into situations where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances;
- (2) into the territory, airspace or waters of a foreign nation, while equipped for combat, except for deployments which relate solely to supply, replacement, repair, or training of such forces; or
- (3) in numbers which substantially enlarge United States Armed Forces equipped for combat already located in a foreign nation;
- the President shall submit within 48 hours to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and to the President pro tempore of the Senate a report, in writing, setting forth—rn
- (A) the circumstances necessitating the introduction of United States Armed Forces;
- (B) the constitutional and legislative authority under which such introduction took place; and
- (C) the estimated scope and duration of the hostilities or involvement.
(b) Other information reported
The President shall provide such other information as the Congress may request in the fulfillment of its constitutional responsibilities with respect to committing the Nation to war and to the use of United States Armed Forces abroad.
(c) Periodic reports; semiannual requirement
Whenever United States Armed Forces are introduced into hostilities or into any situation described in subsection (a) of this section, the President shall, so long as such armed forces continue to be engaged in such hostilities or situation, report to the Congress periodically on the status of such hostilities or situation as well as on the scope and duration of such hostilities or situation, but in no event shall he report to the Congress less often than once every six months.
§ 1544. Congressional action
(a) Transmittal of report and referral to Congressional committees; joint request for convening Congress
Each report submitted pursuant to section 1543 (a)(1) of this title shall be transmitted to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and to the President pro tempore of the Senate on the same calendar day. Each report so transmitted shall be referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives and to the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate for appropriate action. If, when the report is transmitted, the Congress has adjourned sine die or has adjourned for any period in excess of three calendar days, the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President pro tempore of the Senate, if they deem it advisable (or if petitioned by at least 30 percent of the membership of their respective Houses) shall jointly request the President to convene Congress in order that it may consider the report and take appropriate action pursuant to this section.
(b) Termination of use of United States Armed Forces; exceptions; extension period
Within sixty calendar days after a report is submitted or is required to be submitted pursuant to section 1543 (a)(1) of this title, whichever is earlier, the President shall terminate any use of United States Armed Forces with respect to which such report was submitted (or required to be submitted), unless the Congress
- (1) has declared war or has enacted a specific authorization for such use of United States Armed Forces,
- (2) has extended by law such sixty-day period, or
- (3) is physically unable to meet as a result of an armed attack upon the United States. Such sixty-day period shall be extended for not more than an additional thirty days if the President determines and certifies to the Congress in writing that unavoidable military necessity respecting the safety of United States Armed Forces requires the continued use of such armed forces in the course of bringing about a prompt removal of such forces.
(c) Concurrent resolution for removal by President of United States Armed Forces
Notwithstanding subsection (b) of this section, at any time that United States Armed Forces are engaged in hostilities outside the territory of the United States, its possessions and territories without a declaration of war or specific statutory authorization, such forces shall be removed by the President if the Congress so directs by concurrent resolution.
§ 1547. Interpretation of joint resolution
(a) Inferences from any law or treaty
Authority to introduce United States Armed Forces into hostilities or into situations wherein involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances shall not be inferred—
- (1) from any provision of law (whether or not in effect before November 7, 1973), including any provision contained in any appropriation Act, unless such provision specifically authorizes the introduction of United States Armed Forces into hostilities or into such situations and states that it is intended to constitute specific statutory authorization within the meaning of this chapter; or
- (2) from any treaty heretofore or hereafter ratified unless such treaty is implemented by legislation specifically authorizing the introduction of United States Armed Forces into hostilities or into such situations and stating that it is intended to constitute specific statutory authorization within the meaning of this chapter.
(b) Joint headquarters operations of high-level military commands
Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to require any further specific statutory authorization to permit members of United States Armed Forces to participate jointly with members of the armed forces of one or more foreign countries in the headquarters operations of high-level military commands which were established prior to November 7, 1973, and pursuant to the United Nations Charter or any treaty ratified by the United States prior to such date.
(c) Introduction of United States Armed Forces
For purposes of this chapter, the term “introduction of United States Armed Forces” includes the assignment of members of such armed forces to command, coordinate, participate in the movement of, or accompany the regular or irregular military forces of any foreign country or government when such military forces are engaged, or there exists an imminent threat that such forces will become engaged, in hostilities.
(d) Constitutional authorities or existing treaties unaffected; construction against grant of Presidential authority respecting use of United States Armed Forces
Nothing in this chapter—
- (1) is intended to alter the constitutional authority of the Congress or of the President, or the provisions of existing treaties; or
- (2) shall be construed as granting any authority to the President with respect to the introduction of United States Armed Forces into hostilities or into situations wherein involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances which authority he would not have had in the absence of this chapter.
The Arab Spring Reaches Libya
Lybia is located on the northern coast of Africa. It is bordered on the east by Egypt, on the south by Niger and Chad, and on the West by Algeria and Tunisia. In mid-January 2011, wide-spread discontent at corruption and lack of progress at housing developments caused small riots in Benghazi and other cities. This discontent was quelled with the infusion of funds by the Libyan government to the projects. In late January, Jamal al-Hajji, a writer, political commentator and accountant, used the internet to call for demonstrations inspired by both the recent housing events, and revolts in Tunisia and Egypt. He was arrested on February 1st. In early February, Gaddafi met with political activists, journalists, and media figures and warned them that they would be held responsible if they disturbed the peace or created chaos in Libya.
On the evening of February 15th, 500 to 600 demonstrators protested in front of the police headquarters in Benghazi after the arrest of human rights lawyer Fathi Terbil. The protest was broken up violently by police, resulting in 38 injured, among them ten security personnel. The novelist Idris Al-Mesmari was arrested hours after giving an interview with Al Jazeera about the police reaction to protests. In Al Bayda and Az Zintan, hundreds of protesters in each town called for an end of the Gaddafi regime and set fire to police and security buildings. In Az Zintan, the protesters set up tents in the town square. The protests continued the following day in Benghazi, Darnah and Al Bayda. Libyan security responded with lethal force. Four demonstrators were killed and three wounded. Hundreds gathered at Maydan al-Shajara in Benghazi, and authorities tried to disperse protesters with water cannons.
A "Day of Rage" in Libya was planned for 17 February with the National Conference for the Libyan Opposition asking that all groups opposed to the Gaddafi regime protest on 17 February, in memory of demonstrations in Benghazi five years earlier. Protests took place in Benghazi, Ajdabiya, Darnah, Az Zintan, and Al Bayda. Libyan security forces fired live ammunition into the protests, while protesters torched a number of government buildings. In Tripoli, protesters managed to burn security buildings and the People's Hall.
The protestors began to organize into rebel groups. These groups began to take control of towns and cities. Fighting broke out between the military forces loyal to Muammor Gaddafi and the poorly organized rebel groups. Rebel groups were able to control cities due to larger numbers and ease of cover while the military forces regrouped and controlled the roads and open areas with air support, heavier weapons, and more coordinated movement.
Executive Order - Sanctions
In response to President Gaddafi's use of the military on the rebels and protestors, on February 25, 2011 President Obama signed an executive order barring transactions made by the Libyan government and the family of Muammor Gaddaafi. At the same time that the executive order was issued, the White House issued a statement noting the government of Libya had violated human rights, brutalized it's people, and must be held accountable.
The Libyan government’s continued violation of human rights, brutalization of its people, and outrageous threats have rightly drawn the strong and broad condemnation of the international community. By any measure, Muammar el-Qaddafi’s government has violated international norms and common decency and must be held accountable. These sanctions therefore target the Qaddafi government, while protecting the assets that belong to the people of Libya.
Going forward, the United States will continue to closely coordinate our actions with the international community, including our friends and allies, and the United Nations. We will stand steadfastly with the Libyan people in their demand for universal rights, and a government that is responsive to their aspirations. Their human dignity cannot be denied.
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
BLOCKING PROPERTY AND PROHIBITING CERTAIN TRANSACTIONS RELATED TO LIBYA
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.) (IEEPA), the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.) (NEA), and section 301 of title 3, United States Code,
I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, find that Colonel Muammar Qadhafi, his government, and close associates have taken extreme measures against the people of Libya, including by using weapons of war, mercenaries, and wanton violence against unarmed civilians. I further find that there is a serious risk that Libyan state assets will be misappropriated by Qadhafi, members of his government, members of his family, or his close associates if those assets are not protected. The foregoing circumstances, the prolonged attacks, and the increased numbers of Libyans seeking refuge in other countries from the attacks, have caused a deterioration in the security of Libya and pose a serious risk to its stability, thereby constituting an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States, and I hereby declare a national emergency to deal with that threat.
I hereby order:
Section 1. All property and interests in property that are in the United States, that hereafter come within the United States, or that are or hereafter come within the possession or control of any United States person, including any overseas branch, of the following persons are blocked and may not be transferred, paid, exported, withdrawn, or otherwise dealt in:
(a) the persons listed in the Annex to this order; and
(b) any person determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State:
(i) to be a senior official of the Government of Libya;
(ii) to be a child of Colonel Muammar Qadhafi;
(iii) to be responsible for or complicit in, or responsible for ordering, controlling, or otherwise directing, or to have participated in, the commission of human rights abuses related to political repression in Libya;
(iv) to have materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, logistical, or technical support for, or goods or services in support of the activities described in subsection (b)(iii) of this section or any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order;
(v) to be owned or controlled by, or to have acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order; or
(vi) to be a spouse or dependent child of any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order.
Sec. 2. All property and interests in property that are in the United States, that hereafter come within the United States, or that are or hereafter come within the possession or control of any United States person, including any overseas branch, of the Government of Libya, its agencies, instrumentalities, and controlled entities, and the Central Bank of Libya, are blocked and may not be transferred, paid, exported, withdrawn, or otherwise dealt in.
Sec. 3. For those persons whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order who might have a constitutional presence in the United States, I find that because of the ability to transfer funds or other assets instantaneously, prior notice to such persons of measures to be taken pursuant to this order would render those measures ineffectual. I therefore determine that for these measures to be effective in addressing the national emergency declared in this order, there need be no prior notice of a listing or determination made pursuant to section 1 of this order.
Sec. 4. I hereby determine that, to the extent section 203(b)(2) of IEEPA (50 U.S.C. 1702(b)(2)) may apply, the making of donations of the type of articles specified in such section by, to, or for the benefit of any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to sections 1 and 2 of this order would seriously impair my ability to deal with the national emergency declared in this order, and I hereby prohibit such donations as provided by sections 1 and 2 of this order.
Sec. 5. The prohibitions in sections 1 and 2 of this order include but are not limited to:
(a) the making of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services by, to, or for the benefit of any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order; and
(b) the receipt of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services from any such person.
Sec. 6. The prohibitions in sections 1 and 2 of this order apply except to the extent provided by statutes, or in regulations, orders, directives, or licenses that may be issued pursuant to this order, and notwithstanding any contract entered into or any license or permit granted prior to the effective date of this order.
Sec. 7. (a) Any transaction by a United States person or within the United States that evades or avoids, has the purpose of evading or avoiding, causes a violation of, or attempts to violate any of the prohibitions set forth in this order is prohibited.
(b) Any conspiracy formed to violate any of the prohibitions set forth in this order is prohibited.
Sec. 8. Nothing in this order shall prohibit transactions for the conduct of the official business of the Federal Government by employees, grantees, or contractors thereof.
Sec. 9. For the purposes of this order:
(a) the term "person" means an individual or entity;
(b) the term "entity" means a partnership, association, trust, joint venture, corporation, group, subgroup, or other organization; and
(c) the term "United States person" means any United States citizen or national, permanent resident alien, entity organized under the laws of the United States or any jurisdiction within the United States (including foreign branches), or any person in the United States.
Sec. 10. The Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State, is hereby authorized to take such actions, including the promulgation of rules and regulations, and to employ all powers granted to the President by IEEPA as may be necessary to carry out the purposes of this order. The Secretary of the Treasury may redelegate any of these functions to other officers and agencies of the United States Government consistent with applicable law. All agencies of the United States Government are hereby directed to take all appropriate measures within their authority to carry out the provisions of this order.
Sec. 11. The Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State, is hereby authorized to determine that circumstances no longer warrant the blocking of the property and interests in property of a person listed in the Annex to this order, and to take necessary action to give effect to that determination.
Sec. 12. The Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State, is hereby authorized to submit the recurring and final reports to the Congress on the national emergency declared in this order, consistent with section 401(c) of the NEA (50 U.S.C. 1641(c)) and section 204(c) of IEEPA (50 U.S.C. 1703(c)).
Sec. 13. This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.
Sec. 14. This order is effective at 8:00 p.m. eastern standard time on February 25, 2011.
THE WHITE HOUSE,
February 25, 2011.
1. Ayesha QADHAFI [Lieutenant General in the Libyan Army, born circa 1976 or 1977]
2. Khamis QADHAFI [born 1980]
3. Muammar QADHAFI [Head of State of Libya, born 1942]
4. Mutassim QADHAFI [National Security Advisor and Lieutenant Colonel in the Libyan Army, born circa 1975]
5. Saif Al-Islam QADHAFI [born June 5, 1972]
Letter Regarding Sanctions
On February 25, 2011 President Obama issued a letter discussing the sanctions placed upon Libya and Muammor Gaddafi. The letter states that Gaddafi, his family, and his associates represent an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States.
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
Letter from the President Regarding Libya Sanctions
February 25, 2011
Dear Mr. Speaker: (Dear Mr. President:)
Pursuant to the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.) (IEEPA), I hereby report that I have issued an Executive Order (the "order") that takes steps with respect to the situation in Libya.
I have determined that the actions of Colonel Muammar Qadhafi, his government, and close associates, including extreme measures against the people of Libya, constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States. The order declares a national emergency to deal with this threat.
The order blocks the property and interests in property of persons listed in the Annex to the order, who I have determined meet the first or second of the six criteria set forth below. The order also provides criteria for designations of persons determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State:
- to be a senior official of the Government of Libya;
- to be a child of Colonel Muammar Qadhafi;
- to be responsible for or complicit in, or responsible for ordering, controlling, or otherwise directing, or to have participated in, the commission of human rights abuses related to political repression in Libya;
- to have materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, logistical, or technical support for, or goods or services in support of the activities described above or any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to the order;
- to be owned or controlled by, or to have acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to the order; or
- to be a spouse or dependent child of any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to the order.
In addition, the order blocks the property and interests in property of the Government of Libya.
I have delegated to the Secretary of the Treasury the authority, in consultation with the Secretary of State, to take such actions, including the promulgation of rules and regulations, and to employ all powers granted to the President by IEEPA, as may be necessary to carry out the purposes of the order. All executive agencies of the United States Government are directed to take all appropriate measures within their authority to carry out the provisions of the order.
Additionally, the Secretary of State is suspending all existing licenses and other approvals for the export of defense articles and services to Libya.
The order, a copy of which is enclosed, became effective at 8:00 p.m. eastern standard time on February 25, 2011.
UN Resolution 1970
On February 26, 2011 the United Nations Security Council passed UN Resolution 1970. This resolution referred the situation in Libya to the International Criminal Court, imposed an arms embargo on Libya, imposed sanctions on Libyan leaders such as travel bans on the Gaddafi family, provided for humanitarian assistance, and committed to further reviews.
“The Security Council,
“Expressing grave concern at the situation in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya and condemning the violence and use of force against civilians,
“Deploring the gross and systematic violation of human rights, including the repression of peaceful demonstrators, expressing deep concern at the deaths of civilians, and rejecting unequivocally the incitement to hostility and violence against the civilian population made from the highest level of the Libyan government,
“Welcoming the condemnation by the Arab League, the African Union, and the Secretary General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference of the serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law that are being committed in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya,
“Taking note of the letter to the President of the Security Council from the Permanent Representative of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya dated 26 February 2011,
“Welcoming the Human Rights Council resolution A/HRC/S-15/2 of 25 February 2011, including the decision to urgently dispatch an independent international commission of inquiry to investigate all alleged violations of international human rights law in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, to establish the facts and circumstances of such violations and of the crimes perpetrated, and where possible identify those responsible,
“Considering that the widespread and systematic attacks currently taking place in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya against the civilian population may amount to crimes against humanity,
“Expressing concern at the plight of refugees forced to flee the violence in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya,
“Expressing concern also at the reports of shortages of medical supplies to treat the wounded,
“Recalling the Libyan authorities’ responsibility to protect its population,
“Underlining the need to respect the freedoms of peaceful assembly and of expression, including freedom of the media,
“Stressing the need to hold to account those responsible for attacks, including by forces under their control, on civilians,
“Recalling article 16 of the Rome Statute under which no investigation or prosecution may be commenced or proceeded with by the International Criminal Court for a period of 12 months after a Security Council request to that effect,
“Expressing concern for the safety of foreign nationals and their rights in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya,
“Reaffirming its strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and national unity of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya.
“Mindful of its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security under the Charter of the United Nations,
“Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations, and taking measures under its Article 41,
“1. Demands an immediate end to the violence and calls for steps to fulfil the legitimate demands of the population;
“2. Urges the Libyan authorities to:
(a) Act with the utmost restraint, respect human rights and international humanitarian law, and allow immediate access for international human rights monitors;
(b) Ensure the safety of all foreign nationals and their assets and facilitate the departure of those wishing to leave the country;
(c) Ensure the safe passage of humanitarian and medical supplies, and humanitarian agencies and workers, into the country; and
(d) Immediately lift restrictions on all forms of media;
“3. Requests all Member States, to the extent possible, to cooperate in the evacuation of those foreign nationals wishing to leave the country;
“4. Decides to refer the situation in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya since 15 February 2011 to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court;
“5. Decides that the Libyan authorities shall cooperate fully with and provide any necessary assistance to the Court and the Prosecutor pursuant to this resolution and, while recognizing that States not party to the Rome Statute have no obligation under the Statute, urges all States and concerned regional and other international organizations to cooperate fully with the Court and the Prosecutor;
“6. Decides that nationals, current or former officials or personnel from a State outside the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya which is not a party to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court shall be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of that State for all alleged acts or omissions arising out of or related to operations in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya established or authorized by the Council, unless such exclusive jurisdiction has been expressly waived by the State;
“7. Invites the Prosecutor to address the Security Council within two months of the adoption of this resolution and every six months thereafter on actions taken pursuant to this resolution;
“8. Recognizes that none of the expenses incurred in connection with the referral, including expenses related to investigations or prosecutions in connection with that referral, shall be borne by the United Nations and that such costs shall be borne by the parties to the Rome Statute and those States that wish to contribute voluntarily;
“9. Decides that all Member States shall immediately take the necessary measures to prevent the direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer to the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, from or through their territories or by their nationals, or using their flag vessels or aircraft, of arms and related materiel of all types, including weapons and ammunition, military vehicles and equipment, paramilitary equipment, and spare parts for the aforementioned, and technical assistance, training, financial or other assistance, related to military activities or the provision, maintenance or use of any arms and related materiel, including the provision of armed mercenary personnel whether or not originating in their territories, and decides further that this measure shall not apply to:
(a) Supplies of non-lethal military equipment intended solely for humanitarian or protective use, and related technical assistance or training, as approved in advance by the Committee established pursuant to paragraph 24 below;
(b) Protective clothing, including flak jackets and military helmets, temporarily exported to the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya by United Nations personnel, representatives of the media and humanitarian and development works and associated personnel, for their personal use only; or
(c) Other sales or supply of arms and related materiel, or provision of assistance or personnel, as approved in advance by the Committee;
“10. Decides that the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya shall cease the export of all arms and related materiel and that all Member States shall prohibit the procurement of such items from the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya by their nationals, or using their flagged vessels or aircraft, and whether or not originating in the territory of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya;
“11. Calls upon all States, in particular States neighbouring the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, to inspect, in accordance with their national authorities and legislation and consistent with international law, in particular the law of the sea and relevant international civil aviation agreements, all cargo to and from the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, in their territory, including seaports and airports, if the State concerned has information that provides reasonable grounds to believe the cargo contains items the supply, sale, transfer, or export of which is prohibited by paragraphs 9 or 10 of this resolution for the purpose of ensuring strict implementation of those provisions;
“12. Decides to authorize all Member States to, and that all Member States shall, upon discovery of items prohibited by paragraph 9 or 10 of this resolution, seize and dispose (such as through destruction, rendering inoperable, storage or transferring to a State other than the originating or destination States for disposal) items the supply, sale, transfer or export of which is prohibited by paragraph 9 or 10 of this resolution and decides further that all Member States shall cooperate in such efforts;
“13. Requires any Member State when it undertakes an inspection pursuant to paragraph 11 above, to submit promptly an initial written report to the Committee containing, in particular, explanation of the grounds for the inspections, the results of such inspections, and whether or not cooperation was provided, and, if prohibited items for transfer are found, further requires such Member States to submit to the Committee, at a later stage, a subsequent written report containing relevant details on the inspection, seizure, and disposal, and relevant details of the transfer, including a description of the items, their origin and intended destination, if this information is not in the initial report;
“14. Encourages Member States to take steps to strongly discourage their nationals from travelling to the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya to participate in activities on behalf of the Libyan authorities that could reasonably contribute to the violation of human rights;
“15. Decides that all Member States shall take the necessary measures to prevent the entry into or transit through their territories of individuals listed in Annex I of this resolution or designated by the Committee established pursuant to paragraph 24 below, provided that nothing in this paragraph shall oblige a State to refuse its own nationals entry into its territory;
“16. Decides that the measures imposed by paragraph 15 above shall not apply:
(a) Where the Committee determines on a case-by-case basis that such travel is justified on the grounds of humanitarian need, including religious obligation;
(b) Where entry or transit is necessary for the fulfilment of a judicial process;
(c) Where the Committee determines on a case-by-case basis that an exemption would further the objectives of peace and national reconciliation in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya and stability in the region; or
(d) Where a State determines on a case-by-case basis that such entry or transit is required to advance peace and stability in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya and the States subsequently notifies the Committee within forty-eight hours after making such a determination;
“17. Decides that all Member States shall freeze without delay all funds, other financial assets and economic resources which are on their territories, which are owned or controlled, directly or indirectly, by the individuals or entities listed in Annex II of this resolution or designated by the Committee established pursuant to paragraph 24 below, or by individuals or entities acting on their behalf or at their direction, or by entities owned or controlled by them, and decides further that all Member States shall ensure that any funds, financial assets or economic resources are prevented from being made available by their nationals or by any individuals or entities within their territories, to or for the benefit of the individuals or entities listed in Annex II of this resolution or individuals designated by the Committee;
“18. Expresses its intention to ensure that assets frozen pursuant to paragraph 17 shall at a later stage be made available to and for the benefit of the people of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya;
“19. Decides that the measures imposed by paragraph 17 above do not apply to funds, other financial assets or economic resources that have been determined by relevant Member States:
(a) To be necessary for basic expenses, including payment for foodstuffs, rent or mortgage, medicines and medical treatment, taxes, insurance premiums, and public utility charges or exclusively for payment of reasonable professional fees and reimbursement of incurred expenses associated with the provision of legal services in accordance with national laws, or fees or service charges, in accordance with national laws, for routine holding or maintenance of frozen funds, other financial assets and economic resources, after notification by the relevant State to the Committee of the intention to authorize, where appropriate, access to such funds, other financial assets or economic resources and in the absence of a negative decision by the Committee within five working days of such notification;
(b) To be necessary for extraordinary expenses, provided that such determination has been notified by the relevant State or Member States to the Committee and has been approved by the Committee; or
(c) To be the subject of a judicial, administrative or arbitral lien or judgment, in which case the funds, other financial assets and economic resources may be used to satisfy that lien or judgment provided that the lien or judgment was entered into prior to the date of the present resolution, is not for the benefit of a person or entity designated pursuant to paragraph 17 above, and has been notified by the relevant State or Member States to the Committee;
“20. Decides that Member States may permit the addition to the accounts frozen pursuant to the provisions of paragraph 17 above of interests or other earnings due on those accounts or payments due under contracts, agreements or obligations that arose prior to the date on which those accounts became subject to the provisions of this resolution, provided that any such interest, other earnings and payments continue to be subject to these provisions and are frozen;
“21. Decides that the measures in paragraph 17 above shall not prevent a designated person or entity from making payment due under a contract entered into prior to the listing of such a person or entity, provided that the relevant States have determined that the payment is not directly or indirectly received by a person or entity designated pursuant to paragraph 17 above, and after notification by the relevant States to the Committee of the intention to make or receive such payments or to authorize, where appropriate, the unfreezing of funds, other financial assets or economic resources for this purpose, 10 working days prior to such authorization;
“22. Decides that the measures contained in paragraphs 15 and 17 shall apply to the individuals and entities designated by the Committee, pursuant to paragraph 24 (b) and (c), respectively;
(a) Involved in or complicit in ordering, controlling, or otherwise directing, the commission of serious human rights abuses against persons in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, including by being involved in or complicit in planning, commanding, ordering or conducting attacks, in violation of international law, including aerial bombardments, on civilian populations and facilities; or
(b) Acting for or on behalf of or at the direction of individuals or entities identified in subparagraph (a).
“23. Strongly encourages Member States to submit to the Committee names of individuals who meet the criteria set out in paragraph 22 above;
New Sanctions Committee
“24. Decides to establish, in accordance with rule 28 of its provisional rules of procedure, a Committee of the Security Council consisting of all the members of the Council (herein "the Committee"), to undertake to following tasks:
(a) To monitor implementation of the measures imposed in paragraphs 9, 10, 15, and 17;
(b) To designate those individuals subject to the measures imposed by paragraphs 15 and to consider requests for exemptions in accordance with paragraph 16 above;
(c) To designate those individuals subject to the measures imposed by paragraph 17 above and to consider requests for exemptions in accordance with paragraphs 19 and 20 above;
(d) To establish such guidelines as may be necessary to facilitate the implementation of the measures imposed above;
(e) To report within thirty days to the Security Council on its work for the first report and thereafter to report as deemed necessary by the Committee;
(f) To encourage a dialogue between the Committee and interested Member States, in particular those in the region, including by inviting representatives of such States to meet with the Committee to discuss implementation of the measures;
(g) To seek from all States whatever information it may consider useful regarding the actions taken by them to implement effectively the measures imposed above;
(h) To examine and take appropriate action on information regarding alleged violations or non-compliance with the measures contained in this resolution;
“25. Calls upon all Member States to report to the Committee within 120 days of the adoption of this resolution on the steps they have taken with a view to implementing effectively paragraphs 9, 10, 15 and 17 above;
“26. Calls upon all Member States, working together and acting in cooperation with the Secretary General, to facilitate and support the return of humanitarian agencies and make available humanitarian and related assistance in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, and requests the States concerned to keep the Security Council regularly informed on the progress of actions undertaken pursuant to this paragraph, and expresses its readiness to consider taking additional appropriate measures, as necessary, to achieve this;
Commitment to review
“27. Affirms that it shall keep the Libyan authorities’ actions under continuous review and that it shall be prepared to review the appropriateness of the measures contained in this resolution, including the strengthening, modification, suspension or lifting of the measures, as may be needed at any time in light of the Libyan authorities’ compliance with relevant provisions of this resolution;
“28. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.”
Response to Resolution 1970
On February 23, 2011 President Obama gave an address responding to the UN resolution on Libya. He states that the US will take whatever actions are necessary to assist the people of Libya in keeping with the UN resolution. President Obama also states that 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.
THE PRESIDENT: Good afternoon, everybody. Secretary Clinton and I just concluded a meeting that focused on the ongoing situation in Libya. 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.
First, we are doing everything we can to protect American citizens. That is my highest priority. In Libya, we've urged our people to leave the country and the State Department is assisting those in need of support. Meanwhile, I think all Americans should give thanks to the heroic work that's being done by our foreign service officers and the men and women serving in our embassies and consulates around the world. They represent the very best of our country and its values.
Now, throughout this period of unrest and upheaval across the region the United States has maintained a set of core principles which guide our approach. These principles apply to the situation in Libya. As I said last week, we strongly condemn the use of violence in Libya.
The American people extend our deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of all who’ve been killed and injured. The suffering and bloodshed is outrageous and it is unacceptable. 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.
The United States also strongly supports the universal rights of the Libyan people. That includes the rights of peaceful assembly, free speech, and the ability of the Libyan people to determine their own destiny. These are human rights. They are not negotiable. They must be respected in every country. And they cannot be denied through violence or suppression.
In a volatile situation like this one, it is imperative that the nations and peoples of the world speak with one voice, and that has been our focus. Yesterday a unanimous U.N. Security Council sent a clear message that it condemns the violence in Libya, supports accountability for the perpetrators, and stands with the Libyan people.
This same message, by the way, has been delivered by the European Union, the Arab League, the African Union, the Organization of the Islamic Conference, and many individual nations. North and south, east and west, voices are being raised together to oppose suppression and support the rights of the Libyan people.
I’ve also asked my administration to prepare the full range of options that we have to respond to this crisis. This includes those actions we may take and those we will coordinate with our allies and partners, or those that we’ll carry out through multilateral institutions.
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. It must be held accountable for its failure to meet those responsibilities, and face the cost of continued violations of human rights.
This is not simply a concern of the United States. The entire world is watching, and we will coordinate our assistance and accountability measures with the international community. To that end, Secretary Clinton and I have asked Bill Burns, our Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, to make several stops in Europe and the region to intensify our consultations with allies and partners about the situation in Libya.
I’ve also asked Secretary Clinton to travel to Geneva on Monday, where a number of foreign ministers will convene for a session of the Human Rights Council. There she’ll hold consultations with her counterparts on events throughout the region and continue to ensure that we join with the international community to speak with one voice to the government and the people of Libya.
And even as we are focused on the urgent situation in Libya, let me just say that our efforts continue to address the events taking place elsewhere, including how the international community can most effectively support the peaceful transition to democracy in both Tunisia and in Egypt.
So let me be clear. The change that is taking place across the region is being driven by the people of the region. This change doesn’t represent the work of the United States or any foreign power. It represents the aspirations of people who are seeking a better life.
As one Libyan said, “We just want to be able to live like human beings.” We just want to be able to live like human beings. It is the most basic of aspirations that is driving this change. And throughout this time of transition, the United States will continue to stand up for freedom, stand up for justice, and stand up for the dignity of all people.
Thank you very much.
Muammar Gaddafi Must Leave
On March 3, 2011 President Obama spoke at a joint press conference with Mexican President Felipe Calderon. He stated that Muammar Gaddafi had lost the legitimacy to lead his country and that he must therefore leave.
The United States, and the entire world, continues to be outraged by the appalling violence against the Libyan people. The United States is helping to lead an international effort to deter further violence, put in place unprecedented sanctions to hold the Qaddafi government accountable, and support the aspirations of the Libyan people. We are also responding quickly to the urgent humanitarian needs that are developing.
Tens of thousands of people—from many different countries—are fleeing Libya, and we commend the governments of Tunisia and Egypt for their response, even as they go through their own political transitions. I have therefore approved the use of U.S. military aircraft to help move Egyptians who have fled to the Tunisian border to get back home to Egypt. I’ve authorized USAID to charter additional civilian aircraft to help people from other countries find their way home. And we’re supporting the efforts of international organizations to evacuate people as well.
I have also directed USAID to send humanitarian assistance teams to the Libyan border, so that they can work with the United Nations, NGOs and other international partners inside Libya to address the urgent needs of the Libyan people.
Going forward, we will continue to send a clear message: the violence must stop; Muammar Gaddafi has lost the legitimacy to lead and he must leave; those who perpetrate violence against the Libyan people will be held accountable; and the aspirations of the Libyan people for freedom, democracy and dignity must be met.
Following an aggressive response to protests by pro-Gaddafi forces, rebel groups began to form and organize. Aided by large defections from the military, the rebels overtook eastern cities such as Benghazi and then began to move westward toward the capital of Tripoli. Similar uprisings in western cities were moving toward the capital as well.
The New York Times established a day-to-day map of cities held by rebels and government forces. It can be seen in an image taken from that script that the rebel strength peaked on March 5, 2011 when the rebels controlled all of the western cities and all the smaller cities surrounding the capital.
It's Their Choice, They Will be Held Accountable
On March 7, 2011 President Obama met with Prime Minister Julia Gillard of Australia. During discussions on those meetings, President Obama stated that those committing war crimes against their people were doing so at their choice and that they would eventually be held accountable.
And we had a discussion about the situation in the Middle East. And I think Prime Minister Gillard and I both share a very firm conviction that the violence that's been taking place and perpetrated by the government in Libya is unacceptable. Australia joined with us in imposing swift and firm sanctions, comprehensive sanctions, against the Libyan government. We continue to monitor the violence there.
I want to send a very clear message to those who are around Colonel Qaddafi: It is their choice to make how they operate moving forward, and they will be held accountable for whatever violence continues to take place there.
In the meantime, we've got NATO, as we speak, consulting in Brussels around a wide range of potential options, including potential military options, in response to the violence that continues to take place inside of Libya. In addition, we have taken the lead on a host of humanitarian efforts, and I just authorized an additional $15 million that will be provided to aid organizations that are already on the ground. And we've been coordinating with the United Nations, which now has a number of personnel on the ground as well, to make sure that people are getting the help they need and we are in a position to respond to any additional emergencies that may arise out of the situation there.
But the bottom line is I think Australia and the United States stand shoulder to shoulder in sending a clear message that we stand for democracy, we stand for an observance of human rights, and that we send a very clear message to the Libyan people that we will stand with them in the face of unwarranted violence and the continuing suppression of democratic ideals that we've seen there.
Support for No-Fly Zone from the Arab League
On March 12, 2011 the 22 member League of Arab State voted with only two opposing votes to support a UN no-fly zone over Libya. The group had previously suspended Libya's involvement in the League. That same day, the White House released the following statement.
We welcome this important step by the Arab League, which strengthens the international pressure on Gaddafi and support for the Libyan people. The international community is unified in sending a clear message that the violence in Libya must stop, and that the Gaddafi regime must be held accountable. The United States will continue to advance our efforts to pressure Gaddafi, to support the Libyan opposition, and to prepare for all contingencies, in close coordination with our international partners.
UN Resolution 1973
On March 17, 2011 the UN Security Council unanimously passed UN Resolution 1973. This resolution authorized a no-fly zone, the protection of Libyan civilians, and the enforcement of the arms embargo established in Resolution 1970.
The Security Council,
“Recalling its resolution 1970 (2011) of 26 February 2011,
“Deploring the failure of the Libyan authorities to comply with resolution 1970 (2011),
“Expressing grave concern at the deteriorating situation, the escalation of violence, and the heavy civilian casualties,
“Reiterating the responsibility of the Libyan authorities to protect the Libyan population and reaffirming that parties to armed conflicts bear the primary responsibility to take all feasible steps to ensure the protection of civilians,
“Condemning the gross and systematic violation of human rights, including arbitrary detentions, enforced disappearances, torture and summary executions,
“Further condemning acts of violence and intimidation committed by the Libyan authorities against journalists, media professionals and associated personnel and urging these authorities to comply with their obligations under international humanitarian law as outlined in resolution 1738 (2006),
“Considering that the widespread and systematic attacks currently taking place in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya against the civilian population may amount to crimes against humanity,
“Recalling paragraph 26 of resolution 1970 (2011) in which the Council expressed its readiness to consider taking additional appropriate measures, as necessary, to facilitate and support the return of humanitarian agencies and make available humanitarian and related assistance in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya,
“Expressing its determination to ensure the protection of civilians and civilian populated areas and the rapid and unimpeded passage of humanitarian assistance and the safety of humanitarian personnel,
“Recalling the condemnation by the League of Arab States, the African Union and the Secretary-General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference of the serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law that have been and are being committed in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya,
“Taking note of the final communiqué of the Organization of the Islamic Conference of 8 March 2011, and the communiqué of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union of 10 March 2011 which established an ad hoc High-Level Committee on Libya,
“Taking note also of the decision of the Council of the League of Arab States of 12 March 2011 to call for the imposition of a no-fly zone on Libyan military aviation, and to establish safe areas in places exposed to shelling as a precautionary measure that allows the protection of the Libyan people and foreign nationals residing in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya,
“Taking note further of the Secretary-General’s call on 16 March 2011 for an immediate ceasefire,
“Recalling its decision to refer the situation in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya since 15 February 2011 to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, and stressing that those responsible for or complicit in attacks targeting the civilian population, including aerial and naval attacks, must be held to account,
“Reiterating its concern at the plight of refugees and foreign workers forced to flee the violence in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, welcoming the response of neighbouring States, in particular Tunisia and Egypt, to address the needs of those refugees and foreign workers, and calling on the international community to support those efforts,
“Deploring the continuing use of mercenaries by the Libyan authorities,
“Considering that the establishment of a ban on all flights in the airspace of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya constitutes an important element for the protection of civilians as well as the safety of the delivery of humanitarian assistance and a decisive step for the cessation of hostilities in Libya,
“Expressing concern also for the safety of foreign nationals and their rights in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya,
“Welcoming the appointment by the Secretary General of his Special Envoy to Libya, Mr. Abdul Ilah Mohamed Al-Khatib and supporting his efforts to find a sustainable and peaceful solution to the crisis in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya,
“Reaffirming its strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and national unity of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya,
“Determining that the situation in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya continues to constitute a threat to international peace and security,
“Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations,
“1. Demands the immediate establishment of a ceasefire and a complete end to violence and all attacks against, and abuses of, civilians;
“2. Stresses the need to intensify efforts to find a solution to the crisis which responds to the legitimate demands of the Libyan people and notes the decisions of the Secretary-General to send his Special Envoy to Libya and of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union to send its ad hoc High-Level Committee to Libya with the aim of facilitating dialogue to lead to the political reforms necessary to find a peaceful and sustainable solution;
“3. Demands that the Libyan authorities comply with their obligations under international law, including international humanitarian law, human rights and refugee law and take all measures to protect civilians and meet their basic needs, and to ensure the rapid and unimpeded passage of humanitarian assistance;
“Protection of civilians
“4. Authorizes Member States that have notified the Secretary-General, acting nationally or through regional organizations or arrangements, and acting in cooperation with the Secretary-General, to take all necessary measures, notwithstanding paragraph 9 of resolution 1970 (2011), to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, including Benghazi, while excluding a foreign occupation force of any form on any part of Libyan territory, and requests the Member States concerned to inform the Secretary-General immediately of the measures they take pursuant to the authorization conferred by this paragraph which shall be immediately reported to the Security Council;
“5. Recognizes the important role of the League of Arab States in matters relating to the maintenance of international peace and security in the region, and bearing in mind Chapter VIII of the Charter of the United Nations, requests the Member States of the League of Arab States to cooperate with other Member States in the implementation of paragraph 4;
“6. Decides to establish a ban on all flights in the airspace of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya in order to help protect civilians;
“7. Decides further that the ban imposed by paragraph 6 shall not apply to flights whose sole purpose is humanitarian, such as delivering or facilitating the delivery of assistance, including medical supplies, food, humanitarian workers and related assistance, or evacuating foreign nationals from the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, nor shall it apply to flights authorised by paragraphs 4 or 8, nor other flights which are deemed necessary by States acting under the authorization conferred in paragraph 8 to be for the benefit of the Libyan people, and that these flights shall be coordinated with any mechanism established under paragraph 8;
“8. Authorizes Member States that have notified the Secretary-General and the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States, acting nationally or through regional organizations or arrangements, to take all necessary measures to enforce compliance with the ban on flights imposed by paragraph 6 above, as necessary, and requests the States concerned in cooperation with the League of Arab States to coordinate closely with the Secretary General on the measures they are taking to implement this ban, including by establishing an appropriate mechanism for implementing the provisions of paragraphs 6 and 7 above,
“9. Calls upon all Member States, acting nationally or through regional organizations or arrangements, to provide assistance, including any necessary overflight approvals, for the purposes of implementing paragraphs 4, 6, 7 and 8 above;
“10. Requests the Member States concerned to coordinate closely with each other and the Secretary-General on the measures they are taking to implement paragraphs 4, 6, 7 and 8 above, including practical measures for the monitoring and approval of authorised humanitarian or evacuation flights;
“11. Decides that the Member States concerned shall inform the Secretary-General and the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States immediately of measures taken in exercise of the authority conferred by paragraph 8 above, including to supply a concept of operations;
“12. Requests the Secretary-General to inform the Council immediately of any actions taken by the Member States concerned in exercise of the authority conferred by paragraph 8 above and to report to the Council within 7 days and every month thereafter on the implementation of this resolution, including information on any violations of the flight ban imposed by paragraph 6 above;
“Enforcement of the arms embargo
“13. Decides that paragraph 11 of resolution 1970 (2011) shall be replaced by the following paragraph : “Calls upon all Member States, in particular States of the region, acting nationally or through regional organisations or arrangements, in order to ensure strict implementation of the arms embargo established by paragraphs 9 and 10 of resolution 1970 (2011), to inspect in their territory, including seaports and airports, and on the high seas, vessels and aircraft bound to or from the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, if the State concerned has information that provides reasonable grounds to believe that the cargo contains items the supply, sale, transfer or export of which is prohibited by paragraphs 9 or 10 of resolution 1970 (2011) as modified by this resolution, including the provision of armed mercenary personnel, calls upon all flag States of such vessels and aircraft to cooperate with such inspections and authorises Member States to use all measures commensurate to the specific circumstances to carry out such inspections”;
“14. Requests Member States which are taking action under paragraph 13 above on the high seas to coordinate closely with each other and the Secretary-General and further requests the States concerned to inform the Secretary-General and the Committee established pursuant to paragraph 24 of resolution 1970 (2011) (“the Committee”) immediately of measures taken in the exercise of the authority conferred by paragraph 13 above;
“15. Requires any Member State whether acting nationally or through regional organisations or arrangements, when it undertakes an inspection pursuant to paragraph 13 above, to submit promptly an initial written report to the Committee containing, in particular, explanation of the grounds for the inspection, the results of such inspection, and whether or not cooperation was provided, and, if prohibited items for transfer are found, further requires such Member States to submit to the Committee, at a later stage, a subsequent written report containing relevant details on the inspection, seizure, and disposal, and relevant details of the transfer, including a description of the items, their origin and intended destination, if this information is not in the initial report;
“16. Deplores the continuing flows of mercenaries into the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya and calls upon all Member States to comply strictly with their obligations under paragraph 9 of resolution 1970 (2011) to prevent the provision of armed mercenary personnel to the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya;
“Ban on flights
“17. Decides that all States shall deny permission to any aircraft registered in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya or owned or operated by Libyan nationals or companies to take off from, land in or overfly their territory unless the particular flight has been approved in advance by the Committee, or in the case of an emergency landing;
“18. Decides that all States shall deny permission to any aircraft to take off from, land in or overfly their territory, if they have information that provides reasonable grounds to believe that the aircraft contains items the supply, sale, transfer, or export of which is prohibited by paragraphs 9 and 10 of resolution 1970 (2011) as modified by this resolution, including the provision of armed mercenary personnel, except in the case of an emergency landing;
“19. Decides that the asset freeze imposed by paragraph 17, 19, 20 and 21 of resolution 1970 (2011) shall apply to all funds, other financial assets and economic resources which are on their territories, which are owned or controlled, directly or indirectly, by the Libyan authorities, as designated by the Committee, or by individuals or entities acting on their behalf or at their direction, or by entities owned or controlled by them, as designated by the Committee, and decides further that all States shall ensure that any funds, financial assets or economic resources are prevented from being made available by their nationals or by any individuals or entities within their territories, to or for the benefit of the Libyan authorities, as designated by the Committee, or individuals or entities acting on their behalf or at their direction, or entities owned or controlled by them, as designated by the Committee, and directs the Committee to designate such Libyan authorities, individuals or entities within 30 days of the date of the adoption of this resolution and as appropriate thereafter;
“20. Affirms its determination to ensure that assets frozen pursuant to paragraph 17 of resolution 1970 (2011) shall, at a later stage, as soon as possible be made available to and for the benefit of the people of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya;
“21. Decides that all States shall require their nationals, persons subject to their jurisdiction and firms incorporated in their territory or subject to their jurisdiction to exercise vigilance when doing business with entities incorporated in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya or subject to its jurisdiction, and any individuals or entities acting on their behalf or at their direction, and entities owned or controlled by them, if the States have information that provides reasonable grounds to believe that such business could contribute to violence and use of force against civilians;
“22. Decides that the individuals listed in Annex I shall be subject to the travel restrictions imposed in paragraphs 15 and 16 of resolution 1970 (2011), and decides further that the individuals and entities listed in Annex II shall be subject to the asset freeze imposed in paragraphs 17, 19, 20 and 21 of resolution 1970 (2011);
“23. Decides that the measures specified in paragraphs 15, 16, 17, 19, 20 and 21 of resolution 1970 (2011) shall apply also to individuals and entities determined by the Council or the Committee to have violated the provisions of resolution 1970 (2011), particularly paragraphs 9 and 10 thereof, or to have assisted others in doing so;
“Panel of Experts
“24. Requests the Secretary-General to create for an initial period of one year, in consultation with the Committee, a group of up to eight experts (“Panel of Experts”), under the direction of the Committee to carry out the following tasks:
(a) Assist the Committee in carrying out its mandate as specified in paragraph 24 of resolution 1970 (2011) and this resolution;
(b) Gather, examine and analyse information from States, relevant United Nations bodies, regional organisations and other interested parties regarding the implementation of the measures decided in resolution 1970 (2011) and this resolution, in particular incidents of non-compliance;
(c) Make recommendations on actions the Council, or the Committee or State, may consider to improve implementation of the relevant measures;
(d) Provide to the Council an interim report on its work no later than 90 days after the Panel’s appointment, and a final report to the Council no later than 30 days prior to the termination of its mandate with its findings and recommendations;
“25. Urges all States, relevant United Nations bodies and other interested parties, to cooperate fully with the Committee and the Panel of Experts, in particular by supplying any information at their disposal on the implementation of the measures decided in resolution 1970 (2011) and this resolution, in particular incidents of non-compliance;
“26. Decides that the mandate of the Committee as set out in paragraph 24 of resolution 1970 (2011) shall also apply to the measures decided in this resolution;
“27. Decides that all States, including the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, shall take the necessary measures to ensure that no claim shall lie at the instance of the Libyan authorities, or of any person or body in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, or of any person claiming through or for the benefit of any such person or body, in connection with any contract or other transaction where its performance was affected by reason of the measures taken by the Security Council in resolution 1970 (2011), this resolution and related resolutions;
“28. Reaffirms its intention to keep the actions of the Libyan authorities under continuous review and underlines its readiness to review at any time the measures imposed by this resolution and resolution 1970 (2011), including by strengthening, suspending or lifting those measures, as appropriate, based on compliance by the Libyan authorities with this resolution and resolution 1970 (2011);
“29. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.”
After being pushed back to the capital of Tripoli on March 5, the pro-Gaddaffi forces reorganized and pushed back on the rebel forces. The rebels suffered from a poor leadership and communication structure which was not capable of sustaining the logistics for a continued military movement. The normal military forces also had the benefit of heavier weapons and air support. By March 18, 2011 the pro-Gaddafi forces had pushed the rebels back from numerous eastern cities and were engaged in fighting with the rebels in Misurata and Ajdabiya.
Using again the New York Times day-to-day map, the situation on March 18, was that pro-Gaddafi forces had retaken numerous cities and were moving on other strategic areas.
Cease Fire Announcement
On March 18, 2011 the government of Libya announced that while they did not believe that the UN possessed the legitimacy to state that the Libyan military could not fight against an insurgency within their nation, they would honor the cease fire. Numerous reports indicated that the Libyan military did not stop their push forward, and that shelling of cities was continuing.
A Campaign of Intimidation and Repression
On March 18, 2011 President Obama gave an address discussing the situation in Libya. In that speech, President Obama stated that Moammar Qaddafi lost the legitimacy to lead and was waging a campaign of intimidation and repression. He stated that left unchecked, there was every reason to believe that atrocities would could continue and the word of the international community would ring hollow. He cited the UN resolutions as a authorization for the use of force in Libya.
President Obama also stated that ground troops would not be used and that US force would not go beyond the well defined goals established within the UN Resolution 1973.
Good afternoon, everybody. I want to take this opportunity to update the American people about the situation in Libya. Over the last several weeks, the world has watched events unfold in Libya with hope and alarm. Last month, protesters took to the streets across the country to demand their universal rights, and a government that is accountable to them and responsive to their aspirations. But they were met with an iron fist.
Within days, whole parts of the country declared their independence from a brutal regime, and members of the government serving in Libya and abroad chose to align themselves with the forces of change. Moammar Qaddafi clearly lost the confidence of his own people and the legitimacy to lead.
Instead of respecting the rights of his own people, Qaddafi chose the path of brutal suppression. Innocent civilians were beaten, imprisoned, and in some cases killed. Peaceful protests were forcefully put down. Hospitals were attacked and patients disappeared. A campaign of intimidation and repression began.
In the face of this injustice, the United States and the international community moved swiftly. Sanctions were put in place by the United States and our allies and partners. The U.N. Security Council imposed further sanctions, an arms embargo, and the specter of international accountability for Qaddafi and those around him. Humanitarian assistance was positioned on Libya’s borders, and those displaced by the violence received our help. Ample warning was given that Qaddafi needed to stop his campaign of repression, or be held accountable. The Arab League and the European Union joined us in calling for an end to violence.
Once again, Qaddafi chose to ignore the will of his people and the international community. Instead, he launched a military campaign against his own people. And there should be no doubt about his intentions, because he himself has made them clear.
For decades, he has demonstrated a willingness to use brute force through his sponsorship of terrorism against the American people as well as others, and through the killings that he has carried out within his own borders. And just yesterday, speaking of the city of Benghazi -- a city of roughly 700,000 people -- he threatened, and I quote: “We will have no mercy and no pity” -- no mercy on his own citizens.
Now, here is why this matters to us. Left unchecked, we have every reason to believe that Qaddafi would commit atrocities against his people. Many thousands could die. A humanitarian crisis would ensue. The entire region could be destabilized, endangering many of our allies and partners. The calls of the Libyan people for help would go unanswered. The democratic values that we stand for would be overrun. Moreover, the words of the international community would be rendered hollow.
And that’s why the United States has worked with our allies and partners to shape a strong international response at the United Nations. Our focus has been clear: protecting innocent civilians within Libya, and holding the Qaddafi regime accountable.
Yesterday, in response to a call for action by the Libyan people and the Arab League, the U.N. Security Council passed a strong resolution that demands an end to the violence against citizens. It authorizes the use of force with an explicit commitment to pursue all necessary measures to stop the killing, to include the enforcement of a no-fly zone over Libya. It also strengthens our sanctions and the enforcement of an arms embargo against the Qaddafi regime.
Now, once more, Moammar Qaddafi has a choice. The resolution that passed lays out very clear conditions that must be met. The United States, the United Kingdom, France, and Arab states agree that a cease-fire must be implemented immediately. That means all attacks against civilians must stop. Qaddafi must stop his troops from advancing on Benghazi, pull them back from Ajdabiya, Misrata, and Zawiya, and establish water, electricity and gas supplies to all areas. Humanitarian assistance must be allowed to reach the people of Libya.
Let me be clear, these terms are not negotiable. These terms are not subject to negotiation. If Qaddafi does not comply with the resolution, the international community will impose consequences, and the resolution will be enforced through military action.
In this effort, the United States is prepared to act as part of an international coalition. American leadership is essential, but that does not mean acting alone -– it means shaping the conditions for the international community to act together.
That’s why I have directed Secretary Gates and our military to coordinate their planning, and tomorrow Secretary Clinton will travel to Paris for a meeting with our European allies and Arab partners about the enforcement of Resolution 1973. We will provide the unique capabilities that we can bring to bear to stop the violence against civilians, including enabling our European allies and Arab partners to effectively enforce a no fly zone. I have no doubt that the men and women of our military are capable of carrying out this mission. Once more, they have the thanks of a grateful nation and the admiration of the world.
I also want to be clear about what we will not be doing. The United States is not going to deploy ground troops into Libya. And we are not going to use force to go beyond a well-defined goal -- specifically, the protection of civilians in Libya. In the coming weeks, we will continue to help the Libyan people with humanitarian and economic assistance so that they can fulfill their aspirations peacefully.
Now, the United States did not seek this outcome. Our decisions have been driven by Qaddafi’s refusal to respect the rights of his people, and the potential for mass murder of innocent civilians. It is not an action that we will pursue alone. Indeed, our British and French allies, and members of the Arab League, have already committed to take a leadership role in the enforcement of this resolution, just as they were instrumental in pursuing it. We are coordinating closely with them. And this is precisely how the international community should work, as more nations bear both the responsibility and the cost of enforcing international law.
This is just one more chapter in the change that is unfolding across the Middle East and North Africa. From the beginning of these protests, we have made it clear that we are opposed to violence. We have made clear our support for a set of universal values, and our support for the political and economic change that the people of the region deserve. But I want to be clear: the change in the region will not and cannot be imposed by the United States or any foreign power; ultimately, it will be driven by the people of the Arab World. It is their right and their responsibility to determine their own destiny.
Let me close by saying that there is no decision I face as your Commander in Chief that I consider as carefully as the decision to ask our men and women to use military force. Particularly at a time when our military is fighting in Afghanistan and winding down our activities in Iraq, that decision is only made more difficult. But the United States of America will not stand idly by in the face of actions that undermine global peace and security. So I have taken this decision with the confidence that action is necessary, and that we will not be acting alone. Our goal is focused, our cause is just, and our coalition is strong. Thank you very much.
Authorization of Limited Military Action
On March 19, 2011 President Obama authorized the use of limited military action in Libya. In a statement, the President noted the authorization, and his view that this action was not sought by anyone outside of Libya, but the actions of the Libyan government have consequences. President Obama also asserted that the writ of the international community must be enforced.
Good afternoon, everybody. Today I authorized the Armed Forces of the United States to begin a limited military action in Libya in support of an international effort to protect Libyan civilians. That action has now begun.
In this effort, the United States is acting with a broad coalition that is committed to enforcing United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973, which calls for the protection of the Libyan people. That coalition met in Paris today to send a unified message, and it brings together many of our European and Arab partners.
This is not an outcome that the United States or any of our partners sought. Even yesterday, the international community offered Muammar Qaddafi the opportunity to pursue an immediate cease-fire, one that stopped the violence against civilians and the advances of Qaddafi’s forces. But despite the hollow words of his government, he has ignored that opportunity. His attacks on his own people have continued. His forces have been on the move. And the danger faced by the people of Libya has grown.
I am deeply aware of the risks of any military action, no matter what limits we place on it. I want the American people to know that the use of force is not our first choice and it’s not a choice that I make lightly. But we cannot stand idly by when a tyrant tells his people that there will be no mercy, and his forces step up their assaults on cities like Benghazi and Misurata, where innocent men and women face brutality and death at the hands of their own government.
So we must be clear: Actions have consequences, and the writ of the international community must be enforced. That is the cause of this coalition.
As a part of this effort, the United States will contribute our unique capabilities at the front end of the mission to protect Libyan civilians, and enable the enforcement of a no-fly zone that will be led by our international partners. And as I said yesterday, we will not -- I repeat -- we will not deploy any U.S. troops on the ground.
As Commander-in-Chief, I have great confidence in the men and women of our military who will carry out this mission. They carry with them the respect of a grateful nation.
I'm also proud that we are acting as part of a coalition that includes close allies and partners who are prepared to meet their responsibility to protect the people of Libya and uphold the mandate of the international community.
I've acted after consulting with my national security team, and Republican and Democratic leaders of Congress. And in the coming hours and days, my administration will keep the American people fully informed. But make no mistake: Today we are part of a broad coalition. We are answering the calls of a threatened people. And we are acting in the interests of the United States and the world.
Thank you very much.
Operation Odyssey Dawn
The military action to enforce the UN Security Council resolution to protect the civilians and enforce the no-fly zone was given the name Odyssey Dawn. The wording of United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1970 and 1973 is shown above. Resolution 1973 calls for a no-fly zone and authorizes any action to implement that zone to protect civilians.
In the days after the initiation of Operation Odyssey Dawn, US and NATO forces bombed tanks, anti-aircraft positions, artillery positions, communications structures, and command locations. The day-to-day actions map maintained by the New York Times shows the bombing locations for the first day.
Arab League Reaction
In reaction to the bombing of numerous military ground compounds, tanks, and military institutions not related to the enforcement of a no-fly zone, the Arab League secretary general Amr Mussa told reporters the following:
What has happened in Libya differs from the goal of imposing a no-fly zone and what we want is the protection of civilians and not bombing other civilian ... From the start we requested only that a no-fly zone be set up to protect Libyan civilians and avert any other developments or additional measures.
In later statements, the Arab League would say that this was a poor translation and did not communicate the Secretary General's intent to state that the original purpose of the no-fly zone was to protect civilians.
Letter to Speaker Boehner
Due to mounting pressure for the President to clarify the US role in Libya and the authority under which he was operations, President Obama sent a letter to Speaker of the House, Congressman Boehner, on March 21, 2011. In this letter, President Obama cites the UN Security Council resolution as justification for the use of force in Libya. The President also states that the Gaddafi regime represents a lawless challenge to the authority of the Security Council and its efforts to preserve stability in the region as reason for the military action and stated that these powers were granted under the War Powers Resolution.
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release March 21, 2011
March 21, 2011
Dear Mr. Speaker: (Dear Mr. President:)
At approximately 3:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, on March 19, 2011, at my direction, U.S. military forces commenced operations to assist an international effort authorized by the United Nations (U.N.) Security Council and undertaken with the support of European allies and Arab partners, to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe and address the threat posed to international peace and security by the crisis in Libya. As part of the multilateral response authorized under U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973, U.S. military forces, under the command of Commander, U.S. Africa Command, began a series of strikes against air defense systems and military airfields for the purposes of preparing a no-fly zone. These strikes will be limited in their nature, duration, and scope. Their purpose is to support an international coalition as it takes all necessary measures to enforce the terms of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973. These limited U.S. actions will set the stage for further action by other coalition partners.
United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973 authorized Member States, under Chapter VII of the U.N. Charter, to take all necessary measures to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack in Libya, including the establishment and enforcement of a "no-fly zone" in the airspace of Libya. United States military efforts are discrete and focused on employing unique U.S. military capabilities to set the conditions for our European allies and Arab partners to carry out the measures authorized by the U.N. Security Council Resolution.
Muammar Qadhafi was provided a very clear message that a cease-fire must be implemented immediately. The international community made clear that all attacks against civilians had to stop; Qadhafi had to stop his forces from advancing on Benghazi; pull them back from Ajdabiya, Misrata, and Zawiya; and establish water, electricity, and gas supplies to all areas. Finally, humanitarian assistance had to be allowed to reach the people of Libya.
Although Qadhafi's Foreign Minister announced an immediate cease-fire, Qadhafi and his forces made no attempt to implement such a cease-fire, and instead continued attacks on Misrata and advanced on Benghazi. Qadhafi's continued attacks and threats against civilians and civilian populated areas are of grave concern to neighboring Arab nations and, as expressly stated in U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973, constitute a threat to the region and to international peace and security. His illegitimate use of force not only is causing the deaths of substantial numbers of civilians among his own people, but also is forcing many others to flee to neighboring countries, thereby destabilizing the peace and security of the region. Left unaddressed, the growing instability in Libya could ignite wider instability in the Middle East, with dangerous consequences to the national security interests of the United States. Qadhafi's defiance of the Arab League, as well as the broader international community moreover, represents a lawless challenge to the authority of the Security Council and its efforts to preserve stability in the region. Qadhafi has forfeited his responsibility to protect his own citizens and created a serious need for immediate humanitarian assistance and protection, with any delay only putting more civilians at risk.
The United States has not deployed ground forces into Libya. United States forces are conducting a limited and well-defined mission in support of international efforts to protect civilians and prevent a humanitarian disaster. Accordingly, U.S. forces have targeted the Qadhafi regime's air defense systems, command and control structures, and other capabilities of Qadhafi's armed forces used to attack civilians and civilian populated areas. We will seek a rapid, but responsible, transition of operations to coalition, regional, or international organizations that are postured to continue activities as may be necessary to realize the objectives of U.N. Security Council Resolutions 1970 and 1973.
For these purposes, I have directed these actions, which are in the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States, pursuant to my constitutional authority to conduct U.S. foreign relations and as Commander in Chief and Chief Executive.
I am providing this report as part of my efforts to keep the Congress fully informed, consistent with the War Powers Resolution. I appreciate the support of the Congress in this action.
Bombing of Gaddafi Compound
On March 21, 2011 UN forces bombed the compound that Libyan dictator Moammad Gaddafi uses as his home. Vice Admiral Bill Gortney stated that Gaddafi himself and his home were not targets, but anything relating to command and control capability was a target, even if it was part of that compound. An anonymous official stated the following:
The coalition is actively enforcing UNSCR (UN Security Council Resolution) 1973, and that in keeping with that mission, we continue to strike those targets which pose a direct threat to the Libyan people and to our ability to implement the no-fly zone.
Not a War - A Kinetic Military Action
On March 23, 2011 a press briefing was held on Air Force One with Press Secretary Jay Carney, Senior Director for Western Hemisphere Affairs Dan Restrepo, and Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes. In that press briefing, National Security Advisor Rhodes referred to the military involvement in Libya as not a war, but a kinetic military action.
Q: Ben, in the congressional briefings, Congress was reportedly told that this is not a war. Can you confirm that? Can you elaborate on that? And if it’s not a war, what’s the right way to characterize this operation?
MR. RHODES: Well, I mean, I wasn’t in those particular briefings. But again, I think what we’ve said is that this is a military operation that will be limited in both duration and scope. Our contribution to this military operation that is enforcing a U.N. Security Council resolution is going to be limited -- time limited to the front end, and then we’ll shift to a support role.
So I think what we’re doing is we’re enforcing a U.N. Security Council resolution. We’re taking -- we’re undertaking a military operation to protect the people of Libya. But that military operation is going to be, again, limited in both time and scope, and that’s the position we took to Congress, although I wasn’t in the precise briefings, so I couldn’t --
Q: But it’s not going to war, then?
MR. RHODES: Well, again, I think what we are doing is enforcing a resolution that has a very clear set of goals, which is protecting the Libyan people, averting a humanitarian crisis, and setting up a no-fly zone. Obviously that involves kinetic military action, particularly on the front end. But again, the nature of our commitment is that we are not getting into an open-ended war, a land invasion in Libya. What we are doing is offering a unique set of capabilities over a period of days that can shape the environment for a no-fly zone.
Weekly Address - Mission is Clear
On March 25, 2011 President Obama used the weekly Presidential address to discuss the US mission in Libya. He states that the US is not putting military forces on the ground in Libya. He notes that "responsibility" for the war in Libya is being transfered to NATO members. This transfer of responsibility to NATO would be cited later as justification for continued military presence in the mission as President Obama would claim that he was no longer working under the War Powers Resolution.
Last week, when I ordered our armed forces to help protect the Libyan people from the brutality of Moammar Qaddafi, I pledged to keep the American people fully informed. Since then, I’ve spoken about the limited scope and specific purpose of this mission. Today, I can report that thanks to our brave men and women in uniform, we’ve made important progress.
As Commander in Chief, I face no greater decision than sending our military men and women into harm’s way. And the United States should not—and cannot—intervene every time there’s a crisis somewhere in the world.
But I firmly believe that when innocent people are being brutalized; when someone like Qaddafi threatens a bloodbath that could destabilize an entire region; and when the international community is prepared to come together to save many thousands of lives—then it’s in our national interest to act. And it’s our responsibility. This is one of those times.
Our military mission in Libya is clear and focused. Along with our allies and partners, we’re enforcing the mandate of the United Nations Security Council. We’re protecting the Libyan people from Qaddafi’s forces. And we’ve put in place a no fly zone and other measures to prevent further atrocities.
We’re succeeding in our mission. We’ve taken out Libya’s air defenses. Qaddafi’s forces are no longer advancing across Libya. In places like Benghazi, a city of some 700,000 that Qaddafi threatened to show “no mercy,” his forces have been pushed back. So make no mistake, because we acted quickly, a humanitarian catastrophe has been avoided and the lives of countless civilians—innocent men, women and children—have been saved.
As I pledged at the outset, the role of American forces has been limited. We are not putting any ground forces into Libya. Our military has provided unique capabilities at the beginning, but this is now a broad, international effort. Our allies and partners are enforcing the no fly zone over Libya and the arms embargo at sea. Key Arab partners like Qatar and the United Arab Emirates have committed aircraft. And as agreed this week, responsibility for this operation is being transferred from the United States to our NATO allies and partners.
This is how the international community should work—more nations, not just the United States, bearing the responsibility and cost of upholding peace and security.
This military effort is part of our larger strategy to support the Libyan people and hold the Qaddafi regime accountable. Together with the international community, we’re delivering urgent humanitarian assistance. We’re offering support to the Libyan opposition. We’ve frozen tens of billions of dollars of Qaddafi’s assets that can help meet the needs and aspirations of the Libyan people. And every day, the pressure on Qaddafi and his regime is increasing.
Our message is clear and unwavering. Qaddafi’s attacks against civilians must stop. His forces must pull back. Humanitarian assistance must be allowed to reach those in need. Those responsible for violence must be held accountable. Moammar Qaddafi has lost the confidence of his people and the legitimacy to rule, and the aspirations of the Libyan people must be realized.
In recent days, we’ve heard the voices of Libyans expressing their gratitude for this mission. “You saved our lives,” said one Libyan. Said another, “Today, there is hope.”
Every American can be proud of the lives we’ve saved in Libya and of the service of our men and women in uniform who once again have stood up for our interests and our ideals. And people in Libya and around the world are seeing that the United States of America stands with those who hope for a future where they can determine their own destiny.
National Defense University Address
On March 28, 2011 President Obama gave a national address at the National Defense University to discuss the actions taken to date in Libya and the transition of control of the mission in Libya to NATO forces.
THE PRESIDENT: Tonight, I’d like to update the American people on the international effort that we have led in Libya –- what we’ve done, what we plan to do, and why this matters to us.
I want to begin by paying tribute to our men and women in uniform who, once again, have acted with courage, professionalism and patriotism. They have moved with incredible speed and strength. Because of them and our dedicated diplomats, a coalition has been forged and countless lives have been saved.
Meanwhile, as we speak, our troops are supporting our ally Japan, leaving Iraq to its people, stopping the Taliban’s momentum in Afghanistan, and going after al Qaeda all across the globe. As Commander-in-Chief, I’m grateful to our soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, Coast Guardsmen, and to their families. And I know all Americans share in that sentiment.
For generations, the United States of America has played a unique role as an anchor of global security and as an advocate for human freedom. Mindful of the risks and costs of military action, we are naturally reluctant to use force to solve the world’s many challenges. But when our interests and values are at stake, we have a responsibility to act. That’s what happened in Libya over the course of these last six weeks.
Libya sits directly between Tunisia and Egypt -– two nations that inspired the world when their people rose up to take control of their own destiny. For more than four decades, the Libyan people have been ruled by a tyrant -– Muammar Qaddafi. He has denied his people freedom, exploited their wealth, murdered opponents at home and abroad, and terrorized innocent people around the world –- including Americans who were killed by Libyan agents.
Last month, Qaddafi’s grip of fear appeared to give way to the promise of freedom. In cities and towns across the country, Libyans took to the streets to claim their basic human rights. As one Libyan said, “For the first time we finally have hope that our nightmare of 40 years will soon be over.”
Faced with this opposition, Qaddafi began attacking his people. As President, my immediate concern was the safety of our citizens, so we evacuated our embassy and all Americans who sought our assistance. Then we took a series of swift steps in a matter of days to answer Qaddafi’s aggression. We froze more than $33 billion of Qaddafi’s regime’s assets. Joining with other nations at the United Nations Security Council, we broadened our sanctions, imposed an arms embargo, and enabled Qaddafi and those around him to be held accountable for their crimes. I made it clear that Qaddafi had lost the confidence of his people and the legitimacy to lead, and I said that he needed to step down from power.
In the face of the world’s condemnation, Qaddafi chose to escalate his attacks, launching a military campaign against the Libyan people. Innocent people were targeted for killing. Hospitals and ambulances were attacked. Journalists were arrested, sexually assaulted, and killed. Supplies of food and fuel were choked off. Water for hundreds of thousands of people in Misurata was shut off. Cities and towns were shelled, mosques were destroyed, and apartment buildings reduced to rubble. Military jets and helicopter gunships were unleashed upon people who had no means to defend themselves against assaults from the air.
Confronted by this brutal repression and a looming humanitarian crisis, I ordered warships into the Mediterranean. European allies declared their willingness to commit resources to stop the killing. The Libyan opposition and the Arab League appealed to the world to save lives in Libya. And so at my direction, America led an effort with our allies at the United Nations Security Council to pass a historic resolution that authorized a no-fly zone to stop the regime’s attacks from the air, and further authorized all necessary measures to protect the Libyan people.
Ten days ago, having tried to end the violence without using force, the international community offered Qaddafi a final chance to stop his campaign of killing, or face the consequences. Rather than stand down, his forces continued their advance, bearing down on the city of Benghazi, home to nearly 700,000 men, women and children who sought their freedom from fear.
At this point, the United States and the world faced a choice. Qaddafi declared he would show “no mercy” to his own people. He compared them to rats, and threatened to go door to door to inflict punishment. In the past, we have seen him hang civilians in the streets, and kill over a thousand people in a single day. Now we saw regime forces on the outskirts of the city. We knew that if we wanted -- if we waited one more day, Benghazi, a city nearly the size of Charlotte, could suffer a massacre that would have reverberated across the region and stained the conscience of the world.
It was not in our national interest to let that happen. I refused to let that happen. And so nine days ago, after consulting the bipartisan leadership of Congress, I authorized military action to stop the killing and enforce U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973.
We struck regime forces approaching Benghazi to save that city and the people within it. We hit Qaddafi’s troops in neighboring Ajdabiya, allowing the opposition to drive them out. We hit Qaddafi’s air defenses, which paved the way for a no-fly zone. We targeted tanks and military assets that had been choking off towns and cities, and we cut off much of their source of supply. And tonight, I can report that we have stopped Qaddafi’s deadly advance.
In this effort, the United States has not acted alone. Instead, we have been joined by a strong and growing coalition. This includes our closest allies -– nations like the United Kingdom, France, Canada, Denmark, Norway, Italy, Spain, Greece, and Turkey –- all of whom have fought by our sides for decades. And it includes Arab partners like Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, who have chosen to meet their responsibilities to defend the Libyan people.
To summarize, then: In just one month, the United States has worked with our international partners to mobilize a broad coalition, secure an international mandate to protect civilians, stop an advancing army, prevent a massacre, and establish a no-fly zone with our allies and partners. To lend some perspective on how rapidly this military and diplomatic response came together, when people were being brutalized in Bosnia in the 1990s, it took the international community more than a year to intervene with air power to protect civilians. It took us 31 days.
Moreover, we’ve accomplished these objectives consistent with the pledge that I made to the American people at the outset of our military operations. I said that America’s role would be limited; that we would not put ground troops into Libya; that we would focus our unique capabilities on the front end of the operation and that we would transfer responsibility to our allies and partners. Tonight, we are fulfilling that pledge.
Our most effective alliance, NATO, has taken command of the enforcement of the arms embargo and the no-fly zone. Last night, NATO decided to take on the additional responsibility of protecting Libyan civilians. This transfer from the United States to NATO will take place on Wednesday. Going forward, the lead in enforcing the no-fly zone and protecting civilians on the ground will transition to our allies and partners, and I am fully confident that our coalition will keep the pressure on Qaddafi’s remaining forces.
In that effort, the United States will play a supporting role -- including intelligence, logistical support, search and rescue assistance, and capabilities to jam regime communications. Because of this transition to a broader, NATO-based coalition, the risk and cost of this operation -- to our military and to American taxpayers -- will be reduced significantly.
So for those who doubted our capacity to carry out this operation, I want to be clear: The United States of America has done what we said we would do.
That’s not to say that our work is complete. In addition to our NATO responsibilities, we will work with the international community to provide assistance to the people of Libya, who need food for the hungry and medical care for the wounded. We will safeguard the more than $33 billion that was frozen from the Qaddafi regime so that it’s available to rebuild Libya. After all, the money doesn’t belong to Qaddafi or to us -- it belongs to the Libyan people. And we’ll make sure they receive it.
Tomorrow, Secretary Clinton will go to London, where she will meet with the Libyan opposition and consult with more than 30 nations. These discussions will focus on what kind of political effort is necessary to pressure Qaddafi, while also supporting a transition to the future that the Libyan people deserve -- because while our military mission is narrowly focused on saving lives, we continue to pursue the broader goal of a Libya that belongs not to a dictator, but to its people.
Now, despite the success of our efforts over the past week, I know that some Americans continue to have questions about our efforts in Libya. Qaddafi has not yet stepped down from power, and until he does, Libya will remain dangerous. Moreover, even after Qaddafi does leave power, 40 years of tyranny has left Libya fractured and without strong civil institutions. The transition to a legitimate government that is responsive to the Libyan people will be a difficult task. And while the United States will do our part to help, it will be a task for the international community and –- more importantly –- a task for the Libyan people themselves.
In fact, much of the debate in Washington has put forward a false choice when it comes to Libya. On the one hand, some question why America should intervene at all -– even in limited ways –- in this distant land. They argue that there are many places in the world where innocent civilians face brutal violence at the hands of their government, and America should not be expected to police the world, particularly when we have so many pressing needs here at home.
It’s true that America cannot use our military wherever repression occurs. And given the costs and risks of intervention, we must always measure our interests against the need for action. But that cannot be an argument for never acting on behalf of what’s right. In this particular country -– Libya -- at this particular moment, we were faced with the prospect of violence on a horrific scale. We had a unique ability to stop that violence: an international mandate for action, a broad coalition prepared to join us, the support of Arab countries, and a plea for help from the Libyan people themselves. We also had the ability to stop Qaddafi’s forces in their tracks without putting American troops on the ground.
To brush aside America’s responsibility as a leader and -– more profoundly -– our responsibilities to our fellow human beings under such circumstances would have been a betrayal of who we are. Some nations may be able to turn a blind eye to atrocities in other countries. The United States of America is different. And as President, I refused to wait for the images of slaughter and mass graves before taking action.
Moreover, America has an important strategic interest in preventing Qaddafi from overrunning those who oppose him. A massacre would have driven thousands of additional refugees across Libya’s borders, putting enormous strains on the peaceful –- yet fragile -– transitions in Egypt and Tunisia. The democratic impulses that are dawning across the region would be eclipsed by the darkest form of dictatorship, as repressive leaders concluded that violence is the best strategy to cling to power. The writ of the United Nations Security Council would have been shown to be little more than empty words, crippling that institution’s future credibility to uphold global peace and security. So while I will never minimize the costs involved in military action, I am convinced that a failure to act in Libya would have carried a far greater price for America.
Now, just as there are those who have argued against intervention in Libya, there are others who have suggested that we broaden our military mission beyond the task of protecting the Libyan people, and do whatever it takes to bring down Qaddafi and usher in a new government.
Of course, there is no question that Libya -– and the world –- would be better off with Qaddafi out of power. I, along with many other world leaders, have embraced that goal, and will actively pursue it through non-military means. But broadening our military mission to include regime change would be a mistake.
The task that I assigned our forces -– to protect the Libyan people from immediate danger, and to establish a no-fly zone -– carries with it a U.N. mandate and international support. It’s also what the Libyan opposition asked us to do. If we tried to overthrow Qaddafi by force, our coalition would splinter. We would likely have to put U.S. troops on the ground to accomplish that mission, or risk killing many civilians from the air. The dangers faced by our men and women in uniform would be far greater. So would the costs and our share of the responsibility for what comes next.
To be blunt, we went down that road in Iraq. Thanks to the extraordinary sacrifices of our troops and the determination of our diplomats, we are hopeful about Iraq’s future. But regime change there took eight years, thousands of American and Iraqi lives, and nearly a trillion dollars. That is not something we can afford to repeat in Libya.
As the bulk of our military effort ratchets down, what we can do -- and will do -- is support the aspirations of the Libyan people. We have intervened to stop a massacre, and we will work with our allies and partners to maintain the safety of civilians. We will deny the regime arms, cut off its supplies of cash, assist the opposition, and work with other nations to hasten the day when Qaddafi leaves power. It may not happen overnight, as a badly weakened Qaddafi tries desperately to hang on to power. But it should be clear to those around Qaddafi, and to every Libyan, that history is not on Qaddafi’s side. With the time and space that we have provided for the Libyan people, they will be able to determine their own destiny, and that is how it should be.
Let me close by addressing what this action says about the use of America’s military power, and America’s broader leadership in the world, under my presidency.
As Commander-in-Chief, I have no greater responsibility than keeping this country safe. And no decision weighs on me more than when to deploy our men and women in uniform. I’ve made it clear that I will never hesitate to use our military swiftly, decisively, and unilaterally when necessary to defend our people, our homeland, our allies and our core interests. That's why we’re going after al Qaeda wherever they seek a foothold. That is why we continue to fight in Afghanistan, even as we have ended our combat mission in Iraq and removed more than 100,000 troops from that country.
There will be times, though, when our safety is not directly threatened, but our interests and our values are. Sometimes, the course of history poses challenges that threaten our common humanity and our common security -– responding to natural disasters, for example; or preventing genocide and keeping the peace; ensuring regional security, and maintaining the flow of commerce. These may not be America’s problems alone, but they are important to us. They’re problems worth solving. And in these circumstances, we know that the United States, as the world’s most powerful nation, will often be called upon to help.
In such cases, we should not be afraid to act -– but the burden of action should not be America’s alone. As we have in Libya, our task is instead to mobilize the international community for collective action. Because contrary to the claims of some, American leadership is not simply a matter of going it alone and bearing all of the burden ourselves. Real leadership creates the conditions and coalitions for others to step up as well; to work with allies and partners so that they bear their share of the burden and pay their share of the costs; and to see that the principles of justice and human dignity are upheld by all.
That’s the kind of leadership we’ve shown in Libya. Of course, even when we act as part of a coalition, the risks of any military action will be high. Those risks were realized when one of our planes malfunctioned over Libya. Yet when one of our airmen parachuted to the ground, in a country whose leader has so often demonized the United States –- in a region that has such a difficult history with our country –- this American did not find enemies. Instead, he was met by people who embraced him. One young Libyan who came to his aid said, “We are your friends. We are so grateful to those men who are protecting the skies.”
This voice is just one of many in a region where a new generation is refusing to be denied their rights and opportunities any longer.
Yes, this change will make the world more complicated for a time. Progress will be uneven, and change will come differently to different countries. There are places, like Egypt, where this change will inspire us and raise our hopes. And then there will be places, like Iran, where change is fiercely suppressed. The dark forces of civil conflict and sectarian war will have to be averted, and difficult political and economic concerns will have to be addressed.
The United States will not be able to dictate the pace and scope of this change. Only the people of the region can do that. But we can make a difference.
I believe that this movement of change cannot be turned back, and that we must stand alongside those who believe in the same core principles that have guided us through many storms: our opposition to violence directed at one’s own people; our support for a set of universal rights, including the freedom for people to express themselves and choose their leaders; our support for governments that are ultimately responsive to the aspirations of the people.
Born, as we are, out of a revolution by those who longed to be free, we welcome the fact that history is on the move in the Middle East and North Africa, and that young people are leading the way. Because wherever people long to be free, they will find a friend in the United States. Ultimately, it is that faith -- those ideals -- that are the true measure of American leadership.
My fellow Americans, I know that at a time of upheaval overseas -- when the news is filled with conflict and change -- it can be tempting to turn away from the world. And as I’ve said before, our strength abroad is anchored in our strength here at home. That must always be our North Star -- the ability of our people to reach their potential, to make wise choices with our resources, to enlarge the prosperity that serves as a wellspring for our power, and to live the values that we hold so dear.
But let us also remember that for generations, we have done the hard work of protecting our own people, as well as millions around the globe. We have done so because we know that our own future is safer, our own future is brighter, if more of mankind can live with the bright light of freedom and dignity.
Tonight, let us give thanks for the Americans who are serving through these trying times, and the coalition that is carrying our effort forward. And let us look to the future with confidence and hope not only for our own country, but for all those yearning for freedom around the world.
Thank you. God bless you, and may God bless the United States of America. (Applause.) Thank you.
Libya's Pathway to Peace
On April 14, 2011 President Obama authored an op-ed on Libya that appeared in the New York Times. The column was co-authored by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, and British Prime Minister David Cameron. The op-ed cited the UN Security Council resolution as justification of the use of force in Libya, and called for the removal of Muammar Gaddafi.
Libya’s Pathway to Peace
By BARACK OBAMA, DAVID CAMERON, and NICOLAS SARKOZY
Published: April 14, 2011
Together with our NATO allies and coalition partners, the United States, France and Britain have been united from the start in responding to the crisis in Libya, and we are united on what needs to happen in order to end it.
Even as we continue our military operations today to protect civilians in Libya, we are determined to look to the future. We are convinced that better times lie ahead for the people of Libya, and a pathway can be forged to achieve just that.
We must never forget the reasons why the international community was obliged to act in the first place. As Libya descended into chaos with Colonel Muammar el-Qaddafi attacking his own people, the Arab League called for action. The Libyan opposition called for help. And the people of Libya looked to the world in their hour of need. In an historic resolution, the United Nations Security Council authorized all necessary measures to protect the people of Libya from the attacks upon them. By responding immediately, our countries, together with an international coalition, halted the advance of Qaddafi’s forces and prevented the bloodbath that he had promised to inflict upon the citizens of the besieged city of Benghazi.
Tens of thousands of lives have been protected. But the people of Libya are still suffering terrible horrors at Qaddafi’s hands each and every day. His rockets and shells rained down on defenseless civilians in Ajdabiya. The city of Misurata is enduring a medieval siege, as Qaddafi tries to strangle its population into submission. The evidence of disappearances and abuses grows daily.
Our duty and our mandate under U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973 is to protect civilians, and we are doing that. It is not to remove Qaddafi by force. But it is impossible to imagine a future for Libya with Qaddafi in power. The International Criminal Court is rightly investigating the crimes committed against civilians and the grievous violations of international law. It is unthinkable that someone who has tried to massacre his own people can play a part in their future government. The brave citizens of those towns that have held out against forces that have been mercilessly targeting them would face a fearful vengeance if the world accepted such an arrangement. It would be an unconscionable betrayal.
Furthermore, it would condemn Libya to being not only a pariah state, but a failed state too. Qaddafi has promised to carry out terrorist attacks against civilian ships and airliners. And because he has lost the consent of his people any deal that leaves him in power would lead to further chaos and lawlessness. We know from bitter experience what that would mean. Neither Europe, the region, or the world can afford a new safe haven for extremists.
There is a pathway to peace that promises new hope for the people of Libya — a future without Qaddafi that preserves Libya’s integrity and sovereignty, and restores her economy and the prosperity and security of her people. This needs to begin with a genuine end to violence, marked by deeds not words. The regime has to pull back from the cities it is besieging, including Ajdabiya, Misurata and Zintan, and return to their barracks. However, so long as Qaddafi is in power, NATO must maintain its operations so that civilians remain protected and the pressure on the regime builds. Then a genuine transition from dictatorship to an inclusive constitutional process can really begin, led by a new generation of leaders. In order for that transition to succeed, Qaddafi must go and go for good. At that point, the United Nations and its members should help the Libyan people as they rebuild where Qaddafi has destroyed — to repair homes and hospitals, to restore basic utilities, and to assist Libyans as they develop the institutions to underpin a prosperous and open society.
This vision for the future of Libya has the support of a broad coalition of countries, including many from the Arab world. These countries came together in London on March 29 and founded a Contact Group which met this week in Doha to support a solution to the crisis that respects the will of the Libyan people.
Today, NATO and our partners are acting in the name of the United Nations with an unprecedented international legal mandate. But it will be the people of Libya, not the U.N., who choose their new constitution, elect their new leaders, and write the next chapter in their history.
Britain, France and the United States will not rest until the United Nations Security Council resolutions have been implemented and the Libyan people can choose their own future.
Authorization for the Use of Drones
On April 21, 2011 President Obama authorized the use of Predator drones in Libya. Marine General James Cartwright made the following statement about the use of the drones.
What they will bring that is unique to the conflict is their ability to get down lower, therefore to be able to get better visibility on targets that have started to dig themselves into defensive positions. They are uniquely suited for urban areas. ... It’s very difficult to pick friend from foe. So a vehicle like the Predator that can get down lower and can get IDs better helps us.
$25 Million to Rebels
On April 26, 2011 President Obama used his drawdown authority to grant $25 million to the Libyan rebels.
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release April 26, 2011
Presidential Determination No. 2011-9
MEMORANDUM FOR THE SECRETARY OF STATE, THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE
SUBJECT: Drawdown Pursuant to Section 552(c)(2) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as Amended, of up to $25 Million in Commodities and Services from any Agency of the United States Government for Libyan Groups, such as the Transitional National Council, to Support Efforts to Protect Civilians and Civilian-Populated Areas Under Threat of Attack in Libya
Pursuant to the authority vested in me as President by section 552(c)(2) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended, 22 U.S.C. 2348a (FAA), I hereby determine that:
(1) as a result of an unforeseen emergency, the provision of assistance under Chapter Six of Part II of the FAA in amounts in excess of funds otherwise available for such assistance is important to the national interests of the United States; and
(2) such unforeseen emergency requires the immediate provision of assistance under Chapter Six of Part II of the FAA.
I therefore direct the drawdown of up to $25 million in nonlethal commodities and services from the inventory and resources of any agency of the United States Government to support key U.S. Government partners such as the Transitional National Council in efforts to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack in Libya.
The Secretary of State is authorized and directed to report this determination to the Congress, arrange for its publication in the Federal Register, and coordinate the implementation of this drawdown.
Moment of Opportunity Speech
On May 19, 2011 President Obama gave an hour long speech on the future of the middle east. He used the Arab spring uprisings and the death of Osama bin Laden as a moment of opportunity to chart a new path to peace in the middle, and in Israel. In that speech, President Obama touched on Libya as an extreme example of the conflict of ideas in the middle east and struggle amongst people for freedom. The White House also released a fact sheet detailing the US involvement in Libya.
Unfortunately, in too many countries, calls for change have thus far been answered by violence. The most extreme example is Libya, where Muammar Qaddafi launched a war against his own people, promising to hunt them down like rats. As I said when the United States joined an international coalition to intervene, we cannot prevent every injustice perpetrated by a regime against its people, and we have learned from our experience in Iraq just how costly and difficult it is to try to impose regime change by force -– no matter how well-intentioned it may be.
But in Libya, we saw the prospect of imminent massacre, we had a mandate for action, and heard the Libyan people’s call for help. Had we not acted along with our NATO allies and regional coalition partners, thousands would have been killed. The message would have been clear: Keep power by killing as many people as it takes. Now, time is working against Qaddafi. He does not have control over his country. The opposition has organized a legitimate and credible Interim Council. And when Qaddafi inevitably leaves or is forced from power, decades of provocation will come to an end, and the transition to a democratic Libya can proceed.
While Libya has faced violence on the greatest scale, it’s not the only place where leaders have turned to repression to remain in power. Most recently, the Syrian regime has chosen the path of murder and the mass arrests of its citizens. The United States has condemned these actions, and working with the international community we have stepped up our sanctions on the Syrian regime –- including sanctions announced yesterday on President Assad and those around him.
Libya: The United States led an international effort to intervene in Libya to stop a massacre – joining with with our allies at the UN Security Council to pass a historic resolution that authorized a no-fly zone and further authorized all necessary measures to protect the Libyan people. At the start of the air campaign, the President pledged to the American people that U.S. military action would be limited in duration and scope and that we would ultimately transition from a U.S. to a coalition lead. The President has made good on that pledge. Now that we have transitioned to a NATO lead, we will continue to play an important role in the international community’s effort to put pressure on Col. Qaddafi and to protect innocent civilians that his regime continues to attack. The President has made clear, Qaddafi has lost the confidence of the Libyan people and he must go. At the same time, the United States is engaging and assisting the Transitional National Council, a legitimate and credible interlocutor, which is committed to an inclusive, democratic political transition in Libya. We are also working to address humanitarian needs in Libya and along its borders
Congressional Action - Removing Troops
On June 3, 2011 the US House voted on two resolutions relating to the troops in Libya. The first of these was a resolution that President Obama had failed to provide the Congress with compelling rationale as to why the US was pursuing military action in Libya, and that the President could not maintain a military presence in the nation without Congressional approval. Although this resolution passed, a second resolution calling for removal of troops from Libya within 15 days failed to pass.
H Res 292
House Resolution 292 found that President Obama had not sought and Congress had not given consent for the use of military force in Libya.
States the policy of the House of Representatives that: (1) the U.S. Armed Forces shall be used exclusively to defend and advance the national security interests of the United States; (2) the President has failed to provide Congress with a compelling rationale based upon national security interests for current U.S. military activities regarding Libya; and (3) the President shall not deploy, establish, or maintain the presence of units and members of the Armed Forces on the ground in Libya unless the purpose of the presence is to rescue a member of the Armed Forces from imminent danger.
Directs the Secretaries of State and Defense and the Attorney General to transmit to the House of Representatives, not later than 14 days after the adoption of this resolution, copies of any official document, record, memo, correspondence, or other communication in the possession of each officer that was created on or after February 15, 2011, and refers or relates to: (1) consultation or communication with Congress regarding the employment or deployment of the Armed Forces for Operation Odyssey Dawn or NATO Operation Unified Protector; or (2) the War Powers Resolution and Operation Odyssey Dawn or Operation Unified Protector.
Directs the President, not later than 14 days after adoption of this resolution, to transmit to the House of Representatives a report describing in detail U.S. security interests and objectives, and the activities of the Armed Forces, in Libya since March 19, 2011. Includes as elements to be described: (1) the President's justification for not seeking authorization by Congress for the use of military force; (2) political and military objectives; (3) details of the U.S. commitment, including costs and the impact on U.S. activities in Iraq and Afghanistan; (4) assessments of Libyan opposition forces and groups; (5) involvement of groups that have promoted an agenda that would negatively impact U.S. interests; (6) forms of support between and among al-Qaeda operatives, its affiliates, and supporters in Yemen, the Horn of Africa, and North Africa; and (7) contributions by Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, and other regional states in support of NATO activities in Libya.
Finds that: (1) the President has not sought, and Congress has not provided, authorization for the introduction or continued involvement of the Armed Forces in Libya; and (2) Congress has the constitutional prerogative to withhold funding for any unauthorized use of the Armed Forces, including for unauthorized activities regarding Libya.
H Con Res 51
House Continuing Resolution 51 was a simple declaration that President Obama must remove troops from Libya within 15 days of the enactment of the resolution. The measure had bipartisan support and opposition, and failed to pass.
SECTION 1. REMOVAL OF UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES FROM LIBYA.
Pursuant to section 5(c) of the War Powers Resolution (50 U.S.C. 1544(c)), Congress directs the President to remove the United States Armed Forces from Libya by not later than the date that is 15 days after the date of the adoption of this concurrent resolution.
On June 15, 2011, 10 Congressmen signed onto a lawsuit in the District Court of DC against President Obama and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. The 36 page lawsuit alleges that the war powers section of the Constitution clearly states that the President must have Congressional authorization for going to war, that the war powers resolution does not grant the President the authority to carry out the actions he is undertaking in Libya and neither does the UN Security Council resolutions, that Libya did not attack a NATO state and action against the country is not authorized under NATO membership, and that the use of federal monies for the war in Libya is not authorized.
The plaintiffs sought to have President Obama prevented from using monies for the war in Libya and prevented from further military action until Congressional authorization is given.
Obama Responds to Congress
Report to Congress
On June 15, 2011 the Obama administration submitted a report to Congress concerning the actions taken in Libya. This report details the actions taken to date, the cost of portions of the mission in Libya, and the justification for the action. The entire report can be read here. When the document asserts that the President had the authority to use the military in Libya under the War Powers Resolution, but that the operations in Libya are distinct from the "hostilities" envisioned in the War Powers Resolution and therefore the 60 day limit does not apply. Thus the initial conflict was justified under the War Powers Resolution, but those conflicts ended when the US handed over the primary military role to the UN.
Given the important U.S. interests served by U.S. military operations in Libya and the limited nature, scope and duration of the anticipated actions, the President had constitutional authority, as Commander in Chief and Chief Executive and pursuant to his foreign affairs powers, to direct such limited military operations abroad. The President is of the view that the current U.S. military operations in Libya are consistent with the War Powers Resolution and do not under that law require further congressional authorization, because U.S. military operations are distinct from the kind of “hostilities” contemplated by the Resolution’s 60 day termination provision. U.S. forces are playing a constrained and supporting role in a multinational coalition, whose operations are both legitimated by and limited to the terms of a United Nations Security Council Resolution that authorizes the use of force solely to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under attack or threat of attack and to enforce a no-fly zone and an arms embargo. U.S. operations do not involve sustained fighting or active exchanges of fire with hostile forces, nor do they involve the presence of U.S. ground troops, U.S. casualties or a serious threat thereof, or any significant chance of escalation into a conflict characterized by those factors.
Letter to Congress
On June 16, 2011 President Obama responded to the actions taken in Congress by issuing a letter to Speaker Boehner noting instances of the use of military force by Presidents. This was done in tandem with the report to Congress.
Dear Mr. Speaker: (Dear Mr. President:)
I am providing this supplemental consolidated report, prepared by my Administration and consistent with the War Powers Resolution (Public Law 93-148), as part of my efforts to keep the Congress informed about deployments of U.S. Armed Forces equipped for combat.
MILITARY OPERATIONS AGAINST AL-QA'IDA, THE TALIBAN, AND ASSOCIATED FORCES AND IN SUPPORT OF RELATED U.S. COUNTERTERRORISM OBJECTIVES
Since October 7, 2001, the United States has conducted combat operations in Afghanistan against al-Qa'ida terrorists and their Taliban supporters. In support of these and other overseas operations, the United States has deployed combat-equipped forces to a number of locations in the U.S. Central, Pacific, European, Southern, and Africa Command areas of operation. Previously such operations and deployments have been reported, consistent with Public Law 107-40 and the War Powers Resolution, and operations and deployments remain ongoing. These operations, which the United States has carried out with the assistance of numerous international partners, have been successful in seriously degrading al-Qa'ida's capabilities and brought an end to the Taliban's leadership of Afghanistan.
United States Armed Forces are also actively pursuing and engaging remaining al-Qa'ida and Taliban fighters in Afghanistan. The total number of U.S. forces in Afghanistan is approximately 99,000, of which more than 83,000 are assigned to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan. The U.N. Security Council most recently reaffirmed its authorization of ISAF for a 12-month period from October 13, 2010, in U.N. Security Council Resolution 1943 (October 13, 2010). The mission of ISAF, under NATO command and in partnership with the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is to conduct population-centric counterinsurgency operations, enable expanded and effective capabilities of the Afghan National Security Forces, support improved governance and development in order to protect the Afghan people, and promote sustainable security. Including the United States, 48 partner nations, including all 28 NATO Allies, contribute troops to ISAF. These combat operations are gradually pushing insurgents to the edges of secured population areas in a number of important regions, largely resulting from the increase in U.S. forces over the past 2 years. United States and other coalition forces will continue to execute the strategy of clear-hold-build, and transition, until full responsibility for security rests with the Afghan National Security Forces.
The United States continues to detain approximately 1,000 al-Qa'ida, Taliban, and associated force fighters who are believed to pose a continuing threat to the United States and its interests.
The combat-equipped forces, deployed since January 2002 to Naval Base, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, continue to conduct secure detention operations for the approximately 170 detainees at Guantanamo Bay under Public Law 107-40 and consistent with principles of the law of war.
In furtherance of U.S. efforts against members of al-Qa'ida, the Taliban, and associated forces, the United States continues to work with partners around the globe, with a particular focus on the U.S. Central Command's area of responsibility. In this context, the United States has deployed U.S. combat-equipped forces to assist in enhancing the counterterrorism capabilities of our friends and allies, including special operations and other forces for sensitive operations in various locations around the world. The United States is committed to thwarting the efforts of al-Qa'ida and its associated forces to carry out future acts of international terrorism, and we have continued to work with our counterterrorism partners to disrupt and degrade the capabilities of al-Qa'ida and its associated forces. As necessary, in response to the terrorist threat, I will direct additional measures against al-Qa'ida, the Taliban, and associated forces to protect U.S. citizens and interests. It is not possible to know at this time the precise scope or the duration of the deployments of U.S. Armed Forces necessary to counter this terrorist threat to the United States. A classified annex to this report provides further information.
MILITARY OPERATIONS IN IRAQ
Since the expiration of the authorization and mandate for the Multinational Force in Iraq in U.N. Security Council Resolution 1790 on December 31, 2008, U.S. forces have continued operations to support Iraq in its efforts to maintain security and stability in Iraq, pursuant to the bilateral Agreement Between the United States of America and the Republic of Iraq on the Withdrawal of United States Forces from Iraq and the Organization of Their Activities during Their Temporary Presence in Iraq (Security Agreement), which entered into force on January 1, 2009. These contributions have included, but have not been limited to, assisting in building the capability of the Iraqi security forces, supporting the development of Iraq's political institutions, enhancing the capacity of the ministries of Defense and Interior, providing critical humanitarian and reconstruction assistance to the Iraqis, and supporting the U.S. diplomatic mission. The United States continues its responsible drawdown, in accordance with commitments in the Security Agreement, to withdraw U.S. forces from Iraq by December 31, 2011. The number of U.S. forces in Iraq at this time is approximately 45,000.
MILITARY OPERATIONS IN LIBYA
As I reported on March 21, and at my direction, consistent with a request from the Arab League, and as authorized by the United Nations Security Council under the provisions of U.N. Security Council Resolutions 1970 and 1973, U.S. military forces commenced operations on March 19, 2011, to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe and address the threat posed to international peace and security by the crisis in Libya and to protect the people of Libya from the Qadhafi regime. The initial phase of U.S. military involvement in Libya was conducted under the command of the U.S. Africa Command. By April 4, however, the United States had transferred responsibility for the military operations in Libya to NATO and the U.S. involvement has assumed a supporting role in the coalition's efforts. Since April 4, U.S. participation has consisted of: (1) non-kinetic support to the NATO-led operation, including intelligence, logistical support, and search and rescue assistance; (2) aircraft that have assisted in the suppression and destruction of air defenses in support of the no-fly zone; and (3) since April 23, precision strikes by unmanned aerial vehicles against a limited set of clearly defined targets in support of the NATO-led coalition's efforts. Although we are no longer in the lead, U.S. support for the NATO-based coalition remains crucial to assuring the success of international efforts to protect civilians and civilian populated areas from the actions of the Qadhafi regime, and to address the threat to international peace and security posed by the crisis in Libya. With the exception of operations to rescue the crew of a U.S. aircraft on March 21, 2011, the United States has deployed no ground forces to Libya.
MILITARY OPERATIONS IN EGYPT
On January 31, a security force of approximately 40 U.S. military personnel from the U.S. Central Command deployed to Cairo. Although this security force was equipped for combat, this movement was undertaken solely for the purpose of protecting American citizens and property. A security force remains deployed to the U.S. Embassy in Cairo and will remain through July 4, or until the security situation becomes such that it is no longer needed, if earlier. This security force is separate from, and in addition to, the approximately 693 military personnel that constitute the U.S. contingent of the Multinational Force Observers present in Egypt since 1981.
MARITIME INTERCEPTION OPERATIONS
As noted in previous reports, the United States continues to conduct maritime interception operations on the high seas in the areas of responsibility of each of the geographic combatant commands. These maritime operations are aimed at stopping the movement, arming, and financing of certain international terrorist groups. A classified annex to this report provides further information.
U.S./NATO OPERATIONS IN KOSOVO
The U.N. Security Council authorized Member States to establish a NATO-led Kosovo Force (KFOR) in Resolution 1244 on June 10, 1999. The original mission of KFOR was to monitor, verify, and, when necessary, enforce compliance with the Military Technical Agreement between NATO and the then Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (now Serbia), while maintaining a safe and secure environment. Today, KFOR deters renewed hostilities and, with local authorities and international institutions, contributes to the maintenance of a safe and secure environment.
Currently, 22 NATO Allies contribute to KFOR. Eight non-NATO countries also participate. The United States contribution to KFOR is approximately 800 U.S. military personnel out of the total strength of approximately 6,000 personnel. The principal military task of KFOR forces is to help maintain a safe and secure environment and freedom of movement.
I have directed the participation of U.S. Armed Forces in all of these operations pursuant to my constitutional and statutory authority as Commander in Chief (including the authority to carry out Public Law 107-40 and other statutes) and as Chief Executive, as well as my statutory and constitutional authority, to conduct the foreign relations of the United States. Officials of my Administration and I communicate regularly with the leadership and other Members of Congress with regard to these deployments, and we will continue to do so.
Congressional Action - Limiting Troops and Funds
On June 24, 2011 the US House attempted to pass two pieces of legislation relating to troop activity in Libya. The first piece of legislation would have granted President Obama the authority to use military force in Libya for one year, but opposed the use of ground troops. The second would have prevented the use of funds from being used for any military actions in Libya. Both measures failed to pass the House.
H J Res 68
House Joint Resolution 68 would have granted President Obama the authority to use force in Libya as part of the NATO mission pursuit to UN Security Council Resolution 1973 for one year.
SECTION 1. AUTHORIZATION FOR THE LIMITED USE OF UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES IN LIBYA.
(a) Authority- The President is authorized to continue the limited use of the United States Armed Forces in Libya, in support of United States national security policy interests, as part of the NATO mission to enforce United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973 (2011) as requested by the Transitional National Council, the Gulf Cooperation Council, and the Arab League.
(b) Expiration of Authority- The authorization for such limited use of United States Armed Forces in Libya expires one year after the date of the enactment of this joint resolution.
SEC. 2. OPPOSITION TO THE USE OF UNITED STATES GROUND TROOPS.
Consistent with the policy and statements of the President, Congress does not support deploying, establishing, or maintaining the presence of units and members of the United States Armed Forces on the ground in Libya unless the purpose of the presence is limited to the immediate personal defense of United States Government officials (including diplomatic representatives) or to rescuing members of NATO forces from imminent danger.
SEC. 3. REPORTS TO CONGRESS.
The President shall consult frequently with Congress regarding United States efforts in Libya, including by providing regular briefings and reports as requested, and responding to inquiries promptly. Such briefings and reports shall include the following elements:
(1) An updated description of United States national security interests in Libya.
(2) An updated statement of United States policy objectives in Libya, both during and after Qaddafi's rule, and a detailed plan to achieve them.
(3) An updated and comprehensive list of the activities of the United States Armed Forces in Libya.
(4) An updated and detailed assessment of the groups in Libya that are opposed to the Qaddafi regime, including potential successor governments.
(5) A full and updated explanation of the President's legal and constitutional rationale for conducting military operations in Libya consistent with the War Powers Resolution (50 U.S.C. 1541 et seq.).
H R 2278
House Resolution 2278 would have prevented the use of federal funds in Libya for anything other than a slim manner of operations.
SECTION 1. LIMITATION ON USE OF DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE FUNDS FOR UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES IN SUPPORT OF NATO OPERATION UNIFIED PROTECTOR WITH RESPECT TO LIBYA.
(a) Limitation- None of the funds appropriated or otherwise available to the Department of Defense may be obligated or expended for United States Armed Forces in support of North Atlantic Treaty Organization Operation Unified Protector with respect to Libya, unless otherwise specifically authorized by law.
(b) Exceptions- The limitation on funds under subsection (a) does not apply with respect to--
(1) search and rescue;
(2) intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance;
(3) aerial refueling; and
(4) operational planning.
ICC Warrant for Arrest
On June 27, 2011 the International Criminal Court issued warrants for arrest for Muammar Gaddafi, Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi, and Abdullah Al-Senussi. The charges and list of alleged crimes are shown below.
Pre-Trial Chamber I considers that there are reasonable grounds to believe that, under article 25(3)(a) of the Rome Statute, Muammar Gaddafi and Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi are criminally responsible as indirect co-perpetrators and Abdullah Al-Senussi is criminally responsible as indirect perpetrator, for two counts of crimes against humanity:
- Murder, within the meaning of article 7(1)(a) of the Statute; and
- Persecution, within the meaning of article 7(1)(h) of the Statute.
Alleged crimes (non-exhaustive list)
Pre-Trial Chamber I found that there are reasonable grounds to believe:
- that following the events in Tunisia and Egypt in the early months of 2011, a State policy was designed at the highest level of the Libyan State machinery and aimed at deterring and quelling, by any means, including by the use of lethal force, the demonstrations of civilians against the regime of Muammar Gaddafi which started in February 2011; and
- that in furtherance of the above-mentioned State policy, from 15 February 2011 until at least 28 February 2011 the Libyan Security Forces, which encompass units of the security and military systems, carried out throughout Libya – and in particular in Tripoli, Misrata and Benghazi as well as in cities near Benghazi such as Al-Bayda, Derna, Tobruk and Ajdabiya – an attack against the civilian population taking part in demonstrations against Gaddafi’s regime or those perceived to be dissidents, killing and injuring as well as arresting and imprisoning hundreds of civilians.
Pre-Trial Chamber I also found that there are reasonable grounds to believe:
- that Muammar Gaddafi, as the recognised and undisputed leader of Libya had absolute, ultimate and unquestioned control over the Libyan State apparatus of power, including the Security Forces;
- that, although not having an official position, Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi is Muammar Gaddafi’s unspoken successor and the most influential person within his inner circle and, as such, he exercised control over crucial parts of the State apparatus, including finances and logistics and had the powers of a de facto Prime Minister;
- that Muammar Gaddafi, in coordination with his inner circle, including Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi, conceived a plan to deter and quell, by all means, the civilian demonstrations against the regime, and that both of them made an essential contribution to implement that plan; and
- that, once instructed by Muammar Gaddafi to implement the plan, Abdullah Al-Senussi used his powers over the military forces, commanded the forces in Benghazi and directly instructed the troops to attack civilians demonstrating in the city.
Key judicial developments
Referral and opening of the investigation
On 26 February 2011, the United Nations Security Council decided unanimously (15 votes in favour) to refer the situation in Libya since 15 February 2011 to the ICC Prosecutor, stressing the need to hold accountable those responsible for attacks, including by forces under the control of those responsible, on civilians.
After conducting a preliminary examination of the situation, the ICC Prosecutor concluded, on 3 March 2011, that there is a reasonable basis to believe that crimes under the ICC’s jurisdiction have been committed in Libya, since 15 February 2011, and decided to open an investigation in this situation.
US Authorities and Gaddafi Envoys
On July 18, 2011 the US and Libyan governments confirmed that representatives of Colonel Gaddafi and the US government had met in neighboring Tunisia. The US stated that the only purpose of the meeting was to deliver the message that Libyan President Gaddafi must step down from power. The Libyan official stated that all talks were welcome as long as the US did not decide Libya's fate. The US State Department released a statement noting the that the message was delivered and that there would be no future meetings.
The message was simple and unambiguous - Gaddafi must leave power so that a new political process can begin that reflects the will and aspirations of the Libyan people
|2011||494||Restricting Funds for Use in Libya|
|2011||493||Authorizing the limited use of US Forces in support of the NATO mission in Libya|
|2011||412||Removing Troops from Libya|
|2011||411||Resolution Against Troop Deployment|
Each year, there are numerous bills introduced that are not voted on in the House or Senate. These bills may be sponsored by numerous people and a representative's co-sponsorship of that legislation gives insight into that person's viewpoints.
|Session||Bill Number||Co-Sponsors||Bill Title|
|Session||Bill Number||Co-Sponsors||Bill Title|
 Website: BBC News Article: Arab League backs Libya no-fly zone Author: NA Accessed on: 06/28/2011
 Website: Aljazeera Article: rnLibyan police stations torched Author: NA Accessed on: 06/28/2011
 Website: Reuters Article: Rioting hits Libyan city of Benghazi Author: Christian Lowe Accessed on: 06/28/2011
 Website: France24 Article: Violent protests rock Libyan city of Benghazi Author: William Edwards Accessed on: 06/28/2011
 Website: Aljazeera Article: Calls for weekend protests in Syria Author: NA Accessed on: 06/28/2011
 Website: Malta Today Article: Libyan opposition declares 'Day of Rage' against Gaddafi Author: JAMES DEBONO Accessed on: 06/28/2011
 Website: New York Times Article: Map of the Rebellion in Libya, Day by Day Author: NA Accessed on: 06/28/2011
 Website: Wales Online Article: Libya announces immediate ceasefire after UN resolution Author: NA Accessed on: 06/28/2011
 Website: iafrica.com Article: Gaddafi's house bombed Author: Tripoli AP Accessed on: 06/28/2011
 Website: The Telegraph Article: Libya attacks criticised by Arab League, China, Russia and India Author: Martin Beckford Accessed on: 06/28/2011
 Website: Yahoo News Article: Gates: Obama approves Predator drones for Libya Author: Laura Rozen Accessed on: 06/28/2011
 Website: The Washington Times Article: Obama OKs use of armed drones in Libya Author: Lolita C. Baldor and Robert Burns Accessed on: 06/28/2011
 Website: BBC Article: Libya conflict: US officials met Gaddafi envoys Author: NA Accessed on: 07/19/2011
 Website: US State Department Article: Background Briefing by Senior State Department Officials On Libya Contact Group Meeting Author: NA Accessed on: 07/19/2011
 Website: Legal Advisor - US State Department Article: Libya and War Powers Author: Harold Koh Accessed on: 07/19/2011
 Website: US State Department Article: Transition and Reform in Libya Author: NA Accessed on: 07/19/2011