Category Archives: Libya

McCain Wants U.S. to Rejoin Fight in Libya

Senate Armed Services Committee Ranking Member John McCain (R-AZ) “has urged the United States to ‘re-engage’ militarily in the fight to oust Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi, saying Washington’s NATO allies lack the necessary firepower,” according to the AFP.

"We appreciate contributions from all of our allies, the efforts they’re making, especially the British and the French. But the reality is the United States is NATO," McCain told the US-Islamic World Forum in Washington.

"When you say ‘we’re handing it over to NATO,’ we’re handing it over to people and countries with limited capabilities and limited assets.

"When you withdraw our most capable assets from the battlefield — the AC-130 gunships and the A-10 air-to-ground weapons system — then you lose a significant capability. Our allies just don’t have that," he continued.

The Pentagon “said last week that US combat aircraft had withdrawn from NATO operations in Libya, but has since retracted its statement, saying American fighter jets are still carrying out bombing raids on Libyan air defenses.”

US planes were not, however, taking part in bombing runs against tanks or ground targets under a separate UN-backed mission to protect civilians against Kadhafi’s forces.

McCain does not want American ground troops sent in.

Voicing firm opposition to any US ground incursion, he stressed that any ground troops in Libya should be Libyan or of "other nationalities," but not American.

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Kerry Wants Focus on Transition in Egypt

There’s too much “handwringing going on about the future of Libya and not enough about what’s happening in Egypt, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-Mass.) said Tuesday,” Josh Gerstein reports.

Speaking to Muslim world leaders in Washington, Kerry called for "disciplined" and "determined" pressure on the Libyan regime but counseled against any more dramatic military action to oust Libyan strongman Moammar Qadhafi.

"I think people are frankly over—overexcited or energized about the longer term challenge in Libya. I don’t think it’s that big a deal, frankly," Kerry told the Brookings Institution Saban Center’s U.S.-Islamic World Forum. "We shouldn’t worry that much because, over time, Qadhafi’s position has to deteriorate. His oil cannot be sold. His ability to rearm is constrained. So I just don’t get that agitated personally I think there are bigger issues in the Middle East to be working on while this kind of plays out."

"We have to just learn how to be patient," Kerry added. "I’m much more concerned, personally, about the transition in Egypt. I think that is the big deal and every one of us needs to remain superfocused on that transition…..If we dont make that work, it will have far times more serious implications than Qadhafi staying there for ‘X’ number of months."

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Libya Floor Debate Unlikely This Month

Senators “probably won’t be debating the Libya war anytime soon,” The Cable reports.

Top senators on both sides of the aisle are still negotiating over language for a resolution to express the Senate’s view on the U.S. involvement in Libya, while the budget battle pushes the intervention to the back burner.

Congress was upset with President Barack Obama last month for committing U.S. forces to the international military intervention in Libya without seeking congressional consent or even really telling Congress about it in advance. But now, almost a month after the attack began, the appetite in the Senate for holding a full-fledged Libya debate on the floor, much less passing a resolution, just isn’t there.

"I don’t know if there will be time" to debate a resolution before senators leave town for a two-week recess next week, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-MA) told The Cable in an interview on Tuesday.

Kerry said he was still working on a resolution with Sen. John McCain (R-AZ)  that expresses support for Obama’s policy and that Sen. Carl Levin (D-MA) has also had input. But the three of them just can’t seem to get together on the final language.

"We’ve got the language resolved except for two words," Kerry said. He didn’t say what those two words are, but several senate sources mentioned "regime change."

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Senate Tables Paul Motion on Libya/Attack Authority Resolution

A motion offered by Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) to the SBIR and STTR Reauthorization Act (S. 493) has been tabled by a vote of 90-10.

Senator Paul offered a “motion to commit” on the small business measure that would, if adopted, refer the bill to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee with instructions to add language expressing the sense of the Senate that the “President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation,” according to a press release.

The wording of the resolution originated from a quote given by then-Senator Obama in 2007.

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Cornyn to Offer Libya Resolution Supporting Regime Change

Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) “will soon become the first senator to introduce a non-binding resolution expressing the sense of the Senate on the war in Libya, and it calls for regime change to be the explicit policy of the United States,” according to The Cable.

Cornyn could introduce his resolution as early as today. The resolution, which was obtained by The Cable (PDF), states, "the policy of the United States should be to remove Muammar al-Qaddafi from power and to use military force, if necessary, to achieve that goal."

The resolution also calls on President Barack Obama to submit a plan to achieve Qaddafi’s ouster, and to seek congressional authorization for the military intervention in Libya.

[…]

Cornyn’s draft resolution also rejects the administration’s assertion that a March 1 resolution calling for a no-fly zone in Libya, which passed by voice vote in the Senate, sufficed as "congressional authorization" for the extensive military operations the United States has engaged in to enforce U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973.

Cornyn’s resolution “has little chance of being passed by the Senate; it is not likely to be supported by either Democratic leadership or many Senate Republicans, who would prefer a resolution that endorses the Obama administration’s limited action in Libya.”

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