We are succeeding in Libya: Obama
Washington: US President Barack Obama on Saturday claimed success in the military campaign in Libya, asserting that the forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi have been pushed back and a "humanitarian catastrophe" has been averted.
In his weekly radio address today, Obama once again ruled out sending any American ground forces to the north African country and sought to project the campaign in Libya as a completely multi-lateral mission.
"We`re succeeding in our mission. We`ve taken out Libya`s air defences. Gaddafi`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," Obama said in his address to the nation.
Eight days into the military strikes in Libya, Obama asserted that the intervention had saved many innocent lives.
"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," he said.
Reiterating that the role of the US forces has been limited, he asserted that there will not be any ground forces.
"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," he said.
He also noted that key Arab partners like Qatar and the United Arab Emirates have also committed aircraft.
"And as agreed this week, responsibility for this operation is being transferred from the United States to our NATO allies and partners," Obama said, adding 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.
He said this military effort is part of US` larger strategy to support the Libyan people and hold the Gaddafi 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 Gaddafi`s assets that can help meet the needs and aspirations of the Libyan people.
"And every day, the pressure on Gaddafi and his regime is increasing," he noted.
Obama said the message is "clear and unwavering" and that Gaddafi`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.
Obama said Gaddafi has lost the confidence of his people and the legitimacy to rule, and the aspirations of the Libyan people have to be realised.
Obama said 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 brutalised; when someone like Gaddafi threatens a bloodbath that could destabilise 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," he said.
The President said his country`s mission in Libya was clear and focused on enforcing the mandate of the UN Security Council along with the allies.
"And we`ve put in place a no fly zone and other measures to prevent further atrocities," Obama said.