Gaddafi must go? Breaking News in Libya and MENA and Japan

"President Barack Obama said on Monday the United States expects to transfer the lead military role in Libya to other allies in a matter of days." Photo: Reuters

This is a breaking news post, Obama just held a press conference in Chile in which he actually answered a question about Libya. During this press conference new explosions have been heard in Tripoli.  So please see the updates below and look for any new updates in the Comment Section.

Obama says will transfer Libya power to allies in days | Reuters

Obama defends Libya mission in Chile – The Oval: Tracking the Obama presidency

President Obama said today that the goal of United Nations-sanctioned military action in Libya is to protect citizens, not regime change — but goal of U.S. policy is that Moammar Gadhafi “has to go.”

Speaking to reporters in Chile, Obama also said that the U.S. will soon hand responsibility over to allies who will maintain a no-fly zone over Libya.

[…]

2:40 p.m.The Associated Press asks Obama why deposing Gadhafi is not a specific goal of the Libyan operation, and if he regrets launching the attack while on South American soil.

Obama cites the United Nations “mandate” behind the military mission, which focuses on protecting citizens from Gadhafi attacks (and does not mention regime change); says it is “U.S. policy” that Gadhafi “needs to go,” and that is the goal of the sanctions that the U.S. and allies put in place weeks ago.

Also notes there will be a transition in which the U.S. is one of many partners in the military action.

As for starting the action over the weekend in Brazil, Obama says he acted on short time frames; on Friday at the White House, he warned Gadhafi to follow through on a proclaimed cease fire; within hours, it became evident he would not, and so Obama says he and allies decided to move forward with establishing a no-fly zone.

Obama adds that “I could not be prouder” of the way the U.S. military performed, noting how “stretched” they are in Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere.

Shepard Smith is reporting that reporters from Reuters and CNN were used as human shields by Gaddafi…

EXCLUSIVE: Libyans Use Journalists as Human Shields – FoxNews.com

EXCLUSIVE: An attack on the compound of Libyan leader Muammar al-Qaddafi on Sunday had to be curtailed because of journalists nearby, Fox News has learned.

British sources confirmed that seven Storm Shadow missiles were ready to be fired from a British aircraft, but the strikes had to be curtailed due to crews from CNN, Reuters and other organizations nearby. Officials from Libya’s Ministry of Information brought those journalists to the area to show them damage from the initial attack and to effectively use them as human shields.

The curtailment of this mission led to a great deal of consternation by coalition commanders, sources told Fox News, but they opted to call off the mission to avoid civilian casualties.

During a Pentagon briefing on Monday, coalition commanders said the huge compound was targeted due to its air defense systems on the perimeter and a military command and control center. It was not targeted to kill Qaddafi, commanders said.

U.S. jets strike Gaddafi’s forces; coalition continues hitting Libyan air defenses – The Washington Post

“The military attacks on Libya are, following on from the Afghan and Iraq wars, the third time that some countries have launched armed action against sovereign countries,” said a commentary in the Communist Party’s main newspaper, People’s Daily.

President Obama has declared that Gaddafi “must leave,” but Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the administration’s most visible spokesman Sunday, acknowledged that the outcome of the conflict remains uncertain.

Despite a plume of smoke around one of Gaddafi’s compounds in Tripoli, U.S. officials said that they were not aiming to kill the Libyan leader.

“At this point I can guarantee he is not on the target list,” Gortney told reporters at the Pentagon. “We are not targeting his residence.”

Gadhafi ouster not Libya mission’s goal: Obama – World – CBC News

A coalition air campaign over Libya is not aimed at removing Moammar Gadhafi from power, despite U.S. policy that the Libyan ruler “has to go,” U.S. President Barack Obama says.

Speaking to reporters on Monday during a visit to Chile, Obama insisted the purpose of the military mission is in response to the humanitarian threat Gadhafi poses to his people.

“There are a whole range of policies that we are putting in place that have created one of the most powerful international consensuses around the isolation of Mr. Gadhafi and we will continue to pursue those,” Obama said.

“But when it comes to the military action, we are doing so in support of UN Resolution 1973 that specifically talks about humanitarian efforts, and we are going to make sure we stick to that mandate.”

More news below:

U.S. official: Gadhafi’s momentum stopped – CNN.com

Libya crisis: Gaddafi uses civilians as human shields to prevent military targets | Mail Online

Action in Libya Could Last ‘Awhile,’ Official Says

In Japan:

Japan nuclear plant emergency effort delayed by worker evacuation – The Washington Post

Emergency workers lost precious hours Monday in their fight to prevent a full-scale meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant after mysterious gray smoke seen emanating from the facility prompted a mass evacuation.

The smoke was spotted just before 4 p.m. coming out of the building that houses the No. 3 reactor, the most badly damaged of the plant’s half-dozen reactors. It tapered off after two hours, but more smoke was seen near reactor No. 2 about 20 minutes later, according to officials from the Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO).

Though authorities concluded the smoke was steam and not coming from the overheated spent fuel pool, they acknowledged that radiation spiked one kilometer west of the facility, rising from 494 microsieverts at 5:40 p.m. to 1,932 at 6:30 p.m.

FT.com / Asia-Pacific – Tepco to pay farmers for losses

Tokyo Electric Power will be made to compensate farmers near its radiation-leaking nuclear power station for losses related to a widening ban on the sale of agricultural products from the area, Japan’s government has said.

In the first direct reference by a high-ranking government official to reparations by Tepco for victims of the world’s worst nuclear accident in a quarter of a century, Yukio Edano, chief cabinet secretary, said the state would “have Tepco take responsibility”.

But he added that if the company is unable to compensate people adequately, “then by law the government will step in and guarantee the claims”.

The cost of cleaning up the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, compensating victims and buying extra coal, gas and oil to make up for lost nuclear capacity is certain to be in the billions of dollars.

Japan needs to act quickly and ban food sales from areas around the damaged Fukushima nuclear plant if food there has excessive levels of radiation, the World Health Organisation said on Monday.

Tokyo widened a ban on shipments of leaf vegetables from areas around Fukushima on Monday after radiation in samples exceeded legal limits. The health and welfare ministry said: “The food is still safe to consume but we are taking a precaution because if the situation continues, [the consequences] would be undesirable.”

More on the Food Contamination and Japan’s decision to halt food exports:

Japan quake: Food contamination fears spread beyond Japan’s borders – latimes.com

Japan Halts Some Food Shipments – WSJ.com

 

News in Yemen:

Yemen showdown looms as army loyalties divide | World news | The Guardian

News in Syria:

Syria deploys troops after protests – Middle East – Al Jazeera English

 

This is an open live thread, feel free to post your own finds below!


18 Comments on “Gaddafi must go? Breaking News in Libya and MENA and Japan”

  1. Minkoff Minx says:

    News from The Associated Press

    Obama says he wants to see Gaddafi step down on his own…do you think this will happen? I sure don’t…

    • dakinikat says:

      I wonder how those reporters feel.

      • Minkoff Minx says:

        Well Obama made a point of stressing that the Reporter who asked him about Libya, may have gotten in as Foreign Press because his mother is from Chile….

      • dakinikat says:

        Wolfie just talked to Nic Robertson who said they he didn’t get a sense they were being used as human shields at all. He said the Fox reporters didn’t go and that reporters weren’t forced to go or to stay there. Robertson is one of the few reporters out there I’d actually believe because he seems to actually do a good job and not be just an online personality. It sounds like the Brits may have be playing Fox.

      • Minkoff Minx says:

        I just saw that too Dak, I wonder if they are also getting that message out for the Journalist safety?

        From what I understand from Nic Roberston, people seem to be “volunteering” themselves as human shields. He said that the people were driving around the complex, honking horns in “support of Gaddafi.” I don’t know, I would not put it past Gaddafi to do what Britain and Fox said. However it may be like you said…all smoke and mirrors…and Fox getting played.

  2. Minkoff Minx says:

    A few more links to update y’all:

    NationalJournal.com – Obama Administration Calls Violence in Yemen ‘Unacceptable’ – Monday, March 21, 2011

    The Obama administration denounced the recent spate of violence in Yemen as “unacceptable,” as tanks and armored vehicles were deployed in Sanaa, where thousands of demonstrators are calling for President Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down after weeks of blistering protests.

    “Our concern in the immediate term has been the violence that we’ve seen in the recent days,” Deputy National Security Adviser for Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes told reporters on Air Force One en route to Chile. The White House “communicated to the Yemeni government that that kind of violence is unacceptable,” he said.

    Here is a link to a Mediaite article that discusses the Press Conference that Obama had in Chile:

    President Obama Libya Policy | No Fly Zone | Arab League | Mediaite

    And from The Australian:
    Muammar Gaddafi a ‘legitimate target’: UK | The Australian

    THE British government has raised the possibility of assassinating Muammar Gaddafi to force regime change in Libya, as bombing raids targeted his Tripoli headquarters for the second straight day.

    Explosions rocked Libya’s capital at Gaddafi’s compound near the Bab el-Aziziya barracks in the south of Tripoli, a day after a barrage of allied air strikes successfully imposed a no-fly zone over the country.

    Separate raids have also bombarded the southern town of Sebha, bastion of Gaddafi’s Guededfa tribe, a Libyan government spokesman said.

    British Prime Minister David Cameron today said there was no legal authority for regime change in Libya despite suggestions by ministers that air strikes could target Gaddafi.

    British Defence Secretary Liam Fox said yesterday that Gaddafi was a “legitimate target” after airstrikes flattened the control and command centre in his Tripoli compound and as strains started to appear over the multinational operation.

    • Minkoff Minx says:

      And as usual, I always seem to find at least one more link:
      AFP: US condemns Syria crackdown

      The United States condemned on Monday Syria’s crackdown on anti-government demonstrations over the weekend, accusing the government of using “disproportionate force” against protesters.

      “We call on the Syrian government to allow demonstrations to take place peacefully. Those responsible for the violence over the weekend must be held accountable,” said White House spokesman Tommy Vietor.

      Yes, a better America was possible | Alex Slater | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk

      Let’s not kid ourselves. Right now, and it may only be temporary, American military systems are coordinating the assault on Colonel Gaddafi. Americans pushed through the tougher UN resolution authorising more than just enforcement of a no-fly zone, and the majority of the bombs dropping in Libya are American, some being delivered non-stop from the United States in B-2 bombers.

      But that’s not how it seems to the world. Having learned the lessons of Iraq and countless other American boondoggles in the region, President Obama has played his hand deftly to avoid accusations of American imperialism and to project the optics of consensus. Today, as the United States engages once more in the Middle East, it does so with the imprimatur of a United Nations resolution and an impressive coalition of allies – not just George Bush’s “coalition of the willing” – but countries not usually associated with military intervention in the region, including France and the countries of the Arab League.

      This was more than happenstance. It was the result of some careful negotiating by Secretary of State Clinton in Paris at the end of last week, where it fell to her to make the case, adroitly, to Bahrainis to stop attacking their own people, yet take military action against a neighbour. The result of the negotiations was widespread endorsement of the French-proposed resolution, and more.

      Daniel Wagner: Japan’s Nuclear Scenarios

      This article examines three potential scenarios and their implications.

  3. Minkoff Minx says:

    Okay, I saw the press conference live, and when Obama said that the US immediately froze Gaddafi’s accounts so that he could not hire mercenaries…I thought, “Damn, but that is exactly what he did…freezing Gaddafi’s assets did not do much did it?”

    Well, check this out:

    FT.com / Middle East & North Africa – Gold key to financing Gaddafi struggle

    The international community has hit Muammer Gaddafi with a raft of sanctions and asset freezes aimed at cutting off his funding. But the embattled Libyan leader is sitting on a pot of gold.

    The Libyan central bank – which is under Col Gaddafi’s control – holds 143.8 tonnes of gold, according to the latest data from the International Monetary Fund, although some suspect the true amount could be several tonnes higher.

    Those reserves, among the top 25 in the world, are worth more than $6.5bn at current prices, enough to pay a small army of mercenaries for months or even years.

    While many central banks hold their gold reserves in international vaults in London, New York or Switzerland, Libya’s bullion is in the country, said people familiar with the country’s activities in the gold market.

    US and European governments have frozen billions of dollars in Libyan assets, as sanctions have hit the central bank, sovereign wealth fund and state oil company.

    But Libya’s gold reserves may provide Col Gaddafi with a lifeline – if he can sell them. To raise large amounts of money, bankers said, Col Gaddafi would have to transport the bullion out of Libya.

    • Sophie says:

      Wow! His very own Gringotts! I wonder if he has a dragon and a slew of goblins protecting it.

    • bostonboomer says:

      I posted a story awhile back that said that Gaddafi has billions in cash stashed in Libya. He has been gathering these funds ever since the relaxation of sanctions under Bush. I don’t know how to find the article now, but it said that the new sanctions on Gaddafi would have zero effect on his ability to hire mercenaries, etc.

      He won’t need to sell gold.

      • Minkoff Minx says:

        Yeah, I remember that BB. That is why I was thinking when they froze those funds, it wasn’t going to stop Gaddafi. But that was the only example Obama gave for his fast reaction to the trouble in Libya…

  4. WomanVoter says:

    Libyan Youth in their make shift defense transport, a little Toyota truck, packed to the rims and helping them with their defense.
    http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/world/africa/2011-libya-slide-show.html#33

  5. Minkoff Minx says:

    Hey, it looks like radiation is leaking into the sea over at Fukushima….I am telling you, just wait and see if some Godzilla doesn’t come out of all this. Some Fukuzilla from the sea…

    Nuclear Plant’s Fuel Rods Damaged, Leaking Into Sea – Bloomberg

  6. WomanVoter says:

    The man in this video agrees with the post’s title, he wants Gaddafi to go…
    ‘Road of death’ links Benghazi to Tripoli