Connect to share and comment

US military repositioning naval and air forces around Libya (UPDATES) (VIDEO)

Gaddafi will be held accountable for atrocities, Clinton says, a day after offering any assistance necessary to support the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi.

A Pentagon official said the U.S. military was repositioning naval and air forces around Libya, Al Jazeera reported, a day after U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the U.S. was prepared to offer "any kind of assistance" to help Libya's rebel forces overthrow the Gaddafi regime.

"We have planners working and various contingency plans and I think it's safe to say as part of that we're repositioning forces to be able to provide for that flexibility once decisions are made ... to be able to provide options and flexibility," Col. David Lapan, a Pentagon spokesman, said.

Discussions on a range of possible military options began last week between British and U.S. officials at the Pentagon, according to the Guardian. Officials told the paper that the support of U.S. and British armed forces might be required to protect corridors for humanitarian relief into Libya through Tunisia and Egypt.

Western officials told the paper that any military intervention in the unfolding conflict would require the approval of the Security Council. Russia and China, who both hold a veto, have voiced their opposition to any outside interference.

Gaddafi meantime, remained defiant. "They love me, all my people love me," he said in an interview with the BBC. "They would die to protect me." He again blamed Al Qaeda for the rebellions. "This is al-Qaida, not my people," Gaddafi said. "They come from outside."

“The US should arm a provisional government 'to fight on behalf of the people of Libya against a really cruel dictator.'”
~Joe Lieberman

The BBC has excerpts of the full interview here.

Clinton, speaking at the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland, on Monday, said Gaddafi must leave power "now, without further violence or delay."

"Gaddafi and those around him must be held accountable for these acts, which violate international legal obligations and common decency," she added.

Clinton also urged the international community to act with one voice against the Libyan administration, and said Washington was keeping "all options on the table" in terms of action against the government.

On Sunday, anti-government forces chanting "Free, free Libya" massed in a city outside Tripoli ready for an expected offensive.

Clinton on Sunday pushed Gaddafi to call off his mercenary forces.

"We've been reaching out to many different Libyans who are attempting to organize in the east and as the revolution moves westward there as well," Clinton said. "I think it's way too soon to tell how this is going to play out, but we're going to be ready and prepared to offer any kind of assistance that anyone wishes to have from the United States."

Clinton's offer of assistance to opposition forces comes a day after U.S. President Barack Obama called on Gaddafi to leave power immediately, saying that after his violent crackdown he had lost the legitimacy to rule.

Officials from the Obama administration met with European and other allied governments Sunday to discuss plans for a no-fly zone over Libya in an effort to halt the killing of civilians by Gaddafi and his forces. No decision has yet been made on implementing a no-fly zone, reports the New York Times.

U.S. senators John McCain and Joseph Lieberman, in Cairo on Sunday meeting with Amr Moussa, the head of the Arab League and a candidate for the Egyptian presidency, said the United States should enforce a no-fly zone over Libya and fully support the opposition forces. Lieberman called on Washington to arm rebel forces who have taken control in the east. The United States, he said, should arm a provisional government "to fight on behalf of the people of Libya against a really cruel dictator."

Italy suspended a 2008 so-called friendship treaty with Libya, making it easier for Rome to participate in potential peacekeeping missions in the north African nation, reports the Wall Street Journal. Suspension of the treaty will also enable the use of Italy's military bases in the case of an intervention. 

Italy said it suspended the treaty because the state of Libya no longer exists.

“We signed the friendship treaty with a state, but when the counterpart no longer exists — in this case the Libyan state — the treaty cannot be applied,” Italy’s foreign minister, Franco Frattini, told the New York Times Sunday.  

Meanwhile, an Associated Press reporter who reached Zawiya, 30 miles west of Tripoli, confirmed Sunday that anti-Gaddafi rebels were in control of the city