White House closely monitoring Libya for sign of reform
Senior Libyan officials resign in protests of state violence; British PM says regime is repressing people who want to see progress.
By JPOST.COM STAFF, ASSOCIATED PRESS
February 21, 2011 19:33
4 minute read.
Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi 311 AP.
(photo credit: AP)
The White House on Monday said it was analyzing the speech by Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi 's son, Saif al-Islam Gadhafi, to determine whether it has possibilities for democratic changes in Libya.Abdel-Jalil confirmed to Libyan newspaper Quryna that he was in fact resigning, according to the report.
A White House official said the administration is seeking clarification from senior Libyan officials about their intentions. The official spoke Monday on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject.
EU foreign ministers set to condemn Libya repression
Opinion: Shattering illusions of tranquility
Libya: Gadhafi's son warns protests may lead to civil war
'Libyan soldiers defect to protesters’ side in Benghazi'
The official said US President Barack Obama was briefed by National Security Adviser Tom Donilon late Sunday and is being kept abreast of events. The official said the Obama administration is considering "all appropriate actions."
Justice Minister Mustafa Abdel-Jalil tendered his resignation in
protests of what he called, "excessive use of force against unarmed
protesters," DPA reported on Monday.
The justice minister's resignation followed those of Libya's envoy to the
Arab League, Abdel Moneim al-Honi, who said he was "joining the
revolution," and Libyan Ambassador to India Ali al-Essawi.
Also on Monday, three local employees at Libya's Embassy in Stockholm
said they have resigned in protest over the government's crackdown on
The three men announced their resignation in a letter to Swedish news
agency TT "condemning the genocide of civilians in Libya" and urged
other embassy workers to follow suit.
One of them, Sayed Jalabi, told the AP "It would be hypocritical to
assist the Libyan government while we see them attacking people in the
British Prime Minister David Cameron, visiting neighboring Egypt,
called the Libyan government's crackdown on protesters "appalling."
can see what is happening in Libya which is completely appalling and
unacceptable as the regime is using the most vicious forms of repression
against people who want to see that country — which is one of the most
closed and one of the most autocratic — make progress. The response they
have shown has been quite appalling," he told reporters in Cairo.
Libyan protesters celebrated in the streets of
Benghazi on Monday, claiming control of the country's second largest
city after bloody fighting, and anti-government unrest spread to the
capital with clashes in Tripoli's main square for the first time.
Moammar Gadhafi's son, Seif al-Islam Gadhafi, vowed that his father and
security forces would fight "until the last bullet."
League Secretary-General Amr Moussa on Monday called for an end to
violence in Libya saying the demands of Arab people for change are
legitimate, Reuters reported.
"The demands of the Arab peoples for reform, development and change are
legitimate and ... the feelings of all the (Arab) nations are joined in
this decisive moment in history," MENA cited Moussa as saying.
Gadhafi's regime has unleashed the bloodiest crackdown of any Arab
country against the wave of protests sweeping the region, which toppled
the leaders of Egypt and Tunisia. More than 200 have been killed in
Libya, according to medical officials, human rights groups and exiled
Seif al-Islam Gadhafi warned of civil war in Libya if protests continue,
a theme continued Monday on Libyan state TV, where a pro-regime
commentator spoke of chaos and "rivers of blood" turning Libya into
"another Somalia" if security is not restored.
The Arab world's longest ruling leader in power for nearly 42 years,
Moammar Gadhafi has held an unquestioned grip over the highly
decentralized system of government he created, called the "Jamahiriya,"
or "rule by masses."
The spiraling turmoil in Libya, an OPEC country that is a significant
oil supplier to Europe, was raising international alarm. Oil prices
jumped $1.67 to nearly $88 a barrel Monday amid investor concern.
European countries sent planes and ferries to Libya on Monday to
evacuate their citizens, and some international oil and gas companies
pulled their foreign staff out and suspended operations, as
anti-government protests spread to Tripoli for the first time.
Many countries had already urged their citizens to avoid nonessential
travel to Libya or recommended that those already there leave on
commercial flights. But as the bloody protests moved to Libya's capital
countries and companies alike stepped up their contingency plans.
Oil companies, including Italy's Eni, Royal Dutch Shell PLC, U.K.-based
BP and Germany's Wintershall, a subsidiary of BASF, were evacuating
their expat workers or their families or both. BP and Wintershall said
they were temporarily suspending operations; Eni said production
Denying a report that UK Foreign Minister William Hague said Gadhafi had
fled to Venezuela, Senior Venezuelan government sources said the Libyan
ruler was not in the South American country.