Obama: NATO considering military action in Libya

US president says Gaddafi and his supporters will be held responsible for violence being perpetrated in Libya; US Defense Secretary Gates cautions military intervention in crisis would require int'l backing.

Obama 311 reuters (photo credit: Reuters)
Obama 311 reuters
(photo credit: Reuters)
US President Barack Obama on Monday said that NATO is considering taking military action in Libya, USA Today reported.
Speaking after a meeting with Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard at the White House, Obama said that NATO was meeting in Brussels and consulting "around a wide range of potential options, including potential military options, in response to the violence that continues to take place inside of Libya."
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Obama stated that he had authorized millions of dollars in humanitarian aid for the Libyan people who he said are facing "unacceptable violence from the regime of leader Muammar Gaddafi.
The US president warned that Gaddafi and his supporters would be held responsible for the violence being perpetrated in Libya.
Earlier on Monday, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates cautioned  that any foreign military intervention in the crisis in Libya would require international backing.
"I think we will have to monitor the situation very closely," Gates, on a visit to Afghanistan, said when asked about the possibility of an international military response in Libya.
"But I think at this point there is a sense that any action should be the result of international sanction," he told a news conference.
Click for full Jpost coverage of turmoil in the Middle East
Click for full Jpost coverage of turmoil in the Middle East
The comments came as government forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi struck at rebels in the east and concern mounted over civilian suffering and a growing exodus of refugees.
Gates said developments in the Middle East had further damaged the image of Iran, where the opposition says at least 79 people were arrested at protest rallies last week that the government denied had even taken place.
"I think where Iran is the loser ... is the contrast between militaries and security authorities in places like Tunisia and Egypt standing aside while people protest against their government, while security services of the Iranian government ruthlessly suppress and kill those who would criticise or protest."
"They (Iran) are losers already in this image across the world," he said.