Calls for military intervention in Libya increasing
WASHINGTON, Feb. 25 (UPI) -- Washington should call on NATO to send air and naval assets to Libya as quickly as possible, foreign policy experts told the U.S. president Friday.
U.S. President Barack Obama worked diplomatic channels Friday, calling Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to discuss the "range of options" governments is considering to protect the Libyan people and hold the government accountable for its violent repression.
Reports from Libya suggest Moammar Gadhafi sent helicopter gunships and snipers to respond to unrest sweeping across the country. The eastern parts of the country are under control of anti-government groups, though the Libyan dictator appeared defiant Friday in Tripoli.
U.N. bodies have called for restraint and deplored ongoing violence in Libya. A group of mostly Republican foreign policy experts, including former U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz and foreign policy adviser Elliot Abrams, warned in an open letter to Obama that inaction would put U.S. and European commitments to human rights in doubt.
"The United States and our European allies have a moral interest in both an end to the violence and an end to the murderous Libyan regime," the letter published by Foreign Policy reads. "There is no time for delay and indecisiveness."
The signatories urged Obama to call on NATO to establish a military presence in Libyan airspace and territorial waters and freeze all assets belonging to the Gadhafi regime.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton heads to Switzerland next week to discuss the situation with Western allies.
The U.N. Security Council spoke out strongly against the atrocities in Libya. U.S. Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Thursday from Bahrain, home of the U.S. 5th Fleet, that he was examining "all" of the options available to the president.