Obama works to shore up Arab support for Libya mission
March 20th, 2011
06:38 PM ET

Obama works to shore up Arab support for Libya mission

RIO de JANEIRO, Brazil - President Obama and his national security team worked behind the scenes Sunday to try and shore up support within the Arab world for the military mission in Libya.  Top White House aides reached out to officials of the Arab League to insist the bombing does not exceed the scope of the United Nations mandate, according to senior administration officials.

The senior officials described the Obama team's phone calls as making clear to the Arab League that bombing Moammar Gadhafi's air defenses falls within the U.N. Security Council resolution's scope of imposing a no-fly zone and taking "all necessary measures" to stop the dictator from attacking civilians in his own country.

"We don't believe this goes beyond the resolution," said one senior administration official in describing the White House's message to the Arab League.

The lobbying came after Arab League officials complained earlier Sunday that the bombing by the U.S. military and other allies inside Libya exceeded the scope of merely instituting a no-fly zone.

The senior officials noted Obama also personally called King Abdullah of Jordan as part of the effort to keep key Arab allies on board with the mission.

The Obama phone call was on top of calls that Vice President Joe Biden made Sunday to leaders in Algeria and Kuwait.

In a meeting with reporters in Brazil, National Security Advisor Tom Donilon also reinforced the President's message that the U.S. will only be in a lead role for "days not weeks." He said enforcement of the no-fly zone will be "coordinated by partners with NATO" planes and resources

Senior officials also say they believe the allied campaign is hitting Gadhafi's military hard.  "We've essentially made substantial progress in wiping out his air defenses," said one senior official.

 Donilon scoffed at the notion of Gadhafi claiming there is a cease-fire. "It isn't true or it was immediately violated," he said.

One official added that the White House is still confident that "later this week" the administration will be able to hand off much of the mission to allies, who will actually enforce the no-fly zone after the initial U.S. bombing clears the way for it.

Donilon also revealed the President will have a secure conference call on Monday morning to assess progress and "review the next steps" in military mission.


Topics: Brazil • Libya • The News

soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. Liz Carter in Georgia

    That's right PRESIDENT OBAMA! Plan your work and work your plan. That's what you do and you do it well! Even on vacation?? Well that's where the teapartyers say you are anyway. SO, EVEN ON VACATION!!! OBAMA 2012! YES WE CAN, YES WE HAVE, and YES WE WILL!!

    March 20, 2011 at 11:09 pm |
    • nheckt

      You got the expression a little mixed up. It is he is working hard, I am sorry I mean Hardly Working!!! He is weak and will get replaced in 2012

      March 21, 2011 at 10:19 am |
  2. Jay in NC

    A 19 year old US soldier was killed this weekend in Afghanistan. Remember, the illegal war, the one you were going to end.

    Barry's world diplomacy has failed. It took too much work and was cutting into The First Date's vacation. From now on he will phone in the order for tomahawk missals. Now everyone samba! Barry is so cool.

    March 21, 2011 at 8:18 am |
  3. Mark

    Most of the UN abstained from voting therefore why we are stuck with the bill:)

    UN supported whatever

    March 21, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
  4. dave

    americans are stuck with the old winning and loosing instant outcome! this is another way of looking at it ! we have already won! no matter who wins in libya they will still support islam. islam supports the idea that jews christains and unbelievers must all die, convert to being a muslim or be a slave lower class human serving islam. this is not a peiceful faith until they rule all the world than they say there will be piece. we have won because we have leveled the playing field so maybe muslims killing muslims will become the past time in all of the middle east for years to come. this may sound hard for you when reading but listen to what muslims are teaching to their followers.

    March 22, 2011 at 10:01 pm |
  5. Carrie Bacon

    Ummm, just WHY are we involved in ANOTHER unwinnable foreign situation when we can't even feed and house our own citizens? Is there NO ONE in Congress watching out for US? We don't even belong in Afghanistan or Pakistan or handing out hundreds of milllions of US dollars to foreign nations until we take care of our own citizens.

    March 22, 2011 at 10:14 pm |
  6. Liz Carter in Georgia

    Carrie; I can agree with your observation to a great degree. However, the reason the US has been put in the position of being the 'all seeing eye' of the world and it's problematic issues stemmed from arrogance, power and greed! This AMERICAN characterization was implemented or given to us years and years ago. LIBYA truly did have a humanitarian problem, so that's why WE (the chief of police) along with a few of our deputy chiefs had to go to protect the people from death by their own leader. Status Quo!

    March 23, 2011 at 11:29 am |
  7. Liz Carter in Georgia

    Whenever AMERICA participates in any militaristic mission or campaign, we are ALWAYS told about how much it's going to cost us 'bleeding' taxpayers, but they fail to mention how much money it's bringing in to the 'ultra-rich' who live right here in AMERICA and all around the world! It's a network. 'There's profit in war'! The owners and investors in ammunitions, equipment, guns, tanks, boats, planes, jeeps.,etc. rake in big bucks. But the poor taxpayers sponsor, not invest, the bulk of war activities.

    March 23, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
    • Jay in NC

      Top US companies that sell to the US military; Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics, Raytheon. All are publicly traded. As far as I can tell no one person owns over 1/2% of any company. Millions of individual US investors own shares through their retirement accounts, 401 and mutual funds. Looks like middle America profits the most.

      March 23, 2011 at 2:30 pm |
  8. Liz Carter in Georgia

    I said investors; never even insenuated that any one person owned any particular percentage of any company. I said 'OWNERS AND INVESTORS'! There are wealthy moguls who 'own' their companies; at least the greater percentages of the stocks in those companies! Middle America may profit a little, but unless they're financially savvy with their investments, they'll never enter the status of the being in the top 3%. The poor are the soldiers, usually 0%, who if they come home, have to fight VA for theirbenefits!

    March 25, 2011 at 9:36 pm |
  9. Elvin

    Dear Pirouz_2,I get it: you have no training in mcinoeocs. The fact that you do not know the most fundamental dilemma in mcinoeocs finite resources, infinite demand makes this clear. So I do not believe that you do not have the time to read what I said, instead you simply do not have a reply.You are starting to remind me of the time when you asked me to think hard enough about something so that I could believe it Here are some quick demonstrations of your lack of mcinoeocs knowledge: The whole idea behind demand and supply is their finite nature. Who told you that? The whole point of demand and supply pricing in a competitive market is to have an equilibrium between price and quantity demanded. And then we have elasticities of demand and supply (simply put, a consumer's willingness to pay more for the same product). Otherwise, supply is finite, but demand is infinite. If you do not believe me about infinite demand, just imagine what would happen if the new iPad was priced at $1.This is what Marx calls consumer fetishism. He argued that capitalism arose from our fetish' in believing that objects have inherent value (or what capitalism calls market forces). Basically, he argued that we *should* price iPads at $1, i.e. communism. Everyone uses his cell-phone until it becomes at least relatively obsolete. Who determines when a mobile phone becomes obsolete? The first mobile phones still perform their primary function: calling, and receiving phone calls. The want of more ex-change value (money or social power) is limitless, but the want of “use-value” is very much limited. In fact that is the whole drive behind his argument regarding the instability of Capitalism (a limitless want for exchange value and social power versus limited want of use-value). Marx was full of contradictions. He did not like capitalism, but he argued that capitalism was a means for the proletariat to gain control of private production means, in order to reorganise society into a classless society (capitalism is a means, not an end).The same contradiction appears in your argument about use-value: according to you, it is the limited demand for use-value that causes the instability of capitalism. Yet the result of productivity in capitalism an advancing/advanced economy is innovation, which creates new use-values. Again, explain to me why mobile phones become obsolete, even though they still perform their primary function. True you cannot consume all your profit, you accumulate most of it by re-investment but that again is your property, and hence you have got wealthier. Yes the business owner gets richer, but a consequence of this is wealth creation in the economy, enabling others to get richer too. Or are you against the principle of getting richer? I don’t know how else I can explain this. Because there is no other way of explaining it. You are right, but you are short-sighted. Wealth creates wealth, simply put (fiscal multiplier please check it out). Actually Kuwait is an excellent example it has had an excellent real growth rate I did not deny this. But Japan also had excellent growth in the 90s, until everyone realised that it was a bubble, leading to a collapse in the economy.I insist we make a wager: I bet you that when Kuwait's oil runs out, its economy will shrink massively, because its economy is highly unproductive, and only functions because it is flooded with oil money.The Shah was in a similar position, although he also invested heavily in indigenous industry, which the Kuwaitis are not doing (the Saudis are trying). This, along with the regime's drive for self-sufficiency, and Iran's highly educated population (unlike Kuwait), will help Iran achieve long term, sustainable economic growth, based on productivity (although the regime's drive for self-sufficiency is poorly, poorly designed, because it is ideological, and not logical). Is growth without profit a possibility (in a capitalist society)? No. But is profit possible with growth? Yes. Can a capitalist country’s sum of capital continously increase (in real value) but its growth rate stagnate? No, but you did not read my original post. As human capital replaces natural capital, the continuous growth of capital is possible.Your problem is that you are stuck in an old paradigm, one where you imagine mines to run out of raw materials, endless queues of hungry workers, and an eventual breakdown of society. It is the same problem that Marx had, which leads me to believe that you are a Marxist. And I love to debate with Marxists.21b3

    March 2, 2012 at 10:15 am |