CAIR Calls for Libya No-Fly Zone to Protect Civilians
President Obama, Congress asked to support U.N. military exclusion zones
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 2/22/11) — A prominent national Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization today called on the Obama administration and Congress to support United Nations military no-fly and naval exclusion zones to protect Libyan civilians from attack by the regime of Muammar Qaddafi.
The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) says reports coming out of Libya indicate that air and naval forces are being used to target peaceful protests by civilians seeking freedom from Qaddafi’s dictatorial rule.
Hundreds have already been killed by Libyan forces, which have been accused of using fighter planes, attack helicopters and ships to bombard peaceful protesters.
Qaddafi today threatened protesters and vowed to “fight to the last drop of my blood.”
Kerry: Gadhafi ‘Is Irredeemable’
- Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry called for the ouster of Libyan leader Col. Moammar Gadhafi amid an uprising in which armed supporters have fired on crowds of protesters.
- The Massachusetts Democrat also said in a statement Tuesday that U.S. and other oil companies should “immediately cease operations in Libya until violence against civilians ceases,” and that the United Nations Security Council should condemn violence directed at the protesters and remove Libya from the Human Rights Commission.
“The Qadhafi government’s use of deadly force against its own people should mean the end of the regime itself,” Mr. Kerry said. “It’s beyond despicable, and I hope we are witnessing its last hours in power.”
The U.S. has had a rocky relationship with the Libyan dictator during his more than four decades in power – former President Ronald Reagan launched a military strike there in the 1980s — giving American officials far less influence than in Egypt, which receives more than $1 billion in foreign aid each year.
So, Mr. Kerry calls on other world leaders to join him in pushing for Col. Gadhafi’s ouster.
“While Qadhafi himself is irredeemable, his senior military commanders need to know that their acquiescence in atrocities could open them to future international war crimes charges,” Mr. Kerry said.
Members of the military loyal to Col. Gadhafi have reportedly fired on demonstrators in Tripoli and elsewhere in the country to suppress an uprising, the latest in a chain of popular revolts that have swept across Muslim countries in Africa and the Middle East in recent weeks. source