Washington: The Obama Administration has
claimed that there is no opposition to its military action to
enforce a no-fly-zone over Libya by countries like India,
China, Brazil and Russia, despite the BRIC nations now openly
criticizing the United States and its partners on the issue.
Responding to questions about criticism from BRIC
countries, Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes said
the UN Security Council resolution that passed very clearly
called for not just a no-fly zone but actions that would
protect the Libyan people.
The United Nations was very clear that we believe that
in the absence of actions beyond the no-fly zone, we wouldn`t
be able to achieve that goal.
"In that context, you had Brazil, Russia and China and
India abstaining from the resolution -- not opposing it. And
(Russian) President Medvedev underscored that again today,"
"So we believe that the resolution itself was very
clear, that this was going to include actions that went beyond
the enforcement of the no-fly zone to include actions to
protect the Libyan people," he said, adding that the US shares
the goal of limiting civilian casualties.
"We are certainly taking every care to do so going
forward. What we could not tolerate was the risk and level of
increased civilian casualties at the hands of the Qaddafi
regime," he said.
Rhodes said the need to protect civilians lasts as
long as civilians are under risk of attack in the way in which
it has been seen them attacked over the course of the last
"We believe that Gaddafi should make the calculation
that he should leave. We believe that he`s lost the legitimacy
to lead. We believe that the Libyan have lost confidence in
him, so that`s our continued position with regard to his
legitimacy to lead the country," he said.
Defending the military action, Rhodes said that this
was important to protect the civilians from the Gaddafi
"We believe that the reason we took the decision to
join this coalition and engage in military activity is because
there was an imminent threat (to civilians). Gaddafi had
already carried out attacks. His forces were on the move.
Within days or hours even, it was expected that he would get
to Benghazi... If ever there was an example of an imminent,
urgent humanitarian danger, we believed that this was very
much in line with that," he said.
"Therefore, we felt the need to take urgent action
with the international community to stop the advance of
Gaddafi`s forces and to achieve this very focused goal of
protecting those people, of setting up a no-fly zone so that
Gaddafi would not have the advantage and the air assets that
he had been using against his own people," Rhodes said.