Washington: The US has termed the video of Muammar Gaddafi riding through the streets of Tripoli waving from his open-top car as "propaganda".
"We have no reaction to that -- which I haven't seen -- except to say that a repressive leader's ability to create a little propaganda is not unprecedented; it happens all the time," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters at his daily news conference when asked about it.
The US and its international partners are doing every day to tighten the noose around Gaddafi through the sanctions that they implemented and the other measures that have been taken.
"We have made it increasingly uncomfortable for those around him to continue to stay with him because of the sanctions," he said.
"As you know, some leaders of that regime have made the choice to depart from the Gaddafi regime, and we look forward to more of that happening," Carney said.
"The noose, if I would just make the clear point that it is not the military objective of the NATO mission authorised by UN Security Council Resolution 1973 to effect regime change through military force. The noose I'm referring to has to do with sanctions and other non-lethal measures taken by the US unilaterally and with our partners," the White House Press Secretary said.
Meanwhile, State Department spokesman Mark Toner said it's hard to separate the optics of Gaddafi riding around fist pumping with the reality of what may be going on inside his regime.
"Obviously, we saw some key defections, I guess a couple weeks ago now. We may see more. We believe they're continuing to feel pressure. But I don't want to in any way equate air strikes going on in the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1973 with an effort to remove Gaddafi," he told reporters in response to a question.
The US envoy continues to remain on the ground in Benghazi.
"We are getting a clearer picture of the TNC (Transitional National Council), both through his meetings on the ground as well as high-level meetings elsewhere in Doha, including Doha," he said.
"What we talked about in Doha, what was agreed upon by the parties there, was to explore this type of mechanism. Certainly, I think this is borne out of a recognition that the Transitional National Council does need financial wherewithal if it's going to operate and sustain itself," he said.
Meanwhile, exuding confidence that NATO would be successful in its Libyan operation, the US has asserted it would continue with its supporting role to the mission.
"We have great confidence in NATO's capacity to fulfil the mission of implementing United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973," Carney said. "It is my understanding that tempo has picked up."
"We remain confident that NATO is fully capable of executing the mission. And remember what the mission is: Clearly defined, enforce the no-fly zone, enforce the arms embargo, and protect civilians," he said.
"It is not described at all, in any way, in that mission statement from the Security Council resolution, that regime change should be effected through military force; that the mission on paper is the mission that NATO is enforcing.”
“We are obviously a partner in that mission and a member of NATO, and part of the implementation of that mission in a support and assist role," he said.
Carney noted that the tempo of operations depends on a lot of factors.
"I think that that tempo rises and falls based on a lot of factors, and that there has been a rise recently and may fall again. But, again, it's about fulfilling the mission
that's outlined in that resolution," he said.
Echoing the White House, State Department spokesman Toner said NATO is doing a good job even as he conceded that challenges remain in Libya which is reflected in the killing of civilians by the Gaddafi regime forces.
"We continue to believe that NATO's doing a good job in executing UN Security Council Resolution 1973," Toner said. The United States' view is that it will continue to support Unified Protector through the means that the Pentagon outlined - suppression of enemy air defences, jamming air defence systems as well, those kinds of supporting functions.”
"But overall, we believe that the NATO operation thus far has been successful and we believe that it's successful in doing its mission, which is implementing UN Security Council Resolution 1973," he observed.
"NATO is the command and control aspect of it, but the partners in the coalition who are carrying out these air strikes are doing a capable and successful job in shutting down Libya's air defences and establishing this no-fly zone.”
“We are constantly looking at ways that we can do more to provide that humanitarian assistance and to protect civilians, but again, there are challenges. We've been clear about those. But we believe NATO is, overall, doing a good
job," Toner said.
First Published: Friday, April 15, 2011, 12:25