Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is getting credit for playing a key role in the ouster of Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi. Diplomats and other officials report Clinton helped keep the NATO coalition’s air campaign intact, paving the way to victory for the rebels, The Washington Post
Clinton initially was skeptical about involvement in the conflict, in which the rebels ultimately captured and killed Gadhafi. He had hoped that the rebels would succeed on their own. However, after a March meeting with rebel leaders and diplomats from Group of Eight countries, she was convinced that intervention was necessary, the Post reported.
“When she went to Paris, there were no instructions from the White House on whether to support strong action in Libya,” a senior State Department official told the Post. The diplomat added that, after the meetings, Clinton saw that “this was an opportunity for the United States to respond to an Arab request for help. It would increase U.S. standing in the Arab world, and it would send an important signal the Arab Spring movement.”
Clinton advised President Barack Obama to intervene, and he agreed. Clinton told the Post that she had “periods of anguish and buyer’s remorse” during the seven-month campaign,, but added, “We set into motion a policy that was on the right side of history, on the right side of our values, on the right side of our strategic interests in the region.”
Those involved say Clinton refereed disputes between NATO members and secured backing from Arab countries. Clinton said it was uncertain whether the formula used in Libya can be used again.
“We need to assess where we are, what we accomplished together, what the costs were,” Clinton told the Post. “We do have to be more agile and flexible in dealing with a lot of the challenges we face, and we should be unembarrassed about that.”
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