Bill Richardson: Consider Arming Libyan Rebels

Wednesday, 09 Mar 2011 07:52 AM

By Hiram Reisner

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Former New Mexico governor and U.N. Ambassador Bill Richardson says the time is now for some sort of military action in Libya – including an internationally recognized no-fly zone – and the United States should take the lead. Richardson Tuesday also said on MSNBC’s “Hardball,” the Obama administration should seriously consider arming the rebels, who are desperately fighting to topple Libyan despot Moammar Gadhafi.

bill, richardson, libya, arms, rebels“I believe that the international community should [take action] – and we should take the lead. Yes, I think the time has come for a no-fly zone, internationally recognized, perhaps NATO-led, with our assistance,” Richardson said. “I think we need to take steps … to airlift humanitarian supplies, possibly some weapons to the rebels.

“I have said that it makes sense to covertly find ways to help the rebels, give them some ammunition, give them some weapons. I think the time has come to step in,” he continued. “I think the president has handled it well. He's calibrating his remarks, he's building international support, diplomatic economic support. I wouldn't discount this report about Gadhafi going to his opposition and saying ‘let's talk’. I think he's feeling the pressure.”

Hardball host Chris Matthews asked whether an embargo against Libyan oil exports could be effective, which although against our economic interests, would shut down Gadhafi’s government.

“Pretty much, their oil operations have literally ceased,” Richardson said. “But at the same time, any kind of economic boycott, any kind of economic sanction, any kind of efforts to ensure that the regime and the leadership doesn't [function], that was always tactics that we used.

“I remember President [Bill] Clinton said one of his great regrets was in Rwanda, not intervening,” he continued. “I think you have to have a threshold. There's huge human rights violations, human carnage.”

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