Sen. Casey Opposes Military Aid to Libyan Rebels

Wednesday, 02 Mar 2011 07:35 AM

By Hiram Reisner

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Pennsylvania Democratic Sen. Robert Casey says the United States and its allies should impose a no-fly zone above the Libyan skies, but he opposes military support to rebels battling Moammar Gadhafi at this time, until their identities and true objectives are known.

casey, aid, rebels, libyaIn a Tuesday interview on CNN, Casey, a Senate Foreign Relations Committee member, said there is no road map to decide the next step in Libya and there are limits to what the United States can do to help resolve the country’s increasingly chaotic status.

“We’re still in a very fluid situation in Libya, but we’re encouraged by the fact that this reform movement, the opposition, has been very strong,” Casey said. “And I think it’s very clear to most people in the international community that the steps that have been taken so far by the United States and by the international community have been constructive.”

CNN anchor Jessica Yellin asked Casey if there was a point where he would back military intervention to stop civilian massacres in Libya.

“Well, there are a couple of aspects to that: One is a call by many for a no-fly zone,” Casey replied. “That makes sense – especially … if a no-fly zone is imposed and implemented, it should be international in nature.

“Any kind of assistance that points in the direction of being military in nature, should not be an American-led effort,” he said. “We’ve got to make sure that the United Nations – I know our allies in Europe play an important role, both on humanitarian questions, as well as matters that are military – but, I think it makes sense and there is a good chance that we’ll get a resolution through the Senate that will, among other things, call on the United Nations to have a no-fly zone.”

Yellin asked if Gadhafi remained in power, would Casey support arming the rebels.

“I think we’ve got to know a lot more about what’s happening on the ground to take that step,” Casey said. “And I wouldn’t favor that right now, until we know an awful lot more about it. This has to be an international effort – this cannot be an American-led effort.”

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