President Obama has announced that strongman Muammar Gaddafi’s regime is collapsing and set to come to an end.
President Obama’s statement was released after the National Transitional Council forces (TNZ) captured two of Gaddafi’s sons and marched through the streets of Tripoli waving flags.
The rebels have acquired much of the city, except for the Gaddafi stronghold of Bab Al-Aziziyah, according to the al-Jazeera news group.
In the Sunday evening statement, Obama said, “The people of Libya are showing that the universal pursuit of dignity and freedom is far stronger than the iron fist of a dictator.”
He continued, “The surest way for the bloodshed to end is simple: Muammar Gaddafi and his regime need to recognize that their rule has come to an end.”
Obama also called on Gaddafi to recognize what the rebel advancement indicates and argued that the strongman needs to “acknowledge the reality that he no longer controls Libya. He needs to relinquish power once and for all.”
However, Obama’s statement was not merely directed at Gaddafi as he also called upon the rebel-run TNS to protect the rights of Libyan citizens and “demonstrate the leadership that is necessary to steer the country through a transition by respecting the rights of the people of Libya.”
The statement also included Obama’s sentiments that the United States would continue to work in close coordination with the TNC to protect the people of Libya and support a peaceful transition to democracy.
Following Sunday’s advancement, the NATO alliance working on Libya authorized planning for a post-Gaddafi Libya and has arranged for “day-after” talks to be held in Dubai in the upcoming week that will include the United States, Britain, Jordan, and the United Arab Emirates.
Obama's statement and NATO alliance plans follow five months of NATO fighting in the country that began with the adoption of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973. The resolution was adopted on March 17 and authorized member states and regional organizations to take “all necessary measures” to protect civilians in Libya.
Even with the emerging rebel developments in Tripoli, NATO worries that a power vacuum could be left with the loss of Gaddafi in Libya, and could lead to an escalation of further violence in the country. Furthermore, NATO is not certain that Gaddafi's rule has collapsed just yet.
One NATO official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told The Washington Post, “We cannot drop our guard when we know Gaddafi has done things even in full retreat.”