The leaders of the free world have made their support for the people of Libya clear.
Now, President Obama has made it official.
Obama for the first time called for Khadafy to step down as the UN Security Council hit the embattled strongman with stiff sanctions.
“When a leader’s only means of staying in power is to use mass violence against his own people, he has lost the legitimacy to rule and needs to do what is right for his country by leaving now,” Obama told German Chancellor Angela Merkel, according to a summary of the conversation provided by the White House.
Obama’s blunt message marked a departure for the White House, which had earlier insisted it was up to the Libyan people to decide who should lead their country.
Hours after Obama’s pronouncement, the council ordered an arms embargo, assets freeze and travel ban against the Libyan government, Khadafy, his close family and associates. It also ordered a crimes against humanity investigation into the bloodshed.
Khadafy, earlier in the day, signaled he had no intention of giving up power as he handed out guns to his supporters and urged teams of young men to hunt down dissidents.
Terrified anti-government protestors braced themselves for more bloody battles as gunfire continued to ring out across the capital.
Condemnation mounted from world leaders the day after Obama authorized U.S. sanctions against Libya, with Italy’s Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi saying it appeared Khadafy was no longer in control.
The dictator’s son, Seif al-Islam, dismissed suggestions the country was slipping from his father’s hands, saying three-quarters of the country remains under government rule and was “living in peace.”
He added that if anti-government demonstrations by “terrorists” do not end, Libya risks descending into civil war “like Somalia.”
News filtering out of Libya painted an entirely different picture as new details emerged of the violent methods used to quash the protesters in recent days.
The New York Times reported loyal Khadafy forces shot at people from within ambulances and used anti-aircraft guns against crowds.
Witnesses said the dead and injured were being rounded up and taken from hospitals to cover up the alleged human rights abuses.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said more than 1,000 people have died in the unrest in Libya, but it has been impossible to establish an exact death toll.
Do you think this means U.S. troops will be heading to Libya in the immediate future? That’s what it’s sounding like to us…