Libya official urges Obama to halt Gadhafi's violence

By Sara A. Carter

The Washington Examiner

Libya's Immigration Minister Ali el Rishi said President Obama needs to

openly support the Libyan people, saying thousands have already died, “for their freedom and the end

of a tyrant.”

In an interview with The Washington Examiner Friday, el Rishi, who was one of

the first to resign from President Muammar Gadhafi?s regime, said Libyan

officials and Libya's foreign diplomats remain

disappointed at the Obama administration's lack of support for their countrymen in their fight against, “an

unstable dictator.”

“The Libyan people need moral support and clarity,” el Rishi said. “They

need to feel that the world is on their side. If the Libyan people could

have voted in the American election – Obama would have had 100 percent of

their votes. Now they feel they?ve been let down by the American president.

He can be cautious that?s true but there is a time when you can summon

courage and stand on the right side of history.”

The U.S. State Department on Friday formally suspended

operations in Libya, and the United States is moving forward with

“unilateral sanctions” against Gadhafi's government.

State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said, “Who leads Libya in the future

is not for the United States to determine.”

El Rishi said he understands that the U.S. needs to protect its citizens still in Libya. But he said that the U.S. must act as “Gadhafi continues to slaughter those who oppose his


Libyan officials attribute Gadhafi?s defiance to his inability to find a nation to give he and his family

sanctuary. “(Venezuela?s Hugo) Chavez is trying to justify Gadhafi?s actions if he

decides to give him asylum,” el Rishi said. “But at the same time he is not

stupid and he doesn?t want his liability. I think the problem is he has no

place to go. He has to pay for what he?s done to the people.”

On Friday British officials contacted senior Libyan officials telling

them to desert Gadhafi or face trial for war crimes, according to reports

from The Guardian newspaper.

“It?s not too late to stand by the Libyan people,” el Rishi said.

“There is an opportunity for Obama to do that. The people of Libya will

remember those who stand by them and will also remember those who don?t.”

Sara A. Carter is The Washington Examiner's national security correspondent. She can be reached at

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