President Barack Obama says the U.S. military mission in Libya is succeeding.
In his weekly broadcast and Internet address to the nation, Mr. Obama said Libya’s air defenses “have been taken out.” His speech was released Saturday, marking one week since the United States and its allies began military action to enforce a “no-fly” zone over Libya and protect civilians under attack by leader Moammar Gadhafi’s forces.
Responsibility for the Libyan operation is being transferred from the U.S. to its NATO allies. Mr. Obama says this is how the international community should work, with “more nations, not just the United States, bearing the responsibility and cost of upholding peace and security.”
He did not mention a report published late Friday by The Washington Post that said the U.S. and its allies are considering supplying weapons to the Libyan opposition. The newspaper attributed its information to unnamed U.S. and European officials.
American officials are said to believe that the wording of the U.N. resolution passed by the Security Council declaring a no-fly zone was in effect also authorizes such military resupply programs. However, U.S. officials say no decisions have been taken about how to proceed.
President Obama will deliver an address from the White House Monday evening to discuss and explain his decisions about the conflict in Libya. U.S. and Europpean officials have said repeatedly that they acted, together with members of the Arab League, because thousands of lives were at risk. The Gaddafi regime was intensively attacking rebel strongholds before allied airstrikes began, and Mr. Gaddafi specifically had threatened to eliminate his opponents.
On Friday, Mr. Obama briefed congressional leaders from both major political parties on the situation in Libya and the plan to transfer command of the operation there from U.S. forces to the NATO alliance.
Some lawmakers, both Republicans and members of Mr. Obama’s own Democratic Party, have criticized him for not publicly seeking congressional approval in advance of any military action in Libya.