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
"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 firstname.lastname@example.org.