US steps up pressure on Gaddafi to step down

February 27th, 2011 - 5:03 pm ICT by ANI  

The United States may have done a favour to Colonel Maummar Gaddafi by imposing sanctions in the 1980s, allowing the latter to consolidate his hold over the country, claims an Indian American academic.

In an interview, Parag Khanna, a senior fellow with the New American Foundation stated that Gaddafi had been in power partially because of the sanctions that had been imposed on him as it isolated his regime from the rest of the world, allowing him to strengthen his hold on the country.

He told CBS News that the sanctions issued on Libya in the 1980’s which were lifted in 2004 froze the country in time and harmed the population as they did not have access to economic resources and the kind of foreign investments that a society needs to develop and allowed Gaddafi to own the economy.

When questioned about the credibility of the sanctions and the role that the US should take up, in case of failure Khanna said: ” They’re going to have to consider more serious measures. They may have to support the potential independence, in fact, of the eastern half of the country, whose capital is Benghazi.”

” That’s one scenario people were talking about. Potentially some kind of military intervention to try and sort of isolate him further within the capital. Or at least stop some of his military forces from conducting the raids and the assaults they are on the people. There are still some options on the table. This is going to escalate before it deescalates,” he added.

6. Washington, Feb27 (ANI): United states has stepped up pressure on Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi as the regime continues to lash out a violent response to the ongoing anti- government classes.

President Obama has issued an executive order that slaps full economic sanctions against Gaddafi, his family and close associates that include freezing the Gaddafi family assets.

The US had ordered an immediate freeze on all assets of the Libyan Government, Gaddafi and four of his sons, held in American banks and other US institutions and temporarily shut down their embassy in Tripoli after evacuating all their cities from there.

The UN Security Council also imposed ten sanctions against Gaddafi, his five sons and top ten associates which includes an arms embargo on Libya, a freezes of financial assets of Gaddafi family and their inner circle, mandates inspections of Libyan vessels and refers the case of attacks against unarmed civilians allegedly sanctioned by the government to the International Criminal Court.

When asked if military intervention was likely, Khanna said: “Right now it is not very likely. We’ve seen how reluctant the Obama administration is to do that in situations after Iraq and Afghanistan because our forces are stretched. In a case like Libya, we don’t know what will come next.”

” There are other situations where, when you were to oust a leader you know that there’s a government, there’s a parliament, there’s a cabinet, someone would step in. Here it’s already chaos. Just simply taking him out, which is physically possible, but if you don’t know what’s next, it’s somewhat irresponsible,” he added.

On being questioned if Gaddafi would be able hold on for the next few weeks, Khanna said that it was too early to tell but possible that he could hang on to Tripoli for a while as the local tribe there was his own and he had started handing out weapons on the streets to his supporters. (ANI)

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