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lunes, marzo 07, 2011

Obama says military option still under consideration for Libya

Doug Mills/The New York Times
President Obama meeting with Prime Minister Julia Gillard of Australia in the Oval Office on Monday.
Nearly three weeks after Libya erupted in what may now turn into a protracted civil war, the politics of military intervention to speed the ouster of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi grow more complicated by the day — for both the White House and Republicans.  

President Obama, appearing Monday morning with Australia’s prime minister, tried to raise the pressure on Colonel Qaddafi further by talking about “a range of potential options, including potential military options” against the embattled Libyan leader. 

Despite Mr. Obama’s statement, interviews with military officials and other administration officials describe a number of risks, some tactical and others political, to American intervention in Libya. 

Of most concern to the president himself, one high-level aide said, is the perception that the United States would once again be meddling in the Middle East, where it has overturned many a leader, including Saddam Hussein. Some critics of the United States in the region — as well as some leaders — have already claimed that a Western conspiracy is stoking the revolutions that have overtaken the Middle East.
“He keeps reminding us that the best revolutions are completely organic,” the senior official said, quoting the president. 

At the same time, there are persistent voices — in Congress and even inside the administration — arguing that Mr. Obama is moving too slowly. They contend that there is too much concern about perceptions, and that the White House is too squeamish because of Iraq. 

Furthermore, they say a military caught up in two difficult wars has exaggerated the risks of imposing a no-fly zone over Libya, the tactic discussed most often.