This afternoon, following a call with the National Security Council, President Obama spoke about the evolving circumstances in Libya. Over the past six months, the United States has worked with associates to protect the people of Libya from Muammar Qaddafi's brutality and support them as they seek the opportunity for the citizens of Libya to decide their own destiny. Today, President Obama said, "The Qaddafi regime is coming to an end, and the future of Libya is in the hands of its people," making it clear that the bravery of the Libyan people has brought freedom within reach:
Earlier this year, we were enthused by the peaceful protests that broke out across Libya. This basic and joyful longing for human freedom echoed the voices that we had heard all across the region, from Tunis to Cairo. In the face of these protests, the Qaddafi regime responded with brutal crackdowns. Civilians were murdered in the streets. A campaign of aggression was launched against the Libyan people. Qaddafi threatened to hunt peaceful protestors down like rats. As his forces higher across the country, there existed the potential for wholesale massacres of blameless civilians.
In the face of this aggression, the international community took action. The United States helped shape a U.N. Security Council declaration that mandated the protection of Libyan civilians. An unprecedented coalition was formed that built-in the United States, our NATO partners and Arab nations. And in March, the international community launched a military operation to save lives and stop Qaddafi’s forces in their tracks.
In the early days of this involvement the United States provided the bulk of the firepower, and then our friends and allies stepped forward. The Transitional National Council established itself as a believable representative of the Libyan people. And the United States, together with our European allies and friends across the region, recognized the TNC as the lawful governing authority in Libya.