issued an executive order
Friday evening that imposes immediate sanctions on Libyan ruler Muammar al Qaddafi, his sons and his
accomplices in the slaughter of civilians. In a letter accompanying the
order, Obama declared a national emergency over the situation.
"I have determined that the actions
of Colonel Muammar Qaddafi, his
government, and close associates, including extreme measures against the people
of Libya, constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national
security and foreign policy of the United States. The order declares a national
emergency to deal with this threat," Obama wrote in the letter to House Speaker
John Boehner (R-OH).
The executive order itself condemns
the "wanton violence against unarmed associates" perpetrated by Qaddafi, his
sons, his government, and his close associates. Effective immediately, all U.S.-based
assets of Qaddafi and his four sons are to be frozen and transactions intended
to move those assets are prohibited. The order allows the measures to be
expanded to include any member of the Libyan government who are determined to
be complicit in Qaddafi's brutality.
In a personal statement issued by
the White House at the same time as the order, Obama referenced what he called
the Libyan government's continued violation of human rights, brutalization of
its people, and outrageous threats.
"By any measure, Muammar
el-Qaddafi's government has violated international norms and common decency and
must be held accountable," the statement read. "We will stand steadfastly with
the Libyan people in their demand for universal rights, and a government that
is responsive to their aspirations. Their human dignity cannot be denied."
Friday, White House Press Secretary Jay
Carney said that more punitive measures against the Qaddafi regime were on
the way. "The
steps we take in the near future are not the only steps we are prepared to
take, if further steps are necessary," Carney said.
The last members of the U.S. embassy staff in Libya
were evacuated Friday and the embassy building was shuttered, although the
Obama administration still has not broken off relations with the Qaddafi regime
or publicly called for Qaddafi to step down.
"The flag is still flying, the embassy is not
closed, but operations are suspended," said Undersecretary of State for
Management Patrick Kennedy. "We did not break diplomatic relations."
There's no word yet on how the sanctions will affect the $100 million investment by Al-Saadi Qaddafi, one of the sons, in a film company that's producing a movie entitles "The Ice Man: Confessions
of a Mafia Contract Killer," with Mickey Rourke.
Arab organizations from 18 countries, coordinating
their effort with 30 Arab intellectuals, called on world leaders to impose an
U.N.-sponsored and Arab-led no-fly zone in Libya to protect innocent civilians
The call for civilian protection was aimed to
influence the U.N. Security Council, the European Union, the African Union, and
the Arab League. It was timed to influence discussions at the Security Council
and the U.N. Human Rights Council over the coming days. The organizations hail
from countries including Egypt, Libya, Qatar, Morocco, Yemen, Syria, Algeria,
and Saudi Arabia.
The open letter to world leaders, set to be released
on Saturday but obtained by The Cable,
calls on the international community and regional leaders to develop "immediate
contingency plans for international intervention, under regional Arab
leadership, to provide protection for civilians on the ground and to enable the
rapid imposition of a UN Mandated No Fly Zone over Libya should such steps be
necessary to protect civilians from further atrocities."
The groups also called for a U.N. investigation into
atrocities conducted by the regime of Muammar
al-Qaddafi, as well as punitive measures against the Libyan government,
including sanctions, asset freezes, and an arms embargo.
"We fear we may be witnessing the calm before the
storm. The window of opportunity to prevent further atrocities from occurring
is closing fast. The people of Libya need you to act quickly and decisively,"
the letter stated. "Condemnation of such acts is not enough - world leaders
must live up to their responsibilities to protect civilians from systematic
The accompanying letter, signed by 30 prominent Arab
intellectuals, called for the same measures and implored world leaders to use
whatever means necessary to protect Libyan civilians. Signatories included
Nagib Sawiris, President of Orascom Telecom Egypt; Amr Hamzawy, a senior associate
at the Carnegie Endowment's Middle East Center; Egyptian journalist Hani
Shukrallah; and Paul Salem, the director of Carnegie's Middle East Center.
"We cannot and will not stand by and witness a
brutal dictator exterminate his own people," they wrote. "We appeal to you as
leaders who have the power to bring an end to this horror. Your failure to do
so would be a lasting stain on the concept of the responsibility of world
leadership and on humanity itself."
Full text of the letters and lists of signatories
after the jump:
1. PUBLIC STATEMENT BY PROMINENT ARAB INDIVIDUALS
CONDEMNATION IS NOT ENOUGH!
To Heads of State of Members of the United Nations Security Council, European
Union, African Union and League of Arab States,
We, experts, intellectuals and citizens from the Arab world, write to call on
you to turn hollow condemnation into real action that can protect the people of
Libya from further slaughter.
We cannot and will not stand by and witness a brutal dictator exterminate his
own people. Your words alone will not stop Gaddafi committing war crimes
against civilians. Your expressions of disgust will not stop him contracting
mercenaries to kill and maim those brave enough to challenge his tyranny. We
appeal to you as leaders who have the power to bring an end to this horror.
Your failure to do so would be a lasting stain on the concept of the
responsibility of world leadership and on humanity itself.
The Libyan people are living through a defining moment in their history. Their
demands for basic human rights and an end to 42 years of cruel oppression are
legitimate. We shall not stand silent and watch them pay the price of this
demand with their blood. Without urgent action from the UN Security
Council supported by the EU, African Union and Arab League, the window of
opportunity to protect civilians from the threat of further atrocities will
We believe it is the personal and moral responsibility of each and every one of
you to ensure immediate action is taken to stop the bloodshed in line with
Chapter 7 of the UN Charter.
The Libyan people have had the courage to defy a dictator and face down his
barbarism and brutality. Now their blood fills the streets of Benghazi, Beida
and Tripoli and many other cities. This is partly the result of the absence of
effective international pressure to rein in a killer who does not balk at using
lethal force against his own people.
We urge the UN Security Council, the Arab League, the African Union and the
European Union to protect civilians in Libya NOW. We urge leaders to live up to
their obligations and expedite the following actions immediately:
*Agree immediate contingency plans for international intervention, under Arab
regional leadership, to provide protection for civilians on the ground and to
enable the rapid imposition of a UN Mandated No Fly Zone over Libya should such
steps be necessary to protect civilians from further atrocities.
*Ensure accountability and justice for the victims of the attacks since the
17th of Feb 2011 by supporting the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights' call
for an independent investigation into the use of systematic violence against
*Ensure an asset freeze on Gaddafi, his family and his generals and impose
immediate targeted sanctions on the regime.
*Impose an immediate arms embargo.
Only action of this kind can help protect the lives of hundreds of thousands of
civilians currently at risk. Gaddafi and his henchmen will not flinch at your
condemnation. Instead, they blackmail you into paralysis by threatening to
withhold lucrative trade or open the floodgates of immigration. Time is running
out. We urge you to demonstrate courageous and decisive leadership to avert
what could be one of the worst atrocities of our time.
1.Nabil El Arabi - Former Judge in the International Court of Justice - Egypt
2.Gamil Mattar - Writer - Egypt
3.Taher Kanaan - Former Minister of Planning and Development Affairs- Jordan
4.Laila Sharaf - First Lady Senator - Jordan
5.Moataz Abdel Fattah - Professor of Political Science University of Michigan -
6.Gennaro Gervasio - Professor of Political Science, University of Sydney -
7. Bassma Kodmani - Executive director, Arab Reform
Initiative - France
8. Chérif Ferjani - Director, Group of Research and
Studies on Mediterranean and Middle East (GREMMO) at la Maison de l'Orient
Méditerranéen, CNRS-Université Lyon2 (National Center for Scientific Research)
9. Hani Shukrallah - Journalist - Egypt
10. Barah Mikail - Research Director, FRIDE (Fundacion para las
Relaciones Internacionales y el Dialogo Exterior) - Spain
11. Larbi Chouikha - Academic - Tunisia
12. Charif RIFAI - Architect - France
13. Yassin Swehat - blogger - Syria
14.Paul Salem - Director, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Beirut
15.Salam Kawakibi - Senior researcher - Arab Reform Initiative
16.Nahla Chahal - political sociologist - Syria
17.Ibrahim Al Ariss - Historian and Journalist - Lebanon
18.Alaa Abdel Aziz - Academic - Egypt
19.Mohamed Ali Farhat - Poet and Journalist - Lebanon
20.Vicky Habib - journalist and film critic - Lebanon
21.Saad Mehio - Writer - Lebanon
22.Ahdaf Soweif - Novelist and Writer - Egypt
23.Bahgat Korani - Academic - Egypt
24.Abdel Rahman Ayyas - journalist - Lebanon
25.Ali El Ghatit - International Attorney of Law - Egypt
26.Ali Fakhro - Former Minister of Culture - Bahrain
27.Fouad Riad - Former Judge in the International Tribunal for Former
Yugoslavia - Egypt
28.Nagib Sawiris - Egyptian Prominent Business and President of Orascom Telecom
29.Dr. Gala Amin - Egyptian Scholar - Egypt
30.Ms Hala Alabdalla, Syrian filmmaker - France
31.Dr. Amr Hamzawy , Research Director and Senior Associate - Carnegie Middle
32.Omar Al Qattan, Filmmaker & Philanthropist - Palestine.
33.Hisham Mattar, Libyan Novelist Author
34.Basma Al Husseiny , Managing Director - AL Mawred AL Thaqafi
2. OPEN LETTER TO WORLD LEADERS BY ARAB NGOS
Open Letter by Arab Organisations to the United Nations Security Council
(UNSC), the European Union (EU) and the League of Arab States (LAS)
As leaders of over a (200) organisations across the Middle East and North
Africa, we urge the United Nations Security Council and the EU to take
immediate action in response to the violent repression of demonstrations and
the bloodshed of innocent civilians in Libya. The international community must
not be passive bystanders to such brutality. Words of outrage are not enough;
they will do nothing to protect civilians in the face of such slaughter.
We fear we may be witnessing the calm before the storm. The window of
opportunity to prevent further atrocities from occurring is closing fast. The
people of Libya need you to act quickly and decisively.
Since 17th February 2011, hundreds of peaceful demonstrators in Libya have been
killed, arrested and detained at the orders of Gadaffi. Reports of the use of
lethal force and military artillery against civilians demand immediate
investigation by a UN mandated team on the ground.
Condemnation of such acts is not enough - world leaders must live up to their
responsibilities to protect civilians from systematic slaughter.
We call on you to agree contingency plans for international intervention in
line with Chapter VII of the UN charter, and under Arab regional leadership to
provide protection for civilians on the ground and to enable the rapid
imposition of a UN Mandated No Fly Zone over Libya should such steps be
necessary to protect civilians from further atrocities.
The coalition also urges the UN Security Council, the European Union and League
of Arab States to call for and support the expedition of the following actions
immediately to protect civilians in Libya:
*Implement an immediate freeze on the assets of Gaddafi and his generals and
subject them to a travel ban
*Impose an embargo on all exports of arms and security equipment to Libya;
*Call for and support an immediate UN investigation mission to Libya to
identify the exact nature of events and the scale of the crimes committed since
Time is running out. The bloodshed cannot continue. The people of Libya need
you to act quickly and decisively. As civil society leaders from the region, we
implore you not to desert them and to demonstrate that you are prepared to take
the meaningful action required to back up your words of condemnation.
Algeria: The Algerian League for the Defence of Human Rights, the Algerian Coordination
Organisation for the Families of the Missing. Bahrain: Al Bahrain Centre for
Human Rights, Bahraini Association for Human Rights, Association of Bahraini
Youth for Human Rights- Bahrain. Iraq: The Iraqi Human Rights Association in
Denmark, Iraqi Network for Human Rights. Egypt: Arab Programme for Human Rights
Activists (APHR), Arab Organization for Civil Society and Human Rights Support,
Egyptian Organization for Human Rights, Civil Observatory for Human Rights,
Citizenship Human Rights Organisation, Shomoaa for the Care of Humanitarian
Rights, Egyptian Organisation for Scientific and Technological Development,
Egyptian Foundation for Refugee Rights, The Arab Network for Human Rights
Information-Egypt, The Arab Centre for Development and Human Rights, South
Centre for Human Rights
Arab Network for Crisis Reporting, Centre for the Study of Alternative
Development, Taha Hussein Foundation for Civic Education, Egyptian Centre for
Human Development, Maat Foundation for Peace, Development and Human Rights,
Al-Badr Foundation for Social Development and Peace, Maan Foundation, Arab
Centre for Legal and Judicial Independence, Egyptian Initiative for Personal
Rights (EIPR), The Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS), Ani for
Development and Human Rights, Al Nadim Center for Treatment and Psychological
Rehabilitation for Victims of Violence, Association of Freedom of Thought and
Expression, Andalus Institute for Tolerance and Anti-Violence Studies, Egyptian
Centre for Property Rights, One World Centre for Development and Protection of
Human Rights, Human Rights Association for Protection of Prisoners, Centre for
Legal Study and Information for Human Rights, Centre for Human Rights and
Fighting Landmines, National Association for the Defence of Rights and
Liberties, Arab Legal Desk- Egypt, Group for Human Rights Legal Aid, Supporters
of Justice for Human Rights Association, Egyptian Womens' Issues, Al-Safwa
Centre for Human Rights in Mansoura, Rifa'a Al-Tahtawi Forum, Human Development
Centre, Al-Haqq Centre for Democracy and Human Rights, Al Shihab Foundation for
Complete Development, Al- Kilma Centre for Human Rights, Egyptian Association
for Economic and Social Rights, Habi Centre for Environmental Rights, Egyptian
Association for Civic Education and Human Rights, Egyptian Civil Group, Women's
Group for Human Rights, Equality Center for Human Rights (Port Said), Egyptian
Center for Rights of the Child, Egyptian Foundation for Family Development, The
Egyptian Centre for
About The Cable
The Cable goes inside the foreign policy machine, from Foggy Bottom to Turtle Bay, the White House to Embassy Row.