Obama predicts NATO strikes will force out Khadafy
BENGHAZI, Libya — Libyan rebels clashed yesterday with Sudanese mercenaries fighting for Moammar Khadafy near the border with Sudan, as President Obama predicted the Libyan leader would be forced to step down if NATO keeps up its military campaign.
Speaking in London, Obama said the US-led NATO coalition was engaged in “a slow, steady process in which we’re able to wear down the regime forces.’’
“There will not be a letup in the pressure we are applying’’ on Khadafy, Obama said. “I believe that we have built enough momentum that as long as we sustain the course we’re on, he will step down.’’
Government spokesman Moussa Ibrahim reacted angrily, saying that “Khadafy’s destiny, Khadafy’s future, is for the Libyan nation to decide.’’
“It would be a much more productive statement to say that the Libyan people need to engage in an inclusive peaceful democratic transparent political process in which they can choose the shape of their political system and the leaders of their system,’’ he said.
A rebel commander, Ahmed Alzway, said rebel fighters fought off a Sudanese mercenary force 18 miles west of the southeast oasis of Kufra. The rebel force pursued, dislodging the Sudanese fighters from a fortified position in the desert, Alzway said.
Meanwhile, in Washington yesterday, several US lawmakers from both parties accused Obama of violating the War Powers Resolution by continuing US participation in NATO’s air war in Libya without congressional authorization.
The New York Times reported that several members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee attacked Obama for failing to withdraw US military forces from conflict after the expiration Friday of a 60-day deadline for hostilities that have not been approved by Congres. The deadline was imposed by the Vietnam-era War Powers law.
“It’s time for Congress to step forward,’’ said Representative Brad Sherman, Democrt of California. “It’s time to stop shredding the US Constitution in a presumed effort to bring democracy . . . to Libya.’’