Libyan assets frozen in US; no-fly zone on the horizon
While the United States has frozen Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's assets worth $30 billion, secretary of state Hillary Clinton said a no-fly zone is an option the US is actively considering. Yashwant Raj reports.world Updated: Mar 01, 2011 08:33 IST
If the Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi is delusional, as he seemed in his first interview to a western journalist since the protests broke out, the US had a series of shockers lined up for him on Monday.
Gaddafi family assets frozen by the US, said the department of treasury, was worth $30 billion, a record of sorts. But the Libyan leader probably knows this already, it's his money after all, and that of his children.
How about a no-fly zone? "A no-fly zone is an option we are actively considering," secretary of state Hillary Clinton said, adding, "I discussed it today with allies and partners, and we will proceed with this active consideration."
If Gaddafi still didn't get it, the US military said it was "repositioning some naval and air forces" over the Libyan situation. The US has a regular military presence in the Mediterranean Sea and has two aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf area.
But an armed intervention is imminent, not now at least. Pentagon spokesman Dave Lapan said the movement of the US forces was part of the planning of "options and contingency plans" as violence continues in Libya.
In his first interview to a western journalist since the start of protests against his rule, Gaddafi said his people loved him and denied shooting of protestors or that he would step down. How could he leave his homeland, he said.
"It sounds, just frankly, delusional," said Susan Rice, the US permanent representative to the UN, after a meeting at the White House with President Barack Obama and the UN secretary general Ban Ki Moon.
But there has been a calibrated steeling of the US stand in recent days, since the evacuation of its citizens, and it is not openly demanding Gaddafi's exit. And it is in talks with opposition leaders, but did not divulge their names.
Enforcing a no-fly zone over Libya was among the most aggressive responses on the table yet, to stop the Gaddafi regime from using fighter planes and helicopter gunships to attack protestors.