Report: Obama Signs Secret Order To Covertly Arm Libyan Rebels

Reuters is reporting that the U.S. is now going to start arming the Libyan rebels:

(Reuters) – President Barack Obama has signed a secret order authorizing covert U.S. government support for rebel forces seeking to oust Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, government officials told Reuters on Wednesday.

Obama signed the order, known as a presidential “finding”, within the last two or three weeks, according to four U.S. government sources familiar with the matter.

A few thoughts here.

First of  all, this “secret” order isn’t really a secret anymore, which makes one wonder who may have leaked it. There may be more dissension within the Administration over Libya than we’ve been led to beleive.

Second, this would seem to directly contradict the policy that the President announced in his speech on Monday.

Third, any action to arm the rebels would seem to clearly violate the arms embargo established in United Nations Security Council Resolution 1970 (PDF), and strengthened in UNSCR 1973 (PDF).



FILED UNDER: Africa, Military Affairs, National Security, United Nations, US Politics, World Politics, , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. TG Chicago says:

    I appreciated two of Glenn Greenwald’s tweets about this:

    # If the adminstration decides to arm Libyan rebels, nothing will be less relevant than whether it’s illegal:

    # The good thing about arming Libyan rebels is it lays the foundation for our new war 10 years from now – our Enemies need to be armed

  2. Neo says:

    Isn’t a banner headline like … “Obama authorizes secret support for Libya rebels” .. an oxymoron ?
    It’s hardly secret anymore.

  3. michael reynolds says:

    I’m sorry, was someone somewhere surprised that we were supporting the rebels and trying to overthrow Gaddafi? Seriously? No one knew this? How come I knew it if it’s a surprise?

  4. Wiley Stoner says:

    Reynolds we are supporting the rebels but who do they support? It is against federal law to arm al Qaeda. Can you spell impeachment?

  5. michael reynolds says:

    It’s nice that you’re the only guy here, aside from Doug Mataconis, buying the Al Qaeda bull. It gives me the opportunity to say, “See, Doug? This is the guy who agrees with you.”

  6. Chris Neil says:

    Flashback to anti-Soviet efforts in Afghanistan. Oh, yeah, BTW… GO SOX!!!!!!

  7. PD Shaw says:

    Doug, Resolution 1973 states that “notwithstanding” Resolution 1970 all necessary measures to protect civilians and cities is authorized. That’s been taken to mean that arming the rebels is authorized for that purpose. The British government actually issued an opinion to that effect that was introduced in the parliamentary debates.