U.S. Official: We Must Be Prepared To Accept That Gaddafi Will Prevail

Some rather sobering words today from one of the Obama Administration’s top officials:

The US national intelligence director has predicted embattled Libyan leader Col Muammar Gaddafi will defeat the rebels challenging his grip on power.

James Clapper told the US Senate that Col Gaddafi’s superior military force would prevail over the long term.

And Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the US would not act in Libya without international authorisation.


In response to calls from some senior US Senate figures to establish a no-fly zone, Mr Clapper said Col Gaddafi’s air defences were “quite substantial”.

“Gaddafi is in this for the long haul,” Mr Clapper said.

“I don’t think he has any intention, despite some of the press speculation to the contrary, of leaving. From all evidence that we have… he appears to be hunkering down for the duration.”

Mr Clapper said one possible outcome could be the splitting of Libya into three autonomous states.

If nothing else, we should probably take this as confirmation that, absent international cooperation and authorization, the President has no intention of acting unilaterally on behalf of the Libyan rebellion. It’s a tough decision, but it is, I think the correct one.


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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. JD says:

    What happens wrt the French statement recognizing the rebel government? It seems Sarkozy may have been a bit premature.

  2. Moosebreath says:

    And of course, speaking such truths is enough to cause Lindsay Graham to call for his firing. Tell me again why Republicans are taken more seriously than Democrats on national security issues…