U. S. to Recognize Libyan Rebels

Move eases way to providing funding to the rebels.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has announced that the U. S. will formally recognize the Libyan rebels as the legitimate government of Libya:

ISTANBUL (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says the Obama administration has decided to formally recognize Libya’s main opposition group as the country’s legitimate government. The move gives foes of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi a major financial and credibility boost.

Clinton announced Friday that Washington accepts the Transitional National Council as the legitimate governing authority of the Libyan people. Diplomatic recognition of the council means that the U.S. will be able to fund the opposition with some of the more than $30 billion in Gahdafi-regime assets that are frozen in American banks.

Clinton made the announcement at an international conference on Libya in Istanbul.

This is rather a long time in coming and I interpret the move as confidence on the Obama Administration’s part that the Qaddafi government will fall sooner rather than later.

As of today 27 countries recognize the TNC as the legitimate government of Libya with the U. S. now joining France and most of the rest of Europe including the Russian Federation (in part), Canada, Australia, Qatar, and Ghana in recognizing the Transitional National Council as the legitimate government of Libya.

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Dave Schuler
About Dave Schuler
Over the years Dave Schuler has worked as a martial arts instructor, a handyman, a musician, a cook, and a translator. He's owned his own company for the last thirty years and has a post-graduate degree in his field. He comes from a family of politicians, teachers, and vaudeville entertainers. All-in-all a pretty good preparation for blogging. He has contributed to OTB since November 2006 but mostly writes at his own blog, The Glittering Eye, which he started in March 2004.


  1. michael reynolds says:

    I think the timing is designed to have a sort of final gavel effect.

    I’ve believed for months that Gaddafi was done for. Once it became clear that the rebels could hold together politically it was just a case of counting down the days.

  2. legion says:

    “You’re a Libyan rebel? Holy sh*t, I didn’t even recognize you in that Contra uniform…”

  3. Wayne says:

    I thought this war was supposed to be done in days not weeks or months.

  4. michael reynolds says:

    @Wayne: No, I believe we said that our leadership of the war would be weeks. That’s from memory, so I may stand corrected if anyone knows differently.

    So far the number of US casualties stands at 0.

    Now, you and Doug can call it a war if you like, but if so you’re likely going to be crediting Obama with the one of the shortest and absolutely the most bloodless war in US history. In addition to having killed off the man most responsible for 9/11, Obama will have brought down the man responsible for the Lockerbie bombing which sent 270 innocent people, including 189 American men, women and children plummeting to their deaths.

    Here’s a reminder via Wiki:

    “A boy was lying at the bottom of the steps on to the road. A young laddie with brown socks and blue trousers on. Later that evening my son-in-law asked for a blanket to cover him. I didn’t know he was dead. I gave him a lamb’s wool travelling rug thinking I’d keep him warm. Two more girls were lying dead across the road, one of them bent over garden railings. It was just as though they were sleeping. The boy lay at the bottom of my stairs for days. Every time I came back to my house for clothes he was still there. ‘My boy is still there,’ I used to tell the waiting policeman. Eventually on Saturday I couldn’t take it no more. ‘You got to get my boy lifted,’ I told the policeman. That night he was moved.”

    If Obama manages to get both Osama bin Laden and Gaddafi without the loss of a single life that would make him the most successful terrorist-hunter in American history.

  5. James Joyner says:

    @michael reynolds: Well, at least the guy at the top of the chain to which the actual terrorist hunters report.

    But, surely, we aren’t at war–or whatever the hell it is we’re doing in Libya–over a terrorist attack that took place when Obama was working as a community organizer and waiting to get into Harvard Law? I suppose the statute of limitations on that sort of thing never runs out but it’s an odd casus belli.

  6. michael reynolds says:

    @James Joyner:
    The Israeli’s hanged Adolf Eichmann in 1962, 17 years after the war ended. And if Mengele turned up they’d hang him tomorrow. There’s never been a statute of limitations on murder.

    I don’t argue that we went to war over Lockerbie. I was never that enthusiastic about this side show, I’ve confined myself to countering what I think has been facile and ill-informed criticisms — that the rebels were Al Qaeda, that the rebels couldn’t win, that we would have to send in troops, that it would be a quagmire and all the rest.

    The point was not Lockerbie per se, but if it ends with Gaddafi on a meat hook I’d be good with that. Let’s remember who we’re dealing with, and take a moment to toast his destruction when that happy day comes. I’ll pop a bottle of Champagne, as I did when news came that bin Laden was dead.

    I quite enjoy the destruction of evil men. Inshallah, a bullet or bomb will end this bastard’s life soon.

  7. James Joyner says:

    @michael reynolds: On that, we’re in agreement.

    I’m generally opposed to these interventions and have some particular qualms about this one:

    1. No obvious strategy for victory
    2. The pretense that we’ve pushed this off to NATO when we’re still carrying the load
    3. The pretense that this doesn’t trigger the War Powers Act (although I’m generally skeptical about the WPA)
    4. No obvious strategy for what happens when we win–i.e., Phase IV, post-combat reconstruction

    More on the last in a forthcoming Atlantic piece.

  8. 11B40 says:


    I look forward to the waves of Muslim gratitude that will issue from this announcement and its ensuing benefits. You’ve heard of Muslim gratitude, haven’t you? Its like a Missouri-Warhol River; a verbal mile wide, an actual inch deep and lasting for about 15 minutes.

    When will they ever learn? Read the damn Koran.