Breaking his silence on Libya finally on Wednesday, Barack Obama condemned the bloody crackdown on protesters without naming Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. The President's muted speech has raised questions if Gaddafi regime has managed to intimidate the White House by blocking the evacuation of U.S. citizens.
Obama's decision to leave out Gaddafi's name in his comments comes in the backdrop of American diplomats and their families being stuck in Tripoli. State Department officials revealed on Tuesday that United States has been unable to get Libya's permission to evacuate American citizens from the country.
What we can't figure out is whether there's just chaos at the airport, which is entirely possible, or whether the Libyans are not cooperating, State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley was quoted as saying by the Washington Post in an interview.
In an earlier news briefing, Crowley had said that the U.S. government is evaluating options to help Americans leave the country by land or sea.
On Tuesday night, the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli announced that it had chartered a ferry to take U.S. citizens to Malta on Wednesday. Some reports suggest that high winds in the Mediterranean kept the ferry from leaving the port in Tripoli.
The President has been facing fire for his silence on the Libyan crackdown. Critics have slammed Obama for not taking a tough stance against Qaddafi.
Criticism against Obama poured in on the microblogging site Twitter as well. One user mused, After 9 days of silence, commenting on Libya Obama fails to condemn or mention genocidal Gaddafi by name. Strange.
Another questioned, Is it a coincidence that Obama waited to condemn the violence in Libya till the UN did so on Tuesday?
The toned down response of Obama - reminiscent of the 2009 approach in the wake of the Iranian post-election protests - has angered those who awaited a stronger response that the former president George W Bush is known for.
Before informing that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would soon be meeting with the Human Rights Council in Geneva, Obama gave out the following condemnation, The suffering and bloodshed is outrageous, and it is unacceptable. So are threats and orders to shoot peaceful protesters and further punish the people of Libya. These actions violate international norms and every standard of common decency. This violence must stop.