Here’s another clue about the real balance of forces in Libya, which has been obscured by the concerted corporate media propaganda. Washington has decided that the Libyan rebels don’t have what it takes to take Tripoli, where about half of Libya’s population live, on their own (as the rebels admit themselves) and that the rebel-held territories in the rest of the country are broad at present but their hold is uncertain, liable to reversal. Hence the offer of “any kind of assistance that anyone wishes to have” (emphasis added). — Ed.
QUESTION: Madam Secretary, there’s reports that there’s — the former justice minister has set up his interim government in Benghazi. Has the U.S. had any contact with them? Do you think that’s a viable sort of bridging mechanism?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we are just at the beginning of what will follow Qadhafi. First we have to see the end of his regime with no further violence and bloodshed, which is a big challenge in front of all of us. But we’ve been reaching out to many different Libyans who are attempting to organize in the east and as the revolution moves westward there as well. I think it’s way too soon to tell how this is going to play out, but we’re going to be ready and prepared to offer any kind of assistance that anyone wishes to have from the United States.
QUESTION: Now that President Obama has said that he should leave, have there been talks with other countries about where he would go? Who would take him?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we want him to leave and we want him to end his regime and call off the mercenaries and those troops that remain loyal to him. How he manages that is obviously up to him and to his family. But we have consistently in many conversations over the last week sent messages, and along with partners in the region and beyond have made it clear we expect him to leave. But we’re not involved in any kind of negotiation with him over that.
QUESTION: Thank you.
The text above is an excerpt from “Briefing on Plane Before Departure for Geneva, Switzerland” (Special Briefing, Andrews Air Force Base, Washington, DC, 27 February 2011); it is reproduced here for non-profit educational purposes. Cf. “Libyan Capital Remains Largely Peaceful amid Nationwide Unrest” (Xinhua, 27 February 2011).