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Clinton Played Pivotal Role in Libya Mission Clinton Played Pivotal Role in Libya Mission Clinton Played Pivotal Role in Libya Mission Clinton Played Pivotal Ro...

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National Security / LIBYA

Clinton Played Pivotal Role in Libya Mission

Hillary Clinton speaks at a hearing on March 10, 2011.(Chet Susslin)

photo of Sara Sorcher
October 31, 2011

The Washington Post reports that Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton played a pivotal behind-the-curtain role in the Libya operation, from convincing President Obama to intervene in the first place to keeping the mission on course when allies squabbled or threatened to back out of their commitments.

When the U.S. was weighing whether to establish a no-fly zone over Libya, Clinton met with Libyan rebel leaders, drew up a list of conditions for intervention, and presented Obama with a compelling enough case to commit to the military mission. She worked with the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, to line up votes for the resolution authorizing all necessary means to protect civilians. She mediated what threatened to be a crisis between Italy, Turkey, and France after Paris launched an airstrike in Libya a few hours before the official start of the campaign, and she convinced several Arab states, including Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, and Jordan, to keep supplying military aircraft and pilots to the campaign after they appeared to be backing away from their initial commitments. She also pressed Obama -- and 30 Western and Arab countries -- to officially recognize Libyan's rebel council, clearing the way for them to receive billions of dollars from Muammar el-Qaddafi's frozen accounts.

"What emerges from these accounts is a picture of Clinton using her mixture of political pragmatism and tenacity to referee spats among NATO partners, secure crucial backing from Arab countries, and tutor rebels on the fine points of message management," The Post reports.

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