Condemnations for Qaddafi

In Libya, Colonel Muammar el-Qaddafi dispatched his military to quell protests by force. In New York, Libya’s deputy UN ambassador called for the international organization to establish a no-fly zone around the country and denounced Tripoli’s actions. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon spoke to Qaddafi for forty minutes, pressing the leader to put an end to the violence. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton responded to the events, saying “the world is watching the situation in Libya with alarm” and “now is the time to stop this unacceptable bloodshed.” President Obama was briefed on the situation by Tom Donilon, his national security adviser, on Sunday evening and got updates throughout the day yesterday.

Meanwhile, Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said yesterday in Qatar that Iran hasn’t been behind the protests that have spread across MENA. As Mullen put it, “from my perspective that has not been the principal focus of what happened in Egypt or what happened in Bahrain or any of these other countries.” Though he does believe Tehran actively seeks to “foment instability in the region,” the events of late were fueled by “internal issues” and not stirred up by an external force. Mullen discussed the Iran issue with the Saudis, and his trip will also take him to the UAE, Djibouti and maybe Bahrain, and, finally, Kuwait.

General David Petraeus, commander of forces in Afghanistan, seems to have offended some members of Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s government. As reported by the Washington Post, in a closed-door meeting on Sunday Petraeus apparently said that U.S. forces did not kill civilians during an operation in northeastern Afghanistan. Instead, Afghans lied about what happened and may have even burnt their own children to sell the story. The statement caught at least a couple Afghans attending the meeting off guard.

Back in the U.S., President Obama’s former chief of staff Rahm Emanuel is facing the first round of Chicago elections in his bid to become the city’s mayor. He has a healthy lead built up, but Emanuel needs more than 50 percent of the vote to avoid a runoff.