Former Obama adviser says coalition can’t leave Libya until Gadhafi’s out
April 3rd, 2011
10:54 AM ET
12 years ago

Former Obama adviser says coalition can’t leave Libya until Gadhafi’s out

Washington (CNN) - Former Obama National Security Adviser Jim Jones said the international coalition in Libya cannot leave the country until Moammar Gadhafi is out of power.

Jones said the problem now is how to transition from the humanitarian mission currently underway to preventing the African leader from staying in power.

“The problem is that while everybody wants to see Gadhafi leave, either be removed or leave on his own, that end state is not yet clear,” Jones said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “Unfortunately most people want perfect clarity in a situation where clarity doesn’t really exist yet.”

The retired general and former NATO supreme allied commander said the United States needs to better understand the opposition forces on the ground and “make sure” that the Arab League and African Union, who have more influence over Gadhafi, “play their role.”

The struggle continues in Libya between forces loyal to Gadhafi and opposition members seeking to end his nearly 42-year rule, while NATO leads an international military operation following a U.N. Security Council resolution authorizing force and the enforcement of a no-fly zone to protect civilians.

Jones warned of the impact the uprisings in the Middle East and Africa will have on Iran, saying the chaos is something the Iranian government is “reasonably happy with.”

“(Iran) is flying under the radar right now because, you know, you don’t hear too much about their nuclear program because everyone else is focused elsewhere,” Jones told CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley. “But you can bet that Iran is affecting virtually everything and trying to play in every one of these countries where we’re having some difficulties … Iran is out there agitating things.”

Jones, who left the Obama administration in October, said the rebellion in Yemen is “very worrisome,” adding that the “trend lines aren’t terribly positive” for President Ali Abdullah Saleh to remain in power.

Saleh, who has ruled Yemen since 1978, is fighting to hold onto power amid opposition demands for constitutional reforms and parliamentary elections.

“The danger is that Yemen now will become a safe haven for terrorist organizations like Al Qaeda,” Jones said. “I think proactive engagement is much more economical than waiting until it, you know metastasizes, then you have another Afghanistan or something like that. The good news is I think we know a lot about where these organizations are going. The question is what do we do about it and when.”

Watch State of the Union with Candy Crowley Sundays at 9am ET. For the latest from State of the Union click here.

Filed under: Jim Jones • Libya • TV-State of the Union
soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. tony

    Ahh! So we were lied to, and this is yet another colonialist "regime change", to grab oil after all!.

    April 3, 2011 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  2. Larry L

    Make no mistake – the Mid-East is about oil. Until we don't need oil we'll be forced to spend American lives and fortune to keep the flow moving toward our SUVs and hot-tubs. We're all hypocrites if we pretend this is a humanitarian issue. It's time for Americans to make the hard choices.

    April 3, 2011 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  3. vic nashville tn

    If Jim Jones is right then 3rd Bush in the power now

    April 3, 2011 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  4. ALEX

    OIL that is Black Gold, Texas Tea.
    You all come back now, you hear!
    Obama's economy down the drain without cheap oil.

    April 3, 2011 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |