Washington led the diplomatic push at United Nations for the mandate eventually credited with ending Moammar Gadhafi’s reign, the U.S. envoy claims.
Britain and France early this year lobbied for a resolution at the Security Council that called for a no-fly zone over Libya as forces loyal to Gadhafi descended on rebel positions in Benghazi.
French officials at the time expressed frustration with Washington on the issue. But after the Arab League backed the no-fly zone, Washington entered the debate by claiming the European draft was too weak.
“We led this thing,” said U.S. envoy to the United Nations Susan Rice in an interview with Foreign Policy magazine. “We put teeth in this mandate.”
Rice said the language Washington maneuvered into the resolution gave international forces the wiggle room to strike Gadhafi’s forces. She denied suggestions, however, that the resolution, which authorized “all necessary measures,” was a mandate for regime change.
“When we passed Resolution 1973 it was very much our expectation and intention that we would be using force to enforce the mandate to protect civilians,” she said.
The magazine notes, however, that the resolution has caused problems at the Security Council, where concerns from Libya are interfering with any substantial resolution condemning Syria for the ongoing bloodshed there.