Obama’s election campaign started in Libya

The United States is taking a backseat in the western coalitions’ military campaign in Libya and boosting contacts with all parties to the Libyan conflict. The White House’s evidently doesn’t want to be pulled into another risky and unpredictable operation.

When the decision to start bombing Libya was taken on March 19, most in the West, looking for the swift resolution of the tensions inTunisia and Egypt even in the absence of military intervention, thought that Col. Gaddafi wouldn’t hang on to power for long. Yet things in Libya are panning out differently: the opposition has proved unable to grab the initiative, while the Gaddafi forces have managed to adjust to the airstrikes and preserve more than half of their potential. As a result, last week saw the start of a search for some kind of Libyan compromise, despite the allies’ persisting with their apparent goal to depose Gaddafi, with the colonel even being offered the leader’s post in the African Union.

Observers attribute this to the coalition’s disappointment in the outcome of the military conflict and even more importantly, to the fact that the Obama administration does not want to end up with another Afghanistan or Iraq on their hands ahead of the 2012 elections. Many still remember that Barack Obama’s rise to power was significantly boosted by his criticism of George Bush and his unpopular military forays. Accordingly, it is highly desirable for Obama to emerge the peacemaker once again. What’s more, his Nobel Peace Prize laureate status also imposes some obligations, says Evgeny Minchenko, the director of the International Institute of Political Expertise.

"It is vitally important for Obama to show that the US won’t get involved in another military campaign in an Arab country, because he’s announced his plans to run for re-election. He’s already dealing with plenty of discontentment – he doesn’t need any additional issues."

Political monitors are unanimous that the first coffin with the body of a US soldier killed in Libya will spell a definitive “no” for a second presidential term for Obama. In order to put the Libyan problem back onto a political track, former congressman Curt Weldon has gone to Tripoli – on what he insists is a personal visit. Nevertheless, the White House obviously knows about the trip, it just doesn’t want to draw too much attention to its involvement in talks, the outcome of which is yet unknown. If Gaddafi agrees to step down, the incumbent US president will be hailed as a peacemaker and if not – he can always step back from the initiative of the retired congressman. In any case, Obama will be able to tell his voters that he did everything possible. And perhaps Libya got lucky that its political crisis coincided with the start of the presidential race in the US.

[Source: The Voice of Russia, Moscow, 07Apr11]

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