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Obama: 'The Kadafi regime has come to an end'

October 20, 2011|By Christi Parsons | Washington Bureau
  • Speaking from the White House Rose Garden, President Obama delivers remarks on the death of former Libya leader Moammar Kadafi on Thursday.
Speaking from the White House Rose Garden, President Obama delivers remarks… (whitehouse.gov )

President Obama paid tribute to the Libyan people for ending the regime of Moammar Kadafi with his death on Thursday and promised the U.S. will be a “partner” as they build a new and just society.

“Today belongs to the people of Libya,” Obama said. “This is a moment for them.”

The remarks in the Rose Garden came shortly after administration officials determined the reports of Kadafi’s death were credible.

PHOTOS: Moammar Kadafi | 1942 - 2011

There are still conflicting reports about how Kadafi died, and U.S. officials did not disclose whether a NATO airstrike was part of the operation.

Obama claimed credit only for the larger role of the NATO allies and the U.S. military, which he said achieved international objectives while staying within predetermined limits.

“Without putting a single U.S. service member on the ground, we achieved our objective,” Obama said. The American mission will soon “come to an end,” he said.

There was a familiar air to the president’s announcement, just six months after he told Americans of the military operation that killed Osama bin Laden. Earlier this fall, the administration delivered news about the death of extremist cleric Anwar Awlaki.

On Thursday morning, administration officials began to get information about the possible apprehension of Kadafi, and later reports indicated that he had been killed. They decided those reports were credible based on independent reports through diplomatic channels, said one administration official.

Obama immediately began preparing to speak about the death of Kadafi, a dictator who has supported terrorists and antagonized the international community for four decades.

A year ago, a free Libya seemed inconceivable, Obama said. Then the Libyan people “rose up and demanded their rights.”

“Today we can definitively say the Kadafi regime has come to an end,” Obama said. “One of the world’s longest-serving dictators is no more.”

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