Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) predicted that Libyan dictator Col. Moammar Gadhafi would soon be ousted from power.
"Qaddafi has lost legitimacy and it is only a matter of time before he is out of power," Reid said in a statement Friday afternoon. "Together with our allies, we should work to ensure that Qaddafi’s transition out of power is swift, and that the people of Libya do not suffer any more than they already have.”
Earlier Friday, President Obama warned that the U.S. would take part in airstrikes and help enforce a U.N.-sanctioned no-fly zone over Libya unless Gadhafi stopped attacking Libyan civilians and pulled back from rebel strongholds. But Obama also said that the U.S. would not use ground troops.
"Now, once more, Moammar Gadhafi has a choice. The resolution that passed lays out very clear conditions that must be met," Obama said in his speech. "Gadhafi must stop his troops from advancing on Benghazi, pull them back from Ajdabiya, Misrata, and Zawiya, and establish water, electricity and gas supplies to all areas. Humanitarian assistance must be allowed to reach the people of Libya.
"Let me be clear, these terms are not negotiable. These terms are not subject to negotiation. If Gadhafi does not comply with the resolution, the international community will impose consequences, and the resolution will be enforced through military action," Obama said.
Early Friday morning Gadhafi said Libyan forces would comply but American foreign policy officials remained skeptical. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that the U.S. wouldn't be satisfied with just promises from Gadhafi.
President Obama's speech was less than 24 hours after the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution authorizing a no-fly zone over Libya and other punitive sanctions. The resolution also left open the possibility of airstrikes and military operations in Libya open.
Just before his speech Obama also briefed congressional lawmakers on the situation in Libya.
Prior to the passage of the U.N. resolution, some foreign policy experts were predicting that the international community would not get involved in Libya and that Gadhafi would crush Libyan rebels and stay in power.