By Julian Hattem - 07/26/14 01:53 PM EDT
The violence in Libya that caused U.S. embassy personnel to flee the country on Saturday is partly due to President Obama’s inability to bring calm to the region, key Republican members of Congress said on Saturday.
According to House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), the “deteriorating security posture" that is playing out across the region “is what happens when the United States is not engaged and lacks a clear foreign policy that includes strong U.S. leadership.”
“Unfortunately, this development was predictable, given the lack of direction and leadership from this administration since it ousted Muammar Gaddafi," he said in a statement.
“Our diplomatic absence will make the hard task of achieving political stability in Libya even harder," Royce added. "When security conditions permit the return of our diplomats, the administration must give them a new charge to help end the fighting and move Libya forward.”
On Saturday, the administration evacuated the U.S. embassy in Tripoli, the Libyan capital, under cover of American military forces as violence between the government and armed militias threatened officials’ safety.
Secretary of State John Kerry has maintained that the evacuation is only a temporary order, but it underscores officials’ rising fears about chaos in North Africa and the Middle East.
The country has been locked in violence and instability since Gaddafi, the former dictator, was ousted with American aid in 2011. Militia groups have had easy access to weapons, officials say, and some of the armed groups have focused their threats on Americans.
In 2012, U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed at a CIA compound in Benghazi, Libya, in an act of violence that continues to incite harsh words on Capitol Hill. Republicans in the House have spearheaded a committee to investigate the incident, though Democrats have largely lambasted it as a political stunt.