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Marco Rubio urges more US involvement in Libya

The Florida Republican has sent a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, suggesting several "immediate measures" the U.S. should take toward Libya including shuttering its state television and radio stations.

"Actively helping the Libyan people achieve the inevitable end of the Gadhafi regime is in America’s interests and would ensure the Arab world knows the U.S. is laboring for their freedom," he said in the letter.

Among his recommendations: derecognizing the Gadhafi regime; establishing a "provisional" embassy to assess opposition needs and to negotiate the terms of formal recognition; and providing "non-lethal" military supplies to the opposition, including medical supplies, information and communications technology. "Consider providing body armor, trucks, armored Humvees," he wrote.

The stance puts him at odds with some of his fellow Republicans who oppose U.S. intervention in Libya, particularly Kentucky's Rand Paul, who has pressed for a Senate resolution to express "the sense of the Senate that the president does not have the power to unilaterally authorize a military attack." It's not the first foreign policy difference Rubio has with his fellow tea partier: Rubio Wednesday led his fellow GOP froshmen in sending a letter to Republican Leader Mitch McConnell asking that, as they look to slice the federal budget, "the Senate fully honor America’s commitment to Israel." Paul has criticized federal spending, including aid to Israel.

Rubio's letter to Clinton follows the jump.

 April 7, 2011

The Honorable Hillary Rodham Clinton
U.S. Secretary of State
Washington, DC 20520

Dear Secretary Clinton,

The Libyan people’s struggle against the Gadhafi regime gives the United States a unique opportunity to forge a new path for our nation’s policies in the region.  I have urged the implementation of a clear strategy in Libya. Pursuant to our conversation yesterday, I encourage you to consider the following recommendations: 

         The U.S. should derecognize the Gadhafi regime.

  • Follow the arrival of the American envoy in Benghazi with the establishment of a “provisional” Embassy to assess opposition needs and to negotiate the terms of formal recognition, contingent upon assurances that a new Libyan Government will
    • Be representative of the Libyan people and take demonstrable measures to protect the basic human rights of the Libyan people.
    • Reject terrorism, cooperate with international counterterrorism and nonproliferation efforts, and abstain from destabilizing neighboring countries. 
  • Upon U.S. recognition, the U.S. should encourage other nations to recognize the Transitional Council.
  • Commit the influence of the U.S. Government to mobilize international support for a post-Gadhafi government that ensures basic rights, provides basic services (including security) and provides for representative government. 
  • Upon recognition, provide at least partial access by the Transitional Council to frozen Libyan assets.
  • Shut down broadcasting by Libyan state television and radio, if necessary by direct jamming and if possible by getting international satellite providers to cooperate.
  • Enable opposition fighters to communicate independently of Libyan state telephone network.
  • Provide non-lethal military supplies to opposition, including medical supplies, information and communications technology.  Consider providing body armor, trucks, armored Humvees.
  • Initiate discussions with the Transitional Council to mobilize international support both to remove Gadhafi and to prepare for a post-Gadhafi Libya – including international peacekeepers, and begin to obtain commitments for non-US forces to provide that support if needed.

Actively helping the Libyan people achieve the inevitable end of the Gadhafi regime is in America’s interests and would ensure the Arab world knows the U.S. is laboring for their freedom. I hope you consider these policy suggestions to set the groundwork for the much harder work of building a more prosperous and democratic Libya.

 Sincerely,

 Marco Rubio
 United States Senator

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