Post-Gadhafi, Obama issues warning to other regional strongmen

Alex Pappas Political Reporter
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President Obama called the killing of dictator Moammar Gadhafi “a momentous day in the history of Libya,” but warned that there’s “a long and winding road to full democracy.”

“The dark shadow of tyranny has been lifted,” Obama said in a Rose Garden news conference. “And with this enormous promise, the Libyan people now have a great responsibility to build an inclusive and tolerant and democratic Libya that stands as the ultimate rebuke to Gadhafi’s dictatorship.”

The New York Times reported that Gadhafi, “the former Libyan strongman who fled into hiding after rebels toppled his regime two months ago, was killed Thursday as fighters battling the vestiges of his loyalist forces wrested control of his hometown of Surt.”

It’s still not clear exactly how Gadhafi was killed. “Conflicting accounts quickly emerged about whether Col. Gadhafi was summarily executed, died from gunshot wounds, died from a NATO bomb blast or bled to death in an ambulance,” the New York Times reported.

Obama took no questions during the press conference, but offered a warning to other dictators in the region.

“For the region, today’s events prove once more that the rule of an iron fist inevitably comes to an end,” he said. “Across the Arab world, citizens have stood up to claim their rights. Youth are delivering a powerful rebuke to dictatorship, and those leaders who try to deny their human dignity will not succeed.”

On Capitol Hill, freshman Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida proclaimed that, “Justice has been done today.” (RELATED: Pentagon confirms drone fired on convoy)

“For decades, Muammar Gadhafi terrorized the Libyan people, bankrolled international terrorism and spread instability among its neighbors,” Rubio said.

“He masterminded numerous terrorist attacks that resulted in the death of hundreds of fellow Americans.  We are impressed with the tenacity of the Libyan people in reclaiming their freedoms, and honor the service of American and NATO forces that courageously assisted on this endeavor,” he said.

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