By Steven Lee Myers, New York Times, March 14, 2011
PARIS — Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton met late Monday with a leader of Libya’s increasingly beleaguered opposition, but did so privately and without a public statement.
The meeting reflected the Obama administration’s struggle over how much support it would, or could, provide to the rebels seeking to overthrow Libya’s leader, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi.
Mrs. Clinton met the opposition leader, Mahmoud Jibril, at her hotel here after attending a dinner with foreign ministers of the countries of the Group of 8, who discussed ways to increase pressure on Colonel Qaddafi’s government, including imposing a no-flight zone over Libyan territory. Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Jibril met for 45 minutes but did not appear publicly out of concern for his security, an aide said.
Although aides to Mrs. Clinton said the foreign ministers shared a sense of urgency, they announced no new actions or proposals.
There is no commentator on the middle east who does not say something like, "We do not know who the rebels are in Libya," as the western nations deliberate on what and how to support those same rebels. There is a clear desire to see the dictator gone, and yet his forces and superior military might have driven them back, at least into retreat and perhaps into defeat.
After a few mis-steps, Secretary Clinton has continued to provide the U.S. and the West with a calm, professional and extremely competent voice and perspective through the multiple mine-fields that constitute the current list of files on her desk. She is earning her own unique and notable place in the history of her country at a time when the world literally spins from both exhaustion and dizziness with the severity and frequency of geo-political troubles.