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LIBYA: Obama freezes Kadafi's assets, declares a national emergency to deal with Libya

February 26, 2011 |  9:56 am

President Obama signed an order late Friday freezing the assets of Libyan leader Moammar Kadafi, his family and members of his regime, and also wrote a letter to Congress declaring a national emergency to deal with the situation in Libya.

Kadafi and his regime have taken "extreme measures against the people of Libya," the order says. "I further find that there is a serious risk that Libyan state assets will be misappropriated by [Kadafi], members of his government, members of his family, or his close associates if those assets are not
protected," Obama said in the executive order.

The sanctions specifically apply to senior Libyan government officials, Kadafi's children, any people who were responsible for human rights abuses in Libya and their spouses. The order was effective as of 8 p.m. Eastern time on Friday.

Obama's letter to Congress outlines these sanctions. In it, Obama says that he has determined that Kadafi's actions against his own people "constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States."

The Obama administration has had to change tacks on its Middle East policy in the wake of the protests that have disrupted the region. The administration is urging beleaguered governments to enact reforms even as it works to preserve partnerships with key allies in the region. Diplomats say that Obama cannot openly call for big changes in the region without alienating some allies.

RELATED:

Obama, Hillary Clinton call on Kadafi to step down

Kadafi using civilian supporters to clear away Libyan supporters

Defiant Libyans flood streets of Tripoli to protest Moammar Kadafi

UN Security Council discusses draft resolution that includes sanctions

-- Alana Semuels

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