U.S. Action in Libya Isn’t Precedent for Region, Obama Aide Says

The U.S. intervention in Libya won’t set a precedent for taking action elsewhere in the region where pro-democracy protests are challenging governments, Denis McDonough, deputy national security adviser, said

Each case is “unique,” McDonough said at a briefing. Libya “doesn’t set a precedent that should create any expectations” for other interventions in the Mideast or elsewhere.

President Barack Obama is scheduled to address the nation at 7:30 p.m. Washington time to lay out the justification for military operations in Libya and answer criticism from lawmakers that the mission and goals lack clarity.

The speech at the National Defense University in Washington follows an agreement by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to assume full command of all military operations as the administration aims to protect civilians while urging Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi to leave office.

Turmoil has spread across North African and Middle Eastern countries including Yemen, Jordan, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Syria and Bahrain.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said yesterday the U.S. won’t enter into the internal conflict in Syria, where government forces and protesters have clashed.

“We expect the Syrian government to respect the rights of Syrians,” McDonough said.

To contact the reporters on this story: Hans Nichols in Washington at hnichols2@bloomberg.net; Roger Runningen in Washington at rrunningen@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Silva at msilva34@bloomberg.net

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