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Libya Ops May be Coming to a Close: President Obama has called on Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi to step down, saying he needs to recognize that his 42-year "rule has come to an end." In an Aug. 21 statement (released Aug. 22), Obama said, "The momentum against the Qaddafi regime has reached a tipping point" as Tripoli "is slipping from the grasp of a tyrant." The United Nations Security Council authorized the use of force to protect Libyan civilians from forces loyal to Qaddafi in mid-March. NATO leaders agreed June 8 to extend that pressure on the regime until the end of September or until Qaddafi agreed to cease attacks on civilians and withdraw his forces to their bases. NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Monday that the coalition will "continue to monitor military units and key facilities" and take action if "we see any threatening moves towards the Libyan people." The United States and NATO have recognized the Transitional National Council as the "legitimate governing authority in Libya." Obama said the US will "continue to stay in close coordination with the TNC" moving forward. (Obama statement on Libya from Martha's Vineyard) (See also The Libya Mission and Bombers Over Libya from the Air Force Magazine archives)