President Barack Obama said it's time for Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi to relinquish power, as intense fighting continues to ravage parts of the north African nation.
At the White House Thursday, Obama was clear on where he stood regarding the Libyan crisis.
"The violence must stop," Obama said. "Moammar Gadhafi has lost the legitimacy to lead and he must leave. Those who perpetrate violence against the Libyan people will be held accountable."
CBN News' John Jessup, Erick Stakelbeck and John Waage were all joined by Karen Miner Hurd of the Virginia Tea Party Alliance for a roundtable discussion on how the U.S. is affected by the changes in the Middle East. Click here to watch their exclusive analysis.
Gadhafi, his sons and members of the dictator's inner circle now face a new challenge. The International Criminal Court is investigating the regime for possible crimes against humanity in the violent crackdown on anti-government protestors.
"We'd like to use this opportunity to put them on notice," said Luis Moreno-Ocampo of the International Criminal Court. "We have a mandate to do justice and we will do it."
Thursday, Libyan fighter jets continued to bomb the key eastern oil town of Brega. Rebel groups regained control of the city after repelling a ground and air attack by troops loyal to the regime.
There's growing concern in Washington that Libya is sliding into a civil war.
"One of our biggest concern is Libya descending into chaos and becoming a giant Somalia," Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said.
Pressure is on the Obama administration to stop the slaughter of Gadhafi's opponents. The U.S. insists all options are on the table.
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said military options, such as enforcing a no-fly zone over Libya, would amount to an act of war.
"Let's just call a spade a spade, a no-fly zone begins with an attack on Libya to destroy the air defenses," Gate's said. "That's the way you do a no-fly zone."
Meanwhile, the exodus out of Libya continues. he United Nations estimates more than 180,000 people have fled into neighboring Tunisia and Egypt.
The U.N. is urging foreign governments to step in and help with evacuations and humanitarian supplies.