Libya rebels in Tripoli, Gadhafi defenses collapse

Libya rebels in Tripoli, Gadhafi defenses collapse – Yahoo! News

TRIPOLI, Libya (AP) — Libyan rebels raced into Tripoli in a lightning advance Sunday that met little resistance as Moammar Gadhafi’s defenders melted away and his 40-year rule appeared to rapidly crumble. The euphoric fighters celebrated with residents of the capital in the city’s main square, the symbolic heart of the regime.

Opposition fighters captured Gadhafi’s son and one-time heir apparent, Seif al-Islam. The prosecutor at the International Criminal Court in the Netherlands said he would contact the rebels to discuss his handover for trial on charges of crimes against humanity.

Associated Press reporters with the rebels said the fighters rebels easily advanced 20 miles on Sunday from the west, took town after town — welcomed by residents — overwhelmed a major military base, then swept into the capital in a stunning turning of the tide in the 6-month-old Libyan civil war.

The fighters and Tripoli residents who support them flooded Green Square, shooting in the air in celebration, clapping and waving the rebels’ tri-color flag, according to television footage of the scene. Some set fire to the green flag of Gadhafi’s regime and shot holes in a poster with his image.

“Now we don’t call it the Green Square, but we call it the Martyrs Square,” said Nour Eddin Shatouni, a 50-year-old engineer who was among the residents who flowed out of their homes to join the celebrations. “We were waiting for the signal and it happened. All mosques chanted ‘God is great’ all at once. We smelled a good scent, it is the smell of victory. We know it is the time.”

Green Square holds profound symbolic value. The regime has held pro-Gadhafi rallies there nearly every night since the revolt began in February, and the historic Red Fort that overlooks the square is a favorite scenic spot for the Libyan leader to deliver speeches to his loyalists.

Thousands of Libyans also celebrated in the streets of Benghazi, the rebels’ de facto capital in the east. Firing guns into the air and shooting fireworks, they cheered and waved the rebel tricolor flags, dancing and singing in the city’s main square……


Rebels enter heart of Tripoli, crowds celebrate

Rebels enter heart of Tripoli, crowds celebrate – Yahoo! News

TRIPOLI (Reuters) – Jubilant rebel fighters streamed into the heart of Tripoli as Muammar Gaddafi’s forces collapsed and crowds took to the streets to celebrate, tearing down posters of the Libyan leader.

Rebels waving opposition flags and firing into the air drove into Green Square, a symbolic location which the government had until recently used for mass demonstrations in support of the now embattled Gaddafi.

Earlier, a convoy of rebels entered a western neighborhood of the city. Rebels said the whole of the city was under their control except Gaddafi’s Bab Al-Aziziyah stronghold, according to al-Jazeera Television.

Remaining defiant, Gaddafi earlier had made two audio addresses over state television calling on Libyans to fight off the rebels.

“I am afraid if we don’t act, they will burn Tripoli,” he said. “There will be no more water, food, electricity or freedom.”

But resistance to the rebels appeared to have largely faded away, allowing the rebels and their supporters to demonstrate in Green Square.

Televised images showed Libyans kneeling and kissing the ground of Tripoli in gratitude for what some called a “blessed day.”

Gaddafi, a colorful and often brutal autocrat who has ruled Libya for more than 40 years, said he was breaking out weapons stores to arm the population. His spokesman, Moussa Ibrahim, predicted a violent reckoning by the rebels.

“A massacre will be committed inside Tripoli if one side wins now, because the rebels have come with such hatred, such vendetta…Even if the leader leaves or steps down now, there will be a massacre.”

NATO, which has backed the rebels with a bombing campaign, said the transition of power in Libya must be peaceful.

After a six-month civil war, the fall of Tripoli came quickly, with a carefully orchestrated uprising launched on Saturday night to coincide with the advance of rebel troops on three fronts. Fighting broke out after the call to prayer from the minarets of the mosques.

Rebel National Transitional Council Coordinator Adel Dabbechi confirmed that Gaddafi’s younger son Saif Al-Islam had been captured. His eldest son Mohammed Al-Gaddafi had surrendered to rebel forces, he told Reuters.

Only five months ago Gaddafi’s forces were set to crush the rebel stronghold of Benghazi, the leader warning then that there would be “no mercy, no pity” for his opponents. His forces, he said, would hunt them down “district to district, street to street, house to house, room to room.”

The United Nations then acted quickly, clearing the way for creation of a no-fly zone that NATO, with a campaign of bombing, used ultimately to help drive back Gaddafi’s forces.

“It’s over. Gaddafi’s finished,” said Saad Djebbar, former legal adviser to the Libyan government

Gaddafi’s son Saif arrested in Libya: ICC

Gaddafi’s son Saif arrested in Libya: ICC – Yahoo! News

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – The International Criminal Court prosecutor said on Sunday Saif al-Islam, the son of Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi, had been detained in Libya.

“Saif was captured in Libya,” prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo told Reuters. “We have confidential information from different sources that we have within Libya confirming this.

“It is very important to make clear there is an obligation to surrender Saif to the ICC in accordance with the Security Council resolution.”

Libyan rebels said earlier that they had detained Saif and Gaddafi’s eldest son Mohammed Al-Gaddafi…..

 

Irish-Libyan rebel fighter Najjair speaks to reporters at a front line checkpoint near Tiji | View photo – Yahoo! News

Irish-Libyan rebel fighter Husam Najjair speaks to reporters at a front line checkpoint near Tiji in western Libya, August 1, 2011. REUTERS/Bob Strong

Who can unite Libya if Gaddafi falls?

Who can unite Libya if Gaddafi falls? – Yahoo! News

NALUT, Libya (Reuters) – Libyan rebel Husam Najjair seems more concerned about the possibility of rebels turning on each other when they try to take control of the capital Tripoli than the threat posed by forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi.

“The first thing my brigade will do is set up checkpoints to disarm everyone, including other rebel groups, because otherwise it will be a bloodbath,” said Najjair. “All the rebel groups will want to control Tripoli. Order will be needed.”

His comments pointed to the biggest question that will be asked as the endgame appears to be nearing in Libya — is there one unifying figure who can lead Libya if the rebels take over?

Right now the resounding answer seems to be no.

“There isn’t one rebel leader who is respected by everyone. That’s the problem,” said Kamran Bokhari, Middle East Director at STRATFOR global intelligence firm.

Gaddafi ran the North African oil producing-country like a cult, without state institutions that would make any transition easier for the rebels, who have plenty of spirit but lack a proper chain of command.

They are also weighed down by factionalism and ethnic and tribal divisions.

The most prominent rebel leader is Mustafa Abdel Jalil, chairman of the National Transitional Council (NTC), a disparate group of Gaddafi opponents based in the eastern city of Benghazi.

It consists of former government ministers and longstanding opposition members who represent wide-ranging views including Arab nationalism, Islamists, secularists, socialists and businessmen.

A former justice minister, the soft-spoken Abdel Jalil was described as a “fair-minded technocrat” in a U.S. diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks.

A mild-mannered consensus builder in his late 50s, he was praised by Human Rights Watch for his work on Libya’s criminal code reform. Abdel Jalil resigned as justice minister in February when violence was used against protestors.

But like other former members of Gaddafi’s inner circle, he will always be viewed with suspicion by some rebels who want completely new faces with no past links to the regime running the country…..

‘Miscalculated’ Libya: What happens if Gaddafi falls?

‘Miscalculated’ Libya: What happens if Gaddafi falls? – YouTube

RT gets more analysis on Libya from Jean Bricmont, author of the book ‘Humanitarian Imperialism’.

Uploaded by RussiaToday on Mar 19, 2011

If Gaddafi Falls, No African or Arab Dictator Is Safe – Joseph Earnest — Houston News and World News – NewscastMedia.com

http://newscastmedia.com/blog/2011/02/21/if-gaddafi-falls-no-african-or-arab-dictator-is-safe/

Newscast Media TRIPOLI, Libya– The litmus test for all African and Arabian dictators will be Gaddafi. If he falls, this will have a ripple effect across all dictatorial regimes. Libya is the last country one would expect to have an uprising. Its economy has an enviable Gross Domestic Product. It has a budget surplus and is literally a “debt-free” nation of roughly 7 million. While Tunisians and Egyptians were rioting, there was silence across Libya. That silence should have been a warning to Gaddafi that something insidious was about to happen.

Gaddafi himself dismissed the possibility of a Tunisa-Egypt style uprising happening in his neck of the woods. He even encouraged Palestinians to rise up against their oppressors in Israel. Now it seems Gaddafi himself might have to flee. Already two jet fighters have landed in Malta after reportedly fleeing Libya as reported by Malta Today.

The pilots claim that they were ordered to take to the air and bombard the protesters in various parts of Benghazi where the situation is dramatic and civilians have taken over military assets. The pilots decided to make a run and flee to Malta, explaining why the planes were fully armed.

This the modus operandi of dictators. They instruct their soldiers and police force to squash protesters, and intimidate them using fire power. Gaddafi, ordered his military to pump bullets into protesters, and they complied. The video below also shows that Gaddafi hired black Africans from sub-Saharan Africa to use live bullets against protesters. Human Rights Watch said Monday that at least 233 people had been killed since the protests began last week, even though protesters put the number much higher.

2 videos inside

Tripoli Falls to Libyan Rebels – ABC News

http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory?id=14349082

Click video inside

Libyan rebels raced into Tripoli Sunday and met little resistance as Moammar Gadhafi’s defenders melted away and his 42-year rule rapidly crumbled. The euphoric fighters celebrated with residents of the capital in Green Square, the symbolic heart of the fading regime.

Gadhafi’s whereabouts were unknown, though state TV broadcast his bitter pleas for Libyans to defend his regime. Opposition fighters captured his son and one-time heir apparent, Seif al-Islam, who along with his father faces charges of crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court in the Netherlands. Another son was in contact with rebels about surrendering, the opposition said.

“It’s over, frizz-head,” chanted hundreds of jubilant men and women massed in Green Square, using a mocking nickname of the curly-haired Gadhafi. The revelers fired shots in the air, clapped and waved the rebels’ tricolor flag. Some set fire to the green flag of Gadhafi’s regime and shot holes in a poster with the leader’s image.

By the early hours of Monday, rebels controlled large parts of the capital. They set up checkpoints alongside residents — many of them secretly armed by rebel smugglers in recent weeks. But pockets of pro-Gadhafi fighters remained: In one area, Associated Press reporters with the rebels were stopped and told to take a different route because of regime snipers nearby…….

Hunt on for Gadhafi as rebels surge into Tripoli; sons seized

Hunt on for Gadhafi as rebels surge into Tripoli; sons seized – World Wires – MiamiHerald.com

BENGHAZI, Libya — The long, brutal reign of Col. Moammar Gadhafi appeared to collapse Sunday as rebels swept into Tripoli, captured two of his sons and set off wild street celebrations in a capital that he’d ruled by fear for more than four decades, Libyan officials and NATO said.

With NATO bombings paving the way, rebel forces entered Tripoli with surprising ease and by early Monday controlled large swaths of the city. Gadhafi’s presidential guard surrendered to rebel forces, and live television footage showed crowds of opposition fighters in Tripoli unfurling the country’s pre-Gadhafi tricolor flag and smashing the ruler’s portraits in scenes that were unthinkable just days ago.

“This is historic,” Amal Abdelrazk, a 42-year-old resident of downtown Tripoli’s Andalus Street, said by phone. “After 41 years, eight months and 27 days, we witness this moment….

“The whole thing is like a dream.”

As rebels partied in the streets, hailed “as the victors of war,” Abdelrazk said, rebel military spokesman Col. Ahmed Bani told McClatchy that his forces were hunting Gadhafi in and around Tripoli. Gadhafi’s whereabouts were unknown, but a U.S. official said, “We have no reason to believe (he) has left the country.”

Late Sunday Gadhafi made a brief audio statement on Libyan TV, sounding desperate as he called on individual tribes and cities to “take weapons” and defend “beautiful Tripoli.”

“All the tribes, you must all march to Tripoli in order to defend and purify it,” he said, calling the rebels agents of Western powers. “Otherwise you will have no dignity; You will become slaves and servants in the hands of the imperialists.”

But the mercurial leader was nowhere to be seen, and for many Libyans, the regime’s death blow had come anyway with the rebels’ arrest of Saif al Islam, Gadhafi’s feared and powerful son and onetime heir apparent, who’d vowed after the uprising against his father began earlier this year that the regime would fight its opponents “until the last bullet.”……

In Tripoli, rebels proclaim end of Gadhafi’s 41-year regime – The Globe and Mail

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/africa-mideast/in-tripoli-rebels-proclaim-end-of-gadhafis-41-year-regime/article2136689/

Rebel fighters danced under fireworks in the heart of Tripoli as they celebrated a stunning advance into the capital, meeting weak resistance from forces loyal to Colonel Moammar Gadhafi and claiming that his regime is finished.

Gunfire and explosions continued into the early hours of Monday in several neighbourhoods of the city, however, and state television continued to broadcast messages from Col. Gadhafi calling for tribesmen to rise against the rebels.

5 videos inside

The dictator’s voice on a crackling phone line, interrupted by technical problems as he spoke from an unknown location, made him sound hurt and confused about why his followers failed to defend his regime.

“How can you allow Tripoli to be burned, these towers we built with our own sweat?” Col. Gadhafi said.

A flurry of unconfirmed reports emerged from the confused urban war, fought in the darkness, but the sudden collapse of Col. Gadhafi’s defences appeared to vindicate NATO’s strategy of supporting the rebels from air and sea, without putting regular forces on the ground.

Rebels claimed that a contingent of Col. Gadhafi’s elite guards had surrendered, and that three of his sons – Saif Al-Islam, Saadi and Mohammed – had been arrested. The International Criminal Court confirmed Saif’s capture; the ICC had earlier issued a warrant for his arrest to face charges of crimes against humanity. He has been among the most important faces of the regime, second only to Col. Gadhafi himself.

The rebels also claimed they had executed a commando-style sea raid, with hundreds of gunmen boarding vessels that took them from the coastal city of Misrata, almost 200 kilometres east of Tripoli, skirting through the NATO-patrolled waters of the Mediterranean to avoid pro-Gadhafi strongholds such as Al-Khoms. That manoeuvre allowed the rebels to bypass swathes of loyalist territory that had blocked their route to Tripoli for months, putting them ashore in zodiac landing craft near the eastern gates of the capital….

“Early indications point away from mass retribution,” Mr. Joshi said. “The swift collapse of Gadhafi forces averted a bloodbath and, thus, mass grievance. The TNC [Transitional National Council] is one of the most reconciliation-minded rebel movements to have emerged in recent years, and even if it struggles to exert control, it has no incentive to destroy its credibility at its moment of triumph.”

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