February 21st, 2011, 01:12 PM
Warplanes and Militia Fire on Protesters in Libyan Capital
By DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK and MONA EL-NAGGAR
February 21, 2011
CAIRO — The faltering government of the Libyan strongman Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi struck back at mounting protests against his 40-year rule, as helicopters and warplanes besieged parts of the capital Monday, according to witnesses and news reports from Tripoli.
By Monday afternoon, a witness saw armed militiamen firing on protesters who were clashing with riot police. As a group of protesters and the police faced off in a neighborhood near Green Square, in the center of the capital, ten or so Toyota pickup trucks carrying more than 20 men — many of them apparently from other African countries in mismatched fatigues.
Holding small automatic weapons, they started firing in the air, and then started firing at protesters, who scattered, the witness said. “It was an obscene amount of gunfire,” said the witness. “They were strafing these people. People were running in every direction.” The police stood by and watched, the witness said, as the militiamen, still shooting, chased after the protesters.
The escalation of the conflict came as Mr. Qaddafi’s security forces had earlier in the day retreated to a few buildings in the Libyan capital of Tripoli, fires burned unchecked, and senior government officials and diplomats announced defections. The country’s second-largest city remained under the control of rebels.
Security forces loyal to Mr. Qaddafi defended a handful of strategic locations, including the state television headquarters and the presidential palace, witnesses reported from Tripoli. Fires from the previous night’s rioting burned at many intersections, most stores were shuttered, and long lines were forming for a chance to buy bread or gas.
In a sign of growing cracks within the government, several senior officials — including the justice minister and members of the Libyan mission to the United Nations — broke with Mr. Qaddafi. And protesters in Benghazi, the second-largest city, where the revolt began and more than 200 were killed, issued a list of demands calling for a secular interim government led by the army in cooperation with a council of Libyan tribes.
Mr. Qaddafi’s security forces waved green flags as they rallied in Tripoli’s central Green Square on Monday under the protection of a handful of police, witnesses said. They constituted one of the few visible signs of government authority around the capital. The once ubiquitous posters of Colonel Qaddafi around the capital had been torn down or burned, witnesses said.
Colonel Qaddafi’s whereabouts were not known ...
© 2011 The New York Times Company
February 21st, 2011, 01:21 PM
February 21st, 2011, 03:34 PM
Libya’s U.N. Diplomats Break With Qaddafi
February 21, 2011
Members of Libya’s mission to the United Nations publicly repudiated Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi on Monday, calling him a genocidal war criminal responsible for mass shootings of demonstrators protesting against his four decades in power. They called upon him to resign.
The repudiation, led by Libya’s deputy permanent representative at a news conference at the mission’s headquarters in New York, amounted to the most high-profile defection of Libyan diplomats in the anti-Qaddafi uprising that has convulsed Libya over the past week.
“We are sure that what is going on now in Libya is crimes against humanity and crimes of war,” the deputy permanent representative, Ibrahim Dabbashi, told reporters in the ground-floor lobby of the Libyan mission on Manhattan’s East Side, adorned by a large portrait of Colonel Qaddafi in tribal dress atop a white horse.
About a dozen of Mr. Dabbashi’s colleagues stood behind him as he spoke, looking tense and nervous.
The news conference was held against the backdrop of many reports coming from Libya about the spreading insurrection against Colonel Qaddafi’s regime and what protesters described as his brutal tactics to suppress them, including reports of warplanes that fired on demonstrators in the capital Tripoli.
“We find it is impossible to stay silent and we have to transfer the voice of the Libyan people to the world,” Mr. Dabbashi said.
“We state clearly that the Libyan mission is a mission for the Libyan people,” he said. “It is not for the regime. The regime of Qaddafi has already started the genocide against the Libyan people.”
Mr. Dabbashi also asserted that Colonel Qaddafi was flying in mercenaries recruited from other, unidentified African countries to crush the uprising. He offered no proof to support his assertion.
“We warn all African countries who are sending their soldiers to with Qaddafi that they will not see their soldiers coming back,” he said.
He called upon Colonel Qaddafi to step down and leave the country “as soon as possible.”
Mr. Dabbashi also said he had not seen the Libyan ambassador since Friday and did not know his whereabouts or whether he shared the opinion of many in his mission.
© 2011 The New York Times Company
February 21st, 2011, 03:38 PM
February 21st, 2011, 04:14 PM
Has his countries populous reached critical mass?
Will it not stand for mercenaries (I love the way they call them "Militia") shooting their citizens?
Will the military fire on these outside agents rather than their own rather than just run away? (Suicide in some cases....)
This is just NOT good...
February 21st, 2011, 05:30 PM
Just in: Now change in Sudan ...
Sudan President Won’t Run Again
By JEFFREY GETTLEMAN
Published: February 21, 2011
NAIROBI, Kenya — President Omar Hassan al-Bashir of Sudan, who has been in power for more than 20 years and faces international charges of genocide, will not run for office again after his current term ends in four years, a Sudanese government spokesman said Monday.
Mr. Bashir seized power in 1989 in a military coup and has ruled with an iron fist ever since, crushing or trying to crush numerous rebellions across Sudan. But now, said Rabie A. Atti, a Sudanese government spokesman, Mr. Bashir “has no will to be a president again.”
“He said the chance should be given to the next generation,” Mr. Rabie said. “He will work to establish a real democratic system in our country.”
Mr. Rabie said the decision — and timing — had “nothing, nothing at all” to do with the popular revolts against longstanding autocrats now erupting across the Arab world ...
February 22nd, 2011, 09:41 AM
Ben Wedeman, reporting for CNN, has crossed the Egyptian border into Libya.
Wedeman's Twitter feed: bencnn
February 22nd, 2011, 11:37 AM
Libya is going to end up in civil war. Basically Qaddafi is the don of the gangs. He doesn't need to collect taxes because his gangs control the oil wells and he sells every last drop he can pump as soon as it comes out of the ground. So his bank account is flush and he pays armed mercenaries to shoot anyone in the street on sight with a funny look on their face. Protect the oil at all costs regardless of any consequences is his motto. Parts of the country have armed resistance and his army is going to try to pound them into the ground. I think eventually he gets pushed out/killed, but it's going to take time for the opposition to get armed and take out his strategic assets.
February 22nd, 2011, 12:17 PM
The lunatic in Libya is making a last desperate effort, declaring he will cleanse Libya "house by house" ...
Chaos Grows in Libya as Strife in Tripoli Intensifies
February 22, 2011 12 Noon
TUNIS — Libya appeared to slip further into chaos on Tuesday, as Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi vowed “to fight to the last drop of blood” and clashes intensified between rebels and his loyalists in the capital, Tripoli.
Witnesses described the streets of Tripoli as a war zone. Several residents said they believed that massacres had taken place overnight as forces loyal to Colonel Qaddafi drove through the streets opening fire at will from the back of pickup trucks.
“They would drive around and they would start shooting, shooting, shooting,” said one resident reached by telephone. “Then they would drive like bandits and they would repeat that every hour or so. It was absolute terror until dawn.”
Human Rights Watch said it had confirmed at least 62 deaths in the violence in Tripoli so far, in addition to more than 200 people killed in clashes elsewhere, mostly in the eastern city of Benghazi, where the uprising began last week. Opposition groups estimated that at least 500 people had been killed.
Trying to demonstrate he was still in control, Colonel Qaddafi appeared for a second time on state television, speaking from his residence on the grounds of an army barracks in Tripoli that still showed scars from when the United States bombed it in 1986.
In the long rambling address, he said those challenging his government “deserved to die.” He blamed the unrest on “foreign hands,” a small group of people distributing pills, brainwashing, and the naïve desire of young people to imitate the uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia.
Without acknowledging the gravity of the crisis in the streets of the capital, he described himself in sweeping, megalomaniacal terms. “Muammar Qaddafi is history, resistance, liberty, glory, revolution,” he declared ...
© 2011 The New York Times Company
February 22nd, 2011, 12:25 PM
Maybe we need a 25 year anniversary bombing of that army barracks.....
February 22nd, 2011, 02:38 PM
I would love to see that lousy Qaddafi toppled, and his rotten sons have to go as well.
Dr T. : I'm well aware, and sympathize 100%, regarding the Sahrawi. You may be interested in this program from last week on Grit TV which discusses the situation:
Laura Flanders is the host of this excellent show.
Western Sahara (and Libya, Egypt, etc.) has also been covered regularly by Amy Goodman on "Democracy Now!".
February 23rd, 2011, 12:11 AM
A message from the mother of Mohammed Bouazizi,
the young fruit vendor whose self-immolation turned the tide in Tunisia ...
February 24th, 2011, 12:00 AM
The situation in Libya as of 02/23/2011 ...
February 24th, 2011, 12:21 PM
Apparently up-to-date reporting from Libya may be doubtful for the time being.
Not so sure, if I was a reporter on the "OK List," that I'd feel much security from the words of some unnamed official. Sounds more like a potential trap.
Libyan government: Reporters will be treated as Al Qaeda collaborators
Posted By Josh Rogin
Thursday, February 24, 2011 - 11:22 AM
The Libyan government officially warned the State Department on Thursday that foreign journalists entering Libya would be arrested and treated as al Qaeda collaborators.
"Be advised, entering Libya to report on the events unfolding there is additionally hazardous with the government labeling unauthorized media as terrorist collaborators and claiming they will be arrested if caught," the State Department said in a press release.
The State Department said that Libyan government officials told U.S. diplomats that approved teams of reporters from CNN, BBC Arabic, and Al Arabiya would be allowed into the country, but any other reporters found in Libya would be in danger.
"These same senior officials also said that some reporters had entered the country illegally and that the Libyan government now considered these reporters Al Qaida collaborators," the State Department said.
It was not immediately clear which Libyan government officials issued the warning, but the State Department said it was a "senior official" of the Libyan government. Reporters would be arrested on "immigration charges" and their safety could not be guaranteed, the U.S. diplomats were told.
©2011 THE SLATE GROUP, LLC
February 24th, 2011, 12:45 PM
They should just consider them "enemy conspirators" and be done with it. The Al Qaida association is too specific.
Is this a good translation you think?
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