Al-Jazeerah: Cross-Cultural Understanding
News, August 2011
Libyan Revolution Fighters Liberate the Capital Tripoli, Dictator Qadhafi Still Hiding
August 22, 2011
By Hassan El-Najjar
Following the Arabic media shows that the psychopathetic Libyan dictator is still not conceding his defeat at the hands of the Libyan people who revolted against his dictatorial regime. His family members, including his wife, daughter and two sons have surrendered to the revolutionary fighters in the capital city of Tripoli.
Despite hearing some gun fire from his last loyalists, as the news reports below show, almost the whole country, including Tripoli, is now in the hands of the revolution fighters.
Thus, the third Arab dictatorial regime has fallen under the feet of Arab youngmen who persisted in their quest for freedom and social justice despite their heavy losses and suffering.
The Qadhafi stubborn resistance to give in to the will of the people solidified the two other Arab dictatorial regimes in Yemen and Syria, whose turn is up now.
Congratulations for the Libyan people, for the Arab Nation, and for the US-EU countries which helped the Libyan revolution by denying Qadhafi the chance to crush the peaceful Libyan revolution.
Long live the march for freedom and social justice in the Arab Homeland, Europe, and everywhere around the world.
Gaddafi tanks emerge after rebels sweep into Tripoli
By Missy Ryan
TRIPOLI | Mon Aug 22, 2011 4:19am EDT
TRIPOLI (Reuters) -
Libyan government tanks shelled parts of central Tripoli on Monday after rebels swept into the heart of the city and crowds took to the streets to celebrate what they saw as the end of Muammar Gaddafi's four decades in power.
Tanks emerged from Gaddafi's stronghold in the center of the Libyan capital and were firing shells, a rebel spokesman said. Sporadic gunfire could be heard as world leaders tried to assess how long Gaddafi's forces might hold on and how the fractious rebel alliance might run the oil-rich desert state.
Nouri Echtiwi, a rebel spokesman in Tripoli, told Reuters: "Four hours of calm followed the street celebrations. Then tanks and pick-up trucks with heavy machineguns mounted on the back came out of Bab al-Aziziya, the last of Gaddafi's bastions, and started firing and shelling Assarin Street and al-Khalifa area.
"They fired randomly in all directions whenever they heard gunfire."
Despite euphoria among rebels and their backers in Tripoli and elsewhere, a rebel spokesman, identified on Al Jazeera television only as Nasser, said government troops still controlled "about 15 to 20 percent of the city."
Earlier, rebels waving opposition flags and firing into the air drove into Green Square, a symbolic showcase the government had until recently used for mass demonstrations in support of the now embattled Gaddafi. Rebels immediately began calling it Martyrs Square.
Two of Gaddafi's sons were captured by the rebels, but the whereabouts of Gaddafi himself, one of the world's longest ruling leaders, were unknown.
U.S. President Barack Obama said Gaddafi's rule was showing signs of collapse, six months after dissidents inspired by the Arab Spring uprisings in neighboring Tunisia and Egypt first took to the streets. Obama called on him to quit now to avoid further bloodshed.
Laila Jawad, 36, who works at a Tripoli nursery, told Reuters after the rebels arrived: "We are about to be delivered from the tyrant's rule. It's a new thing for me. I am very optimistic. Praise be to God."
The rebels made their entrance into the capital driving in convoy through a western neighborhood.
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 initially appeared to have largely faded away, allowing the rebels and their supporters to demonstrate in Green Square overnight.
Near Green Square youths burned the green flags of the Gaddafi government and raised the rebel flag. One rebel fighter from the Western mountain said: "We are so happy -- we made it here without any problems."
Many Tripoli residents received a text message from the rebel leadership saying: "God is Great. We congratulate the Libyan people on the fall of Muammar Gaddafi."
Gaddafi, a colorful and often brutal autocrat who seized power in a military coup in 1969, 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."
Obama, on vacation in the island of Martha's Vineyard, said in a statement: "The surest way for the bloodshed to end is simple: Muammar Gaddafi and his regime need to recognize that their rule has come to an end. Gaddafi needs to acknowledge the reality that he no longer controls Libya. He needs to relinquish power once and for all."
NATO, which has backed the rebels with a five-month bombing campaign, said the transition of power in Libya must be peaceful.
TRIPOLI FALLS QUICKLY
After a six-month civil war that seemed like a stalemate in the desert for long periods, rebels moved quickly into Tripoli, 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 mosques.
Rebel National Transitional Council Coordinator Adel Dabbechi confirmed that Gaddafi's younger son Saif Al-Islam had been captured. The International Criminal Court in The Hague, which wants Saif al-Islam along with his father on charges of crimes against humanity, confirmed he had been held and said he should be handed over for trial.
Gaddafi's eldest son Mohammed al-Gaddafi had surrendered to rebel forces, Dabbechi told Reuters. In a television interview, the younger Gaddafi said gunmen had surrounded his house, but he later told Al-Jazeera in a phone call that he and his family were unharmed.
Only five months ago Gaddafi's forces were set to crush the rebel stronghold of Benghazi in the far east of the vast and thinly populated North African state. He warned 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, pushed notably by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, clearing the way for the 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.
In Benghazi, thousands gathered in a central square. They waved red, black and green opposition flags which date from the time of Libya's post-colonial monarchy and trampled on pictures of Gaddafi as news filtered through of rebel advances into Tripoli.
Mohammed Derah, a Libyan activist in Tripoli, told Al-Jazeera: "This is another day, a new page in Libya's history. We are witnessing a new dawn and a new history of freedom. The regime is finished."
Celebratory gunfire and explosions rang out over the capital and cars blaring their horns crowded onto the streets. Overhead, red tracer bullets darted into a black sky.
"It does look like it is coming to an end," said Anthony Skinner, Middle East analyst, Maplecroft. "But there are still plenty of questions. The most important is exactly what Gaddafi does now. Does he flee or can he fight?"
"In the slightly longer term, what happens next? We know there have been some serious divisions between the rebel movement and we don't know yet if they will be able to form a cohesive front to run the country."
Gaddafi, in his second audio broadcast in 24 hours, dismissed the rebels as rats.
"I am giving the order to open the weapons stockpiles," Gaddafi said. "I call on all Libyans to join this fight. Those who are afraid, give your weapons to your mothers or sisters.
"Go out, I am with you until the end. I am in Tripoli. We will ... win."
A Libyan government official told Reuters that 376 people on both sides of the conflict were killed in fighting overnight on Saturday in Tripoli, with about 1,000 others wounded.
(Additional reporting by Missy Ryan in Tripoli, Robert Birsel in Benghazi, Libya, William Maclean in London, Hamid Ould Ahmed in Algiers, Souhail Karam in Rabat, Laura MacInnis and Alister Bull in Oak Bluffs, Mass.; Writing by Christian Lowe, Richard Valdmanis and Giles Elgood; Editing by Michael Roddy and Alastair Macdonald)
Clashes near Gadhafi compound in Libyan capital
By KARIN LAUB and BEN HUBBARD Associated Press
Aug 22, 2011, 2:47 AM EDT
TRIPOLI, Libya (AP) --
Clashes broke out early Monday near Moammar Gadhafi's compound in Tripoli, a day after rebels poured into the Libyan capital in a stunning advance that met little resistance from the regime's defenders.
Rebel spokesman Mohammed Abdel-Rahman said government tanks emerged from the complex, known as Bab al-Aziziya, early Monday and opened fire. An Associated Press reporter at the nearby Rixos Hotel where foreign journalists stay could hear gunfire and loud explosions from the direction of the complex.
Tripoli resident Moammar al-Warfali, whose family home is next to Bab al-Aziziya, said tanks rolled out from the compound in the early morning after a group of rebels tried to get in. He said there appeared to be only a few tanks belonging to the remaining Gadhafi forces that have not fled or surrendered.
Bab al-Aziziya, a sprawling compound that long served as the command center for the regime, has been heavily damaged by repeated NATO airstrikes over the past five months, al-Warfali said.
"When I climb the stairs and look at it from the roof, I see nothing at Bab al-Aziziya," he said. "NATO has demolished it all and nothing remains."
The rebels seized control of most of Tripoli in a lightning advance on Sunday, and euphoric residents celebrate in the capital's Greet Square, the symbolic hear of the Gadhafi regime. Gadhafi's defenders quickly melted away as his 42-year rule crumbled, but the leader's whereabouts were unknown and pockets of resistance remained.
Abdel-Rahman, who is in Tripoli with rebel forces, cautioned that Gadhafi troops still pose a threat to rebels, and that as long as Gadhafi remains on the run the "danger is still there."
The startling rebel breakthrough, after a long deadlock in Libya's 6-month-old civil war, was the culmination of a closely coordinated plan by rebels, NATO and anti-Gadhafi residents inside Tripoli, rebel leaders said. Rebel fighters from the west swept over 20 miles (30 kilometers) in a matter of hours Sunday, taking town after town and overwhelming a major military base as residents poured out to cheer them. At the same time, Tripoli residents secretly armed by rebels rose up.
By the early hours of Monday, opposition fighters controlled most of the capital. The seizure of Green Square held profound symbolic value - the plaza was the scene of pro-Gadhafi rallies organized by the regime almost every night, and Gadhafi delivered speeches to his loyalists from the historic Red Fort that overlooks the square. Rebels and Tripoli residents set up checkpoints around the city, though pockets of pro-Gadhafi fighters remained. In one area, AP reporters with the rebels were stopped and told to take a different route because of regime snipers nearby.
President Barack Obama said Libya is "slipping from the grasp of a tyrant" and urged Gadhafi to relinquish power to prevent more bloodshed.
"The future of Libya is now in the hands of the Libyan people," Obama said in a statement from Martha's Vineyard, where he's vacationing. He promised to work closely with rebels.
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