Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Muammar Gaddafi Addresses Libya: U.S. Imperialists Will Face a Long Bloody War If it Invades the North African State

Gaddafi: Libya dignity under attack

Libyan leader says he is just a symbol and power is in the hands of the people during televised address to supporters

Last Modified: 02 Mar 2011 11:46 GMT

Gaddafi said that the world did not understand the Libyan system that puts power in the hands of the people

Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has said that he is not a president and so cannot resign his position, and that power is in the hands of the people, during a televised public rally in the capital, Tripoli.

"Muammar Gaddafi is not a president to resign, he does not even have a parliament to dissolve," Gaddafi said on Wednesday, surrounded by dozens of supporters in a large ballroom for a ceremony to mark 34 years of "people power."

"Attacks on me are seen by Libyan people as attacks on their symbol and dignity.

"The foreigners want Gaddafi to step down, to step down from what? Gaddafi is just a symbol for the libyan people... This is how the Libyan people understood it."

He said that the world did not understand the Libyan system that puts power in the hands of the people.

"The people are free to chose the authority they see fit," he said.

"We put our fingers in the eyes of those who doubt that Libya is ruled by anyone other than its people," he said, referring to his system of "direct democracy" which he outlined in his Green Book political manifesto, launched in 1977.

"I have always said that the Libyan people are free [in managing their own business]."

Gaddafi said there were no protests in the second largest city, Benghazi, Derna, or the eastern town of al-Baida ... that it all started with sleeping cells taking over weapons and security stations.

He said that terrorists released prisioners from jails and included them in their forces.

"These are criminals not political prisioners ... there are no political prisioners in Libya ... We had to destory the weapons storages to prevent them from falling into the hands of the terrorists.

He repeated his claim that al-Qaeda was behind the popular uprising against his 41-year rule and promised to fight it to the last man and woman.

"Sleeper cells from al-Qaeda, its elements, infiltrated gradually ... Suddenly it started in al-Baida... The sleeping cell was told to attack the battalion ... and it took arms from police stations.

"The soldiers went home and left their battalion" while the al-Qaeda cells "took the weapons and control of the town. It was the same situation in Benghazi," whcih is under the control of the rebel forces.

But he said "we will fight to the end, to the last man, the last woman ... with God's help."

Al Jazeera's Jacky Rowland, reporting from Benghazi, said that Gaddafi's claim that al-Qaeda is behind the unrest will have some resonance in the West.

Gaddafi also called for the United Nations and NATO to investigate what had happened in Libya, saying that he saw a conspiracy to colonise Libya and seize its oil.

"I dare you to find that peaceful protesters were killed. In America, France, and everywhere, if people attacked military
stores and tried to steal weapons, they will shoot them," he said.

He urged the United Nations and NATO to "set up fact-finding committees" to find out how people were killed.

Source: Al Jazeera and agencies

Fierce battles rage in Libya

Pro- and anti-government forces fight for control of strategic towns including Brega, which houses a key oil facility

Last Modified: 02 Mar 2011 11:14 GMT

Forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi, the Libyan leader, are reported to have regained control of two strategic towns in the country's northwest, even as opposition fighters in the east prepare to march on the capital, Tripoli.

The claims about the fall of Gharyan and Sabratha on Wednesday came as fighting raged between pro- and anti-government forces over the control of the eastern town of Brega, the headquarters of several oil companies, and Gaddafi appeared on state television once again.

"They tried to take Brega this morning, but they failed," Mustafa Gheriani, a spokesman for the February 17th Coalition, an anti-government group, told the Reuters news agency.

"It is back in the hands of the revolutionaries. He is trying to create all kinds of psychological warfare to keep these cities on edge."

Al Jazeera's Jacky Rowland, reporting from Bengazi, Libya's second largest city now controlled by rebels, described the situation in the Brega region as fluid.

" I think it's fair to say that here is a fair amount of fighting going on in that area," she said.

Earlier the Associated Press news agency quoted Ahmed Jerksi, manager of the oil installation in Brega, as saying that pro-Gaddafi forces took control of the facility at dawn without using force.

There were conflicting claims about the casualties from these battles.

Government forces were also reported to be battling to regain control of rebel-held towns close to Tripoli, trying to create a buffer zone around what is still Gaddafi's seat of power.

Our correspondent said an air raid carried out by forces loyal to Gaddafi reportedly targeted a weapons store about 6km outside the eastern town of Ajdabiya.

Witnesses told the Associated Press news agency that they saw two warplanes bomb the town's eastern outskirts at 10am local time.

They also said pro-Gaddafi forces were advancing on the town. "I see two jets bombing now,'' one witness said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

Another witness said rebel forces were rushing to the western side of Ajdabiya to meet the advancing pro-Gaddafi force.

Repeated air raids

Libyan forces have launched repeated air raids during the two-week revolt but all of them have been reported to target facilities that store weapons in areas controlled by the rebels.

Wednesday's developments come as the US sent warships to the region as part of a Western effort to pile more pressure on Gaddafi to stop his violent crackdown and step aside.

The destroyer USS Barry moved through the Suez Canal on Monday and into the Mediterranean Sea.

Two amphibious assault ships, the USS Kearsarge, which can carry 2,000 marines, and the USS Ponce passed through the canal on Wednesday.

The White House said the ships were being redeployed in preparation for possible humanitarian efforts but stressed it "was not taking any options off the table".

"We are looking at a lot of options and contingencies. No decisions have been made on any other actions," Robert Gates, the US defence secretary, said.

The US says Libya could sink into civil war unless Gaddafi quits amid fears that the uprising - the bloodiest
against long-serving rulers in north Africa and the Middle East - could cause a humanitarian crisis.

Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, has cautioned that "Libya could become a peaceful democracy or it could face protracted civil war".

But Gaddafi remains defiant and his son, Saif al-Islam, has warned the West against launching military action, insisting that his father would neither step down nor go into exile.

Source: Al Jazeera and agencies

Gadhafi: U.S. faces bloody war if it enters Libya

The embattled Libyan leader says he cannot resign as he does not hold an official position; Gadhafi's forces are escalating a counter-offensive after government opponents seized control of eastern half of country

By News Agencies

Muammar Gadhafi said on Wednesday that Libyans would die in thousands if the United States or other foreign powers enter Libya, and he was ready to discuss constitutional and legal changes without violence.

"Do they want us to become slaves once again like we were slaves to the Italians?" the Libyan leader said, referring to Libya's former colonial power. "We will never accept it. We will enter a bloody war and thousands and thousands of Libyans will die if the United States enters or NATO enters."

Gadhafi, who has lost swaths of his country to rebels, maintained in his speech that he would not resign.

"Muammar Gadhafi is not a president to resign, he does not even have a parliament to dissolve," he said, adding that he held "no position from which to step down."

Meanwhile, fighting between anti-government rebels and forces loyal to the Libyan leader have continued for weeks, with witnesses saying that everything from live ammunition to aerial bombing have been used to suppress the uprising.

On Wednesday, forces loyal to Gadhafi launched a major fight back in Libya's east on Wednesday, sparking a rebel warning that foreign military help might be needed to "put the nail in his coffin" and end his long rule.

Government troops briefly captured Marsa El Brega, an oil export terminal, before being driven back by rebels who have controlled the town 800 km east of the capital Tripoli for about a week, rebel officers said.

The assault appeared to be the most significant military operation by Gadhafi since the uprising began two weeks ago and set off a confrontation that Washington says could descend into a long civil war unless the veteran strongman steps down.

Yet in Gadhafi's speech on Wednesday, the leader dismissed accounts of protests in Libya, blaming the unrest instead on al-Qaida. He also suggested that reports of deaths in the unrest were exaggerated, suggesting only 150 people had died.

Foreign estimates suggest 2,000 may have died.

"There were no protests at all in the east," he said in a speech.

"Al Qaeda's cells attacked security forces and took over their weapons," he said, adding: "How did that all begin? Small, sleeper al Qaeda cells."

Gadhafi said that Libya would open its doors to an international investigation and said the United Nations had taken decisions based on false reports.

On Tuesday, the UN General Assembly unanimously suspended Libya's membership in the UN Human Rights Council because of violence by Libyan forces against protesters.

"How can the United Nations take decisions based on 100 percent false news?" Gadhafi said in Wednesday's speech.

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