Bir Ayad, Libya – In a defiant speech broadcast to an unusually large gathering of his supporters on Friday, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi threatened attacks on Europe if NATO did not halt its bombing campaign, even as he also seemed to leave open a door to negotiations.
In the speech, delivered by telephone to thousands of people marching in Green Square in Tripoli, Colonel Qaddafi warned that Libyans would be able to take the battle “to Europe, to target your homes, offices, families, which have become legitimate military targets, like you have targeted our homes,” The Associated Press reported.
He also said he would welcome negotiations if Europe and the United States were willing, but he said if they were not, “we’ll finish the battle.”
https://truthout.org/qaddafi-threatens-europe-attacks/1309610974 With NATO warplanes bombing his strongholds, Colonel Qaddafi now rarely appears in public and favors recorded messages or taped video, for instance, of a meeting he attended in May. Instead, he has been communicating with Libyans and the outside world through recorded messages from undisclosed locations.
The NATO bombing campaign has not hampered his ability to strike at his opponents inside Libya. In recent days, his forces have struck back aggressively at rebels making gains in the Nafusah Mountains region, including killing four rebel fighters during a nighttime raid on the city of Kiklah on Thursday. By that morning, the rebels had pushed the Qaddafi troops out of the city, and on Friday they peered at the government positions, under water towers in the distance, through binoculars.
About 15 miles away in the town of Bir al-Ghanim, Qaddafi loyalists and opposition fighters have clashed for days, despite repeated bombings of the government’s positions by NATO warplanes. On Friday, the Qaddafi loyalists showed they were still capable of advancing; they shelled a rebel checkpoint here in Bir Ayad, about 15 miles away.
One of Colonel Qaddafi’s sons, Seif al-Islam Qaddafi, suggested in a television interview that his father’s supporters had no intention of ending the fight.
“Nobody will give up and raise the white flag,” he said in the interview, which was posted Friday on the Web site of the Russian channel RT. “One of our biggest mistakes was that we delayed buying new weapons from Russia, and delayed building a strong army. We thought Europeans were our friends; our mistake was to be tolerant with our enemies.”
Seif Qaddafi also denied charges by the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court that he, his father and the military intelligence chief, Abdullah Senussi, had ordered the killings of protesters during the early days of the uprising in February.
“This would have happened anywhere in the world if people in the street moved towards a military site trying to steal ammunition and arms,” he said.
Colonel Qaddafi, in his speech, urged his supporters to attack the rebels in the mountains, as well as his opponents in Misurata, a rebel-controlled city on Libya’s western coast, and Benghazi in the east, saying that the rebels were losing the war. He mentioned the arming of the Libyan rebels by the French government and said that “mercenaries” were fighting with his opponents.
“They tried it for a hundred days and they failed,” he said. “Benghazi is finished.”
This article “Qaddafi Threatens Europe With Attacks” originally appeared at The New York Times.
© 2011 The New York Times Company
Truthout has licensed this content. It may not be reproduced by any other source and is not covered by our Creative Commons license.
The stakes have never been higher (and our need for your support has never been greater).
For over two decades, Truthout’s journalists have worked tirelessly to give our readers the news they need to understand and take action in an increasingly complex world. At a time when we should be reaching even more people, big tech has suppressed independent news in their algorithms and drastically reduced our traffic. Less traffic this year has meant a sharp decline in donations.
The fact that you’re reading this message gives us hope for Truthout’s future and the future of democracy. As we cover the news of today and look to the near and distant future we need your help to keep our journalists writing.
Please do what you can today to help us keep working for the coming months and beyond.