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Entries in Muammar Qaddafi (144)


Libya, Syria (and Beyond) LiveBlog: Restoring Order to Tripoli

Children in Zabadani, west of Damascus, call for the execution of Syrian President Assad

1200 GMT: Moussa Ibrahim, the spokesman for Muammar Qaddafi, has said that the former Libyan leader is ready to negotiate with the insurgents to form a transitional government, as opposition fighters continue their push toward Sirte, Qaddafi's hometown, east of Tripoli.

Ibrahim called the headquarters of the Associated Press in New York late on Saturday. He said he was calling from Tripoli and Qaddafi was still in Libya. Ibrahim claimed Qaddafi had appointed one of his sons, Saadi, to head the negotiations.

A top official in the National Transition Council, Ali Tarhouni, said the new government will not negotiate with Qaddafi unless he surrenders.

The opposition claimed claimed victory in Bin Jawad, east of Sirte, late on Saturday. The success opens the way for an advance of Qaddafi's remaining stronghold from multiple directions.

1105 GMT: An overnight demonstration in Tafas in southern Syria:

1100 GMT: A clip of Syrian troops keeping watch in the centre of the al-Bayada section of Homs:

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Libya Music Video Tribute: Qaddafi Has a Crush on Condi Rice (and So Do We)

There comes a "tipping point" in any removal of an International Dictator when coverage of the conflict turns to the shocking decadence of the ousted bad man. 

In Panama in 1989, toppled strongman Manuel Noriega had -- shock --- drugs and pornography in his desk. In Iraq in 2003, Saddam Hussein's transgression, shown by photos of US troops in his places, was gold-plated bath ornaments and really bad taste in art. In Pakistan in 2011, Osama bin Laden was outed for his stash of naughty magazines.

So it is an unexpected good news story to find that Muammar Qaddafi's sin is a massive "I Heart Condoleezza Rice". Insurgents who overran his Bab al-Aziziya compound this year found a photo album devoted to the former US Secretary of State (photo: Sergey Ponomarev of AP). 

And why not? Condi may have broken countries and broken hearts during her eight years in the George W. Bush Administration, but she knew the secret of "Treat 'Em Mean and Keep 'Em Keen". As Muammar said with love in his eyes in 2007 about "my darling black African woman": "I admire and am very proud of the way she leans back and gives orders to the Arab leaders."

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Libya LiveBlog: And Now to the Task of Government

1848 GMT: Though the battle for Abu Salim is far from over, the opposition fighters, assisted by a NATO airstrike, have started to go house to house, cleaning out snipers and taking prisoners. Gunfights continue.

1841 GMT: Al Jazeera reports that the bodies of 30 people have been uncovered in Tripoli:

More than 30 men believed to be fighters loyal to Muammar Gaddafi have been killed at a military encampment in central Tripoli and at least two were bound with plastic handcuffs, indicating they had been executed.

A Reuters correspondent counted 30 bodies riddled with bullets in an area of the Libyan capital where there had been fighting between Gaddafi forces and rebels.

1636 GMT: The "we were all wrong and Qaddafi is winning" alert - Muammar Qaddafi has given yet another audio address. Here are some select quotes, courtesy of the BBC, Reuters, and the Twitterverse:

Qaddafi called on his loyalists to "fight and destroy" the rebels, he said that he enjoys the support of a "sweeping majority," and he urged the "youth of Tripoli" to " fight them everywhere, street street, zanga zanga (alley by alley). Purify Tripoli." Qaddafi closed with his signature,"Forward, forward, forward" closing.

1604 GMT: Al Jazeera is reporting that 1000-2000 Qaddafi loyalists may be inside Abu Salim, where a fierce firefight is still heating up. There is also fighting near the Rixos hotel.

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EA Sports Special: The Great Ex-Dictators Drag Race --- Ben Ali's Ferrari v. Qaddafi's Tok Tok

Yesterday, in one of the more surreal moments of the fall of Muammar Qaddafi's compound, insurgents "liberated" the former leader's tok tok --- the combination of vehicle, similar to a golf cart, and setting for one of his speeches in the days after the start of the uprising:

That got us thinking: how fast could a liberated tok tok go? Could it take on Hitler's radio car, for example? Or Stalin's ZIS-115?

And then we remembered a more recent and pertinent example. In January, we reported on the another Arab Spring vehicle liberation --- former Tunisian President Ben Ali's car had been freed by a forklift:

So let's do this: Tok Tok v. Ferrari in a Great Ex-Dictators Drag Race. And maybe we don't have stop there: what about Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's celebrated Peugeot 504? Maybe Bashar al-Assad would like to enter his car, unimpeded by the woman protester who tried to ruin his post-speech party at the end of March?


Libya (and Beyond) Special: Paradigm Shift --- What the Experts Get Wrong Tells A Much Bigger Story

There is a larger problem with the way the West is approaching this issue. The old power structures still exist, but all evidence points to them fading. Regimes are falling apart, though remnants remain. Tribalism is giving way to unity, though old divisions still threaten that unity. Al Qa'eda, in almost 20 years, has failed to do what the Arab Spring has done in 250 days. Iran, Israel, weapons of mass destruction, Western imperialism...all of the old bugbears have proven false alarms. They still exist, but their importance, and influence, is fading quickly.

Problems persist in Tunisia and Egypt, and questions remain about Libya, but what is unquestionable is the dedication and spirit of the youth of these countries, a brave and defiant youth that will not sit down while the old powers hijack their revolutions. Perhaps there are still forces that wish to co-opt the Arab Spring, but the indications are that these forces are weaker than their predecessors. Yes, these movements are rooted in a new way of thinking, or at least a new embodiment of an old way of thinking --- through the persuit of equity, freedom, democracy, and unity, the people will triumph, not the power- hungry.

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Libya LiveBlog: Disappearing and Re-Appearing Qaddafis

Insurgents take control of Muammar Qaddafi's compound, ripping his portrait and climbing atop a statue marking the 1986 US attack on Tripoli

See also Libya Snapshot: An Anecdote about Khamis Qaddafi, the Arab Spring, and 3 Cold-Blooded Killings
Libya Audio: Scott Lucas on BBC "Assessing Latest in Tripoli...And What's Next"
Monday's Libya LiveBlog: The Last Push Against Former Leader Qaddafi

2100 GMT: Luke Harding of The Guardian offers a night-time summary of the situation in Tripoli:

Luke Harding tonight (mp3)

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Libya Snapshot: An Anecdote about Khamis Qaddafi, the Arab Spring, and 3 Cold-Blooded Killings (El Amrani)

Saeed, because he had known Qadhafi back in the days of the Free Officers, broached the topic of the Arab uprisings and the trouble brewing in Benghazi. He began to give his opinion that, the regional environment being what it is, the regime should be cautious about repressing what were still relatively minor protests in Benghazi. Instead, he argued, it should engage the protestors and be cautious about the potential for the movement to get much bigger, as it did in Tunisia and Egypt so recently.

This enraged Khamis. He stood up and shouted at Saeed, accusing him of being a traitor and a weakling, and said his father would never have to give in to the vermin in Benghazi. Saeed respectfully stated he was just giving his advice, in light of what was happening elsewhere in the Arab world — just being cautious. But this only further incensed Khamis (who may have been on some kind of drugs), and the argument kept escalating.

Finally, Khamis lost it. He pulled out his sidearm and shot Saeed, killing him instantly. Saeed's son jumped towards his father, and the son's wife wailed. Khamis turned out and emptied his gun into them, killing them both.

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Libya Audio: Scott Lucas on BBC "Assessing Latest in Tripoli...And What's Next"

Photo: ReutersI had a chance to discuss latest developments in Libya, and to look ahead, with BBC West Midlands and BBC Coventry and Warwickshire this morning. As well as picking up the news at that point, we considered questions such as "Where's Muammar Qaddafi?", "What are the prospects for a stable 'new' Libya?", and "How should the US respond to the situation?"

The BBC West Midlands item starts at the 1:53:17 mark. My contribution begins at 1:54.25.

The BBC Coventry and Warwickshire interview begins just before the 1:02 mark. My chat with host Annie Othen starts two minutes later.

Libya LiveBlog: The Last Push Against Former Leader Qaddafi


Libya LiveBlog: The Last Push Against Former Leader Qaddafi

See also Sunday's Libya, Syria (and Beyond) LiveBlog: Endgame in Tripoli?
Libya Video Special: Great Moments in Bad Journalism --- Russia Today on Regime Victory in Tripoli
Libya Video Special: The Country Where State TV's Newsreaders Wave Guns
Monday's Syria (and Beyond) LiveBlog: Meanwhile, In Another Uprising....

1950 GMT: State TV newsreader Hala al Misrati, who achieved a bit of extra notoriety on Saturday night when she brandished a gun on-air and said she would defend the station from anyone who dared attack it (see EA special entry), has been detained. Insurgents told a CNN reporter who tried to interview her, that "she is unharmed".


1935 GMT: Al Jazeera is reporting that a NATO warplane intercepted a Scud missile fired from Sirte, presumably by regime forces, in Libya.

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Libya Video Special: Great Moments in Bad Journalism --- Russia Today on Regime Victory in Tripoli

While Alex Campbell of Britain's Sky News made an international name for herself during her hours-long live broadcast alongside opposition fighters on the march to the centre of Tripoli, I am not so sure that Russia Today and "independent journalist" Lizzie Phelan will be celebrating today.

If the former Iraqi regime had "Baghdad Bob" and Muammar Qaddafi has "Tripoli Timmy" (see Sunday's LiveBlog), with what historical name can we anoint this moment in journalism?

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