Gaddafi’s Italian Connection
Aug 27, 2011 10:39 AM EDT
By Barbie Latza Nadeau
For years Gaddafi and his clan lived it up in Italy with Berlusconi, bought soccer teams, and invested millions, but now la dolce vita is over as the dictator’s falls and his Italian friends disavow him. By Barbie Latza Nadeau.
It is no secret that Muammar Gaddafi and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi were soulmates until last March when Italy starting allowing NATO to use its airbases to bomb the country. The two shared a penchant for opulence and sex, made more obvious by the porn stash found in Gaddafi’s compound last week. Gaddafi was a valuable trade partner but his greatest gift to the Italian billionaire may have been teaching him the nubile sex ritual known as “bunga-bunga”. But Berlusconi shared an intimate relationship with Gaddafi that went far beyond their love of hair dye and erotica, he considered Gaddafi a “close friend and partner.” The friendship was mutual. Berlusconi’s photo shaking hands with Gaddafi is on all Libyan passports issued since 2008 when the two leaders signed a bilateral “Treaty of Friendship, Partnership and Cooperation” in Libya. When Italy got involved with NATO bombardments, Gaddafi expressed his disappointment in Berlusconi. "I am so shocked, I feel betrayed, I don't even know what to say to Berlusconi." In secret messages that will be released by Italy’s foreign ministry next week, Gaddafi blatantly threatens to turn the tiny island of Lampedusa into an “inferno by infiltrating the refugees with armed fighters.” Italy’s foreign minister Franco Frattini says, “Gaddafi also planned to masquerade military cadavers in civilian clothing and blame NATO.”
What’s Next for Libya?
Aug 26, 2011 11:00 PM EDT
By Babak Dehghanpisheh
The uprising in Egypt resonated across the Arab world, but Gaddafi’s fall in oil-rich Libya may have the broader global impact, Babak Dehghanpisheh reports.
The gun-trucks emblazoned with the rebel’s tri-color flag raced down the road, one after another, toward Bab al-Aziziya, Muammar Gaddafi’s sprawling complex in southern Tripoli. Heavy machine gun fire thundered out from the site and a thick plume of black smoke streamed into the air. There were fighters from Tripoli along with their comrades from several smaller towns. After six long months of brutal fighting the endgame was in sight and they all wanted a piece of the action.
Gaddafi’s ‘Dead’ Daughter Alive?
August 26, 2011 8:24 PM EDT
One more mystery coming out of Tripoli: Could Col. Muammar Gaddafi’s daughter Hana, believed to have been killed as an infant in the 1986 U.S. bombing, be alive and working as a doctor in the capital? Photos and documents recovered from Gaddafi’s compound suggest that Hana is in fact alive, even though Gaddafi had set up a shrine for the 6-month-old. Photos featured Hana with Gaddafi’s surviving daughter, Aisha, and examination papers from her schooling were discovered along with her passport. A room believed to belong to Hana was discovered, with a box set of Sex and the City DVDs, pop CDs, and even cellulite treatments.
Tripoli Fighting Abates
Aug 26, 2011 8:20 PM EDT
Fighting in Tripoli died down in Friday’s late hours while violence and abuse on both sides of the uprising were coming sharper into focus and sporadic airstrikes continued in Col. Muammar Gaddafi’s hometown of Surt. Amnesty International said in a report based on eyewitness accounts that Gaddafi’s security forces killed rebels who had been arrested in two camps—in one instance, guards told the rebels they were free to go, and then tossed grenades and fired on the men as they attempted to flee. But the rebels’ were also accused of atrocities, as reports on Thursday the bodies of 30 pro-Gaddafi fighters had been found full of bullet holes at a military encampment in Tripoli. On the diplomatic front, the rebels said they had begun to transfer their government from Benghazi to Tripoli.
Gaddafi’s Favorite Women
Aug 26, 2011 2:41 PM EDT
By David Graham
The Condi Rice fan photo album, the all-virgin female bodyguard corps, the voluptuous Ukrainian nurses—the dictator had a strange fascination with the ladies. See photos.
Condoleezza Rice has by any account had an impressive career—as one of America’s leading Sovietologists, provost of Stanford University, accompanist to Aretha Franklin, and of course as secretary of State. But now she can add another notch to her belt: heartthrob.
It seems that Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi was hot for Condi. Rebels ransacking his Bab al-Aziziya compound in Tripoli discovered an odd photo album consisting of “page after page” of snapshots of Rice. And he’s demonstrated his affinity before: in a 2007 Al Jazeera interview, he referred to her as “my darling,” saying, “I admire and am very proud of the way she leans back and gives orders to the Arab leaders,” he said, adding, “Leezza, Leezza, Leezza...I love her very much.”
Libyan Minister: Gaddafi Surrounded
August 26, 2011 1:05 PM
Libyan rebel forces have reportedly surrounded an area of Tripoli where they believe former dictator Muammar Gaddafi and his entourage were hiding. A minister in Libya’s transitional government told Reuters that the area is now under siege, and that rebels are monitoring the Gaddafi entourage’s movement before attempting to capture them. But the minister declined to specify which area of Tripoli Gaddafi was hiding in. Rebel officials have said they believe he was taking refuge in the Abu Salim area in the south of the capital.
Gaddafi's Security Officer Helped Rebels
August 25, 2011 11:30 PM EDT
In a tale straight out of a John Le Carre novel, Mahmoud Ben Jumaa,a senior official in Gaddafi's personal security force, apparently helped the rebels while being in Gaddafi's government, Jumaa said Thursday. Jumaa said he issued orders to arrest rebels by day—but by night, he met secretly with the rebels trying to overthrow Gaddafi and reportedly helped direct the rebels through Tripoli. In contrast with the Egyptian uprising, which was led by youthful protesters, the Libyan revolution has had government and business leaders play a pivotal role, 30 of which met Thursday in Tripoli to discuss the post-revolution security. Meanwhile, the United Nations called for restraint on both sides in Libya after reports of abuse by Gaddafi's security forces were reported Thursday night. Fighting continued in Tripoli as gunfire was reported in the Abu Salim neighborhood, an area loyal to Gaddafi.
The Lockerbie Convict’s New War
Aug 25, 2011 10:50 PM EDT
By William Underhill
William Underhills asks: How will the Lockerbie bombing convict survive the Libyan revolution?
There’s fresh trouble for Abdelbaset al-Megrahi. Amid a clamor of criticism, the Libyan convicted of the Lockerbie bombing was released from a Scottish jail two years ago, allowed home on compassionate grounds. After a diagnosis of terminal prostate cancer, he had been given just three months to live. Now the collapse of the Gaddafi regime has brought calls for Megrahi’s extradition to the United States or his return to prison in Libya.
Inside the Gaddafis' Lair
August 25, 2011 5:45 PM EDT
The Daily Beast's Babak Dehghanpisheh visited a Gaddafi family home this morning and discovered a secret palace hidden behind an ordinary façade. Read about the garden labyrinth, 40-foot deep bunker, hot tub, waterfall, Playboy magazine collection, yachting brochures and an empty box of Coronas.
Ex-Aide: Gaddafi Escaping
August 25, 2011 5:45PM EDT
Muammar Gaddafi’s former right-hand man, Abdessalam Jalloud, has weighed in on the Libyan leader’s whereabouts, having fled Tripoli for Italy himself on Saturday. At a press conference in Rome on Thursday, the defected prime minister said Gaddafi is potentially “hiding in the southern part of Tripoli,” or has fled the region and is “either at the border with Algeria, or in Sirte or Sabha, and he will the cross the desert.” Jalloud said that only four of Gaddafi’s close aides remain at his side. If Gaddafi is indeed still in Tripoli, Jalloud continued, he will likely wait until roads are clear and then try to escape in disguise.
Gaddafi’s Wacky Russian Soulmate
Aug 25, 2011 1:23 PM EDT
By Anna Nemtsova
Kirsan Ilyumzhinov has been president of a Russian state, a millionaire car dealer, a Buddhist, and a chess fanatic. He is also Muammar Gaddafi’s BFF. He tells all to Anna Nemtsova, including the story of his abduction by aliens.
Muammar Gaddafi was always known for his eccentricities—the all-female bodyguard detail, the Bedouin tents he’d have pitched for himself when traveling abroad. But perhaps the strangest of all Gaddafi’s associations was his friendship with an eccentric multimillionaire chess and Buddhism fanatic, self-confessed alien abductee, and ex-president of the Russian Federated Republic of Kalmykia, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov.
1,000 Rebels Storm Tripoli Compound
August 25, 2011 12:30 PM
A battle has broken out between Gaddafi loyalists and roughly 1,000 rebels surrounding buildings near the Libyan leader’s seized compound. Amidst the fighting, Gaddafi urged Libyans to “destroy” the rebels in a statement broadcast on Arab radio stations. Associated Press reporters said rebels were firing on the buildings and that there had been a huge explosion at the scene. Rebels claimed earlier in the day that Gaddafi was hiding in the buildings with his sons, but a rebel leader has since said they cannot confirm who is inside.
Rebels Advance Into Gaddafi's Birthplace
August 25, 2011 6:30 PM
The fight for Tripoli still is not quite over: Gaddafi loyalists are fighting a rearguard campaign with snipers and mortars against rebels, who control most of the capital city. The action is moving on, however, to Sirte, Gaddafi’s birthplace. About 1,000 fighters are holding out against the rebels, much to their surprise: They figured Gaddafi’s support would evaporate once they held Tripoli. “Apparently it's personal,” one rebel told the BBC. “They must believe in this guy.” Rebels are hoping negotiations in Sirte can avoid further fighting.
Gaddafi Kept Condi Photo Book
August 25, 2011 10:52 AM
Hillary Clinton has been secretary of state since 2009, but Muammar Gaddafi apparently only had eyes for her predecessor: Rebels ransacking Gaddafi’s Tripoli compound found a photo album filled with “page after page” of pictures of former secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice. Gaddafi referred to Rice as “my darling” in a 2007 interview with Al Jazeera TV. "I admire and am very proud of the way she leans back and gives orders to the Arab leaders,” he said, adding, “Leezza, Leezza, Leezza. ... I love her very much.” The two broke Ramadan fast together three years ago.
Gallery: Dictator Porn
Cable TV’s Breakout Star
Aug 24, 2011 9:44 PM EDT
By Lois Romano
CNN correspondent Sara Sidner’s fearless reporting on the fall of Muammar Gaddafi has brought her global recognition. She tells Lois Romano about dodging bullets on the way to Tripoli.
Sara Sidner emerged this week as the hottest broadcast star on the globe, as she brought the fall of Muammar Gaddafi into our living rooms while dodging bullets.
“It was the most adrenaline possible pushing through your body,” the CNN war correspondent said in an interview from Tripoli on Wednesday. “We didn’t need coffee or Coke or any of those things that we take to keep us going. Just feeling and seeing the excitement of the people and the celebratory blasts of massive gunfire—just keeps you going. I haven’t lost my energy yet.”
Rebels Hunt Saadi Gaddafi
August 24, 2011 4:54 PM EDT
He says he wants to negotiate, but rebels are hunting down Muammar Gaddafi's son Saadi, who they have heard is hiding in the Corinthia Hotel in central Tripoli. Gunfire was heard near the hotel, and a column of smoke could be seen rising into the sky. About six rebels arrived at the hotel with an anti-aircraft gun and began blocking elevators in preparation for a search.
Gaddafi's Son Wants to Negotiate Peace
August 24, 2011 4:15 PM EDT
Gaddafi’s “caputured” son Saadi has reportedly emailed CNN’s Nic Robertson, saying that he wanted to negotiate a cease-fire with U.S. and NATO officials to save the nation from “a sea of blood.” Saadi, a businessman, wrote, “I will try to save my city Tripoli and 2 millions of people living there…otherwise Tripoli will be lost forever like Somalia.” CNN reports that Saadi appears to be free.
Libyan Minister: Regime Is Over
August 24, 2011 10:35 PM EDT
Muammar Gaddafi is still on the loose, but his foreign minister admits the regime is finished. Abdul Ati al-Obeidi says he has lost contact with other members of Gaddafi's regime, and that the Libyan ruler's grip on power is over. This morning Gaddafi released a defiant audio message calling on residents of Tripoli to turn on the “devils and traitors” who have overrun it. Gaddafi's whereabouts are unknown, but al-Obeidi says it's unlikely he was given safe passage out of the country and businessmen in Libya are offering a reward for his capture or killing. Though sporadic fighting continues in the capital, the rebels say they have begun moving the interim government from Benghazi to Tripoli.
Cash for Killing Gaddafi
August 24, 2011 10:55 AM EDT
Speaking from headquarters in Benghazi, the head of the NTC, Mohamed Abdel Jalil, said that whoever captures Gaddafi will receive a 2 million dinar reward (about $1.6 million) raised by Benghazi businessmen. He also said that anyone in Gaddafi’s inner circle who kills or captures the boss for the rebels will be granted full amnesty. The rebels’ access to the cash has not been verified.
Journalists Freed From Tripoli Hotel
Aug 24, 2011 11:30 AM EDT
It appears the standoff at the Rixos hotel is at an end. Journalists say they have been freed after being held for days by soldiers loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. Several of the journalists held there say they have left the hotel in a car. About 35 journalists and a former U.S. congressman were being held at the hotel, which served as a hub for correspondents during the war. As rebels gained control of Tripoli, troops loyal to Gaddafi held on to Rixos and refused to let the journalists there leave the building.
Gaddafi Retreats From Tripoli
Aug 24, 2011 6:40 AM EDT
Col. Muammar Gaddafi broke his silence Wednesday with audio remarks aired on radio. Gaddafi admitted to retreating from his Tripoli compound, which has fallen to the rebels, but said that it was a “tactical move.” He called on Libyans to “sweep through Tripoli and comb it for traitors.” Gaddafi also vowed to fight to the death, promising “martyrdom or victory.” Gaddafi’s whereabouts are unknown; there is some speculation that he may head toward his hometown of Sirte, which is still resisting the rebels.
Rebels: Gaddafi Must Stand Trial
Aug 23, 2011 10:45PM EDT
Col. Muammar Gaddafi hasn’t been captured, but the International Criminal Court is already making plans. The besieged Libyan leader—thought to have escaped to the center of the country or the south—will have to face trial in Libya before he faces the ICC, rebel spokesman Abdel Hafiz Ghoga said early Wednesday. The ICC indicted Gaddafi on war crimes charges in May. Ghoga told Egyptian state television it is “impossible” the rebels could have let Gaddafi, who has ruled Libya for 42 years, escape. Gaddafi made a radio announcement Tuesday saying he fled his Bab al-Aziziya compound as a “tactical move.” Pro-Gaddafi forces reportedly hit the town of Ajelat with missiles as tanks rolled in early Wednesday, while witnesses said Tripoli was hit with grad missiles.
Aug 23, 2011 6:12 PM EDT
Official victory celebrations have been put on hold while rebel leaders hunt for Gaddafi, alive or dead. Meanwhile, chaos rules while rumors fly: Gaddafi’s sons are in jail one day and free the next, and no one knows how or why. The Daily Beast’s Igor Kossov reports.
Take Gaddafi Alive
Aug 23, 2011 3:52 PM EDT
By Geoffrey Robertson
Libya’s rebels are celebrating Gaddafi’s impending fall, but Western leaders should resist the temptation to let them visit their revenge on the dictator. He should be sent to The Hague so he can be held responsible for the full measure of his crimes against humanity.
The fall of a tyrant—or of a tyrant’s son and heir—is usually the cause of popular rejoicing followed by public vengeance. They are hung from lampposts (the fate of Mussolini and his mistress) or rushed to kangaroo courts for pre-determined death sentences (see President and Mrs. Ceausescu in Romania). But it is just possible, should Col. Muammar and Saif Gaddafi be taken alive, that we are entering a new and better era in which tyrants and their spawn will instead be dispatched to The Hague for fair trial in an international court for their crimes against humanity.
Inside Gaddafi’s Compound
Aug 23, 2011 1:49 PM EDT
By David Graham
The dictator’s last stronghold, which rebels overtook Tuesday, is as mercurial as its owner. David A. Graham maps out the mosque, the soccer field—and the Bedouin tent that Gaddafi sleeps in.
The last major bastion of Muammar Gaddafi’s 42-year-old regime has fallen, as rebels overran the colonel’s Bab al-Aziziya compound in Tripoli Tuesday, uncovering large caches of weapons—but so far, no sign of the mercurial dictator, who had been expected to hunker down there for a final stand.
"This is Gaddafi's Pentagon," Noman Benotman, a British think-tanker and former Libyan Islamist opposition guerrilla commander, told Reuters. But the comparison doesn’t hold. Unlike the Department of Defense’s headquarters, which is more of an office building than a siege-ready castle, Bab al-Aziziya is part monument, part fortress, and part palace—more akin to a combination of the Kennnedys’ Hyannis Port and Israel’s Masada.
Rebels in Control of Compound
Aug 23, 2011 12:55 PM EDT
The Libyan rebels have taken Muammar Gaddafi’s Tripoli compound, though there is no sign yet of the ruler or his sons. CNN reports that the rebels have knocked down walls and buildings and are carrying weapons out of the heavily fortified compound. Reuters reports that rebels are firing into the air in celebration, and have raised the independence flag over Gaddafi’s former home. Gaddafi’s whereabouts are still unknown. The head of the Russian Chess Federation, a longtime friend of Gaddafi’s, says the ruler called him to say he was still in Tripoli. Gaddafi’s former right-hand man, Abdel-Salam Jalloud, speculated that Gaddafi was on the outskirts of Tripoli, hiding in private homes and small hotels.
NATO Hunts for Gaddafi
Aug 23, 2011 6:30 AM EDT
Muammar Gaddafi is "safe," according to his son Saif al-Islam. Where, though, is he? NATO is assisting in the hunt for Gaddafi, whom the Pentagon believes is still in Libya. (Rebels, however, think he’s escaped from Tripoli.) NATO aircraft are scouring Libya and radar is monitoring airspace around Tripoli, in case he tries to escape by plane. U.S. spy aircraft is also monitoring mobile and satellite phone use, according to The Telegraph.
Libya Wins One for Freedom
Aug 22, 2011 8:15 PM EDT
By Bernard-Henri Lévy
Bernard-Henri Lévy pays homage to Sarkozy’s gamble, the U.S. and European airmen—and above all the Libyan rebels, who have written a new page in the history of their country.
Gaddafi's ‘Captured’ Son Spotted By Hotel
Aug 22, 2011 8:15 PM EDT
While the National Transitional Council reported that Gaddafi's son, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, had been captured Sunday, he was spotted outside Tripoli's Rixos Hotel early Tuesday, reports CNN's Matthew Chance. See the picture here. The hotel is one of the last remaining holdouts for those loyal to Gaddafi. Saif was in a convery of armored Land Cruisers and spoke to Chance briefly, even pausing for a photo. The NTC had no immediate explanation, but Saif said his family was in Triploi and that the rebels were "lured into a trap." Earlier, Libya's ambassador to the United States reported that another of Gaddafi's sons, Mohammad Gaddafi, had escaped from rebel custody.
NATO Bombs Gaddafi Compound
Aug 22, 2011 7:05 PM EDT
NATO warplanes are reportedly bombing the compound of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, according to Al-Arabiya television. A rebel spokesman said that forces have formed checkpoints at the entrances of Tripoli, and that there is little chance that Gaddafi and his son Mohammad would be able to escape. However, Mohammad has reportedly escaped his house arrest. Meanwhile, the Pentagon has released data showing that the final Libyan rebel push into Tripoli was preceded by an upswing in U.S. air strikes: an average of three a day between Aug. 10 and 22, compared to about one and a half a day from April 1 to Aug. 10.
Rebel Spokesman: “Little Chance of Escape” for Gaddafi
Aug 22, 2011 6:10 PM EDT
A spokesman for Libya’s rebels told Al Jazeera Monday that forces have formed checkpoints at the entrances of Tripoli, and that there is little chance that dictator Muammar Gaddafi and his son Mohammad would be able to escape. The whereabouts of the Libyan leader is still unknown, but Mohammad was briefly under house arrest until he escaped. Two other of Gaddafi’s sons are detained. Gaddafi could be in his Bab Al-Aziziyah compound, and the spokesman said the rebels expect a fierce fight as tanks and snipers still defend the buildings and military barracks.
Libya War’s Unsung Heroes
Aug 22, 2011 4:30 PM EDT
By Clive Irving
While ragtag fighters duked it out on the ground, an elite crew of NATO planes ran the show from the sky. Clive Irving on the rebels’ secret weapon.
Somewhere high over the Mediterranean right now, a small crew of military specialists sits hunched over computer screens aboard a cruising jet. They could be American, British, or French. Since March they have been the commanding brains of the NATO mission against Muammar Gaddafi’s forces in Libya. Largely unseen and unsung, they are as responsible as anyone for Gaddafi’s defeat.
Obama: Gaddafi Still Dangerous
Aug 22, 2011 2:50 PM EDT
Speaking from his vacation spot in Martha’s Vineyard Monday, President Obama said the situation in Libya is still precarious, but that it was clear the Gaddafi regime crumbling. Obama said that while the rebels’ struggle to end the regime has reached a climax, Gaddafi isn’t gone yet, and that parts of the regime remain dangerous. The president highlighted the need for careful actions to ensure a peaceful transition to a new government.
5 Great Opinion Pieces on Libya
Aug 22, 2011 2:42 PM EDT
By David Graham
As Libya’s uprisings roar to a climax, The Daily Beast rounds up five of the best opinion reads on the unfolding drama—from why we should be hopeful to why conservatives are squirming.
Libyans deserve a moment to rest on their laurels and enjoy their success—but it better be a quick moment, Faisal Al Yafai writes in Abu Dhabi’s The National. Yafai goes on to deliver a lengthy litany of the struggles the country will face. “These are dangerous times for Tripoli and for Libya. Dangerous in a small sense, because there are lots of hyped-up, excited young men with guns on the streets of Tripoli, far from their home in the east. Dangerous, too, because the regime has not yet surrendered. There are pockets of resistance in Tripoli, many heavily armed, and unknown snipers.” And that’s just the short term: the days ahead will see the fractious Transitional National Council tested; a new template for government demanded; and potentially, Gaddafi’s judicial fate, decided. Yafai’s advice? “Having come this far, keep calm and keep going.”
Inside the Rebel Endgame
Aug 22, 2011 1:48 PM EDT
By Fadel Lamen
How did Tripoli fall so suddenly? The Daily Beast’s Fadel Lamen, who was with rebel leaders in Libya last week, reveals their strategy, and a secret plea from a Gaddafi deputy.
Having spent the past two weeks with rebel leaders in Libya, as well as in Tunisia and Egypt, where more opposition leaders bide their time, I am less surprised than most by the rapid assault on Tripoli and the seemingly imminent collapse of Gaddafi.
First, I saw firsthand the level of coordination between NATO and the Libyan opposition’s Transitional National Council, and its systematic strategy of capturing, controlling, and then protecting liberated land. Compared with the ragtag back-and-forth fighting we saw in the early days of the uprising, the opposition forces in the western front used different tactics and organized themselves better. Clearer command and control meant better coordination and steady progress.
Journalists Trapped in Tripoli Hotel
August 22, 2011 1:24 PM
Some three dozen foreign journalists covering the battle in Tripoli are currently trapped inside the Rixos hotel, due to heavy fighting on surrounding streets and Gaddafi snipers positioned outside the hotel. The Rixos is not far from Gaddafi’s compound, which is likely to be the center of fighting and standing ground for his remaining loyalists in the next several days. Inside the hotel, journalists reported hearing gunfire and explosions coming from the direction of the compound. “I wouldn’t say we’re hostages,” said a Reuters correspondent, “but nobody’s going out.” Media corporations have been discussing how to address the situation, as many journalists covering the six-month uprising in Libya have been quite literally kept under house arrest by Gaddafi loyalists.
August 22, 2011 12:50 PM
Another one bites the dust? Libyan rebels said Monday they had captured a third son of Col. Muammar Gaddafi. Rebels captured and arrested Saif and Muhammad Gaddafi in the early hours of Monday morning after their successful entrance into Tripoli, and have now revealed that they also took Al-Saadi Gaddafi in the same raid that yielded his brother Saif. Their father’s whereabouts are still unknown, but rebels believe he is hiding somewhere in the city.
Gaddafi's Whereabouts Still Unknown
August 22, 2011 10:08 AM
Where in the world is Muammar Gaddafi? He delivered a message Sunday night on Libyan state television, but his exact whereabouts remain in doubt. Some reports say he might still be hiding in his compound in Tripoli, which has previously been targeted by NATO strikes. A Pentagon spokesman said Monday that the U.S. has no reason to believe that Gaddafi has left the country. Others think he has fled to neighboring Algeria or to Venezuela. Nothing has been confirmed, but his son Saif al-Islam was captured on Sunday and his eldest son, Muhammad, has surrendered as well. Muhammad had appeared on Al Jazeera television to say that Libyan forces had “guaranteed my safety” when the line suddenly went dead and the head of Libyan telecommunications said rebels had entered his house.
BBC Team Attacked by Gaddafi Forces in Tripoli
Rebels Take Over State TV Amid Fresh Clashes
August 22, 2011 9:50 AM
The fight for Libya isn’t quite over, as government tanks continued shelling central Tripoli Monday. But rebel forces say they now control of 95 percent of the capital city, and the fighting is at the doorstep of Muammar Gaddafi’s compound. Rebels also tell Reuters that they've taken over the influential state TV headquarters, and the propoganda channel has now gone dark. It is unknown, however, if the Libyan strongman is in residence. His whereabouts are a mystery, as his only public communications in recent days have been angry audio recordings—the last of which warned Tripoli would be another Baghdad. South Africa has denied reports that it is negotiating Gaddafi’s exit to another country, but Al Jazeera says talks between South Africa and Gaddafo continued Monday. Angola and Zimbabwe are considered the most likely destinations for Gaddafi if he is not captured.
Aug 22, 2011 8:35 AM
By Babak Dehghanpisheh
Triumphant rebels have taken over most of Tripoli, but pockets of resistance could still push them back. Babak Dehghanpisheh on Gaddafi’s dwindling options—and where he may be hiding.
The last stand of the madman of the Sahara didn't turn out to be much of a last stand at all. Like many a dictator before him, Muammar Gaddafi went out like a paper tiger, his threats to slaughter the rebel forces like “rats” just bombast and hot air. Rebel forces in western Libya stormed into Tripoli Sunday night after a lightning-fast assault from the town of Zawiyah, some 25 miles outside the capital. After midnight, rebel fighters were waving their tricolor flag in Tripoli's central Green Square, which they renamed Martyr’s Square, cheered on by some of the city’s residents. Around them, portraits of Gaddafi lay in tatters.
Jubilation in Misrata
ICC: Prosecute Saif al-Islam Gaddafi
August 22, 2011 6:40 AM
Muammar Gaddafi may still be at large, but three of his sons—Saif al-Islam, Saadi, and Mohammed—are in rebel custody. What fate awaits them? The International Criminal Court is seeking the transfer of Saif to the Hague, where he would face charges of crimes against humanity. Negotiations are ongoing with the rebels, and ICC chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo says he hopes Saif will “soon be in the Hague.” The latest son to be arrested was Mohammed. Gaddafi’s four remaining sons are believed to have escaped or be in hiding.
NATO Forces Aided Rebel Surge
August 22, 2011 12:18 AM
Rebel forces in Libya has taken over the capital in Tripoli, but not without the help of NATO coordination. American aerial surveillance intensified in the weeks leading up to the invasion, helping to weaken Muammar Gaddafi's floundering regime. NATO officials report that coordination between their troops and the rebels had grown stronger in recent weeks, creating a lethal joint-effort. NATO also increased 24-hour surveillance in areas where the regime still had a hold, and used armed Predator drones to detect, track, and sometimes fire at the forces. Other European nations such as Britain and France also aided the effort, deploying troops to help train and arm the rebels. “The rebels certainly have our phone number,” a NATO diplomat said. “We have a much better picture of what’s happening on the ground.”
Raw Video of Celebrations in Benghazi
The Gaddafi Exit Strategy
August 21, 2011 11:48 PM
Tripoli has fallen and the dictator’s jets are fueled—but where’s Muammar Gaddafi going? The Daily Beast’s Eliza Griswold on his options, from a sanctuary with Chávez in Venezuela to becoming part of a killer troika in Zimbabwe.
Two planes are reportedly waiting on the runway at Tripoli’s airport to carry off Muammar Gaddafi to places unknown, according to Al Jazeera.
Saif Gaddafi, Libya’s heir apparent, who has been arrested and is likely to be prosecuted by the International Criminal Court at The Hague, seems to be headed for an extended European vacation in Geneva. (He has always wanted to call Europe home.)
But whither père Gaddafi, The Leader?
According to Mahmud Jibriel, Libya's rebel prime minister, he may be in the one place he really never wanted to be. "Muammar Gaddafi's greatest fear is to end up in a hole like his friend Saddam Hussein," Jibriel told me in an interview in Tripoli 18 months ago.
Rebels Capture One Gaddafi Son, Second Surrenders
August 21, 2011 6:10 PM
Representatives for Libya's rebel army told several news outlets Sunday evening that they have captured Saif Gaddafi at the Rixos Hotel in Tripoli, and Al Jazeera reported that another son, Muhammad Gaddafi, has surrendered. "Tonight it's over," the spokesman said. The rebels pushed into central Tripoli Sunday afternoon after a climactic few hours of breaking through the city's security perimeters. Gaddafi said he would "fight until the last drop of blood," but there has been little sign of resistance to the rebel advance.
Gaddafi Vows to Stay
August 21, 2011 2:43 PM
Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi said Sunday he will stay in Tripoli "until the end" and called on his supporters to help liberate the capital from a rebel attack. He said in an audio message played over state television that he would provide weapons to supporters. This as rebel forces have pushed to the western outskirts of Tripoli, meeting very little resistance along the way. Associated Press reporters who are with the fighters report that they reached the suburb of Janzour Sunday evening. They were met by streets of flag-waving civilians after driving out elite forces led by Gaddafi's son only hours earlier. Clashes also continued inside the capital as rebels rose up against loyalists.
After Gaddafi, What Next?
Sunday, August 21, 2011 12:45 PM
By Babak Dehghanpisheh
Tripoli could fall any day now, but Babak Dehghanpisheh reports that recent in-fighting among the rebels is a sign that things could get ugly.
After months of see-saw battles in the Sahara Desert, Libya's rebels are now making their first serious push to Tripoli. Rebel fighters reportedly captured Jaddayim on Sunday, which places them only 25 miles away from the capital, where fighting has already kicked off. Late on Saturday, fierce clashes broke out in several neighborhoods in Tripoli and sporadic explosions and gunfire continued throughout the night, according to the Associated Press. Officials in Benghazi, the de-facto rebel capital in the east, say they are coordinating with fighters' cells which have been keeping a low profile and waiting for the right moment to strike in Tripoli. Large anti-government protests also broke out in Tripoli on Sunday, suggesting that protesters had been waiting for the right moment to rise up and hit the streets, too. The conflict finally appears to be approaching an end-game. “The zero hour has started,” Abdul Hafiz Ghoga, the vice chairman of the rebel National Transitional Council said, according to Reuters.
The more important point to consider is this: what comes after the zero hour? The recent in-fighting among the rebel leadership in the east is a good sign that things could get ugly. On July 28, Abdul Fatah Younes, the chief of staff of the rebel military forces, was shot by a handful of his own fighters. His corpse was also burned to the point where his remains were almost unidentifiable. Younes was one of the original military commanders who helped Muammar Gaddafi stage a coup in 1969 and stuck by him for more than four decades, most recently serving as minister of interior before defecting in February. Many rebel fighters suspected that Younes was working as a spy for the Gaddafi regime and his checkered past is most likely what led to his brutal assassination last month.
Libyan Rebels Fight in Tripoli
August 21, 2011 7:04 AM
Witnesses in the Libyan capital of Tripoli reported heavy fighting across the city late Saturday night and several explosions on Sunday, indicating that rebel supporters have started to rise up in Gaddafi’s last stronghold. But there's still much support for Muammar Gaddafi in the capital even as rebels take control of surrounding cities and move in close to the stage of the final showdown. A government spokesman said rebels had tried to attack Tripoli but had been "dealt with." Meanwhile, Gaddafi's former right-hand man, Abdel Salam Jalloud, has defected to rebel-held areas, an opposition spokesman said.
Rebels Fight for Tripoli
August 20, 2011 10:00 PM
Having taken over three major surrounding towns, Libyan rebels moved into Tripoli, where heavy fighting was reported late Saturday night. A rebel leader confirmed that they were "coordinating the attacks inside," that more forces were advancing from outside, and that this was "zero hour." The rebels also confirmed success in clearing out the last of Muammar Gaddafi's forces from the center of Zawiyah, 30 miles west of Tripoli. Meanwhile, another major government official has reportedly defected from the regime—the third in one week—indicating that Gaddafi's power is slipping. Rebel leaders are optimistic that his demise is near, even as other reports say his loyalists are armed and blocking off Tripoli's streets in preparation for battle. A spokesman for Gaddafi's regime insisted the leader would remain in power and called on rebels to surrender. Gaddafi has also appeared on state TV, congratulating Libyans on defeating "the rats."
Who Killed General Younes?
August 20, 2011 10:00 PM
By Hanan Ghosheh
As new details emerge in the death of Libya’s rebel-army chief, the mystery gets only more troublesome. Hanan Ghosheh on the events that led up to the murder and the long shadow it casts on the country’s future.
Even as the Libyan revolution has finally reached Tripoli, the rebels' interim government is beset by unanswered questions about the July 28 murder of the anti-Gaddafi forces’ chief of staff, Gen. Abdul Fatah Younes. So far, no one has been arrested for killing the Gaddafi regime’s former interior minister, whose high-profile defection in February helped transform a protest movement into a full-fledged revolution. And while people in the country’s liberated areas wonder whether the killers will ever be brought to justice, emerging details in the case are raising serious questions about the conduct of the rebels’ National Transitional Council—especially about the actions of the NTC’s chairman, Mustafa Mohammed Abdul Jalil, and its then–deputy foreign minister, Ali Essawi.
According to a rebel source with knowledge of events leading up to Younes’s assassination, rumors had long circulated that the general was a pro-Gaddafi double agent. Disgruntled NTC army officers and militiamen accused him of choking off supplies of weapons and obstructing their advance against the coastal city of Brega, which remains in pro-Gaddafi hands despite more than five months of fighting. Younes’s critics claimed to have evidence that he had been communicating with the Gaddafi regime, and that he had even met with the Libyan leader’s undersecretary of defense, Abdul Rahman Sayd, during a visit to Rome.
U.N. to Launch Tripoli Evacuation
August 19, 2011 10:17 AM
As the Libyan rebels approach Tripoli, the United Nations says it will launch an operation to evacuate thousands of foreigners trapped in the capital. Many of Libya's estimated 1.5 million to 2.5 million foreigners, mostly migrant workers from Africa and Asia, have remained in Tripoli, which until recently had been far from the fighting. This week, however, rebels have closed in on the capital, capturing nearby towns and cutting off roads and severing supply lines into the city. A U.N. spokeswoman said an operation, likely by sea, would begin within days to evacuate foreigners stranded there.
Gaddafi Preparing to Flee: Report
August 18, 2011 7:49 PM
Embattled Libyan leader Col. Muammar Gaddafi is preparing to flee Libya, Pentagon sources told NBC News on Thursday. Gaddafi is reportedly planning to go to Tunisia, where he and his family will be granted exile, in a matter of days. But some warned that these intelligence reports may not be enough to assume Gaddafi’s exit, given his history of instability. The news comes on the same day that Libyan rebels captured a key oil refinery in Zawiyah, only a half hour from Gaddafi’s stronghold in Tripoli.
Aug 15, 2011 1:00 AM EDT
By Maya Jaggi
Hisham Matar’s new novel takes on a very personal subject: a father’s abduction by a brutal regime and a son’s unsettling sense of loss.
As Hisham Matar was finishing his latest novel, about a young man so grief-stricken by a father’s absence that he stalks his lovers and wears his suits, word reached Matar that his own father might still be alive. Jaballa Matar was a leading Libyan dissident who vanished without trial in 1990 into Col. Muammar Gaddafi’s dungeons. Over 20 years, the family received only two letters from him, smuggled out of his cell. They feared he was among more than 1,000 political detainees shot dead in a prison riot in the mid-’90s. Then came this sliver of hope, that he had been seen alive in a jail in the capital, Tripoli.
For his son, a successful writer living in England, the vague message was “tremendous but unsettling. I felt I’d provoked it, by spending three years on a book taking me into dark places of the soul,” he told NEWSWEEK in his West London apartment. The unverifiable news was “like a voice in my head. Writing this book took me a little too close to the flame.”
Stay the Course in Libya
Aug 2, 2011 2:06 PM EDT
By Bernard-Henri Lévy
Libyan rebel leader Gen. Abdel Fattah Younès was assassinated last week. French philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy says now more than ever, it’s time to set the 'Libyan precedent'—by finishing the job.
Last week’s assassination in Benghazi of Gen. Abdel Fattah Younès, the chief of staff of Libya’s rebel forces, is a major blow and was felt as one by the rebel coalition, which has lost in him an officer they knew well, who was received by Nicolas Sarkozy in Paris, with me, in April. But this is far from the military and political catastrophe it is being made out to be by those in Europe and in the United States who pass up no occasion to discredit the insurgents—the great argument, this time around, being that the muddled circumstances surrounding his assassination, and the uncertainty concerning the identity of those who committed it, is final proof of the structural weakness of the National Transitional Council, and even of the growing power of dissension within its ranks. I firmly reject all of this.
Every resistance, and every armed rebellion, has had to deal with tragedies of this kind, which are the product of machinations more or less resulting from enemy intrigue. The French Resistance, for example, suffered the elimination of many major leaders who were betrayed, starting with Jean Moulin. Ahmed Shah Massoud, the leader of the Afghan Northern Alliance, was killed by a camera bomb after he was sold out, on the very territory of the Alliance, by a man who was supposedly a pillar of the region. The same thing happened with the Algerian FLN, whose ranks were decimated by agents who infiltrated the organization and by resistance fighters the French services turned against it. Revolutions are always at the mercy of a sleeper commando, a “fifth column,” or a manipulated gang. And their politico-military staffs—as anyone who hasn’t lost all historical memory knows—have always been the particular target of double-crossers and of killers who emerge from the shadows. I daresay that the tragedy of the death of Younès is, unfortunately, nothing unusual. And it takes all the bad faith of professional pacifists to perceive in this act proof of a reigning disorder in Cyrenaïca that we had failed to adequately judge before deciding to intervene.
Libyan Rebels Lose a Leader
Jul 29, 2011 7:09 AM EDT
By Babak Dehghanpisheh
The assassination of Abdul Fatah Younes, chief of staff of the anti-Ghaddafi forces, leaves a power vacuum in the rebel leadership. Babak Dehghanpisheh on the mysteries surrounding his death.
The conflict in Libya is about to get a whole lot messier. Rumors swirled all day Thursday that the chief of staff of the rebel military forces, Abdul Fatah Younes, had been arrested. Then, the bombshell came in a late-night press conference in a Benghazi hotel: Younes had been killed, along with two other rebel officers. The announcement came from Mustafa Abdul Jalil, head of the rebel National Transitional Council, who claimed that the leader of the group that carried out the shooting was in custody but the bodies of Younes and the two officers had not been found. The reaction was immediate. Armed gunmen supporting Younes hit the streets of Benghazi and blasted out windows at the hotel where the conference took place.
Younes's death leaves a dangerous power vacuum in the military leadership of the rebels and could lead to in-fighting among various factions. Younes had been jockeying for power with a rival military commander named Khalifa Heftar who returned to Libya from the U.S. in March. Even more troubling, Younes’s death could inflame tribal tensions. Younes was a member of the Obeidi tribe, one of the largest and most powerful in eastern Libya, and it will take a lot of delicate negotiations to convince his clansmen to stand down.