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Muammar Gaddafi Dead
Gaddafi killed as Libya's revolt takes hometown | Reuters
(Reuters) - Muammar Gaddafi is dead, Libya's new leaders said, killed by fighters who overran his hometown and final bastion on Thursday. His bloodied body was stripped and displayed around the world from cellphone video.
Senior officials in the interim government, which ended his 42-year rule two months ago but had labored to subdue thousands of diehard loyalists, said his death opened the way for a declaration of "liberation" after eight months of war.
His body was expected in the long-standing rebel stronghold of Misrata, officials said as their Western sponsors held off from confirming that Gaddafi, a self-styled king of kings whom they had lately courted after decades of enmity, was dead at 69.
After Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril confirmed his demise, the new national flag, resurrected by rebels who forced Gaddafi from his capital Tripoli in August, filled streets and squares as jubilant crowds whooped for joy and fired in the air.
In Sirte, a one-time fishing village and Gaddafi's hometown that grandiose schemes had styled a new "capital of Africa," fighters danced, brandishing a golden pistol they said they had taken from Gaddafi.
Accounts were hazy of his final hours, which also appeared to have cost the lives of senior aides. But top officials of the National Transitional Council, including Abdel Majid Mlegta, said he had died of wounds sustained in clashes.
One possible description, pieced together from various sources, suggests that Gaddafi may have tried to break out of his final redoubt at dawn in a convoy of vehicles after weeks of dogged resistance. However, he was stopped by a NATO airstrike and captured, possibly three or four hours later, after gunbattles with NTC fighters who found him hiding in a drainage culvert.
NATO said its warplanes fired on a convoy near Sirte about 8:30 a.m. (2:30 a.m. EDT), striking two military vehicles in the group, but could not confirm that Gaddafi had been a passenger.
Accounts from his enemies suggested his capture, and death soon after from wounds, may have taken place around noon.
One of Gaddafi's sons, heir-apparent Saif al-Islam, was at large, they believed.
NTC official Mlegta told Reuters that Gaddafi had been wounded in both legs early in the morning as he tried to flee in the convoy which NATO warplanes attacked
"He was also hit in his head," he said. "There was a lot of firing against his group and he died."
There was no shortage of NTC fighters in Sirte claiming to have seen him die, though many accounts were conflicting. Libyan television carried video of two drainage pipes, about a meter across, where it said fighters had cornered a man who long inspired both fear and admiration around the world.
After February's uprising in the long discontented east of the country around Benghazi -- inspired by the Arab Spring movements that overthrew the leaders of neighboring Tunisia and Egypt -- the revolt against Gaddafi ground slowly across the country before a dramatic turn saw Tripoli fall in August.
An announcement of final liberation was expected as the chairman of the NTC prepared to address the nation of six million. They now face the challenge of turning oil wealth once monopolized by Gaddafi and his clan into a democracy that can heal an array of tribal, ethnic and regional divisions he exploited.
The two months since the fall of Tripoli have tested the nerves of the motley alliance of anti-Gaddafi forces and their Western and Arab backers, who had begun to question the ability of the NTC forces to root out diehard Gaddafi loyalists in Sirte and a couple of other towns.
Gaddafi, wanted by the International Criminal Court on charges of ordering the killing of civilians, was toppled by rebel forces on August 23, a week short of the 42nd anniversary of the military coup which brought him to power in 1969.
NTC fighters hoisted the red, black and green national flag above a large utilities building in the center of a newly-captured Sirte neighborhood and celebratory gunfire broke out among their ecstatic and relieved comrades.
Hundreds of NTC troops had surrounded the Mediterranean coastal town for weeks in a chaotic struggle that killed and wounded scores of the besieging forces and an unknown number of defenders.
NTC fighters said there were a large number of corpses inside the last redoubts of the Gaddafi troops. It was not immediately possible to verify that information.
A historic day. When I was a kid, Gaddafi was king of the bad guys.
I do love this detail, from October 18, 2011: Hillary Clinton In Libya To Offer New Aid Package
TRIPOLI, Libya — The Obama administration offered millions of dollars in new aid to Libya as Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton encouraged the country's unsteady new leadership to commit to a democratic future free of retribution, and acknowledged in unusually blunt terms that the United States would like to see former dictator Moammar Gadhafi dead.
"We hope he can be captured or killed soon so that you don't have to fear him any longer," Clinton told students and others at a town hall-style gathering in the capital city.
Until now, the U.S. has generally avoided saying that Gadhafi should be killed.
U.S. officials usually say they want to see him brought to justice, something Clinton also said during her daylong visit.
"I am proud to stand here on the soil of a free Libya," Clinton said. "The United States was proud to stand for you in your fight for freedom and we will continue to stand with you as you continue this journey."
She met with the leader of Libya's Transitional National Council, Mahmoud Jibril, and offered about $11 million in additional aid. The fresh aid boosts Washington's contribution since the uprising against Gadhafi began in February to roughly $135 million.
The new aid package includes medical aid for wounded fighters and additional assistance to secure weaponry that many fear could fall into the hands of terrorists. Aides said the money is meant partly as a pledge to ongoing U.S. support during what will be a difficult passage to free elections and a new government after four decades of dictatorship.
"Now the hard part begins," Clinton said, heading into a meeting with the transitional leaders.
Clinton referred several times to the importance of including all factions in a future democratic government, a reference to fears among Libyans that those with ties to the Gadhafi regime will be punished.
"The most important thing now is to make sure that Gadhafi and his regime are finally prevented from disrupting the new Libya," Clinton said. "We want to do everything we can to prevent him from causing trouble."
Addressing leaders of the interim body, Clinton noted that the fighting isn't over yet but said NATO would continue to protect civilians as long as the threat continues.
"We are encouraged by the commitment of the Transitional National Council of taking the steps necessary to bring the country together," she said. But the secretary also said that "all members of all militias must see the benefit of joining the new government."
She visited Tripoli Medical Center, where she visited the bedsides of four wounded former rebels. One soldier was wounded Saturday during the battle for Bani Walid, one of two towns thought to be the most likely hiding places for Gadhafi, who has been on the run for weeks.
Fierce resistance in Bani Walid and Sirte has prevented Libya's new leaders from declaring full victory and setting a timeline for elections. It has been more than two months since the former rebels gained control of Tripoli and the rest of the oil-rich North African nation.
Some of the new medical assistance announced Tuesday would go to help evacuate seriously wounded fighters who need medical care aboard. Clinton saw dozens of such fighters as she entered the hospital.
U.S. officials said there have been about 15,000 wounded during the conflict so far, about 1,500 of whom are now amputees and require specialized care that is not available in Libya.
Gunfire could be heard in the distance at least twice during Clinton's visit, but it was not clear whether the shots were part of any ongoing fighting.
The United States is a key part of the NATO-led air campaign that helped drive Gadhafi out, but U.S. officials have repeatedly said no U.S. combat soldiers are in the country and that the U.S. is not directly helping in the search for Gadhafi.
Most of the new money will go toward finding and destroying thousands of Gadhafi-era shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles that are unaccounted for since the fighting began. Clinton and other senior U.S. officials have repeatedly stressed the importance of dealing with stockpiles of Libyan weapons.
The State Department already has sent 14 weapons experts to Libya and is looking for other countries to contribute to the effort. The U.S. has spent some $6 million to help secure the missiles, and is working with Congress to increase funding to $40 million for continued work over the next 12 months, according to the officials.
Also as part of the new aid package, the U.S. will re-launch several educational programs, including Fulbright scholarships and English language training, and help fund an archaeological project that will survey eastern Libya, the officials said. In addition, they said Clinton will be stressing the importance of good governance, inclusion, democratization and diversifying Libya's economy so it no longer is almost entirely dependent on oil revenue.
Officials said Clinton would also raise the case of the Lockerbie bombing with Libyan officials. Last month, Scotland asked Libya's new authorities to help track down those responsible for the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over the Scottish town. It killed 270 people, most of them American.
The only person charged with the bombing – former Libyan intelligence officer Abdel Baset al-Megrahi – was freed on compassionate grounds in 2009 because of illness. His release infuriated the families of many Lockerbie victims.
Clinton is the most senior American official to visit Libya since the uprising against Gadhafi began in February and only the second secretary of state to visit in the past 50 years. The last secretary of state to visit was Condoleezza Rice, who traveled to Tripoli in 2008 and met with Gadhafi after relations between the U.S. and Libya were restored.
On Tuesday US policy says he should die. On Thursday he's dead. Nice.
I look forward to hearing the final cost of the Libyan war, but it already looks like an impressive victory for the people of Libya and the US led NATO operation that supported and assisted them. And I think it's worth noting that it didn't cost us billions of dollars, lasted less than a year, had minimal if any American and Allied casualties, and we're not now occupiers of yet another country. That compares and contrasts well with Iraq and Afghanistan, which have cost thousands of American lives, billions of dollars, and both lasted longer than WW2.
The Obama administration supported the Libyan uprising despite virulent political opposition here at home. From what I understand only 7 the 28 NATO member countries were participating in combat operations at the time of Gaddafi's death. NATO - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
During the 2011 Libyan uprising, violence between protestors and the Libyan government under Colonel Muammar Gaddafi escalated, and on 17 March 2011 led to the passage of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973, which called for a ceasefire, and authorized military action to protect civilians. A coalition that included several NATO members began enforcing a no-fly zone over Libya shortly afterwards. On 20 March 2011, NATO states agreed on enforcing an arms embargo against Libya with Operation Unified Protector using ships from NATO Standing Maritime Group 1 and Standing Mine Countermeasures Group 1, and additional ships and submarines from NATO members. They would "monitor, report and, if needed, interdict vessels suspected of carrying illegal arms or mercenaries". On 24 March, NATO agreed to take control of the no-fly zone from the initial coalition, while command of targeting ground units remains with the coalition's forces. NATO began officially enforcing the UN resolution on 27 March 2011 with assistance from Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.
By June, reports of divisions within the alliance surfaced as only eight of the 28 member nations were participating in combat operations, resulting in a confrontation between U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates and countries such as Poland, Spain, the Netherlands, Turkey, and Germany to contribute more, the latter believing the organization has overstepped its mandate in the conflict. In his final policy speech in Brussels on 10 June, Gates further criticized allied countries in suggesting their actions could cause the demise of NATO. The German foreign ministry pointed to "a considerable [German] contribution to NATO and NATO-led operations" and to the fact that this engagement was highly valued by President Obama.
While the mission was extended into September, Norway that day announced it would begin scaling down contributions and complete withdrawal by 1 August. Earlier in the week it was reported Danish air fighters were running out of bombs. The following week, the head of the Royal Navy said the country's operations in the conflict were not sustainable. By October 2011, NATO planes had flown about 9,500 strike sorties against pro-Gaddafi targets.
I have to give some credit to the Obama administration and the Democrats behind him for their leadership and their role in helping the uprising succeed in what has comparatively been a very efficient and successful military operation.
If a country has a goal to help liberate oppressed people and overthrow dictators, I think this certainly is the way to go about doing it. Top Democrat leaders support Obama on Libya - Times Of India
Top Democrat leaders support Obama on Libya
PTI Mar 24, 2011, 10.25am IST
WASHINGTON: Top Democrat leaders came out in support of President Barack Obama's decision to help enforce the no-fly zone over Libya, saying that he had taken a "cautious and thoughtful" tact as the future of US ties with Muslim world was at stake.
Senator Carl Levin said, "He has put the ducks in a row before he decided that the United States should take the lead for a short period of time to do what only we could do because of the type of accurate targeting that our equipment has, and then to hand this off for the ongoing effort to allies, including Arab countries."
"That was the right course of action because if we had proceeded unilaterally, we would not have had the kind of political support around the world which is essential for the mission to succeed," Levin said in a joint teleconference with his two other Democratic Senator colleagues, Richard Durbin and Jack Reed.
Their statements came amid increasing complaints from Republican lawmakers that Obama kept Congress out of the loop during the early military campaign.
"I think the president moved very thoughtfully and very deliberately to assemble a multinational coalition. Had he not done so, a unilateral action from the United States would have left us with a significant military burden and a significant financial burden, and also would have likely provoked, not support in the Islamic world, but perhaps condemnation for another example of a unilateral American military operation in a Muslim country," Reed argued.
The number-two Democrat in the US Senate, Durbin termed it "a very wise act".
He said that US action reflected Washington's need to cement ties with new Middle East leaders emerging from recent regional political upheaval.
Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the US House of Representatives, said. "Actions taken by the international community have already prevented Gaddafi from implementing his threat to 'show no mercy' to his own people, including those living in the city of Benghazi," said
"Decisions made in the days ahead are strengthened by our NATO partners' participation. US participation is strengthened by the president's continued consultation with Congress," Pelosi said.
"Acting upon the United Nations Security Council's resolution to use 'all measures necessary' to protect the Libyan people and the Arab League's call for a no-fly-zone, the United States joined the international community in preventing an imminent humanitarian crisis in Libya," she said.