Claiming he hasn’t even started to order the use of bullets yet, reading a list of acts from his “Green Book” that will result in a death sentence, and telling parents to get their children “away from these gangs,” Muammar Gaddafi, still Libya’s nominal leader, has spoken on Libyan State TV. Defiant – and irrational – he blames America and the UK for the current uprising and asks if Libyans want to be “like Somalia.” Saying that this is a war against the US – “do you want to be occupied like Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan … do you want to be like Fallujah?” — he added a very chilling comment: “The unity of China was more important than Tianamen Square.”
Only a very small crowd was seen around Gadaffi – not the masses he has gathered in the past. Declaring war on “these youth,” he said, “all people, men and women should take to the streets and make the revolution one street after another. I am the head of the people’s revolution, respecting people’s authority, get out of your houses as of now and join the committees, people’s securities committees with everyone wearing armbands and clearing the streets. A new administration, new municipalities will be formed.”
Claiming only a few “who have terrorized Benghazi” and saying he will cleanse the country “house by house,” his next steps sound ominous.
As the BBC notes:
1631: Sima Sahar Zerehi tweets: “#Gaddafi calling protestors terrorists_asking people to go on the streets&disarm them? The only ones with arms are his mercenaries #Libya”
While Gaddafi rants, there are reports of more cities completely in the protester’s hands including Tobruk. Ben Wedeman of CNN reports on twitter:
@bencnn On one wall in Torbuk saw grafitti: “freedom=AlJazeera” #Libya
Saw police station in Tobruk main square. Was torched. Other buildings sacked. Banks other installations untouched. #Libya
People in Tobruk threatening to cut off export of oil from Eastern #Libya “if Qaddafi does not stop this massacre.”
There are new reports that large numbers of the military have turned against him. A Libyan naval vessel may have been spotted off Malta:
A Libyan warship carrying defecting Libyan officers is sailing close to Malta and is being closely watched by the Italian frigate Fenice, according to reports in the international media.
At the UN, there’s confusion over who represents Libya:
#1657: From the UN: Libya’s deputy ambassador has been speaking to the media in recent days, accusing Col Gaddafi’s forces of genocide. But the country’s ambassador has just turned up as the security council was debating the Libya’s situation. He says he will negotiate directly with the colonel.
1658: The security council had agreed to formally discuss Libya’s crisis, but the ambassador’s arrival has thrown that process into confusion.
[more after the jump]For an eyewitness account of events in Tripoli yesterday, take a look at this “Letter from Tripoli:”
The atmosphere in Sarraj is fearful and tense, but otherwise calm. There is no violence on the streets, but everyone can hear loud caliber rounds fired every few seconds. “This proves that sniping is taking place,” writes Ali in his email. “It means, actually, that someone is aiming and shooting at something and apparently not wasting his ammo too much with careful firing. It is an eerie feeling to stand outside and hear this…
… Libyans are disappointed and consider the world reaction as a very weak one. From the TV official announcements the US and the EU, for example, tried to be very careful with their condemnation. It was quite clear that they were weighing their options and the consequences of either angering a surviving Qaddafi and the shame of being silent towards this carnage. Oil contracts and work opportunities for their locals seem to have a higher priority than even frowning at a tyrant going berserk on his people. Only when Qaddafi’s chances proved to be weak did they take a bolder stance; that is when they started to actually condemn the killings – but a bit too late.”
With worries that this Gaddafi speech, like Saif’s the other night will be followed by bloodshed, the BBC reports now that:
1715: Eyewitnesses in Tripoli tell BBC Arabic there is shooting on the streets of the capital.