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Gaddafi Regime on Brink of Collapse as Rebels Storm Tripoli

Posted on the 22 August 2011 by Periscope @periscopepost

Gaddafi regime on brink of total collapse as rebels storm Tripoli, take Green Square

Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. Photo credit: B.R.Q.

As Tripoli fell to the rebels, Gaddafi made two desperate audio addresses over state television calling on Libyans to fight off the rebels. “I am afraid if we don’t act, they will burn Tripoli,” he said. He later added, “I call on all Libyans to join this fight. Those who are afraid, give your weapons to your mothers or sisters.”

But the last-ditch rallying calls had little impact. Rebels told Al-Jazeera Television that the whole of Tripoli was under their control except Gaddafi’s Bab Al-Aziziya-Jazeera stronghold. TNC Coordinator Adel Dabbechi told Reuters that Gaddafi’s younger son Saif Al-Islam had been captured and his eldest son Mohammed Al-Gaddafi had surrendered to rebel forces.

“Tonight, the momentum against the Gaddafi regime has reached a tipping point. Tripoli is slipping from the grasp of a tyrant,” US President Obama said from Martha’s Vineyard. “Gaddafi needs to acknowledge the reality that he no longer controls Libya. He needs to relinquish power once and for all.” The call for Gaddafi to finally acknowledge defeat was echoed by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen: “The sooner Gaddafi realises that he cannot win the battle against his own people, the better – so that the Libyan people can be spared further bloodshed and suffering.”

  • Arab Spring claims another unpopular Arab dictator. Reporting from inside Tripoli, BBC News’ Matthew Price stressed that the capital remains a frighteningly tense place and the future looks uncertain: “There are many, many residents of this city who tonight are not out for the party, but cowering at home. They are not just the people who until yesterday proudly flew the green flag of Col Gaddafi’s Libya from their rooftops, but also the families who wonder about the continued fighting outside their front door – and those who fear tribal differences will now emerge within the opposition, harming the chance of a peaceful transition. There is still that ominous possibility that Col Gaddafi, a man who in his four decades in power has ably demonstrated his ability to brutalise and punish his people, may yet strike back. But right now it doesn’t look possible. Right now it looks as though another unpopular Arab regime has fallen victim to the Arab Spring.”
  • The war’s not over! Patrick Cockburn of The Independent insisted that the rebel forces are “deeply divided” and still lack “overwhelming strength.” Cockburn reminded that “they are entering Tripoli now only because they have received tactical air support from Nato. It is an extraordinary situation. The Transitional National Council (TNC) in Benghazi is now recognised by more than 30 foreign governments, including the US and Britain, as the government of Libya. But it is by no means clear that it is recognised as such by the rebel militiamen who are in the process of seizing the capital.” Cockburn stressed that, with regards to the transition to a post-Gaddafi Libya, the international community must learn from the painful Iraq and Afghanistan experiences: “It is worth recalling that Saddam Hussein was unpopular with most Iraqis when he fell in 2003 as were the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2001. But in neither case did this mean that there was an opposition which had the support to replace them. In both countries wars thought to be over burst into flame again. Foreign allies were seen as foreign occupiers … It is clear that Gaddafi will go, but we still have to see if the war is truly over.”

Rebel underground cells in Tripoli had been waiting for the signal, claim Reuters.

  • Carefully orchestrated uprising. Ulf Laessing and Missy Ryan of Reuters argued that the rebel strike on Tripoli may have appeared spontaneous but was, in fact, a “carefully orchestrated uprising.” Reuters reported that a diplomatic source in Paris, where the government has closely backed the rebels, said underground rebel cells in the capital had been following detailed plans drawn up months ago and had been waiting for a signal to act. “That signal was ‘iftar’ – the moment when Muslims observing the holy months of Ramadan break their daily fast. It was at this moment that imams started broadcasting their message from the mosques, residents said.”

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