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Libyan revolutionaries claim victory as sporadic fighting continues across the capital, Libyans around the world celebrate the fall of Tripoli, a look back at the key moments of the February 17 Revolution, and more.
Mosaic | Mar 15
Uprising anniversary marked by anti-Assad rallies as regime loyalists decry "conspiracy" against Syria, Yemen's Saleh lists new conditions for leav...
Libyan revolutionaries claim victory as sporadic fighting continues across the capital [Al Jazeera, Qatar]
Presenter, Male #1
Libyan revolutionaries took control of most of the capital Tripoli and arrested two of Colonel Muammar al-Gaddafi's sons as well as his close companions. The fate of Gaddafi himself is still unknown, however, the chair of the National Transitional Council, Mustafa Abdul Jalil, vowed to hold fair trials for Gaddafi and the pillars of his regime. He called on the revolutionaries to show restraint and to protect properties. The African Union convened a meeting to discuss the latest developments of the Libyan crisis, while France called for an emergency UN meeting to discuss Libya's future in the post-Gaddafi phase. Meanwhile, NATO affirmed that it will continue what it referred to as its mission in Libya.
Reporter, Female #1
The downfall of the Gaddafi family's reign in Libya has come. Its 42-year-long rule imposed on the Libyan people has come to an end. Nothing in the colonel's throne is left except the Bab al-Aziziya compound, still waiting for its final destiny. But it seems that Libya is now free and united. In the last six months, as well as the last several decades, Green Square never witnessed gatherings other than those of supporters of the colonel who threatened to cleanse the country of anyone out of his grip. In less than two days, the triumphant revolutionaries entered the square, welcomed by free people cheering and shouting with joy. The square is now named "Martyrs' Square." "Operation Mermaid Dawn" to liberate the capital has semi-succeeded in record time. As planned, revolutionaries from Misurata, az-Zawiyah, and Jabal al-Gharbi met with the revolutionaries of Tripoli. Preparation for this operation lasted three months and was carried out with reliance on the revolutionaries inside the capital. The process accelerated and was followed by unimaginable events for Gaddafi. The men Gaddafi believed would fight for him, abandoned him and escaped. Contrary to all speculation, the battle for Tripoli was less bloody than expected, at least for now. However, the revolutionaries were not completely safe as they entered the capital and a number of them were killed and wounded. They're crying for a doctor who was shot in the head and died as he was tending to the wounded in a field hospital. His body was sent to a hospital in Tripoli. The revolutionaries realize that keeping control of the capital may be more difficult than liberating it. There are pockets left from the former regime that may attempt to shuffle the cards. This is not the only challenge facing the Transitional National Council in the phase after the final downfall of Gaddafi's regime. Some say it is still early to talk about the details of what awaits the new rulers since today is for celebrating a free Libya. Libya after a reign that impoverished a rich people, displaced thousands even though the country received refugees, and killed and wounded thousands because they pledged loyalty to Libya and only Libya.
Presenter, Male #1
In Benghazi, head of the Transitional National Council Mustafa Abdul Jalil announced the end of the Gaddafi era in Libya. He called on the revolutionaries to show self-restraint and to protect lives and properties. Abdul Jalil stressed the importance of forgiveness, leniency, and tolerance, and of establishing a state of law that provides justice to victims and fair trials for those accused of causing harm.
Libyans around the world celebrate the fall of Tripoli [BBC Arabic, UK]
Presenter, Female # 1
Great joy swept across Libyan communities abroad as soon as they learned of the fighters' entry into the Libyan capital Tripoli. Many spent the night on the streets of London, Cairo, Tunis, and Washington, celebrating the news.
Reporter, Male # 1
The joy of the Libyan diaspora reached its climax after watching broadcasts showing the opposition forces' advance and control of part of the Libyan capital last night. Here, in the British capital London, they sang, danced, and expressed their jubilation at the fighters' entry into the heart of Tripoli for the first time since the beginning of the February 17 Intifada, or uprising. The scene was similar in Manchester.
Guest, Male # 2
For the last six months, the Libyan people stood in front of the Libyan embassy day after day shouting that they reject Gaddafi and don't want any other dictator. We want a leadership that listens to the people.
Reporter, Male # 1
In Egypt, Libyans and some Egyptians joyful of the opposition forces' victory spent the night on the streets, where they cheered.
Guest, Female # 2
We are so happy! So happy! We tasted freedom, thank God. May God have mercy on the souls of all our martyrs. Oh god, oh god!
Reporter, Male # 1
In Tunis, where thousands of Libyans have taken refuge since the beginning of the events, celebrations were just as joyful.
Guest, Male # 3
By God, we have been oppressed by him for 42 years, by the oppressor, the tyrant. But every tyrant has an end and he will too, God willing.
Reporter, Male # 1
Despite the fact that battles are not yet over in the capital as clashes continue in some of its pockets, the majority of Libyans aboard have already started to plan the trip back to their country. And it is not just those who have left in the past few months but also those who were forced to leave years ago and some decades ago.
Profile: Colonel Muammar al-Gaddafi [Al-Alam, Iran]
Presenter, Female #1
The 69-year-old Gaddafi ruled Libya for 42 years. He is characterized by his fluctuating ideas and positions, which are reflected in the country's situation. A country he ruled with an iron fist after monopolizing power.
Reporter, Male #1
He is Muammar Mohamed Abdu Salam Abu Meniar al-Gaddafi from the Qadhadhfa Tribe. He was born on June 7, 1942 in the city of Sirte. He is a former lieutenant of the Libyan army who led a military coup against the constitutional monarchy in 1969 and named it the "al-Fateh Revolution of September." As a result of the coup, he overthrew King Idris I and took over power. In the Libyan Jamahiriya, Muammar al-Gaddafi sat on the throne in the 1970s and became the world's longest serving ruler. He is characterized by his love of money and power, his strange kind of narcissism, and his even stranger arrogance. The leader, or the Fateh, or the King of Kings of Africa as he likes to be called, managed to captivate the minds of Libyan tribes with odd demagoguery, allowing him to rule the country without facing any opponents. His positions, which are just as strange, astonished many. He began his political path by dealing with regional and Arab issues with a nationalist and revolutionary outlook. However, he surprised the world by calling for the recognition of the Israeli occupation entity within the coexistence of two states called "Isratine," as outlined in his White Book. Muammar al-Gaddafi brought forward a political theory of direct and democratic governance based on the people's authority. He did so by establishing Popular Conferences as the legislative body and the people's committees as the executive body. He thoroughly explained his theory in his Green Book, which he compiled in the 1970s and which contains a previously unheard of form of socialism. He claimed the people to be sovereign through the popular committees and conferences so he cracked down on the opposition, filled his jails with prisoners of conscience and forced the exile of politicians. As for outside the confines of his borders, Gaddafi was known for breaching Arab positions after having divorced Arabs and pan-Arabism. In exchange, he called for the formation of the Community of Sahel-Saharan States at the end of the last century. For many years, Gaddafi remained the difficult equation for the US and the West until the Lockerbie incident lead to sanctions on his country. His relationship with the West changed after al-Gaddafi announced his willingness to resolve the issue by paying compensation and trying the suspects in a third country. And after Muammar grudgingly offered some concessions, he entered the American house of obedience. He opened the door to Western cooperation and left behind the Libyan nuclear weapons program in 2003. And despite the belief that no one in Libya opposed him, the Libyan Jamahiriya witnessed a popular uprising that started on February 17, which seems to have been able to end the long years of Gaddafi's dictatorship in Libya.
A look back at the key moments of the February 17 Revolution [Press TV, Iran]
Now, a brief timeline of the six month revolt that has shook Libya. Inspired by the revolutions in neighboring Tunisia and Egypt, the popular uprising in Libya broke out in mid-February. Libya's second largest city Benghazi was the epicenter of the revolt. The city soon turned into the revolutionaries' stronghold. On March 17, the United Nations Security Council voted for a no-fly zone over the country to protect civilians against Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi's regime forces. Accordingly, two days later NATO launched airstrikes against regime forces. However, many civilians and even revolutionary fighters were killed in the attacks.
What will a post-Gaddafi Libya look like? [IBA, Israel]
A little while ago, I spoke with Dr. Jonathan Spyre of the Global Research and International Affairs Center about events in the region asking what kind of Liyba can we expect without Muammar Gaddafi. Spyre: Well it is fascinating to say that to a great extent we just don't know. A British diplomat quoted in the London Daily Telegraph a week ago, described the prospect of the rebels' victory in Libya as potentially representing "catastrophic success," that was the term her used. Because the fact is that we don't actually know a great deal about the people for whom Western air forces have been acting as the air wing for the last months of this rebellion. Worthwhile noting that a leader of the rebels, Abdul Fatah Younis, was killed by his own side a number of weeks ago. The prospect is indeed, in my estimation, for at least a great deal of strife still to come between factions of the opposition as a new leader emerges.
UN delegation visits Homs as Syrian regime seizes weapons at Iraqi border [New TV, Lebanon]
Presenter, Female #1
Following its visit to Rif Dimashq, the UN humanitarian delegation arrived in Homs, where three people were killed today in fresh protests.
Reporter, Female #1
Today's death toll among civilians has risen to five, as confirmed by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The Observatory said that two people were killed and four others were wounded in gunfire by "elements" loyal to the Syrian regime in the city of Misyaf near Hama. US Ambassador Robert Ford visited Hama for the second time. The Observatory added that elements of the regime opened fire on city streets to celebrate Assad's speech. In addition, three more people were killed in Homs during a protest on the Abdul Rahman al-Duroubi Street. The protestors took to the streets as soon as the UN humanitarian delegation announced its plan to visit the city. Syrian opposition websites showed video clips of shooting incidents in "Freedom Square" in Homs, adding that security forces opened fire at the protestors as soon as the UN team left the city. According to the official Syrian story, armed groups opened fire at Syrian police near the provincial building in Homs, as the UN team was passing by. The source added that a policeman was killed and several others were wounded in the shooting. The head of Homs Provincial Council, Ghassan Abdel-Al, said that the gunmen who were onboard a Kia Rio vehicle were pursued and arrested. In another development, the Syrian General Customs Department at the Tanaf border crossing seized a large arms shipment along the Iraqi-Syrian border. The sources added that the shipment was hidden onboard an Iraqi vehicle. According to SANA news agency, President Assad issued a decree to form a "Parties Affairs Committee," led by the interior minister. The committee would handle specific tasks pertaining to the recently issued multi-party law, as part of the political reform program. Meanwhile, attorney and head of the Syrian League for the Defense of Prisoners of Conscience and Opinions, Khalil Maatouk, said that the Syrian authorities released Abdel Karim Rihawi, the head of the Syrian League for the Defense of Human Rights. Rihawi was arrested on August 11 in a Damascus cafe. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon accused President Assad of failing to deliver on his promises. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said that the death toll in the mass protests has reached 2,200. This news comes during a special session held by the UN Human Rights Council, as called for by the Coucil's 23 members, including four Arab countries: Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. The Council called for the formation of an independent committee to investigate human rights violations against civilians in Syria.
Is Syria on the path to becoming another Libya? [ANB, UK]
Presenter, Male #1
Mr. Abdel Wahab Badrakhan, Syria is encircled by the positions of Arab countries and the region, notably Turkey's position, in addition to that of the international community. If the international community threatens to take action, do you think Syria will draw in an intervention if it finds itself in a losing situation? International mobilization could turn the region upside down. Evidence can be found in the current events in Libya, which indicate this is indeed a possibility, while seeking a settlement with the regime also remains a possibility.
Guest, Male #2 (Abdel Wahab Badrakhan, Journalist and Political Writer)
In Libya, there is the possibility of reaching a settlement with the regime because there is a segment of the population that worked and still works with the regime. However, those people also want to know what the future holds for them. The revolutionaries themselves want to reassure Tripoli and Tripoli's residents because more than one third of the Libyan population lives in Tripoli. Therefore, the revolutionaries need these people and they want Tripoli to join the revolution. They also want to go to Tripoli without flooding the city with a civil war and battles between brothers. As for Syria, it previously had its own method of drawing in international interference and going to the edge of the abyss before reaching any agreement. This was completed through the cards Syria dealt regionally in Lebanon, in Iraq, with the Palestinian situation, and others. However, its internal situation is a different matter. The Syrians within the regime did not allow any compromise, nor did they manage to offer any concessions to the people in order to keep foreign countries silent. And they also did not manage to contain the situation, meaning they did prevent all this bloodshed and confrontations. It is obvious the Syrian regime, which has long believed that it plays a powerful role in the region, is suddenly waking up and realizing that it doesn't have any internal policies. It left the internal policies to the security agencies and the ruling party that serve that security apparatus. In turn, the regime did not find a language to address the people, nor did it gain enough credibility to establish something, and not even from the regime's supporters in Syrian society, whose number is still quite large. At this point, both the minority and the majority are no longer confident that the regime can overcome this crisis and guarantee their rights and social and political privileges for which they support the regime. The regime is now differentiating between its supporters in its confrontation with the opposition. I believe that if the regime makes international interference possible, it means that it still is playing the same old game. But the same old game no longer benefits the regime because there won't be a Libya-style military intervention. And there will not even be direct pressure on the regime, meaning there will not be any foreign presence on the Syria territory to force the regime to collapse or to impose change.
Presenter, Male #1
Can you think of any other scenarios?
Guest, Male #2
It all depends on the regime and if it resorts to its old tactics to provoke a civil war.
At that point, it will be a different matter. The regime may be drawn into a civil war, and that is a possibility because it is impossible to envision a regime that does not respond to Barack Obama's call or that of any other leader to resign. Right now, the regime is gambling on its president, its sect, and its family. It also betting on things the regime knows will be greatly damaged if there is change. It is not necessarily as imagined or envisioned right now but there is no doubt that it will hurt both the sect and the family.