Libya live blog: 'Libyans are laughing at these rockets,' Gadhafi says
Addressing a crowd of supporters Tuesday, Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi ridicules coalition forces attacking his country.
March 22nd, 2011
10:44 PM ET

Libya live blog: 'Libyans are laughing at these rockets,' Gadhafi says

The latest developments on the situation in Libya, where coalition forces launched a series of coordinated airstrikes on Saturday after they were convinced Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi was not adhering to a cease-fire mandated by the United Nations. Read our complete story and check out our full coverage on unrest in the Arab world. Also, don't miss a gripping, high-resolution gallery of images from Libya.

[11:37 p.m. Tuesday ET, 3:50 a.m. Wednesday in Libya] Loud explosions rocked the Libyan capitol of Tripoli early Wednesday. Hours before, Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi vowed to fight back against international forces seeking to impose a no-fly zone in his country.

"We will not give up," he said to a crowd of supporters in a speech broadcast on state television Tuesday. "They will not terrorize us. We will defeat them by any method."

[9:33 p.m. Tuesday ET, 3:33 a.m. Wednesday in Libya] We were unable to update the blog for the past few hours due to technical difficulties. Here's what we missed:

– As of Tuesday, the U.S. military has flown 212 sorties over Libya, while 124 were flown by other coalition forces. A total of 108 strikes have been carried out and 162 Tomahawk missiles have been fired, the U.S. military reported.

– Libya’s central bank holds billions of dollars worth of gold, and despite the no-fly zone and sanctions, this could be useful to Gadhafi as he tries to survive, an international commercial attorney says.

– The United States' costs related to the military intervention in Libya already are in the hundreds of millions of dollars, and this has sparked a debate over funding, CNNMoney reports.

To date, the United States has spent some $225 million firing Tomahawk missiles, according to CNN estimates based on U.S. Navy figures. The cost could reach up to $800 million to fully establish the no-fly zone and another $100 million a week to maintain it going forward, said Zack Cooper, a senior analyst for the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments.

– More on U.S. President Barack Obama's comments in El Salvador: He said that once leadership of the military mission in Libya shifts from the United States to an international coalition, "it is not going to be our planes maintaining the no-fly zone" and "it is not going to be our ships that are necessarily involved in enforcing the arms embargo."

Obama said the international support for the military mission, with NATO allies and Arab nations taking part, meant that "the United States is not going to be bearing all the costs."

– Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi has told a crowd of supporters that he will emerge victorious in his battle with international forces.

"We will not give up," he said, many of them waving green flags in a speech broadcast on state television. "They will not terrorize us. We are making fun of their rockets. The Libyans are laughing at these rockets. We will defeat them by any method."

Gadhafi called the coalition's efforts "blatant aggression by a group of fascists" and predicted the coalition's members "will be sent to history's dustbin."

He said Libyans "are leading the international war against imperialism, against despots and I tell you, I do not scare."

– U.S. President Barack Obama, speaking during a trip in El Salvador, said the Libyan people will remain under threat as long as Moammar Gadhafi remains in power, unless Gadhafi "changes his approach."

Obama said that military mission has already saved lives in the rebel controlled city of Benghazi by preventing Gadhafi from unleashing his military on people there, Obama said. In the end, he said, the American people "are going to be satisfied that lives were saved" by the U.S. military action.

Obama said he had "no doubt" that the United States will be able to shift control of the Libyan military mission to an international coalition, and that the timetable for such a transition continued to be in coming days, rather than weeks. Read about the squabbling among NATO countries over who, exactly, will take control of the mission.

– Four children in the same family were among 13 civilians killed Tuesday during clashes between Gadhafi forces and revels in Misrarta, a city under siege two hours east of Tripoli, said Dr. Khaled Mansouri of Misrata Central Hospital.

Mansouri told CNN about 30 other people were injured in Misrata on Tuesday. The death toll from the clashes in the city stands at 90 over the last five days.

– The United States expects additional Arab support for the coalition enforcing the no-fly zone over Libya, a senior administration official told reporters, according to CNN’s Elise Labott. So far, Qatar is the only Arab country that has contributed planes to the mission.

The official, who could not be named because of the sensitivity of the diplomacy, said several Arab states are in the process of finalizing their plans, adding the Obama administration was "confident we will have further concrete contributions of different kinds" for enforcement of the resolution in the next two to three days.

– More information regarding a U.S. Air Force jet that crashed in Libya late Monday night: It went down after experiencing an equipment malfunction, the U.S. military said. Both crew members ejected safely and are now out of Libya and in American hands, the U.S. military said.

A pilot and weapons officer aboard the F-15E Strike Eagle had flown from Aviano Air Base in Italy to Libya when the fighter experienced problems, the U.S. military command for Africa said in a statement. Both pilots ejected and landed safely in Libya.

Here's a PDF of the military’s timeline of the incident and rescues.

– More on comments from Adm. Samuel Locklear III, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa: He said multinational airstrikes would continue until Moammar Gadhafi stops attacking his people. So far, he said, Gadhafi is violating the Security Council resolution by continuing to using force.

[3:50 p.m. Tuesday ET, 9:50 p.m. Tuesday in Libya] Tension is mounting between allies about who should command the mission to protect civilians and enforce a no-fly zone in Libya, CNN's Paula Newton reports.

After heated exchanges between NATO ambassadors in Brussels, the alliance announced Tuesday an operation to enforce an arms embargo against Libya, but it went no further on deciding if or when NATO would take command of the military mission already under way, in which several allies are participating.

The United States has expressed its desire to take a back seat in the operation and hand over any command role to European allies. Italy is demanding that NATO take a lead role in the military and political decision-making for the mission; France is reluctant to submit to NATO command.

[12:31 p.m. Tuesday ET, 6:31 p.m. Tuesday in Libya] The power of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's air force has been diminished to the point where it will "not have any negative impact" on coalition members conducting airstrikes, Adm. Samuel Locklear III, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa, said Tuesday.

[12:24 p.m. Tuesday ET, 6:24 p.m. Tuesday in Libya] Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's forces are attacking civilians in the city of Misrata, Adm. Samuel Locklear III, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa, told reporters Tuesday. "We will continue to make him comply" with the United Nations Security Council resolution, Locklear said.

[12:01 p.m. Tuesday ET, 6:01 p.m. Tuesday in Libya] A senior defense official says both the pilot and weapons officer from an Air Force F1-5 that crashed in Libya are now safely out of the country.

[10:44 a.m. Tuesday ET, 4:44 p.m. Tuesday in Libya] The port in the Libyan capital of Tripoli appears to have been hit by a missile strike overnight, CNN's Nic Robertson reports. He says he can see the smoldering remains of several large military rocket launcher systems. Witnesses told CNN they saw missiles strike in the port area overnight.

[10:30 a.m. Tuesday ET, 4:30 p.m. Tuesday in Libya] NATO on Tuesday said it will begin to enforce an arms embargo against Libya.

NATO ships and aircraft "will conduct operations to monitor, report and, if needed, interdict vessels suspected of carrying illegal arms or mercenaries," according to a NATO statement.

The alliance will also help enforce the no-fly zone over Libya, the statement from NATO's secretary-general said.

[9:56 a.m. Tuesday ET, 3:56 p.m. Tuesday in Libya] The United Nations World Food Program stepped up food supplies for hungry people crossing Libya's borders, the agency said Tuesday. It has been airlifting and pre-positioning portable warehouses and office equipment as  part of regional contingency plans. The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees said humanitarian assistance under current circumstances is challenging. There are reported shortages of medical supplies and basic commodities in the eastern part of the country and prices have spiked dramatically. The refugee agency said the bloodshed has displaced thousands of Libyans from their homes.

[9:35 a.m. Tuesday ET, 3:35 p.m. Tuesday in Libya] The Spanish parliament on Tuesday approved Spanish military participation in the international coalition operating in Libya. The vote was 336 in favor to 3 opposed, with one abstention, the speaker of the parliament announced after the vote, which was telecast live in Spain.

The parliamentary approval was required under Spanish law, but Spain has already sent to a base in southern Italy four F-18 fighters and a Boeing 707 refueling plane, and two of the fighters and the refueling plane were in action on Monday, before the vote, the Spanish defense minister
said.

[9:22 a.m. Tuesday ET,3:22 p.m. Tuesday in Libya] Two journalists with Agence France-Presse were arrested Saturday in Libya, the news agency said. Dave Clark, a British journalist, and Roberto Schmidt, a German photographer, were arrested in the Ajdabiya region, said AFP editor in chief for France, Jean Luc Bardet.

Their driver said they were arrested by the Libyan military, Bardet said. AFP has not had contact with the two since Friday, Bardet said.

[8:43 a.m. Tuesday ET, 2:43 p.m. Tuesday in Libya] The United Arab Emirates had been prepared to send two aircraft squadrons to participate in the international effort to enforce a no-fly zone over Libya, said Maj. Gen. (Staff) Pilot Khaled Abdullah Al-Buainnain - the former commander of the Emirates' air force and air defense.  However, he said, those plans have changed due to criticism by the United States and the European Union of the Gulf Cooperation Council's deployment of troops to help the monarchy stabilize Bahrain. The UAE has chosen not to take a military role in Libya until Washington and the European Union clarify their position on the use of troops in Bahrain, but it will contribute to the humanitarian effort in Libya, Al-Buainnain said.

[7:42 a.m. Tuesday ET, 1:42 p.m. Tuesday in Libya] Both crew members from a U.S. fighter jet that crashed in Libya "are safe," the U.S. military said in a statement Tuesday. A U.S. military plane picked up the pilot, a senior defense official said. Libyan rebels recovered the second crew member and "took good care of him" until coalition forces "could come get him," the official said. Both crew members are out of Libya, the official said.

[7:29 a.m. Tuesday ET, 1:29 p.m. Tuesday in Libya] Both crew members from a U.S. F-15 fighter jet that crashed in Libya "are safe," the U.S. military said in a statement Tuesday.

[6:50 a.m. Tuesday ET, 12:50 p.m. Tuesday in Libya] A U.S. Air Force F-15 jet has crashed in Libya, Kenneth Fidler, a spokesman for U.S. Africa Command, said Tuesday. Two pilots ejected from the plane. One has been recovered, and the second is still being sought. The crash was "not due to enemy or hostile actions," Fidler said. The plane was flying from Europe, he said.

[6:32 a.m. Tuesday ET, 12:32 p.m. Tuesday in Libya] One crewman has been recovered and another is in the process of being recovered after a U.S. Air Force F-15 crashes in rebel-controlled area of Libya, the U.S. military says, according to Reuters.

[6:16 a.m. Tuesday ET, 12:16 p.m. Tuesday in Libya] A U.S. Air Force F-15 Eagle fighter has crashed, apparently because of mechanical failure, in a rebel-controlled area of Libya, according to Arab media reports. The pilot has been rescued, according to the reports.

[5:48 a.m. Tuesday ET, 11:13 a.m. Tuesday in Libya] The United Arab Emirates said at least two aircraft squadrons are ready to be deployed within 48 hours to support the international mission in Libya, a military leader said.

[3: 13 a.m. Tuesday ET, 9:13 a.m. Tuesday in Libya] An international mission to weaken the force of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi has stopped the ruler's momentum, a U.S. official said. But criticism and questions about the operation persist, with no clear answer on who will take over command of the military operation and what the end game will be.

[1: 57 a.m. Tuesday ET, 7:57 a.m. Tuesday in Libya] A CNN correspondent on Monday angrily rejected a report by the Fox network that he and other journalists were used as human shields by Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi to prevent a missile attack on his compound.

The Fox story, labeled "exclusive" and posted on the Fox website Monday, said the presence of news crews from CNN, Reuters and other organizations forced a British aircraft to call off firing seven Storm Shadow missiles at the area that already had been hit.

"Officials from Libya's Ministry of Information brought those journalists to the area to show them damage from the initial attack and to effectively use them as human shields," said the Fox report.

According to the Fox story, the curtailed strike "led to a great deal of consternation by coalition commanders."

Nic Robertson, a veteran CNN correspondent who was part of the CNN crew cited in the Fox story, called the rival network's report "outrageous and hypocritical."

[12: 17 a.m. Tuesday ET, 6:17 a.m. Tuesday in Libya]
Satellite images of a Libyan city, provided to CNN by an intelligence source, appear to show evidence that pro-Gadhafi forces razed a mosque that recently served as a rebel command center.

The two images of an area of Zawiya, west of Tripoli, were taken Feb. 20 and March 20, according to the source, who provided them on condition of anonymity.

[11 p.m. Monday ET, 5 a.m. Tuesday in Libya] The United States fired 20 Tomahawk cruise missiles into Libya in the past 12 hours, a military spokeswoman said early Tuesday morning from the Mediterranean Sea. A total of 159 Tomahawks have been fired by the United States and the United Kingdom since an international coalition started Operation Odyssey Dawn on Saturday.

Cmdr. Monica Rousselow, a spokeswoman for the task force, also said one of the three U.S. submarines that participated at the beginning of the operation has since departed the area. She declined to say which submarine.

soundoff (258 Responses)
  1. BobcatUSN

    Yeah Dean...you tell em! Tell everyone how Obama went to get a consencus from the UN, NATO, and the Arab League. ANNNNT...Wrong Answer! Oops, he forgot to go over to the ole Halls of Congress for a Group Hug, and thier Blessings to spend the Millions that we barely have to function as a Government. Oh...and by the by my good man, it was Obama who shyed away from taking action or take a decision to have a No Fly Zone, and tell that Col. Wacko of Lybia to get the H Double Two Sticks out of Dodge! The one wo pushed for the military intervention led by NATO was Hillary Clinton, who has a bigger set of Brass Ones, and understands the US Military and National Security, and is truly a diffeent Bird then her Hubby, Bill. Clinton made that case to Obama and pushed for the No Fly, No Drive Zone for our North-African Terrorist Dictator friend in Lybia. Oh, and by the by....any US President who feels that they want to send the US Military by Executive Order, they can do so without Congressional Approval. Of course, in the long run if Obama left American Military Forces in the Lybian Theatre of Operations for longer then he promised, then Congress could choose to not fund any further US military involvement in Lybia or Obama could get stuborn or the Europeans and Arabs could whine to get the thier Uncle Sam to pay them another visit in the North-African Sand Box to play. Either way, President Liberal Socialist Barrack Husain Obama has officially adapted the GOP Bush Doctrine in Afgahnistan, and has now started another war in the Middle East that he can now call his very own War. While I believe he is doing the right thing, he is definately lacking leadership. In fact, that Harvard Lawyer has started a War, while not claiming that he's in charge, where by he can escape the criticism of being a hypocrite promising to bring US troops home, and never start another War. Obama can't have it both ways. If he can't man-up, then he should let Hillary take over. At least she understands Forgien Affairs, and how to use the US Military. Clinton's right, because after our Muslim Terrorist North-African Dictator in Lybia committed terrorist attacks blowing up some civillian Jet-Liners and some US Military in a Disco in Germany, and killed countless Lybian people, Reagan ordered Air Strikes on Lybia, and we didn't hear from him again for over twenty years. Oh and for all of you wanna be international tribunals, President Reagan tried to Kill a President of a sovergn nation-state. Well oh yeah....he is a Freakin Dictator, and Vladimir is a Freakin KGB Communist Mob Boss for supportting the Communist, Socialist, and Islamic Dictators of the world like when he called the US Crusaders trying to score points with the Muslim Arab World who is on the side of the US, while poor Russia has no power or influence any more.

    March 23, 2011 at 3:35 am | Report abuse | Reply
  2. arafath

    Asian and African continental join together and come out of UN. Because UN is the puppet of USA. America is not a COP of the world. interfering other countries internal matter, staling oil from arabr country, Attacking poor country all these things only america did so far. They never helped any poor country so faar. so many African people die without food. they never bothered. The world dangerous Terrorist country is US. SO it is rest of the worlds duty to Destroy America. If not .... When Tsunami or Kartrina or Quake happens in US entire wold will dance! A single eye drop dosent fall from any human being!!

    March 23, 2011 at 4:26 am | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Arafath

    I am a flaming butt pirate. I love to take it in the rear. I am gay dude looking for other fruits to party with. Let's get bizzy and I will schlobs some knobs. I iz gay!!

    March 23, 2011 at 7:17 am | Report abuse | Reply
  4. MMA fight announced

    Let's get ready to rumble!!!! Arafath and Mustafa v BobcatUSN and truthwillprevail! Its gonna be a tag team battle royal! Let's get bizzy and stary promoting the fight of the century. Only $44.95 on pay-per-view! The loser of the fight gets butt slammed on tv by gay, black weightlifters!!!

    March 23, 2011 at 8:01 am | Report abuse | Reply
  5. david s

    @ cali cal I realy dont like your threats people like you need to be put on a boat and sent back were you come from!

    March 23, 2011 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  6. AlphaZeta

    I appreciate seeing and reading sincere and genuinely heart felt comment from contributors. Here, here, for freedom of expression. However those other who clutter and litter this blog with their nefarious illiterate and inane contributions are a good example of the type of mentality that has bought so much trouble to our world while never contributing and good.

    March 23, 2011 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  7. peaceword

    . . .". . .THE LAUGHING LIBYAN . . ."
    . . .Libyan leader Moammar Gadaffi recently said at a news microphone in Tripoli, "LIBYANS ARE LAUGHING AT THESE ROCKETS." Gadaffi then grabbed the microphone and laughed into it: "HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA."
    . . . Some of the people in the audience also laughed with him: "HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA."
    . . .Ghadaffi continued to laugh into the microphone: HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA.
    . . . Everyone in the audience was laughing about the rockets. Moammar was laughing. His Loyalist audience was laughing. Moammar continued to laugh. "HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA."

    March 23, 2011 at 9:27 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  8. AlphaZeta

    I am a lezbo freak. I love to chow box and I also wanna get butt slammed in da pooper. Bend me over with yo strap-on and rock it!!!!!!!

    March 24, 2011 at 1:37 am | Report abuse | Reply
  9. david s

    I am a gay nutbar ho-mo! Come on big boy. Bend me over and rock my poop chute! Let's play with yo disco stick you fairies!!

    March 24, 2011 at 1:39 am | Report abuse | Reply
  10. jeanpauld

    Misrata: OK. If loyalist snipers are inflicting casualties, it may mean they're operating forward of enemy conventional forces in the city. Spot their locations or general areas of operation. They may need to fall-back in order to provision, rest and report. When they do, you may move to their last known position and temporarily deny them that vantage by contaminating it with filth, stench, broken bottles, grease and oil. If only a general area is suspected, then strategically located spills of grease, oil, dusts, wet paint and powders will serve to help track movements as well as provide foot-prints and assist in identification. Discretely placed seemingly random objects may help you detect enemy sniper movements if disturbed. They're called "tells" (ask). If the snipers are not falling-back to enemy army or militia positions in their rear-areas, the may have a loyalist base-of-support within Misrata (agents or loyalist sympathizers). Tracks from snipers soiled with persistent and unique liquids and dusts may lead you to them. Always take prisoners. Failure to do so is a war-crime and is counter-productive to your cause. Reduce the effectiveness of the snipers in Mistrata by generating thick smoke during the day and dousing lights at night. Scanners and radios may be use to intercept their chatter and help locate them. Contaminate or render useless, foul or dangerous any vantage-point that is potentially useful to enemy snipers (ask about booby-traps as well) if you are unable to hold these positions yourselves. It's likely they will not attempt to clean-up and the position will be effectively denied them. Remember it is more difficult (but not impossible) for allied air-strikes to target individual lone-snipers. Render the obvious points of entry and exit to neighborhoods impassable or difficult and use secret paths known only to local residents. You may consider breaching inner-walls to move from house-to-house under cover and concealment.

    March 27, 2011 at 4:05 am | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Darrell Friel

    Everyone is asking, why are we in Libya? How much is this going to cost? This is what my son said ( who went to college and got a degree in Crimial Justice. After college he wanted to serve his country so he enlisted in the Army Infantry, the food soliders, trained to go in and know how to fight on the ground.

    He said. The only Nation that is trained in the military to go in and know how to set up a NO FLY ZONE Is the USA. We are trained as the greatest military in the world, no other country hasa military like the USA We have the ability 1-2-3- NO FLY ZONE. We got it done didn't we and fast.

    Now we need to stand behind our President in his decisions. He did not start the Gulf War, George Bush did, Clinton had our counry out of debt. Bush got us in debt, because he wanted to do what Daddy should have done. Obama was not the one that got us in such a economic debt. Bush was and now he gets to reitire and drinnk and pass the debt to Obama. Bush was asked what are you going to do now that you couldn't do as president. His answer was drink.
    Our president today id drawning our people out of Iraq. We need to help train these people against Gaddafi, he is a Hitlor, ane is crazy killing his own people. He thinks he is God but he is just a little black speck on the face of the world, that needs to disappear.

    DO WE REALLY WANT TO LIVE IN A NATION THAT SETS ON ITS BUTT AND DOES NOTHING? I AM PROUD THAT WE HELP THE UNDER DOG. LET THE PRESIDENT DO HIS JOB. WE DIDN'T SAY ANYTHING ABOUT BUSH IN IRAQ, WHICH COST BILLIONS UPON BILLIONS. WE ARE THE SUPER POWER OF THE WORLD. LET US DO OUR JOB AND HELP THESE PEOPLE- GOD BLESS AMERICA AND HAS ALWAYS BLESSED AMERICA, ONE NATION UNDER ONE GOD.

    March 31, 2011 at 11:29 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  12. allourblogs

    for our opinion on libya and the American interaction, check out our site at:

    http://allourblogsblogs.blogspot.com/2011/07/libya-why-this-sucks.html

    quick statement as why we're involved (I know I'm getting away from promoting like I was) but uh UN-1973 and Operation Odessy Dawn.

    July 31, 2011 at 1:28 am | Report abuse | Reply
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