N. Africa, Mideast protests: Diplomat says Libya long thought Gadhafi crazy
Libyans gather outside a Tripoli bank on Monday to collect promised payments of $300 each from the Gadhafi government.
February 28th, 2011
06:59 PM ET

N. Africa, Mideast protests: Diplomat says Libya long thought Gadhafi crazy

Across the Middle East and North Africa, CNN's reporters and iReporters are covering protests, many of them inspired by revolts in Tunisia and Egypt that toppled those countries' longtime rulers. Check out our story explaining the roots of the unrest in each country and full coverage of the situation in Libya. Have a story to tell from the scene? Click here to send an iReport. CNN's Fareed Zakaria breaks down what the movements toward democracy mean.

Developments on unrest in the Middle East and North Africa:

[LIBYA, 8:30 p.m. ET Monday, 3:30 a.m. local] After United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon met with U.S. President Barack Obama on Monday about possible measures to take regarding Libya, Ban told reporters that "further action may well be necessary."

Gadhafi "has lost his legitimacy when he declared war on his people," Ban said of the Libyan leader. "This is again a totally unacceptable situation. I sincerely hope and urge him to listen to the peoples' call. That's my message to him."

American officials slapped sanctions on Libya on Friday, and the U.N. Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution on Libya on Saturday.

[LIBYA, 6:59 p.m. ET Monday, 1:59 a.m. local] The Libyan ambassador to the United States, Ali Suleiman Aujali, tells CNN that his countrymen have long regarded Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi as crazy, but that Libya has had no alternative to his rule until now.

Aujali's comment came after he reacted to Gadhafi's interview with ABC News and the BBC, in which Gadhafi said Libyans love him and want to protect him, and that the uprising that led him to lose control of Libya's second-largest city was completed by al Qaeda, not the Libyan people.

"I think this man lost touch with reality," Aujali told CNN's Wolf Blitzer on Monday evening, in reaction to Gadhafi's interview. "He doesn't want to realize there are thousands of people protesting against him. He doesn't want to realize that thousands of people have been killed by his soldiers, by citizens of other African countries."

Blitzer remarked that Aujali has said that he has worked as a diplomat for Gadhafi for 40 years, and asked Aujali whether he realized during those 40 years that Gadhafi was crazy.

"Well, I think we realize that he's crazy, but we have no alternative. We have no ways to get rid of him until now, when the people" responded to the Egyptian and Tunisian revolutions with a revolt of their own," Aujali said.

[LIBYA, 5:56 p.m. ET Monday, 12:56 a.m. local] More on Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's interview with ABC News and the BBC: Asked why his people had captured and were holding the nation's
second-largest city, Benghazi, Gadhafi said it was al Qaeda, not the Libyan people, who had done so. "Al Qaeda," he said. "They came from outside."

ABC's Christiane Amanpour, in a posting on the network's website, said Gadhafi questioned how the international community could freeze his assets, impose sanctions and embargo arms sales based on media reports, and invited the United Nations to carry out an independent "fact-finding mission."

[LIBYA, 3:51 p.m. ET Monday, 10:51 p.m. local] Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi sounds "delusional," the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations said Monday.

Ambassador Susan Rice added during the White House briefing that "when he can laugh when talking to American and international journalists while he is slaughtering his own people, it only underscores how unfit he is to lead and how disconnected he is from reality."

[LIBYA, 3:30 p.m. ET Monday, 10:30 p.m. local] Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi on Monday denied the existence of the protests that have threatened his hold on power.

In a joint interview with ABC News and the BBC, Gadhafi also denied using force against his people. "They love me, all my people with me, they love me all. They will die to protect me, my people," he said, according to an excerpt posted on the BBC's website.

[LIBYA, 11:16 a.m. ET Monday, 6:17 p.m. local] The United States is "repositioning" naval and air forces in the Mediterranean/North Africa region to be prepared for any option that they may need to exercise, Pentagon spokesman Col. David Lapan tells CNN.

[LIBYA, 10:17 a.m. ET Monday, 5:17 p.m. Monday local] "Col. Gadhafi needs to step aside," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Monday. The Obama administration is attempting to contact people in Libya trying to form a new government, he said.

Carney also said that "exile is certainly one option" for Gadhafi and that the U.S. government is considering the possibility of imposing a no-fly zone over Libya.

[LIBYA, 9:42 a.m. ET Monday, 4:42 p.m. Monday local] A Libyan air force jet bombed a military base outside Ajdabiya, 150 kilometers west of Benghazi, on Monday, CNN's Ben Wedeman reports.

This is a base where heavy weapons and ammunition that belong to the Libyan military are kept.

This area has a number of military bases that have been abandoned by the Libyan military and are now manned by troops loyal to the protesters.

[SWITZERLAND, 9:38 a.m. ET Monday, 3:38 p.m. Monday local] The people of Libya have made clear it is time for leader Moammar Gadhafi to go now, without violence or delay, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva.

[EGYPT, 6:40 a.m. ET Monday, 1:40 p.m. Monday local] Egypt's attorney general will seize all of the properties of former President Hosni Mubarak and his family and bar then from traveling outside the country, authorities said.

[OMAN, 4:35 a.m. ET Monday, 1:35 p.m. Monday local] The sultan of Oman has ordered the hiring of 50,000 citizens in the aftermath of weekend protests that left at least one person dead and 11 others injured, state-run media reported.

[LIBYA, 3:32 a.m. ET Monday, 10:32 a.m. Monday local] The Libyan ambassador to South Africa told journalists Monday he will not step down from his position despite resignations by colleagues who worked for Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's government.

Abdullah Alzubedi said he still needs "to serve the needs of Libyans living in South Africa and help South Africa evacuate its citizens," but said Gadhafi "should take the ultimate decision to step down in the interest of Libya."

[LIBYA, 2:45 a.m. ET Monday, 9:45 a.m. Monday local] As relentless unrest enters a 14th day Monday, Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi remained defiant and gave no indication of appeasing protesters' demands for him to leave.

But Gadhafi seemed increasingly cornered as security forces defected to the opposition in a town near the capital and the United Nations Security Council voted for tough restrictions and possible war crimes charges against the Libyan regime.

[LIBYA, 1:08 a.m. ET Monday, 8:08 a.m. Monday local] British Prime Minister David Cameron says a military-led rescue mission into the Libyan desert was "the right thing to do," despite the fact that U.K. planes didn't have permission to enter Libyan airspace.

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Filed under: Africa • Algeria • Bahrain • Egypt • Protest • Tunisia • Yemen
soundoff (134 Responses)
  1. LogicInjector

    @Steve: I'm not arguing your point about the Donald. When it comes to revenge and forgiveness where do you stand? You don't want a leader who doesn't forgive yet takes vengeance upon someone? That's fine, but are u saying Gadhafi deserves forgiveness or not? If not then bringing him to justice or assassinating him is a form of revenge. You can call it what you want but an eye for an eye is still revenge. Didn't the donald not take revenge upon Gadhafi by allowing him a place to stay? Was that not forgiveness or compassion? Are you now unwilling to forgive Trump and therefore take revenge upon him by not voting for him? See the contradiction? I won't vote for him based on his flip flopping of party loyalty.

    February 28, 2011 at 10:45 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Fred Bartkowski

    Plenty of the American People live in the equivalent of a mud hut.
    And donald trump believes in the golden rule. He who has the gold makes the rules.
    Maybe he should go run china.

    February 28, 2011 at 10:53 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Fred Bartkowski

    Hey the donald, I'd like to open a dispensary in nevada.
    I will vote for you if you loan me the money.

    February 28, 2011 at 10:58 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Cesar

    ¿Qué pasó con tomcat y Chrissy? Se trata de Phillip por el camino. Recuerde mis ideas sobre The Carlyle Group y la cuenca del Caspio?

    February 28, 2011 at 11:39 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Cesar

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    March 1, 2011 at 1:00 am | Report abuse |
  6. Cesar

    Ay, Cesar, tu pinche puta madra cabron maricon joto

    March 1, 2011 at 1:03 am | Report abuse |
  7. Cesar

    Then again, the bigger tragedy is the fact that I had to dump my boyfriend Pablito. He was so abusive.

    March 1, 2011 at 1:06 am | Report abuse |
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    March 1, 2011 at 1:20 am | Report abuse |
  9. personny

    Israel is becoming a nation. http://nopolicestate.blogspot.com/2011/01/egypt_29.html

    March 1, 2011 at 2:25 am | Report abuse |
  10. Cesar

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    March 1, 2011 at 2:38 am | Report abuse |
  11. Mohamad

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    March 1, 2011 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Security Tool

    hello guys
    The United States and its allies should come together on a solution about Colonel Moammar Gadhafi and help the innocent Libyan citizens that are fighting for their freedom, individual rights, more opportunies for life in Libya, and a democracy within Libya. Cheap talk and 'sanctions' are NOT going to do it.
    Security Tool

    March 5, 2011 at 1:09 am | Report abuse |
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