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. SCOTT

    The Mosque destruction pictures appear to be fraudulent regarding the times between pictures, just look at the difference in plant and tree sizes near adjacent buildings. That is way more than one months growth and the surrounding landscape and walls are very different. In my opinion at least six months apart in these pictures if not more.

    March 22, 2011 at 1:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Adam Bash

      Lets ask ourselves this question BEFORE WE DEFEND OBAMA or BEFORE WE CONDEMN KHADDAFI...If AMERICANS ATTEMPTED A CIVILIAN REVOLT LIKE IN LIBYA (by the way this rebellion is LED BY EXTREMIST MUSLIMS)...Dont you think AMERICAN PRESIDENT OBAMA WOULD DO THE SAME TO US THAT KHADDAFI IS DOING OVER THERE!?

      March 22, 2011 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • regertz

      No, the President of the United States would not bomb peaceful protestors or even somewhat violent ones unless and until a formal rebellion had been established and efforts at negotiation failed. You can try to put Col Mo in Abe Lincoln's beard but I'm afraid few will buy it.

      No, the Libyan protestors are not confirmed as extremist muslims...The general report indicates they're middle class Libyan professionals in the lead roles and ordinary Libyans in support. Naturally as time goes on extremists may try to take advantage of the situation much like the Communists in Spain during that civil war. All the better then to end it quickly.

      March 22, 2011 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      ADAM ... no need to shout. You can't compare a long time democratic country to a country run by a totalitarian dictator. If we don't like our leaders we vote every few years. They have no such course of action and after 40 years in this case deserve a change. Any civilian trouble here involving guns would be only attempted by those turning their back on the democratic process.

      March 22, 2011 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
  2. alan

    One brainwashing center down. Millions more to go.

    March 22, 2011 at 1:45 am | Report abuse |
    • thinkingallowed

      Your brain is the one that is washed. I am a proud American, trusting in Jesus. Your eyes are glued shut and you do not have the sense to even want them opened. You are a good puppet. I do sometimes wish I could live in bliss, however the tranquility would not be worth the loss of common sense and critical thinking skills. (do you have an opinion?, do you get info from anything but tv and newspapers? All you think comes from what you are told to think, and all that others tell you has happened. Have you ever been there? have you ever read a scholarly journal? Have you ever watched a debate on a full House measure? Do you know how to get info at its source at all? Your thoughts have been handed to you.)

      March 22, 2011 at 10:43 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Miracle

    Omg Allah has saved the mosque from Destruction by Americans!!! .. it will re-appear after they leave! Allah v Akbarr

    March 22, 2011 at 1:45 am | Report abuse |
    • dee

      When it comes to Kadaffy the Mass Murder from hell. Are you part family? If so,go home and help Daffy?

      March 22, 2011 at 7:55 am | Report abuse |
  4. Mainul

    @alan, so the mission is to chop down brainwashing centers? I thought it was to protect innocent civilians in Libya. Or do you believe there are no innocents in Libya?

    March 22, 2011 at 2:05 am | Report abuse |
  5. Brad

    I found where the pictures were taken... =P Well at least one of them.

    http://local.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=&sll=32.753589,12.728305&sspn=0.003717,0.008256&ie=UTF8&ll=32.753589,12.728305&spn=0.003717,0.008256&t=h&z=18

    March 22, 2011 at 2:34 am | Report abuse |
  6. Emmanel

    This is one of Western jokes. They only want to destabilized Libya, to get full access of their crude. Even the media are playing along them by only showing us oppositions view and interest.

    March 22, 2011 at 3:19 am | Report abuse |
    • Patrizia

      Of course! Why countries with no oil are NEVER helped??? DAH!

      March 22, 2011 at 11:08 am | Report abuse |
  7. Liz Carter in Georgia

    Of course there are some innocents in LIBYA! Just like there really are some innocents here in AMERICA; even in WASHINGTON, believe it or not! Everybody's not working off of the GREEDY tip! Some really did want the US to go save the people in LIBYA! They really do think this is a humanitarian mission, as do I! I really don't think the PRESIDENT thought any different either, according to what I've read in the blogosphere! They all were screaming at him to hurry up and get over there; NOW it's all questions!!

    March 22, 2011 at 3:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Dean

      I agree,Obama is not a War Monger! He does not have the bush,chaney,mccain syndrome. "Shoot first,and ask questions Later"? Gop wanted to go in the first days without Nato involvement? Whats their problem now? Its a good thing we have Obama,Clinton leading the way,or we would have our soldiers on the ground by now!!!!

      March 22, 2011 at 7:43 am | Report abuse |
    • Patrizia

      lIZ, EVERYTHING HAS TO BE DISGUISED by a good cause!!!

      March 22, 2011 at 11:09 am | Report abuse |
    • Commojoe

      Dean, people are simply wondering why Obama had to be dragged, kicking and screaming, to take ANY action. You know something is badly wrong and messed up in this world when the US waits for the little punk@$$ French to take action first before we do ANYTHING. And why Libya, why not Darfur or ANY NUMBER of OTHER countries where many more people have been killed. Sounds selective and racist, not to mention oil-hungry to me.

      March 22, 2011 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • mustafa

      liz know this, any good people must adhere to peaceful means. if u get a gun to fight a dictator that means ur the worst dictator, any one holding a gun is nolonger a civilian that`s why gadaffi has to protect the innocent people from the worst dictators and thieves(americans). they don`t bring any peace where they go, wy don`t they go to somalia, ivory coast ,yemen. because there is nothing to steal

      March 22, 2011 at 5:10 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Andy

    who tells me that this is not a fake? So far only CNN did report this!

    March 22, 2011 at 3:59 am | Report abuse |
  9. mara

    To all of those who agree to the actions of the "countries" who ally against any other "country" to simply destroy, kill and obviously retain for themselves that "country" whatever riches they might have, even strategical positions:
    Remember
    1- There was no single war which did not have an economical reason for it (even the Crusades). When you move men and weapons who are worth thousands of dollars, specially if economically at home things are not right, it is cause you are asked to do so by the economical power so that "that economical power" earns more money. In other words, the people in political power at your countries are simple puppets who will sacrifice the money and life of those in your countries to the benefit of "the economical power".
    2- When consumer society (or the economical power) consider the working masses, the American masses, the French masses, etc. or simply we are too many workers on this world and they do not need us any longer, they will just spread a virus (or any other thing) and get rid of the excess. Yep, I mean when we are no longer useful to consumer society, those in economical power will just simply kill us. And being an American or French or whatever is no exception.

    March 22, 2011 at 5:23 am | Report abuse |
    • bbarc

      ...the meek shall ineherit the earth. JC

      March 22, 2011 at 9:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Commojoe

      Pretty fatalist view, there. So I guess AIDS was created for this by your reasoning? Or bubonic plague?

      March 22, 2011 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • BobcatUSN

      How interesting that you hide behind the cloak of AMERICAN FREEDOM and DEMOCROCY here on an AMERICAN BLOG trashing the Capitalist Democrocy that is giving you the FREEDOM of SPEECH that you would never get any where else in the world. Mara...If you live here in the US, then don't let the Lady hit you on the butt with her torch of freedom as you leave our country. If you are not living in the US, then I hope you enjoy your life in Dictatorship, Communism, or Terrorist-State of Oppression!

      March 23, 2011 at 2:35 am | Report abuse |
  10. mara

    And I have another thought.... which you might share
    A country is like a big factory... with a manager (the president) - workers (the population) - and an owner ( who is that one at country´s level?)
    Do you really think that the workers can choose the manager of the factory? ... mmmm.... I do not think we have the real possibility of choosing managers... or presidents... The owner will surely do.... What we might have is the chance to choose between the two or three managers they prepare and choose for us ... it wouldn´t make a difference whoever we choose cause the manager will simply respond to the orders of the owner and never to those of the workers...Transfer that to country level....

    March 22, 2011 at 5:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Nolan

      Everything you just described is called Marxism. I don't agree with you, but it was pretty common historical outlook on the world during the 60s and 70s.

      March 22, 2011 at 5:38 am | Report abuse |
    • mara

      Pitty he was years older ... I would have made lots of money then if I had been born before Marx did. I think this way and I have never read him. I am 27.... but out of date.

      March 22, 2011 at 6:10 am | Report abuse |
    • Ragel

      I think that your logical thinking makes a lot of sense.
      The way it is evolving is not about saving human life.
      It is about carrying our a predetermind motto, project.
      With a great loss to human life and human dignity.
      Give peace a chance !!

      March 22, 2011 at 7:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Patrizia

      You are perfectly right! Presidents are chosen way before the elections! Who are we kidding? Like a poor guy will NEVER be president! Obama was "elected" to appease the people fed up with Bush, thats all, it was merely a change of "colors", nothing more, nothing less. Money rules, not democracy, not the will of the people. How sad

      March 22, 2011 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
    • BobcatUSN

      Why you must go to Brother Jeramiah's Church of Marxism and Racism. I believe he belongs to the same Union as Marxist Terrorist Bill Ayers, Nancy Pelosi, and Chuck the Schmuck Schumer who wanted his buddy Obama to make it illegal for US Auto Workers to work for an Auto Maunufacturer without joining the Union. Of course it was Give em Hell Harry who barely won his Senate Seat back because he had the Union Workers in his back pocket. Maybe it was Tony Soprano who sent some strong men to twist the Arm of a Union Rep to do the right thing...Ya know what I mean!

      March 23, 2011 at 3:57 am | Report abuse |
  11. Mmmmm

    I just want to unrelated say...WINNING!

    March 22, 2011 at 5:55 am | Report abuse |
  12. Tom J W

    Mmmm you are dumb

    March 22, 2011 at 5:58 am | Report abuse |
  13. Tom J W

    Nolan you are dumber then mmmmmm

    March 22, 2011 at 6:00 am | Report abuse |
  14. Tom J W

    But miracle you are the dumbest of all

    March 22, 2011 at 6:02 am | Report abuse |
    • Mmmmm

      @Tom you Jovial Waterhead...it was a shoutout to prevailing Charlie Sheen...Men!

      March 22, 2011 at 6:21 am | Report abuse |
  15. mara

    Ironically Marx ... made lots of money?

    March 22, 2011 at 6:11 am | Report abuse |
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