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

[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. Ahamed

    From the ways things are going right now,I presume that what Nostradamus(the man who saw tomorow) predicted is coming to pass.He said there will be A a king of terro,wearing a blue turban,described as the terror of man kind,that there will be a war.
    And in this war the us and uk and franch are going
    To fight agint the terro of man kind.could Gaddafi be the terro of man kind?let
    all wise.

    March 22, 2011 at 8:05 am | Report abuse |
    • Eddy

      Is Ahamed a muslem or christain name? I love to see both religion knowing each other.And thanks for your quick reflection.But its not time yet,from 2012 to 2022 something will change the order of the world,I believe its gearing to it and suspect yhe terro to be China,North Korea,Iran,and Russia.


      March 22, 2011 at 8:20 am | Report abuse |
    • bbarc

      I don't think we need to worry about him. There are much more powerful men with similiar sensibilties.

      March 22, 2011 at 9:41 am | Report abuse |
    • bbarc

      For Eddy, I am in agreement!

      March 22, 2011 at 9:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Donald McDaniel

      Ahamed, please realize that Mr. Ghaddafi wears a GREEN turban, or a reddish/yellowish turban, but NOT a BLUE turban.

      So your theory, based on Messr. Nostradamus' "predictions", falls flat before your naieve eyes.


      March 22, 2011 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Pamm

    Libya air strikes are backed by the US and the intelligent people know deep inside their heart that it is not because of Gaddafi killing his own people, but it is the greed of oil. Britain, France and US have so bad economy that after 2 years they cannot survive, the oil in Iraq has been used and now they need more oil and money so Libya is a easy target.This like a Mafia from Hollywood film.Portugese,Greece, had problems but no one interfered, but why now. One thing is clear , this will not end here. Next it will be Bahrain, Syria,Abu Dubai and all the oil countries one by one. Denmark made billions from all the contracts after Iraq war, so this small country is sendin 6 planes, hoping to get reward from this oil rich Libya.These countries have tasted blood once and now the will not stop. Wait for more deaths of civilians , more the Gadafi killed his people, the strikes have killed 10 times more civilians.World War 3 should be in the future.

    March 22, 2011 at 8:17 am | Report abuse |
  3. karl the prophet

    Nostradamus was a cut rate seer. Here's what will really happen.
    The US will hand off responsibility for the nofly zone to nobody. Nobody will muddle the situation for years not months.
    Unless ghadaffi dies of a heart attack using an irradiated pen to sign a check. Make it happen Russia.

    March 22, 2011 at 8:19 am | Report abuse |
  4. Raymond Charne

    Guys no need to argue this is about oil. US have millions of homless some of who die everyday, why not concentrate on these who are dying!!!

    March 22, 2011 at 8:48 am | Report abuse |
  5. harry


    March 22, 2011 at 8:54 am | Report abuse |
  6. Truth

    applaud to mara statements WELL SAID and MADE SENSE

    there are other nations killing their own people more than Libya why the UN tries to help – wearing a blind eye.
    A real genuine help to the Lybia people for democracy is not FORCES (BOMBINGS) BUT talking and meeting up all the leaders as WE HUMAN DOES not like gangsters and bad children fighting to each other ( fire to fire kills and hurts even the effect will be unbearable) so please STOP ANY MORE CALSULTIES AND POLUTED THE innocent ENVIRONMENTS IT IS VERY HEARTBROKEN TO SEE ANY MORE DESTRUCTIONS ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD canot help with the natural disasters but can stop man-made disasters...

    March 22, 2011 at 9:02 am | Report abuse |
    • Len in Florida

      Im mad, you said everything I wanted to say in a less winded way, Nicely stated.

      When I was a kid, down my street was a family that ALL of thir kids were bullies. They would beat you up as to look at ya. Well my mom and my friends moms would just tell us to stay away from them...dont play with them...dont even go to their house. If they want to be that way they can stay on their own side of the street. That logic worked, for the most part moste spent some time in jail and later just moved out.

      March 22, 2011 at 9:18 am | Report abuse |
    • Donald McDaniel

      That would be great, my friend - IF (and that's a BIG, HUGE "If") Mr. Ghadaffi were willing to talk with his own People. But he is NOTwilling.

      The ONLY way Libya can be "fixed" is by removing the CAUSE of their problems: Mr. Ghadaffi.
      Then, and ONLY then will the Libyan people be free to work out their own problems in PEACE an relative safety.

      But first, Ghadaffi's arms, legs, and eyes must be torn to pieces, and his carcass be thrown to the eagles for a rich meal. (PLEASE don't take me literally, folks. This statement is allegorical). It's up to the Libyan people to decide his richly-deserved fate, not us.

      Christ tells us to come to the aid of those being oppressed. That is what President Obama is doing. If Jesus tells us to do it, I see nothing wrong in our actions.

      BTW, Most of Libya's oil goes to EUROPE, NOT the USA, so few in the US will ever be enriched with that oil. Nuff said.


      March 22, 2011 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Len in Florida

    I dont know where to begin. Human rights on the Libyan citizens my big 'ol butt. Its about oil and what Libyia has to off the U.S.. The citizens of Libyan knew all about Ghadaffi for years and what he'll do and the kinda leader he is. If thats what they want, well hell let them have 'em. Who are we to decide who is right and who is wrong. Look at all the small and barely known countries in Africa. The have the same type leadership doing the same thing and we do little and I mean little to help them because they have nothing to offer. We put sanctions on them, big deal. This type of thing has been going on in this region of this world for centuries and probably will for more. Let 'em be, let 'em kill each other off. Thats the way it has been and going to be. Can you imagine if other countries got involved with our Civil War (1861-1865) or our Jim Crowe laws (Civil Rights 1865 – ?)

    We have to STOP being the worlds police department. We cant even get our own affairs in order let alone spend BILLIONS on the worlds problems. By no means am I a pacifist but come on government, lets get our own 'Ducks in a Row'

    Len, I dont think Obama did this for re-election points but in fact its going to kill or weaken his chances

    March 22, 2011 at 9:10 am | Report abuse |
    • bbarc

      Plessy v Ferguson.

      March 22, 2011 at 9:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Ali

      You know Len, if you want to lead the world like the US, you need to be responsible. If oil is going to save my people so be it. Why not. I know, you would say how about others. The thing that you might not be aware is that Gaddafi has been doing this (atrocities) for the past 42 years and no one believed us until know. Gaddafi is not only dangerous for the Libyans but also for the whole world. We do not mind paying whatever it takes even if we give all of our oil to US and EU but save the Libyans. The Libyans have never benefited from the oil in the past 42years anyways, so what difference does it make if we lose it for the sake of safety. You know Len, with all due respect to what the mums have done with the bully family but it was not the right approach, especially with certain people like this mad creature. I cannot classify him as a human. I would insult them, if I do. We have been as you said may be pacifists for 42 years but this made him even madder thinking of himself as may be God. You cannot say a little, very little "No" to him. You cannot imagine what he has been doing to us nowadays. It is really really ugly. Check for videos. What US and UN do is the right thing, and I hope they do not stop until he is out. This link has very very upsetting photos, just few days ago:
      Just to show you the brutality that this creature used to crush peaceful civilians. This is creature is a causing a very bad nightmare that has not ended yet. Now we are trying to stop him and defend ourselves as he is not stopping even in the cities where people stopped uprising.

      March 22, 2011 at 11:08 am | Report abuse |
    • bbarc

      For Ali. Hopefully, a positve result may come of this. May God be with you.

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

      Len in Florida.......I believe the french and english were involved in your civil war.

      March 22, 2011 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
  8. fRED

    If you are feeling nostalgic for the good old days HBO is planning a dick Cheney miniseries.
    The effects of higher food and gasoline prices will spill over broadly into the economy at large.
    Rampant, run away inflation is here to stay.

    March 22, 2011 at 9:16 am | Report abuse |
  9. steeldon

    the ARAB league have no right to decide what to do with Libya because its an organization not a continent these decisions should have been made by the ARICAN UNION, when the AU were preparing to send envoy to meet both parties in Libya so the a peacfull solutions will be acomplished the so called western powers ignore the AU which they knew will not allow millitary actions against libya so they call for the Arab league which is an organization which you join only if u want but a continent than can never be taken away from it was ignore and and the west did not give peace a chance and now the white elephants are destroying our continent for us this is a violation of territorial integrity of the ARICAN CONTINENT , even there is clear evidence that the west and the opposition rebels are one because us figther jet the crush one of the crew was recovered by the rebels took good care of him until the western force came for him now the whole world have seen it

    March 22, 2011 at 9:29 am | Report abuse |
    • Ali

      I don't know if you really know what is happening in Libya. I am a Libyan who saw for a fact those Africans you talk about killing my people. Most of them if not all have been bribed by Gaddafi. Most of the mercenaries are Africans. Bare in mind when the Libyans went out in the demonstration, it was a peaceful one like the ones in other neighboring countries but Gaddafi spared no time and started killing just killing using anti-aircraft guns and a lot more. Check youtube and see the photos. This guy is a mad creature and there is no hope to negotiate with him. We say whoever his foot in fire is the only one who would feel its heat. Regards

      March 22, 2011 at 10:02 am | Report abuse |
  10. gmanfortruth

    We have no business in Libya. What did they do to pose a national security threat? Nothing. The Texas national guard could beat the Libyan forces in a ground war. Maybe the right questions need to be asked and answered.

    March 22, 2011 at 9:32 am | Report abuse |
  11. stillfree2010

    This not about saving civilians, if we were we would also be intervening in Iran, Syria, Bahrain, Yemen, Somolia, Ivory Coast, Darfur, Congo.

    March 22, 2011 at 9:33 am | Report abuse |


    March 22, 2011 at 9:51 am | Report abuse |
  13. Hot Carl

    Why is Russia always sitting in the corner and takin no action, along with china. they are both world power houses.

    March 22, 2011 at 10:14 am | Report abuse |
    • AZLib

      why spend a rubel when the US will spend a million dollars. Israel would be happy to contribute $1million if they can first borrow $2million from the US who borrowed $3million from China with interest.

      March 22, 2011 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
  14. hgmirand

    @Pamm – You've obviously have been watching way to much Glenn Beck! Come back to reality before it's to late!

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

      So who are you watching?.....Chris (I feel something crwling up my leg) Mathews?

      March 23, 2011 at 3:43 am | Report abuse |
  15. bbarc

    for the HOMELESS,POOR,STARVING: You are the salt of the earth. Matthew 5:13a

    March 22, 2011 at 10:31 am | Report abuse |
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