Live blog: Tripoli 'slipping from the grasp of a tyrant,' Obama says
Tens of thousands of Libyans in the rebel stronghold of Benghazi celebrate the rebels' advance into the capital, Tripoli.
August 21st, 2011
01:20 AM ET

Live blog: Tripoli 'slipping from the grasp of a tyrant,' Obama says

A NATO spokeswoman said Sunday that Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's "regime is crumbling," as rebels in the Libyan capital of Tripoli said they were advancing on Gadhafi's compound.

The developments came on a night when Libyan rebel representatives claimed that rebels captured Saif al-Islam Gadhafi and Saadi Gadhafi, two of Gadhafi's sons.

Here are some of the latest developments of the fighting in Tripoli, the latest installment of battles in a months-long uprising in Libya.

[Updated at 11:24 p.m. ET, 5:24 a.m. Monday in Libya] Among the scores of rebel fighters who advanced on  Tripoli are members of the "Tripoli Brigade," a group of rebel troops who'd once lived in the capital who might help navigate the city, reports Sara Sidner. But they weren't all professional soldiers, such as one IT worker who hadn't held a gun before joining the movement a few months ago.

[Updated at 10:21 p.m. ET, 4:21 a.m. Monday in Libya] U.S. President Barack Obama has said "the momentum against the Gadhafi regime has reached a tipping point."

"Tripoli is slipping from the grasp of a tyrant," Obama said in a statement released by the White House on Sunday night. "The Gadhafi regime is showing signs of collapsing. The people of Libya are showing that the universal pursuit of dignity and freedom is far stronger than the iron fist of a dictator.

"The surest way for the bloodshed to end is simple: Moammar Gadhafi and his regime need to recognize that their rule has come to an end. Gadhafi needs to acknowledge the reality that he no longer controls Libya. He needs to relinquish power once and for all. Meanwhile, the United States has recognized the Transitional National Council as the legitimate governing authority in Libya.

"At this pivotal and historic time, the TNC should continue to demonstrate the leadership that is necessary to steer the country through a transition by respecting the rights of the people of Libya, avoiding civilian casualties, protecting the institutions of the Libyan state, and pursuing a transition to democracy that is just and inclusive for all of the people of Libya. A season of conflict must lead to one of peace.

"The future of Libya is now in the hands of the Libyan people. Going forward, the United States will continue to stay in close coordination with the TNC. We will continue to insist that the basic rights of the Libyan people are respected. And we will continue to work with our allies and partners in the international community to protect the people of Libya, and to support a peaceful transition to democracy."

[Updated at 10:14p.m. ET, 4:14 a.m. Monday in Libya] Opposition forces said early Monday that forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi could be planning to re-enter Tripoli's Green Square, where scores of rebel fighters had gathered. CNN could not independently confirm the claim.

[Updated at 10:09 p.m. ET, 4:09 a.m. Monday in Libya] A CNN iReporter captured video of a massive celebration in Freedom Square at the rebel stronghold of Benghazi, Libya.

[Updated at 9:20 p.m. ET, 3:20 a.m. Monday in Libya]  The route heading to Tripoli's Green Square - where scores of rebel fighters had gathered early Monday - was "eerily quiet," with cars passing by checkpoints run by those loyal to the opposition, CNN's Sara Sidner reported.

[Updated at 9:09 p.m. ET, 3:09 a.m. Monday in Libya] Scores of rebel fighters gathered Monday morning in Tripoli's Green Square, the same place where supporters of Moammar Gadhafi had congregated for months, CNN's Sara Sidner reported. Celebratory gunfire rung out around the square, though rebels warned that snipers may still be in the area.

[Updated at 9:05 p.m. ET, 3:05 a.m. Monday in Libya] U.S. President Barack Obama has said he'll make a statement about Libya when his administration gets full confirmation of what is happening there.

[Updated at 8:57 p.m. ET, 2:57 a.m. Monday in Libya] The International Criminal Court will hold talks Monday with Libyan rebels on transferring Saif al-Islam Gadhafi, one of the two captured sons of embattled Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi, to its custody, Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo told CNN.

Moreno-Ocampo said the younger Gadhafi's arrest was "very important" for the war-crimes court, which issued a warrant for his arrest in June on charges of crimes against humanity.

"We'll discuss tomorrow the transition of authority, how to manage to surrender him," Moreno-Ocampo said.

Saif al-Islam Gadhafi is wanted for crimes against humanity in connection with attempts to put down the revolt against his father's four-decade rule in February.

[Updated at 8:19 p.m. ET, 2:19 a.m. Monday in Libya] Pictures are beginning to emerge early Monday from Tripoli's Green Square, where Col. Moammar Gadhafi's supporters had been gathering regularly, showing those opposed to the regime celebrating the rebel fighters' inroads. Joyous people could be seen celebrating, waving the rebel flag and even flashing the "victory" sign.

[Updated at 7:33 p.m. ET, 1:33 a.m. Monday in Libya] The International Criminal Court will hold talks with Libyan rebels on transferring Saif al-Islam Gadhafi, one of the two captured sons of embattled Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi to its custody, Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo tells CNN.

[Updated at 6:38 p.m. ET, 12:38 a.m. Monday in Libya] A rebel spokesman in Libya said Monday that rebels are in control of most parts of the capital.

"The rebel fighters are in control of most of the neighborhoods in Tripoli," said Jumma Ibrahim, adding that fighters have made it to the city's Green Square.

[Updated at 6:36 p.m. ET, 12:36 a.m. Monday in Libya] A second son of embattled Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi, Saadi Gadhafi, has been captured by rebel forces moving into Tripoli, a rebel military spokesman told CNN early Monday.

The news comes about an hour after the rebels claimed they captured one of Moammar Gadhafi's other sons, Saif al-Islam Gadhafi.

Saadi Gadhafi, a businessman and onetime professional soccer player, helped set up an April CNN interview with a woman who claimed she had been raped by government troops. He later told CNN that the people behind the attack should be prosecuted.

[Updated at 5:54 p.m. ET, 11:54 p.m. in Libya] Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi has called on Libyan Arab tribes to come to the defense of Tripoli and "cleanse" it of rebel forces, warning they would be "enslaved" by Western powers if they fail.

[Updated at 5:32 p.m. ET, 11:32 p.m. in Libya] A Libyan government spokesman said Sunday that some 1,300 people have been killed in fighting within the last 12 hours. "We expect the death toll to rise beyond anyone's imagination," Musa Ibrahim told reporters.

[Updated at 5:30 p.m. ET, 11:30 p.m. in Libya] A Libyan government spokesman warned of humanitarian disaster and a "massacre" in Tripoli as rebel forces advanced into the capital Sunday, but said forces loyal to Gadhafi were holding off the attacks.

Musa Ibrahim said Gadhafi's forces were being reinforced by volunteers coming into Tripoli and "can hold for much longer." But he acknowledged that rebel forces were pushing into the seaside capital, and told CNN that "a massacre will be committed in Tripoli if one side wins."

He denied reports that Gadhafi's bodyguards had surrendered, but repeated calls for a halt to NATO airstrikes and urged peace talks. NATO for months has conducted airstrikes in Libya under a U.N. Security Council resolution authorizing force to protect Libyan civilians.

[Posted at 5:28 p.m. ET, 11:28 p.m. Libya] Libyan rebel fighters have captured Saif al-Islam Gadhafi, the son of longtime strongman Moammar Gadhafi, a top rebel official said Sunday.

The announcement from Ali Said, general secretary of the Benghazi-based Transitional National Council, came as rebel forces pushed into the Libyan capital with the support of NATO airstrikes. There was no immediate reaction from Libyan government officials to the report.

Saif al-Islam Gadhafi emerged as a leading spokesman for his father in the early days of the revolt against Gadhafi's four-decade rule, which began with the seizure of Benghazi in February.

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Filed under: Libya
soundoff (104 Responses)
  1. One on One

    ok, I'll give ya a shout then, night buddy.

    August 21, 2011 at 9:51 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Meetch

    Grats Libya!

    If only Iraq did the same!

    August 21, 2011 at 9:53 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Rev-Earth.Org

    War Zone

    Repeated time after time
    Keep pushing there won’t be a mankind
    Another war is charging the horizon

    You sprayed your people with bullets
    You scared them with your threats
    Missiles are aimed from the jets

    Money and possession in vain
    Bombs soon to rain bringing you pain
    Selfish, ignorant, and insane

    The hurricane begins to churn
    You’re just a fool with a gun
    People are tired and won't you gone

    What about the global peace
    What happened to being fair
    Many will soon to cease

    You’re a leader with a dare

    Soon to be horror and terror
    You’re in their line of fire
    Your death is now their desire

    Think twice before you lose
    Anger has turned to a lit fuse
    War is only for the beginner

    Alternative means is for the winner

    Those above demand you on one knee
    Those who know better call you a loser
    They watch calling you a foolish leader

    Armed and coming the bombs will land
    Forces armed, they wait for the command
    Soon you will face Gods hand

    You sit on TV in your royal robe
    You sit and watch as they try to cope
    You lost your country and now in scope

    The cross hair has you in aim
    You and money are now to blame
    You have trouble and you are a shame

    Enjoy your bread you have sinned
    Lions crave your blood in their den

    Sit at his throne and explain your War Zone

    August 21, 2011 at 9:57 pm | Report abuse |
  4. leeintulsa

    Mo goin down, was starting to wonder.

    Way to go, rebels, what took you so long?

    August 21, 2011 at 9:59 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    "Wars and rumors of wars," Rev.
    Not new.
    Look it up in your book.

    August 21, 2011 at 10:02 pm | Report abuse |

    Finally, libyans will be free.

    The big question is, where does Gaddafi escape to for refuse?

    Just praying its Ϟö† Nigeria....

    Patrick Ogidi

    August 21, 2011 at 10:04 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Amazigh

    Condratulations Imazighen of Libya and Libya in general. I wish you success in establishing security and democracy
    in Free Libya.

    August 21, 2011 at 11:04 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Greg

    10 months and Islamic Brotherhood will rule. mooslems + democracy do not mix.

    August 21, 2011 at 11:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      Um, Indonesia? Since 1998? So... you're wrong.

      August 21, 2011 at 11:31 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Nabil

    I have lived all my life under the Ghadafi rule and its the first time I feel hope for my children and hope for the young people who has the world in front of them to inspire the world and show the Libyan talent.

    we have paid a heavy price for this freedom and we will make sure its kept this way and we will never let go of it again....The power of law will rule starting today....

    August 21, 2011 at 11:16 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Mmmmm

    Who is funding this fight? Saudi Arabia???

    August 21, 2011 at 11:17 pm | Report abuse |
  11. leeintulsa

    There may be no escape for Mo.. Last i heard, he wanted to die in libya.

    I can't believe his sons surrendered. Guess it is scarier when the bullets are coming *at* you..

    August 21, 2011 at 11:18 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Jeff Frank ( R - ohio ) "Goofy Gadhafis' Schit"

    Moammar Gadhafi – Why do you waste my time like this. The CIA's done with you. NATO's done with you. Obama? I don't know he cares one way or the other. And the rebels? Actually thier ALMOST done with you. And if it's really DONE RIGHT, your so-called people WILL put you on trial (it'll be more of a circus sideshow), for the war crimes and international terrorism you got the world thinking your so innocent of. And..unlike Iran, and if thier civility holds up, you just might be innocent till proven guilty.
    I seen Sadam Hussein hang, and it wasn't too pretty. You might want to go along with your people, so they can allow you to rot in prison, the rest of your days.

    August 21, 2011 at 11:18 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Jeff Frank ( R - ohio ) "Goofy Gadhafis' Schit"

    English to Arabic translation

    معمر القذافي - لماذا أضيع وقتي مثل هذا. انها فعلت وكالة المخابرات المركزية معك. حلف شمال الاطلسي انها فعلت معك. أوباما؟ أنا لا أعرف انه يهتم بطريقة أو بأخرى. والمتمردون؟ في الحقيقة أن تفعل تقريبا مع لكم. وإذا كان حقا انها فعلت ذلك الحق ، سيكون لديك ما يسمى الناس كنت وضعت على محاكمة (أنها سوف تكون أكثر من جانبي السيرك) ، عن جرائم الحرب والإرهاب الدولي الذي حصلت عليه في العالم تفكيرك البريئة منها. .. وعلى عكس إيران، وإذا كان يحمل ما يصل من الكياسة، قد يكون مجرد بريء حتى تثبت إدانته.
    صدام حسين رأيت معطلا ، وكان ليست جميلة جدا. ربما تريد أن تذهب مع شعبك، حتى أنها يمكن أن تسمح لك لتتعفن في السجن، وبقية أيامك.

    August 21, 2011 at 11:29 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Fairlance Moore (Atlanta, Georgia)

    Freedom and democracy are spreading and there is nothing that the dictators of the world can do to stop these forces. People across the international community are wearing tired of tyrannical and dictatorial regimes. Egyptians revolted and now the citizens of Libya are mobile. Syrians are nearing a similar position. Will Iran be next? This remains to be seen.

    August 21, 2011 at 11:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeff Frank ( R - Ohio ) "Let Freedom Ring"

      Fairlance Moore,I couldn't agree with you less. In my youth, I can recall back in 1969, my own mother had a premonition and a prediction, that World War III was going to be started in the Middle East. As I look back she's wasn't too far from the truth.
      I guess the thing that is rather scary (without mentioning one country in particular), is that one country has nuclear centrifuges, and claims they don't produce "weapons grade" Plutonium. but rather "energy grade" Plutonium to power fission based electrrical generation. But that country hates the U.S. with a passion, and it's diplomatic relations almost do not exist.

      August 21, 2011 at 11:52 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Mmmmm

    an axis of sharia nation is forming across the middleast and northern continent of Africa unopposed.

    August 21, 2011 at 11:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeff Frank ( R - Ohio ) "Let Freedom Ring"

      So does aids and cancer.

      August 22, 2011 at 12:03 am | Report abuse |
    • Jeff Frank ( R - Ohio ) "Let Freedom Ring"

      Are you into Sharia Law? Cause I'm not, And I'm not in support of H.R 973.

      August 22, 2011 at 12:08 am | Report abuse |
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