warning Hi, we've moved to USCANNENBERGMEDIA.COM. Visit us there!

Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

Libya Crackdown Continues As NATO Hesitates

Benjamin Gottlieb |
March 10, 2011 | 6:31 p.m. PST

Senior News Editor

Muammar Gaddafi continues his violent campaign against anti-government forces (Courtesy of Creative Commons).
Muammar Gaddafi continues his violent campaign against anti-government forces (Courtesy of Creative Commons).

Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi's son said government forces are engaged in a full-scale attack against rebels, as NATO officials hesitate to intervene in the nation's violent internal strife. 

Saif al-Islam - the most prominent of Gaddafi's children - insisted that his father's government would crush the rebellion and that they would not give in to foreign political pressure.

"If they want to support the militia, do it. But I will say it now, they will lose. We will win," al-Islam said. "And we are not afraid of the American fleet, NATO, France… this is our country. We live here, we die here."

Al-Islam has become a spokesman for his father lately, asserting in a press conference Thursday that the Libyan people would "never ever welcome NATO" or the U.S.

Meanwhile, pro-Gaddafi forces retook the city of Zawiya, a town just west of the capital of Tripoli, after nearly a week of violence.

ITV News' Bill Neely - who claimed to be the first reporter at the city center - said locals we're calling the government onslaught a massacre.

Neely said he saw more than 20 freshly dug graves upon arrival.

Neely's account via CNN:

  • Zawiya's main Martyrs' Square was littered with the bombed-out, scorched carcasses of army tanks and other military vehicles… Workers were sweeping up the evidence as supporters of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi chanted slogans and waved green flags… State-run television showed off weapons and ammunition that it said had been left behind by the rebels, whom the reporter referred to as "terrorists, dogs and traitors."

Rebel forces took another major hit earlier today in strategic oil port of Ras Lanuf. Hundreds of anti-government fighters fled the city in a caravan of cars and pickup trucks mounted with machine guns.

From the Guardian

  • At least four rockets exploded near the hospital and a mosque where rebel fighters had just finished praying, reports said, forcing medical staff to cram patients into the few ambulances available and evacuate them.

    "We don't have any heavy weapons," a fleeing rebel fighter told Reuters. "There are people with heavier weapons."

    Fierce fighting has raged around the city, 300 miles east of Tripoli. The city has come under fire from warplanes, tanks and gunboats as the regime appears to be regaining the military initiative.

    "One bomb landed on a civilian house in Ras Lanuf," a rebel fighter, Izeddine Sheikhy, told Reuters. He said the bombardment seemed to have come from the direction of the sea.

Although NATO continues to sputter on a "Libyan no-fly zone," the European Union agreed to extend its economic series against Libya, targeting the country's central bank and sovereign wealth fund.


To reach Benjamin Gottlieb, click here.

Follow him on Twitter @benjamin_max.



Craig Gillespie directed this true story about "the most daring rescue mission in the history of the U.S. Coast Guard.”

Watch USC Annenberg Media's live State of the Union recap and analysis here.