Conflicting Stories Abound as War Reaches the Capital
by Jason Ditz, August 21, 2011
A flurry of reports from myriad sources are detailing what is a growing amount of fighting in and around the Libyan capital city of Tripoli, as rebels predict the beginning of the end for the Gadhafi regime and NATO insists the regime is “crumbling.”
The rebel forces are claiming massive victories across the capital, with thousands of rebel fighters scoring big wins over regime forces. The Rebel transitional council Prime Minister Jalil also confirmed that “our guys have captured Saif al-Islam,” Gadhafi’s son and presumptive heir. His eldest son, Mohammed Gadhafi, is also reported to have surrendered.
Saif’s role in the government and indeed his general sanity have been questioned in recent weeks, when he issued a number of “official statements” contradicting official claims, insisting that there was “no interest in a ceasefire” at a time when top diplomats were desperately trying to broker one, and appearing on state television with a newly grown beard and prayer beads to declare that his Islamist allies within the rebel faction would soon rebel from the rebels and save the regime, turning it into a Saudi-style theocracy.
Muhammad’s role in much smaller, as he headed the Libyan Olympic Committee and also plays a key part in the nation’s telecom, using his position as Chairman of General Posts and Telecommunications to bring down internet communications for average Libyans at the beginning of public protests.
The regime’s stories reject most of the claims, insisting repeatedly that they have the situation in hand while claiming that the rebels have killed 1,300 or more civilians in the attacks on the city. The regime is also claiming that Gadhafi supporters are flocking to the capital to fight the rebels.
Exactly how far the fighting has gone into the capital is still unclear, but British Prime Minister David Cameron’s office has issued a statement demanding that the regime immediately step down, warning of “suffering” if they refused.