Speaking in English to British and American reporters on Monday in Tripoli, the Libyan capital, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi insisted that the Libyan people "love me, all." The BBC has posted video and a partial transcript of the interview with Colonel Qaddafi, which was conducted mainly in English, by Jeremy Bowen of The BBC, Christiane Amanpour of ABC News and a correspondent for London's Sunday Times. Here's a flavor of the exchange:
Jeremy Bowen: In recent years you had a rapprochement with Western countries, you had important Western leaders like Tony Blair coming here. Now there are Western leaders who are queuing up to say that you should go. Do you feel a sense of betrayal about that?
Colonel Qaddafi: Of course it's betrayal. They have no morals. Besides, if they want me to step down, what do I step down from? I'm not a monarch or a king.
Jeremy Bowen: But you make speeches at the U.N. and you identify very much with Libya even if you don't have a formal title.
Colonel Qaddafi: It's honorary, it's nothing to do with exercising power or authority. In Britain, who has the power? Is it Queen Elizabeth or David Cameron? You don't understand the Libyan system.
Jeremy Bowen: I understand the system you have here, but internationally you are regarded as the leader
Colonel Qaddafi: You don't understand the system here. No, no, no: don't say, 'I understand. You don't understand. And the world don't understand the system here. The particular system: the authority of the people. You don't understand it.
Jeremy Bowen: But how do the people show their authority then? Because some people who have gone out on to the streets, to protest, say that your people have shot at them.
Colonel Qaddafi: No demonstration at all in the streets. Did you see demonstrations?
Jeremy Bowen: Yes I have.
Colonel Qaddafi: Where?
Jeremy Bowen: I saw some today.
Colonel Qaddafi: Where?
Jeremy Bowen: I saw some in Zawiya, yesterday I saw demonstrations.
Colonel Qaddafi: Are they supporting us?
Jeremy Bowen: No, they're not supporting you.
Colonel Qaddafi: They are not against us.
Jeremy Bowen: Some were against you, and some were for you.
Colonel Qaddafi: No. No one against us. Against me for what? Because I'm not president. They love me. All my people with me. They love me, all. They will die to protect me, my people. No, no, no.
Christiane Amanpour: If you say they do love you, then why are they capturing Benghazi and they saying they're against you there?
Colonel Qaddafi: It is Qaeda. It is Qaeda. It is Qaeda. Not my people. It is Qaeda.
Christiane Amanpour: Al Qaeda?
Colonel Qaddafi: Qaeda. Qaeda, yes. They came from outside.
Mackey disproves Qaddafi's utterly unhinged words with yet another batch of videos showing violent protests in the streets today. And here Mackey has clips of fighting in Libya's third-largest city, Misurata. The latest from the NYT:
Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s forces struck back at his opponents on three fronts on Monday, using fighter jets, special forces units and regular army troops in an escalation of hostilities that brought Libya a step closer to civil war. But the rebels dismissed the attacks as ineffectual, and Colonel Qaddafi faced a growing international campaign to force him from power, as the Obama administration announced it had seized $30 billion in Libyan assets and theEuropean Union adopted an arms embargo and other sanctions.
The Guardian posts a summary of today's events, including:
David Cameron said the UK did not rule out the use of force against Muammar Gaddafi (see 4.21pm). The British prime minister also said he had asked colleagues to work on plans for a no-fly zone. The White House also said allies were in talks about this (see 4.25pm). Cameron said the UK would consider arming the Libyan opposition. The US military is repositioning naval and air forces around Libya, a Pentagon official said, describing this as "planning and preparing" for missions, "whether humanitarian or otherwise".