Libya, Day 11: "Gaddafi Will Burn Everything Left Behind Him"

The above Youtube shows "an 8-year-old girl named Fatima who says she was shot near her home - she's in a hospital in Misurata." Enduring America and Mackey collected other clips from today. A more graphic collection at SaveLibya. Scott Lucas took a knee this morning:

For the first day in weeks, there was an easing of immediate news on Wednesday,   allowing LiveBloggers to catch breath or -- if they have become addicted to the rush of drama -- to fret about what to write. 

That did not mean there was a lack of serious developments, merely that situations had

settled -- perhaps only for a short while -- into standoffs. Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi, with the support of mercenaries and part of his military, had held onto Tripoli. For the first time, however, the opposition took cities in the west of the country, and last night a battle was shaping up for Tejoura, only 10 miles from the capital.

Meanwhile, the rebellion was trying to security its position in "free" Libya in the east of the country. Ben Wedeman of CNN reported last night, "Ad-hoc government in Benghazi in contact with Qaddafi's tribe, telling them they are opposed to his rule, not his tribe. Ad hoc government in Benghazi has set up committees to deal with security, public health, food supplies, evacuating foreigners."

Larger version of the above map here. A more explanatory map here. A dynamic map of the ongoing battles here. The Dish today already covered Qaddafi's latest rant, a look at his last stand in Tripoli, Robert Fisk's dispatch from that city, commentary on the oil question, and an optimistic take on Libya's future. Below are the most salient updates from the live-blogs. First from AJE (times local in Libya, +2 GMT):

1:03pm The president of Chad tried to send troops into Libya to support Gaddafi, says Al Arabiya.

4:00pm An eyewitness named Ali from Az Zawiyah tells Al Jazeera that soldiers fired at protesters with heavy fire arms for five hours this morning. Some of the protesters, he said were armed with hunting rifles, others were unarmed. "The shooting was direct to the people. They shot the people in the head or in the chest. They were trying to kill the people, not just terrify them," said Ali. He added that at least 100 people had been killed and that around 400 injured were taken to the hospital in Az Zawiyah.

8:32pm Patty Culhane, Al Jazeera's correspondent at the White House, says Obama's comments on Libya - that "this must stop" – are "striking". Yet the White House is not considering any action, she reported, and sanctions are the only likely action in the foreseeable future. "So far, however, the only action they're talking about is talking," Culhane said.

8:23pm The Swiss government has announced that it will freeze Gaddafi's assets.

11:10pm Ahmed Gadhaf al-Dam, one of Gaddafi's top security official and a cousin, defected on Wednesday evening, saying in a statement issued by his Cairo office that he left the country "in protest and to show disagreement" with "grave violations to human rights and human and international laws"

The Guardian highlights its main items:

• International response gathers pace after Gaddafi counterattacks
International efforts to respond to the Libyan crisis are gathering pace under US leadership after a still defiant Muammar Gaddafi launched counterattacks to defend Tripoli against the popular uprising now consolidating its hold on the liberated east of the country.

• Heavy fighting in former stronghold 
Muammar Gaddafi's forces have launched counterattacks to defend Tripoli and western Libya against the popular uprising now consolidating its hold on the "liberated" east of the country and advancing into loyalist territory.Screen shot 2011-02-24 at 6.41.29 PM

• British evacuees from Libya describe mass hysteria
British citizens fleeing the chaos engulfing Libya finally began arriving back in the UK reporting "mass hysteria" at Tripoli airport with as many as 10,000 people fighting to get out.

• David Cameron 'extremely sorry' as criticism of evacuation grows
David Cameron delivered an unequivocal apology for the failings that left British citizens stranded in Libya, as Douglas Alexander, the shadow foreign secretary, claimed a lack of basic ministerial experience led to the Foreign Office's failure to run an effective evacuation.


6.23pm: The US is to join European nations in calling for Libya to be thrown out of the UN Human Rights Council, AP reports.

9.08pm: According to al-Jazeera, Gaddafi's supporters are trying to break into the Qatar embassy in Tripoli. Luckily the Qatari diplomats are long gone but this is presumably a revenge attack for Qatar's backing of al-Jazeera.


2155 GMT: The first edition of the newspaper in "free" Benghazi has been published

2145 GMT: Libya's Deputy Ambassador to the United Nations, who broke with the regime earlier this week, has appealed to key Brigadier Generals Mahdi Al Arabi and  Mohamed Al Esawi to turn against Muammar Qaddafi.

2045 GMT: Jason Pack of The Guardian profiles one of the key people remaining in Qaddafi's inner circle: Abdullah Senussi, "the leader's brother-in-law, his key enforcer, and former head of external security".

1015 GMT: Saif Al Islam Qaddafi, Screen shot 2011-02-24 at 6.39.37 PMthe son of the Libyan leader, has appeared on State TV to declare, "The world is conspiring against Libya....Why don't these TV channels show the pro-Gaddafi demonstrations?....Tripoli is very calm except for one incident....I challenge anyone to give me the number killed."

Some numbers:

The International Federation for Human Rights said the [130 troops executed in al Baida] were among at least 640 people who have been killed in Libya since protests started, AFP reported. The figure is more than double the official Libyan Government toll of 300 dead, and includes 275 dead in Tripoli and 230 dead in Benghazi.


 France's top human rights official told Reuters that up to 2,000 people could have died by now in Libya.

Al Jazeera's lead story tonight:

Mustafa Abdel Galil, who resigned three days ago from his post as the country's justice minister, spoke to Al Jazeera at a meeting of tribal leaders and representatives of eastern Libya in the city of Al Baida. He warned that Gaddafi has biological and chemical weapons, and will not hesitate to use them.

'We call on the international community and the UN to prevent Gaddafi from going on with his plans in Tripoli,' he said. 'At the end when he’s really pressured, he can do anything. I think Gaddafi will burn everything left behind him.'