Qaddafi likens Western airstrikes to 'Hitler's campaigns'
Amid London talks on Libya's future, Qaddafi shows no signs of stepping down and loyalist troops today repelled the westward advance of rebels who had gotten nearly to Sirte, Qaddafi's hometown.
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“Leave Libya for the Libyans. You are committing genocide against a peaceful people and a developing nation,” Qaddafi wrote. “It seems that you in Europe and America don’t realize the hellish, barbaric [military] offensive which compares … to Hitler’s campaigns.”Skip to next paragraph
In Pictures Libya's critical transition
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Speaking late Monday, Libyan Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Kaim added official anger to the diplomatic moves. “We call upon Obama and the Western leaders to be peacemakers and not warmongers, and not to push the Libyans towards a civil war and more death and destruction,” he said.
Obama lays out his vision
President Barack Obama said on Monday night that the US and its allies had “stopped Qaddafi’s deadly advance.”
But while Mr. Obama said the US was not pursuing “military” regime change – that was the task of the Libyan people, he said, and their weeks-old rebellion – the president noted the US would “continue to pursue the broader goal of a Libya that belongs not to a dictator, but to its people.”
Translating that vision into an anti-Qaddafi reality on the ground in Libya resulted in a surge of excited anticipation over the weekend, when rebel forces backed by allied airstrikes finally broke a stalemate at Ajdabiya.
Pro-Qaddafi forces retreated – claiming they did so in a “tactical pullback” to protect the civilians of Ajdabiya from rebel bombardment – which opened the way for the rebel sweep to push further west than they ever have.
Rebel government issues 8-point plan
Today, even as the rebels found themselves stalled at the front, the self-declared rebel government based in the eastern city of Benghazi – the Interim National Council, which has been recognized only by France and Qatar – issued an 8-point plan that it called a “vision of a democratic Libya.”
Listed there is a new constitution with a balance of power, free parties and elections, and freedom of expression. Recovered will be “social freedoms that were denied…during the rule of dictatorship.” The rebels also call for a state that “draws strength from our strong religious beliefs in peace, truth, justice and equality.”