Rumor of the day: Qaddafi shot; Update: Qaddafi mercenaries shooting victims in hospitals?

posted at 5:40 pm on February 24, 2011 by Allahpundit

So apocryphal is this that it didn’t even rate a mention on the Al Jazeera liveblog, which is scraping sources everywhere for the latest Libya news. But it’s a pleasant thought, so let’s daydream:

The U.S. government has no reason to believe that Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi is dead, a U.S. official said on Thursday after oil traders cited a rumor that Gaddafi had been shot as pushing down oil prices.

Asked if Washington had reason to believe that Gaddafi, who is seeking to crush protests against his 41-year rule in the oil-exporting North African nation, was dead, the U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said: “No.”

We’ll know quickly if it happens, no? If someone in his inner circle shoots him, it’s because they’re prepared to surrender and turn off the money spigot for his mercenaries. If Qaddafi shoots himself, it’ll likely be preceded by some insane grand farewell gesture. Like, for instance…

The government of Col. Moammar Gadhafi hasn’t destroyed significant stockpiles of mustard gas and other chemical-weapons agents, raising fears in Washington about what could happen to them—and whether they may be used—as Libya slides further into chaos.

Tripoli also maintains control of aging Scud B missiles, U.S. officials said, as well as 1,000 metric tons of uranium yellowcake and vast amounts of conventional weapons that Col. Gadhafi has channeled in the past to militants operating in countries like Sudan and Chad…

“Had the destruction process not started, we would be facing a far more dangerous situation,” said Paula DeSutter, who helped oversee disarmament issues in George W. Bush’s State Department. “On the other hand, one would certainly feel more secure if all of the mustard gas had been eliminated.”

The media had fun this morning with Qaddafi blaming Bin Laden for putting drugs in the protesters’ coffee (“like Nescafe”) but the real story is rebels closing in on his last redoubt in Tripoli while western leaders close in on a plan to do … something. The NYT claims there’s fighting in at least four cities around the capital, and protesters are reportedly circulating a text message about a general protest in Tripoli tomorrow after mosque services. What that’ll turn into, given the reports of mercenaries hunting people on the streets, no one knows; supposedly, paramilitary units loyal to Qaddafi fired anti-aircraft missiles at a mosque where protesters were holed up this morning, resulting in “heavy casualties,” so a wholesale massacre tomorrow is on the table. Meanwhile, a Pentagon source says it’s preparing plans for military action just in case Obama needs them, and a former Obama advisor at the State Department is openly calling for intervention to avert a new Kosovo. But at the moment, the best hope for putting boots on the ground comes from … the EU?

In Brussels, senior officials said the European Union was weighing a range of options to evacuate 5,000-6,000 EU citizens still in Libya, many of them oil company employees, and said one possibility was a military humanitarian intervention force.

“We are in contact with EU member states to see whether their facilities, civilian and military, can be deployed for this (evacuation of EU citizens),” a senior EU official said…

Sky News quoted sources as saying the Special Boat Service, a special forces unit, was on standby for a possible rescue mission to Libya, but the government declined comment.

Chuck Todd at NBC has what he claims is the full list of options Obama is considering, from dumb gestures like bouncing Libya from the UN Human Rights Council to instituting a no-fly zone. Would that help at this point, though? It’d be one thing if the fighting were in the countryside, with Qaddafi’s air force targeting pockets of rebels, but the battlefield has shifted to Tripoli and there isn’t much news anymore of aircraft being used against protesters. (Robert Fisk is in Tripoli and says there was nothing in the sky yesterday.) The risk of confusing loyalists with protesters in street-to-street warfare might be high enough that Qaddafi would decide not to use planes and choppers and stick to ground forces. And since we’re not about to insert troops into an urban combat environment, that leaves the options for action … pretty slim.

Here’s Jay Carney flailing this afternoon after being asked why Obama won’t mention Qaddafi by name. Exit question: Assuming we know where Libya’s stockpile of chemical weapons is and that it’s located outside Tripoli, would/should some sort of western special ops team be sent in to grab it? Click the image to watch.

Update: Oh boy. It’s going to get worse before it gets better.

A resident of the increasingly violent Libyan capital of Tripoli told CBS Radio News Thursday that armed supporters of Muammar Qaddafi, the country’s longtime leader, have stormed into hospitals to shoot wounded demonstrators and take dead bodies to an unknown location.

“They go in with guns into hospitals,” said the resident, identified only as Adel to protect his safety. “They take the bodies that are dead. In some hospitals, they have shot the wounded. This is true. I know it’s very strange for the States, but this is happening today in Tripoli.”…

That’s not the only action being taken to cover up what is happening in the capital, Adel said. Armed pro-government supporters Thursday were forcing people to help clean up parts of downtown Tripoli and paint buildings.

“There are some streets where he’s using the people in the houses; if they don’t go out, he will shoot them with gunpoint to do that,” Adel said.

He says they’re using helicopter gunships to target people, so yeah, potentially a no-fly zone still matters here.

Update: “Gaddafi’s days are numbered. He will do what Hitler did – he will take his own life.”

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Update: “Gaddafi’s days are numbered. He will do what Hitler did – he will take his own life.”

Will they show it on pay per view?

HornetSting on February 24, 2011 at 7:25 PM

ernesto on February 24, 2011 at 7:01 PM

Yes it is, but…while we’re here….

They’ve seen, from our example, that they don’t need to physically control land to have the influence over nearby countries they seek. They want to be the regional hegemon, and eventually extend that further. It is the height of naivete to assume their ambitions are limited.

JeffWeimer on February 24, 2011 at 7:27 PM

It’s 3 AM PM; do you know where your President is?

JeffWeimer on February 24, 2011 at 5:50 PM

It’s time to clean up for MOTOWN Night!

Fallon on February 24, 2011 at 7:27 PM

William Amos on February 24, 2011 at 6:10 PM

That list has me worried- other countries are getting in and out with special flights but from what I had heard they weren’t letting the US do that (is that true?)

They are now on their 2nd day on a ferry not able to leave port- if they are even boarded and ready to go-

Is Moamar planning something?

The US should be INSISTING that they allow our flights in and out and get our Marines there pronto.

journeyintothewhirlwind on February 24, 2011 at 7:32 PM

I just read that the oil fields are now out of his hands, the oil has stopped shipping, and all towns pretty much other than Tripoli have been taken by the rebels.

Looks like it’s just about over.

AnninCA on February 24, 2011 at 7:34 PM

Even if this slug does the hitler thing, he will see to it that the oil fields are afire. Just like hitler, we need bones to see the slug did the dead! DNA is our friend I am not sure we have the DNA of the devil yet.

letget on February 24, 2011 at 7:39 PM

Obama’s buddy.

Where’s Obama tonite?

Oh yeah.

At a concert with millionaires.

Good Lt on February 24, 2011 at 7:42 PM

Oh yeah.

At a concert with millionaires.

Good Lt on February 24, 2011 at 7:42 PM

Good Lt:Correct you are:)

7:15 pm

The President and the First Lady host music legends and contemporary major artists for “The Motown Sound: In Performance at the White House”; the Vice President and Dr. Biden will also attend East Room.

canopfor on February 24, 2011 at 7:52 PM

Here’s Jay Carney flailing this afternoon after being asked why Obama won’t mention Qaddafi by name.

Carney looks like a kid. A kid way in over his head, one almost feels sorry for him. Almost. After all, he supports and accepted a job with Obama, therefore sympathy is really only due if he has an accompanying low IQ, not if he is a Koolaid drinker.

AZfederalist on February 24, 2011 at 8:39 PM

…why Obama won’t mention Qaddafi by name?

Um…he doesn’t want to get dis-invited to the annual Rev.Wright/Farrakhan slumber party?

CPT. Charles on February 24, 2011 at 9:23 PM

Guess what everybody!!! UNHRC can’t decide on whether to condemn Libya or not. Un-freaking-believable. It’s time to leave the HRC and the UN too!!!!

Lance Murdock on February 24, 2011 at 9:34 PM

But there better not be any Jews building homes in Jerusalem!

slickwillie2001 on February 24, 2011 at 10:30 PM

We should have evacuated the the foreign nationals to the oil producing regions and sent in a multi-national force (Say mostly Indian ground forces supported and delivered by mostly US air power.) to protect them until the Libyan Government stabilizes.

Slowburn on February 24, 2011 at 10:32 PM

While Carney kind of looks like a fish out of water, at least (so far) he’s not as snarky as Gibbs. Listening to Carney is like listening to Obama without his teleprompter.

tpitman on February 25, 2011 at 6:18 AM