Gaddafi warns “thousands of Libyans will die” if NATO or UN intervenes

posted at 9:30 am on March 2, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Moammar Gaddafi demanded that the West leave Libya alone in a speech today to his followers and whatever foreign media remains in Tripoli.  The besieged dictator warned that “thousands of Libyans” would die if NATO or the UN intervened to, er, stop Gaddafi from killing thousands of Libyans:

Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi has warned “thousands of Libyans” will die if the U.S. or NATO intervene in his country.

Qaddafi was addressing supporters and foreign media on Wednesday in a conference hall in the capital Tripoli as his forces were launching a counteroffensive against parts of the rebel-held eastern half of the country.

This is what Gaddafi says must continue to save those “thousands” of Libyans that would otherwise die in a Western intervention:

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Pro-Qaddafi forces retook control of a key oil installation and port on the coast of the rebel-held eastern half of the country on Wednesday and the regime’s warplanes bombed an ammunition depot on the outskirts of a nearby town also controlled by the opposition, witnesses said.

Ahmed Jerksi, manager of the massive oil installation in the eastern town of Brega on the Mediterranean coast, said pro-Qaddafi forces retook control of the facility at dawn without using force. Breqa is about 125 miles from Libya’s second-largest city Benghazi, the nerve center of the rebel-held east.

A Brega resident, who told CBS News correspondent Mandy Clark he was too scared to leave his home, said he could hear air strikes and rocket fire. Clark, who was headed for the oil hub, heard other reports that a vicious fight was ongoing for control of the town, but said it was unclear who was in control.

Government forces appear to have gained momentum.  They have rolled back earlier losses in the eastern part of the country, possibly including the strategic city of Brega, according to this LA Times report:

Forces loyal to embattled Libyan leader Moammar Kadafi were reported to be moving Wednesday against areas held by the opposition in the country’s east. …

At first, Al Jazeera, citing the channel’s correspondent, reported that pro-Kadafi security forces had taken control there with more than 500 military vehicles. The Al Arabiya channel reported “random bombing” of the city, citing an unnamed eyewitness.

But hours later, an Al Jazeera correspondent was quoted as saying that the opposition forces had retaken the city. Al Arabiya, citing its correspondent in eastern Libya, said that 14 people had been killed so far in the fighting and that forces loyal to Kadafi held the city’s airport.

The report also includes this rather colorful expression of Gaddafi’s love for his fellow Libyans:

He vowed to “gouge the eyes of those casting doubt on the people’s authority.” Crowds of supporters in the venue punched their fists into the air and punctuated his speech with slogans of support.

Gaddafi also declared that “the people are the master,” which appears to be true, as long as they’re the right people.  That appears to be Gaddafi’s criteria for which thousands of Libyans he hopes to preserve rather than massacre, too. Otherwise, Gaddafi would have to acknowledge that a great many of “the people” no longer want him running the country, and aren’t anxious to see how his sons manage the job, either.

This doesn’t mean that the West should stage a military intervention at this point, either.  So far, Russia is balking at granting permission in the UN Security Council for a no-fly zone, which amounts to a declaration of war against Gaddafi’s air force at the very least.  NATO could go without UN approval, but the history there is fraught with potential disaster.  NATO acted “unilaterally” (as unilaterally as a group of nations can act) without UN imprimatur in the Balkans in the 1990s and exacerbated Russian paranoia about its influence on world affairs, especially in a region where Russia invested a great deal of interest, as it traditionally does with Slavs in Eastern Europe.  Libya isn’t the same situation, but snubbing Russia could still carry significant consequences, especially economic, to Europe.

It’s not entirely clear that NATO could impose an effective no-fly zone over Libya, either.  Staging aircraft for such a purpose would be tricky, and Libya still has some effectiveness in anti-aircraft systems.  Gaddafi would have nothing to lose and would likely fight to the last plane, while American and European nations might question the commitment while Afghanistan continues to burn, especially if the West starts losing pilots over the Libyan desert.  With the nature of the opposition still unclear, people might wonder whether Western intervention might just be enabling another Afghanistan outcome in the end.

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I do believe that Libyans are going to die whether the west intervenes or not.

hawkman on March 2, 2011 at 9:35 AM

All scary scenarios.

Indy82 on March 2, 2011 at 9:35 AM

Where’s our dear leader on this? Golf? Motown party? or is it personal trainer flown in from Chicage day?

ORconservative on March 2, 2011 at 9:39 AM

Thousands of Libyans AND Westerners have already died because NATO has NOT intervened.

Munich Olympic Massacre
Constable Fletcher Murder
Rome/Vienna Airport Massacres
Berlin Discoteque Massacre
PA103 Massacre
UTA772 Massacre
IRA proxy massacres
Libyan opposition massacres
EU Nurse Prison Sextortion
Swiss hostage extortion
More Libyan opposition massacres

Nemo me impune lacessit?

Terp Mole on March 2, 2011 at 9:40 AM

When he says stuff like that, he really should be surrounded by porn stars. Apparently, it takes the bad-publicity edge off.

RBMN on March 2, 2011 at 9:40 AM

The UN should provide literally millions of strongly worded resolutions to build a wall around the Libyan civilians.

Bishop on March 2, 2011 at 9:41 AM

Of course Quadafi will make these statements – he knows full well Obama has no intention of forcing the issue whether alone or via NATO and/or the UN.

He also gives legs to the “west stay out of our business for our oil” meme.

Just another example how doing nothing is far worse than doing something, even if its wrong.

Odie1941 on March 2, 2011 at 9:42 AM

It’s interesting that the rest of the dictators have done little in the way of violence to hang on to power but this guy goes whole hog crazy. I think Iran would do the same thing.

Cindy Munford on March 2, 2011 at 9:47 AM

WWCSD

(What Would Charlie Sheen Do?)

percysunshine on March 2, 2011 at 9:49 AM

Anyone wondering if Gaddafi and Charlie Sheen have some sort of bet going? Gaddafi’s winning the crazy part, but I think Sheen’s got the TV coverage win sown up.

Laura in Maryland on March 2, 2011 at 9:50 AM

Seems the main reason the anti-Khadaffi forces are losing momentum is because of the dithering of those who could with minimum expense aid them…

Do we “owe” the Libyans anything? No. Not at all.

But, is the price of getting rid of Khadaffi too much to pay for the long run potentials?

The entire region needs a house cleaning. We do not have to do it. But we can offer encouragement to those who must…the people who have lived under these regimes for far too long. And do so before those who would use these same people for some pretty heinous reasons get the chance to turn them.

Wonder how things would have turned out had our President not stayed silent, refusing to “meddle,” as the slaughter in Tehran was allowed to proceed back in 2009, just two weeks after a certain President gave a heralded albeit meaningless in retrospect speech in Cairo?

After all, seems the speech given by Obama in June 2009 on the subject of “A New Beginning” in the Middle East may be at the heart of the current chaos out in that part of the world…and was certainly at the heart of the uprising in Tehran just a couple weeks later.

Speeches, just as elections, have consequences.

Demanding that the people in that part of the world have a right to freedom from dictatorships and then standing by and doing precious little for fear of being seen as “meddling” doth not leadsership make.

coldwarrior on March 2, 2011 at 9:50 AM

WWCSD

(What Would Charlie Sheen Do?)

percysunshine on March 2, 2011 at 9:49 AM

&%$# it! You said it faster and better.

Laura in Maryland on March 2, 2011 at 9:50 AM

Gaddafi would have nothing to lose and would likely fight to the last plane, while American and European nations might question the commitment while Afghanistan continues to burn, especially if the West starts losing pilots over the Libyan desert.

We could take out the airports with cruise missiles from submerged submarines.

burt on March 2, 2011 at 9:51 AM

WWCSD

percysunshine on March 2, 2011 at 9:51 AM

WWCSD = WWMGD

They are both equally nuts.

ORconservative on March 2, 2011 at 9:56 AM

Andy McCarthy is one of the few voices in the wilderness who reminds us that Libya under Qaddafi was our enemy and that Libya without Qaddafi is as well. Given the history of that country and the Islamification apparent in all of these ME “spontaneous” uprisings, it is naive to champion the rebels in Libya.

I concur.
http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/261063/libyas-makeover-andrew-c-mccarthy

onlineanalyst on March 2, 2011 at 9:58 AM

Russia is balking at granting permission in the UN Security Council for a no-fly zone

The fine work of Alger Hiss lives on.

burt on March 2, 2011 at 9:59 AM

He said his people love him and would die for him…he’s half right.

cartooner on March 2, 2011 at 10:01 AM

Recall the climactic scene from “LOTR: Return of the King” when Sauron’s Ring melts in the crack of Mount Doom; The Dark Tower crashes; and Mordor itself swallows up the enemy?

That’s what we’re witnessing across the Middle East today as Islamo-autocratic power melts in the fires of Iraqi democratization.

Saruman Soros and Wormtongue Obama can now only fret in frustration as Bush and Cheney are born triumpantly on eagles’ wings into history… The End

Terp Mole on March 2, 2011 at 10:01 AM

I for one do not like the idea of intervening in Libya, at all. This doesn’t seem like a situation where we need to get involved, and I think it has the potential to make things worse.

changer1701 on March 2, 2011 at 10:03 AM

One only has to remember the heroes welcome that the Lockerbie bomber received in Libya to say that the US should stay out of this country’s internal strife.

We owe Libya nothing.

onlineanalyst on March 2, 2011 at 10:03 AM

Gaddafi also declared that “the people are the master,” which appears to be true, as long as they’re the right people.

Same thing is true in Wisconsin. Maybe the fleebaggers should move to Tripoli.

rbj on March 2, 2011 at 10:03 AM

It’s not entirely clear that NATO could impose an effective no-fly zone over Libya, either. Staging aircraft for such a purpose would be tricky, and Libya still has some effectiveness in anti-aircraft systems. Gaddafi would have nothing to lose and would likely fight to the last plane, while American and European nations might question the commitment while Afghanistan continues to burn, especially if the West starts losing pilots over the Libyan desert. With the nature of the opposition still unclear, people might wonder whether Western intervention might just be enabling another Afghanistan outcome in the end.

Come on , Iraq didn’t shoot down a single plane, and their air defense was formidable compared to Libyas.

It’s all about political will and strategy.
And if russia is in support of Gaddafi…

It looks like the rebels wont stand a chance if they wont get external support.

the_nile on March 2, 2011 at 10:05 AM

Muammar Qaddafi = Sniper Bait.

Bragging rights…I not sayin, I’m just sayin, it’s how they operate in that part of the world “Law Of The Jungle” Qaddafi is old, and the young lions are going to take him down.

Libya is a Muslim country – has it anymore Islamic-fascist than any other country in the region? Probably about average. Muammar wasn’t holding them down, it makes little difference who is playing the “Lion King” role.

But just for Lockerbie, it will be sweet to see him finally taken down…Karma always catches up – you can’t out run Karma. We need to throw that so called dying terrorist, he finagled out of a Scottish Prison, back behind bars, this time in the U.S. not Scotland.

Dr Evil on March 2, 2011 at 10:07 AM

One only has to remember the heroes welcome that the Lockerbie bomber received in Libya to say that the US should stay out of this country’s internal strife.

We owe Libya nothing.

onlineanalyst on March 2, 2011 at 10:03 AM

All true, but it’s a game that could be won , with almost no boots on the ground, those rebels could use some special ops advisers.

the_nile on March 2, 2011 at 10:08 AM

Andy McCarthy is one of the few voices in the wilderness who reminds us that Libya under Qaddafi was our enemy and that Libya without Qaddafi is as well. Given the history of that country and the Islamification apparent in all of these ME “spontaneous” uprisings, it is naive to champion the rebels in Libya.

I concur.
http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/261063/libyas-makeover-andrew-c-mccarthy

onlineanalyst on March 2, 2011 at 9:58 AM

Right. We shouldn’t be supporting one group of anti-American thugs over another. Better perhaps if they fight for ten years and all kill each other.

slickwillie2001 on March 2, 2011 at 10:08 AM

What if all the opposition in Libya is lead by al Queda or Iranian thugs trying to take over the country to remake it into some Islamic Iran of the West?

So by the west intervening against Gaddafi the west could actually be helping alQueda? What an irony that would be!

Stay out until it is settled.

albill on March 2, 2011 at 10:10 AM

Stay out until it is settled.

albill on March 2, 2011 at 10:10 AM

I prefer covert meddling…

the_nile on March 2, 2011 at 10:11 AM

After years of careful observation, highlighted by recent events, I’ve come to the inescapable conclusion that Gaddafi is mentally unstable.

My genius is overwhelming, ain’t it?

pugwriter on March 2, 2011 at 10:12 AM

Do we “owe” the Libyans anything? No. Not at all.

coldwarrior on March 2, 2011 at 9:50 AM

Maybe not but we owe Gaddaffy one death sentences, carried out soonest.

Slowburn on March 2, 2011 at 10:16 AM

What was said:

Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi has warned “thousands of Libyans” will die if the U.S. or NATO intervene in his country.

What was meant:

Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi has warned that if the U.S. or NATO intervene in his country, he won’t have enough time to counter-attack against the rebels unopposed and thousands of his mercenaries will die in the subsequent overthrow.

Standard stuff from a petty dictator.

Geministorm on March 2, 2011 at 10:19 AM

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could take yet another cue Star Trek as a solution to our problems?

I’m thinking of the episode where a holo-deck Moriarity gained control of the Enterprise. In the end, our gang turned the tables, sucked him into a Rubics’ Cube-sized holographic universe where he could be as dastardly as he wanted for eternity.

I’d make one modification….put a USB connection on it so we could watch at our leisure.

BobMbx on March 2, 2011 at 10:21 AM

Seems to me all the libs and progressives are too busy right now with tubing us domestically to even notice a good old fashioned CIA hit.

Let’s just end it, one shot, game over.

Tim Zank on March 2, 2011 at 10:26 AM

I think this will vindicate Bush , you cant take out a ruthless arab dictator without US support.

the_nile on March 2, 2011 at 10:27 AM

Well, the opposition already said as much–that any foreign boots on the ground would be met with greater force than the opposition is using against Qaddafi. Of course, they’ll be chanting “PEACEFUL!PEACEFUL!” all the while.

Christien on March 2, 2011 at 10:32 AM

If only there were somebody who happened to have possession of some light bombers without actually having title to them. The will to use them would not hurt.

I think painting them with spiffy Soviet marking would be humorous, but have the instruments labeled in Chinese. Just in case one gets shot down.

Don’t forget the covert ops motto, “No good deed goes unpunished, so frame some one else for them.”

Slowburn on March 2, 2011 at 10:33 AM

Well, the opposition already said as much–that any foreign boots on the ground would be met with greater force than the opposition is using against Qaddafi. Of course, they’ll be chanting “PEACEFUL!PEACEFUL!” all the while.

Christien on March 2, 2011 at 10:32 AM

Looks like they’re changing their tone now when they realise Gaddafi isn’t Mubarak…

http://twitter.com/#!/AlArabiya_Eng/status/42963340145860609

Libyan rebels call for UN air strikes on pro-Gaddafi mercenaries

the_nile on March 2, 2011 at 10:36 AM

percysunshine,

WWCSD

(What Would Charlie Sheen Do?)

Pummel Qaddafi with “fire breathing fists” .

Mike Honcho on March 2, 2011 at 10:36 AM

Ahmed Jerksi, manager of the massive oil installation in the eastern town of Brega on the Mediterranean coast, said pro-Qaddafi forces retook control of the facility at dawn without using force.

http://www.worldportsource.com/ports/LBY_Port_Marsa_El_Brega_665.php

Port Marsa El Brega lies on the shores of Libya’s Gulf of Sirte. About 200 kilometers southwest of the Port of Benghazi, Port Marsa El Brega is at the most southerly point of the Mediterranean Sea. In 2003, about 12 thousand people lived in Port Marsa El Brega.

Port Marsa El Brega’s reason to exist is the oil refinery there, owned and run by a subsidiary of the state-owned National Oil Corporation, Sirte Oil Company. Run in partnership with Esso Oil during the 1960s and 1970s, the Sirte Oil Company has had control of the Port Marsa El Brega facilities since the early 1980s.

Before World War II, the site of Port Marsa El Brega was simply a small fishing village. During the war, the village was completely destroyed. After the war, the area was a field for land mines until it was selected to be the terminal for the country’s first oil pipeline running 169 kilometers from Zaltan to the south.

The new town and Port Marsa El Brega were constructed in the early 1960s from prefabricated materials. The new Port Marsa El Brega consisted of breakwaters, a wharf, undersea pipelines, and floating berths for oil tankers. The town contained a power plant, paved streets, housing, and a generous planting of trees to hold back the desert.

Oil was first shipped from Port Marsa El Brega in 1961, leading to the creation of a refinery and a natural gas liquefication plant. In 1977, a plant for processing ammonia opened.

Today, Port Marsa El Brega is becoming Libya’s most important petrochemical center. It contains a technical training school, and it is connected to the Ports of Tripoli and Benghazi and Cairo, Egypt, by coastal highway.

ted c on March 2, 2011 at 10:42 AM

WWCSD

(What Would Charlie Sheen Do?)

isn’t Charlie Sheen an F-18?

ted c on March 2, 2011 at 10:43 AM

Charlie Sheen v Muammar Gaddafi: whose line is it anyway?

It really is a sad statement for Charlie when he’s being compared to a bat-shi* crazy dictator.

Shiny_Tiara on March 2, 2011 at 10:50 AM

the_nile on March 2, 2011 at 10:36 AM

Libyan rebels call for UN air strikes on pro-Gaddafi mercenaries.

Perhaps they could appeal to the UN Human Rights Council? /

Seriously, however, we need not drop one US bomb, nor send a single US aircraft over Libya…there are many ways to accomplish a removal of the Khadaffi regime…and assist in making whatever new Libya comes about a bit beholden to the West.

But, it does require a lot more than voting “present” or waiting for our “allies” such as Russia and China to make a move or allow us and Europe (and the rest of the world) to do so.

Having a SecState say on record that “we” don’t want to be seen as “going to war for oil” is sophomoric at best. Of course oil is a factor with Libya…they have it and a lot of countries need it, and a number of countries have spent a lot of money, energy and time trying to find the oil and get it to market. So if we are to be honest borkers, then we have to be honest. A stable oil market is in our best interests, unless we buy into the progressive crap about green energy and all that replacing oil as being an immediate thing.

An unstable Libya means the probability of a unstable Egypt and Saudi Arabia…and a few other neighbors as well. Since we are not allowed to obtain new sources for oil closer to home…do we let those known sources abroad be taken out of reach?

Besides, Khadaffi meeting his Allah sooner rather than later makes it pretty clear to the rest of the lot that they too can do the same a lot sooner than they had hoped…especially if the West makes a point to make it so.

Some of the best candidates to run a new Iran have already been disposed of after the failed revolt in 2009…are we to let the same happen when it comes to Libya, or any other nation in the region?

We have bargaining power….oil. They can’t eat it. They need capital. And they will need capital. By standing by and letting China and Russia dictate terms to us…and the West…we are throwing away that same bargaining power that could have been applied now and at the end of hostilities. We lose. Riussia and China win.

And $6-$10 a gallon for gas (or a lot higher a lot sooner) is not out of the question as other nations in the region come to see Russia and China as their salvation because we talked the talk but refused to walk the walk.

coldwarrior on March 2, 2011 at 10:53 AM

the_nile on March 2, 2011 at 10:36 AM

Too late. They’ve already let their mask slip. They can beg and plead all they want, now, but they’ve already shown the whole world that they intend to use violence against those whom they’ve asked to help. Can’t walk that back.

Christien on March 2, 2011 at 11:07 AM

Too late. They’ve already let their mask slip. They can beg and plead all they want, now, but they’ve already shown the whole world that they intend to use violence against those whom they’ve asked to help. Can’t walk that back.

Christien on March 2, 2011 at 11:07 AM

Let them ask for help formally in public before sending them help, one way to change the arab opinion of US.
Making them publicly admit they cant do it without US intervention.

the_nile on March 2, 2011 at 11:19 AM

Well, I guess the time has come to bomb his palace again and this time hit the building,one bomb 0 Gaddafi if we are lucky maybe the son’s will be there.

old war horse on March 2, 2011 at 11:21 AM

Hmmmmmmm……

Weren’t the rebels winning…before they got Obama’s “support”?

landlines on March 2, 2011 at 11:34 AM

Weren’t the rebels winning…before they got Obama’s “support”?

landlines on March 2, 2011 at 11:34 AM

Why, yes,..yes, they were.

a capella on March 2, 2011 at 11:40 AM

In a simpler world, I’d favor helping the rebels. In this world, it’s hard to know how, other than perhaps food and medical supplies.

Help always comes with strings attached, just the way it works. They don’t want the strings, neither do we. Whatever we do will be wrong, including nothing. However, nothing is cheapest.

jodetoad on March 2, 2011 at 12:39 PM