Breaking: The end of Qaddafi? Update: Qaddafi’s son captured; Update: Compound surrounded; Update: Qaddafi in Algeria? Update: Qaddafi’s son attacked — live on the air; Update: White House issues statement

posted at 4:23 pm on August 21, 2011 by Allahpundit

Tripoli hasn’t fallen yet but reports of chaos inside the city are flying on Twitter faster than I can type them up. One credible reporter, Alex Crawford of Sky News, is on the ground with the rebels either on the outskirts of the city or inside the city itself and says people are coming out of their homes to greet them as they enter. (One rumor has it that Saif al-Islam Qaddafi, the heir apparent, has been captured at the Rixos hotel.) News is moving so quickly that I recommend opening up a few tabs and following the key liveblogs: Al Jazeera, the NYT, the BBC, and the Guardian. Blake Hounshell, the managing editor of Foreign Policy, is collating tweets from reporters and Libyan residents; you can follow his feed here. And if that’s not enough, try the livestreams of Al Jazeera English and Sky News, where Crawford is transmitting.

Late word from Reuters as I write this is that rebels are entering Tripoli from the west and meeting no resistance. Another report on Twitter an hour ago claimed that prison guards inside the city are releasing prisoners from their cells and begging forgiveness for having served the regime. The hottest rumor of all? That Qaddafi himself has been shot dead — but that’s completely unconfirmed at the moment. I hope it’s not true, actually. If anyone deserves the spectacle of the lamppost, it’s him. Richly.

Updates are coming. Stand by.

Update: Time magazine noted this morning that a panel of Libya experts recently concluded the fight for Tripoli might take weeks or even months. That might be true if Qaddafi’s loyalists were prepared to make a last stand, but everything I’m seeing on Twitter and the liveblogs is that they’re throwing in the towel. McCain’s estimate appears to be better: Days, if not hours.

Update: Al Jazeera claims the rebels are now in Green Square in central Tripoli. According to Crawford, regime troops are nowhere to be found.

Incidentally, isn’t Sirte, Qaddafi’s hometown, also a stronghold for regime loyalists? I haven’t heard anything about it being captured by the rebels (yet). And it’s as much a target for reprisals as Tripoli is, if not more so.

Update: This is a street fight now so NATO is winding down airstrikes. We’ll see if they change their minds once the rebels move on Sirte. Meanwhile, Time asks a good question: Which rebels are entering Tripoli, precisely?

Yet despite the military’s efforts, some anti-Gaddafi militias continue to operate outside the purview of the Benghazi military command. When asked about Brega’s capture, a fighter outside the town listed half a dozen brigades that participated in the offensive. Many of the rogue units are Islamist militias who refuse to disband and join the rebel army. The rebels’ political body, the National Transitional Council (NTC), has set up a committee to encourage harmony among its armed rnaks and to integrate the militias.

The NTC has encountered even more problems in the West in recent months. With no direct communication with that front (which is separated from Benghazi’s eastern stronghold by Sert, Gaddafi’s heavily fortified hometown), the political body discovered it had very little control over field units that were slowly making their way toward Gaddafi’s capital, Tripoli. Indeed, local troops in the west were waging campaigns independently of the NTC. “We move when we think the time is right,” said Sa’adun Zuwayhli, 29, a field commander in the Western city of Misratah, back in June. “We don’t really coordinate our movements with anyone outside Misratah.” To alleviate the tension, the Benghazi council sent some troops and arms to Misrata. But the move failed to enhance cooperation between the two sides.

So there’s a little extra tinder for the fire in post-Qaddafi Libya. Not only will the rebel council have to deal with loyalist insurgents, they’ll have to deal with rival rebel insurgents too.

Update: Al Jazeera reports that Qaddafi’s praetorian guard has surrendered. Full regime implosion.

Update: The editor of a pro-democracy Syrian satellite channel claims the Mad Dog has finally been put to sleep:

CONFIRMED: Mu’amar #Gaddafi, leader of #Libya for 42 years, has been shot DEAD in vicinity of Rixos Hotel in #Tripoli.

It makes sense that Qaddafi would be hiding in or near the Rixos. Lots of journalists have been staying there, which means it’s safe from NATO airstrikes. Needless to say, if it’s true, the body will be paraded before the cameras as soon as the rebels can find one. I wonder what Bashar Assad’s thinking right now.

Update: More rumblings of divisions among the rebels:

Libyan rebel Husam Najjair seems more concerned about the possibility of rebels turning on each other when they try to take control of the capital Tripoli than the threat posed by forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi.

“The first thing my brigade will do is set up checkpoints to disarm everyone, including other rebel groups, because otherwise it will be a bloodbath,” said Najjair. “All the rebel groups will want to control Tripoli. Order will be needed.”…

“There isn’t one rebel leader who is respected by everyone. That’s the problem,” said Kamran Bokhari, Middle East Director at STRATFOR global intelligence firm.

Libya’s ambassador to the UAE told Reuters, “We expect internal and external security forces to stay in their offices after Gaddafi, they will only change their allegiance.” That’s … quite an assumption.

Update: According to Reuters, rebel leader Mustafa Abdul Jalil told Al Jazeera that they’ve captured Saif al-Islam Qaddafi. I wonder if they’ll kill him outright or put him on trial.

Update: Prepare for chaos:

A senior American military officer who has been following the developments closely and who has been in contact with African and Arab military leaders in recent days, expressed caution on Sunday about the prospects for any imminent fall of the Qaddafi regime. Even if Colonel Qaddafi is deposed in some way, the senior officer said, there was still no clear plan for a political succession or for maintaining security in the country.

“The leaders I’ve talked to do not have a clear understanding how this will all play out,” said the officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the diplomatic delicacies surrounding the issue…

Untold numbers of … missiles, including SA-7’s, have already been looted from government arsenals, and American officials fear they could circulate widely, including heat-seeking antiaircraft missiles that could be used against civilian airliners. “What I worry about most is the proliferation of these weapons,” the senior military officer said, noting that the United States has already been quietly meeting with leaders of Libya’s neighbors in Africa’s Sahel region to stem the flow of the missiles.

Update: No surprise that early reports are conflicting: A member of the rebel tribal council says they believe Qaddafi’s fled to Algeria, not that he’s dead.

Update: An AP report from Tripoli captures the atmosphere as Qaddafi’s political prisoners are released. “We are coming for you, frizz-head.”

Update: It’s unclear how much of Tripoli is in rebel hands, but I’m guessing … a lot of it:

Rebel leaders in Tripoli said Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi’s compound was effectively surrounded, the rebel flag is now flying from many buildings across the capital and that the opposition is now only waiting for rebel reinforcements to arrive before beginning a final assault…

Two rebel organizers contacted by telephone in Tripoli said Gaddafi opponents had secured control of at least five central neighborhoods, including Souk al-Jumaa, Tajaura, Fashloum, Arada and Zawiyat al-Dahmani.

Anti-Gaddafi rebels, who have spent months quietly organizing for this moment, are now within a mile and a half of Gaddafi’s Bab al-Aziziya compound and are hoping to launch an assault on the headquarters as soon as rebel reinforcements arrive, said an activist who uses the name Tony.

A rebel spokesman claims they control most of the capital.

Update: Via the Times liveblog, here’s video that purports to show a celebration in Tripoli this afternoon. If that’s what it is, then it really is all over; there’s not a whiff of fear here of being attacked by regime troops.

No surprise either, in that case, that Al Jazeera’s reporting Qaddafi’s son Mohammed has also surrendered.

Update: Also via the Times liveblog, here’s video of Sky reporter Alex Crawford riding along with the rebels as they enter Tripoli to cries of “freedom!”

Update: Yet another report, this time from BBC Arabic, citing rebel sources who claim Qaddafi’s flown the coop to Algeria. WaPo’s David Ignatius says he’s been hearing rumors for days that the Qaddafi family’s been moving money out of the country:

The endgame in Libya appears near, according to Western intelligence sources, who say that Moammar Gaddafi’s family has been moving money and other assets outside the country over the past five days in anticipation of the regime’s collapse. According to these sources, Gaddafi has left Tripoli but is still in the country

A sign that the implosion may at last be happening is the reported transfer of money. Some of it has gone to Algerian accounts, according to a source in contact with the banking network that is said to be conducting the transactions. The Gaddafi family, including his three sons, is said by this source to be in Tunisia, perhaps on the way to exile in Algeria.

The rebels seem awfully sure that they’ve captured all three of his sons so Ignatius’s sources may not be credible.

Update: Breaking from Reuters. “Qaddafi” here is Saif al-Islam Qaddafi, not Muammar:

ICC PROSECUTOR’S SPOKESWOMAN SAYS HAS CONFIRMATION GADDAFI HAS BEEN DETAINED

Does that mean the rebels have reached out to the ICC for an international war-crimes trial for Saif? Or did the ICC get this info through the grapevine and decide to go public with it in hopes of pressuring the rebel leadership into not executing Saif summarily?

Update: The rebels have secured Green Square in central Tripoli. Sky News’s video feed shows raucous celebrations, replete with the ceremonial defacing of regime propaganda.

Update: A possible solution to the Sirte problem I raised earlier: “Al Arabiya: Revolutionary Sources: Gaddafi troops in Sirte & Brega are seeking negotiations.”

Update: A rebel spokesman says there’ll be no retribution against regime loyalists and that Qaddafi will be placed on trial, not summarily executed, when he’s caught.

We’re not going to put (supporters of the regime) on trial, we’re going to tell them they are Libyan, they are our brothers and sisters and we are going to ask them to join the revolution. We’re going to build a state where everyone can get a good education, etc etc.

There are many rumours about (Gadaffi’s) location. We’re going to guarantee his safety and the safety of his family. We want to see him be tried in Libya and not in any other place in the world. We’re establishing a state of law and we would like to see him in the court.

Update: A surreal scene on Al Jazeera as Mohammed Qaddafi, who’d already surrendered to the rebels, phones into the network — and is interrupted:

Call with Mohammed Gaddafi was interrupted amid shooting apparently. His voice was shivering. He said gunfire inside his house!

His exact words, allegedly: “”I..I… I am being attacked right now..inside, inside my house, inside.” Another viewer reports he was crying and praying when the call got cut off.

Update: An amazing photo taken at last year’s Arab-African Summit. Pictured left to right: Ben Ali of Tunisia, Saleh of Yemen, Qaddafi, and Mubarak. Three of them are now gone and Saleh, while nominally still in power, has been in Saudi Arabia for months recovering from an attack on his palace after mass protests. He’s vowing to return. He won’t.

Update: The first Qaddafi “death photo” is now circulating on Twitter. It’s almost certainly fake, but graphic. Here you go.

Update: Here’s Al Jazeera’s reporter with the rebels in Green Square, formerly the site of Qaddafi’s propaganda rallies.

Update: No press appearance for Obama tonight, but here’s a written statement issued by the White House:

Tonight, the momentum against the Qadhafi regime has reached a tipping point. Tripoli is slipping from the grasp of a tyrant. The Qadhafi regime is showing signs of collapsing. The people of Libya are showing that the universal pursuit of dignity and freedom is far stronger than the iron fist of a dictator.

The surest way for the bloodshed to end is simple: Moammar Qadhafi and his regime need to recognize that their rule has come to an end. Qadhafi needs to acknowledge the reality that he no longer controls Libya. He needs to relinquish power once and for all. Meanwhile, the United States has recognized the Transitional National Council as the legitimate governing authority in Libya. At this pivotal and historic time, the TNC should continue to demonstrate the leadership that is necessary to steer the country through a transition by respecting the rights of the people of Libya, avoiding civilian casualties, protecting the institutions of the Libyan state, and pursuing a transition to democracy that is just and inclusive for all of the people of Libya. A season of conflict must lead to one of peace.

The future of Libya is now in the hands of the Libyan people. Going forward, the United States will continue to stay in close coordination with the TNC. We will continue to insist that the basic rights of the Libyan people are respected. And we will continue to work with our allies and partners in the international community to protect the people of Libya, and to support a peaceful transition to democracy.

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Comments

At some future point, and not too long I should think, some of these empty suits will DUH! realize that Qadaffi was the BEST of all evils.

MaiDee on August 21, 2011 at 10:58 PM

Agreed.

First Reagan, and then later GWB, had him completely contained, keeping to himself in Libya, and even giving up his nuclear ambitions. He was a monster in his own country, of course, but he wasn’t a threat to anyone else as long as he knew the USA was keeping an eye on him. Status Quo. No problem.

Along comes Obama, kissing butt all over the Middle East, and Gaddafi starts flexing his muscles, thinking he’s off the leash, right? Wrong. There’s a larger plan, which is to position the Muslim Brotherhood to assume control of Arab countries one at a time. And guess what Gaddafi? You’re next. AND it’s going to be NATO (ya know, the allied nations of the West, which have always been the good guys — at least up until now) that does the deed. So, no one’s gonna think that’s a BAD thing, ya know? Bye-bye Gaddafi, hello Muslim Brotherhood (who Hillary has already said the State Dept would recognize as a legitimate organization, and sit down and talk to).

Oh joy.

infidel4life on August 22, 2011 at 12:07 AM

What abut Gene Simmons from Kiss? With a little chin hair, I’m thinking he could be just as greasy and slimy as the colonel.
keep the change on August 21, 2011 at 5:05 PM

Gene Simmons is an Israeli born Jew; somehow, I don’t think that would work…

RedSoxNation on August 22, 2011 at 1:06 AM

Let this be an example to the Colin Powell “all in” crowd. We can lead from behind in these turd world countries and get our desired result.

No outcome is guaranteed, but if another group of misfits takes over, we can bomb them too.

However, very few American boots were on the ground.

Congrats to NATO ans the Prez on this one.

rickyricardo on August 22, 2011 at 1:19 AM

Asian markets don’t like the ‘Arag Spring’. Gold and silver up, up, up.

Schadenfreude on August 22, 2011 at 1:24 AM

‘Arab Spring’

Schadenfreude on August 22, 2011 at 1:25 AM

We can lead from behind in these turd world countries and get our desired result.

If by desired result, you mean let an easily manipulated twerp in charge of an important oil country fall to an unknown bunch of muslim thugs, then yeah, it’s super!

pedestrian on August 22, 2011 at 1:28 AM

Gateway pundit has a photo of a very dead Qaddafi..

katy on August 22, 2011 at 1:41 AM

Out of the frying pan …

OldEnglish on August 22, 2011 at 3:37 AM

An old question from since ever since, but why doesn’t HA time stamp the Updates?

geckomon on August 22, 2011 at 3:58 AM

katy on August 22, 2011 at 1:41 AM

Which is obviously fake.

clancy_wiggum on August 22, 2011 at 3:58 AM

Good luck to the Libyan people; they’re gonna need it.

I fear/know that that is going to get worse before it gets any better.

Jason Coleman on August 22, 2011 at 3:58 AM

What a non-statement emanating from The Vineyahd. Honestly, does this man ever say anything of true substance?

herm2416 on August 22, 2011 at 4:03 AM

So all of North Africa is an islamist Iranian stronghold, from the Suez Canal to the Atlantic. Way to go Obama. I’m not saying the world isn’t better off without Mummy Kdaffy, but sometimes the cure is much worse than the disease especially in the arab world.

eaglewingz08 on August 22, 2011 at 4:13 AM

Obama has helped clear the way yet again enabling another Extreme Muslim faction to take over a country. The pyramids in Egypt? Forget going there now, Obama already converted that into a much more unsafe place for Americans. Quakdaffy, altho a murderer and putz, will seem like Jimmah Carter compared to whats coming.At least Quakdaffy feigned a good relationship with the USA and basically was a less headache than Iran. Why not do the same to Iran for that matter. Whatever happened to the Dems using the Nation Building term as such a vile word.

malkinmania on August 22, 2011 at 6:59 AM

These are not freedom loving people. They are animals and Obama will be responsible for the new foothold AQ is gaining.

gatorfanatic on August 22, 2011 at 7:30 AM

My take.

kingsjester on August 22, 2011 at 7:49 AM

Six months and how many lives to complete a three-day job? Pffft.

petefrt on August 22, 2011 at 8:10 AM

For months all we have heard is that “America is in the backseat”….”This is a NATO mission”…..”France is in the lead”….

Now all the Obama Zombies will declare he got Qaddafi….
……..you know…..
…………….from “the backseat”.

Peace out anti-war liberals….
………and bombs awayyyyyyyyy.

Baxter Greene on August 22, 2011 at 8:20 AM

Baxter Greene on August 22, 2011 at 8:20 AM

THIS

and he will use it in his stump speeches as well

i got so and so

cmsinaz on August 22, 2011 at 8:28 AM

How ’bout some time stamps with the updates?

Just sayin’

mankai on August 22, 2011 at 9:18 AM

How ’bout some time stamps with the updates?

Just sayin’

mankai on August 22, 2011 at 9:18 AM

Just click on the link genius…

Obama Statement on Libya
10:17 PM, Aug 21, 2011 • By JOHN MCCORMACK

right2bright on August 22, 2011 at 9:44 AM

rickyricardo on August 22, 2011 at 1:19 AM

Wow, you really are the idiot you pretend to be. Instead of the contained thug we understood, and who could be threatened into remaining contained, we now have nobody knows what. Libya has advanced weaponry. Who controls it now, who do they hate most, and how likely are they to employ their new toys? You don’t know anymore than I do.

Yes indeed, congratulations, Mr. President and the Clinton State Department. Stability has been evaporated.

Bonehead.

Freelancer on August 22, 2011 at 9:44 AM

right2bright on August 22, 2011 at 9:44 AM

Seems a rather difficult way to follow over 20 updates, when a simple time stamp would help.

mankai on August 22, 2011 at 10:23 AM

The oil states are falling like dominoes. Betcha the Saudies are quaking in their satin slippers right about now. When those who hate us the most and want to cut off our heads take over the oil field, where do we turn for energy? We’re running out of friends and oil will be sold to the highest bidder. We could drill here, but that’s out of the question without our own regime change.

Kissmygrits on August 22, 2011 at 10:56 AM

What’s that? Al Qaeda almost in control of Libya? What could possibly go wrong?

shanimal on August 22, 2011 at 11:49 AM

Freelancer bedwet: Instead of the contained thug we understood

Who do you mean by “we”? Who’d you bury?

Families of Lockerbie bombing victims cheer collapse of Moammar Khadafy’s regime
Families of the Pan Am Flight 103 victims Sunday night were savoring a moment they had craved for more than 20 years.

With Moammar Khadafy’s long reign in its final moments, relatives of the 259 people killed in the bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland, celebrated his imminent fall.

I never thought this day would come,” said Susan Cohen, 73, whose 20-year-old daughter, Theodora, was killed in the 1988 act of terror ordered by the Libyan strongman.

I expected to die with this tyrant still in power.”

Even as Khadafy’s death grip on Libya loosened over the last several months, some victims’ relatives still believed he would find a way to stay in power.

As long as he had oil, I figured somebody would kiss his a–,” said Bob Monetti of Cherry Hill, N.J., whose 20-year-old son, Richard, was killed in the bombing.

My hope is that once he gets put away, we can find out all the gory details of what he did,” he said. “After 22 years, it’s time.”

Cohen said she was moved by the images of Libyans celebrating in the streets as Khadafy’s 42 years in power appeared to be coming to the end.

It is a marvelous, marvelous thing to see,” she said. “I wish I could be there with them.”

That it took nearly a quarter-century after the Lockerbie attack for Khadafy to fall, she said, is mind-boggling.

He’s been propped up, he’s been given money, he’s been supported by the West,” she said.”And thanks, basically, to the Libyan people we have this now.

“It is way overdue.”

The Libyan-Contras’ victory over Kaddafi’s thugocracy is a LONG overdue triumph for the Reagan Doctrine.

It took EU conservatives (Cameron, Sarkozy, Berlusconi, Merkel) to successfully revive the Reagan Doctrine by arming and supporting Libyan-Contras.

American conservatives should focus on congratulating our heroic NATO airmen (and our new Libyan allies) for a job well done– and ignore the predictably impotent posturing by Barry.

He counted on America to be passive. He counted wrong.

God bless Ronald Reagan and our heroic NATO airmen.

Terp Mole on August 22, 2011 at 12:35 PM

This was not wise.

Qaddafi had a detente’ with America, he gave up his WMDs. No nation will trust us at our word now.

As of now, President Obama has guaranteed Israel must attack Iran because they will never give up their nuclear program now.

The Persian Gulf will shut down for a time, oil will hit $300 a barrel, and Obama might very well attempt to attack the Israeli planes when they fly over Iraq.

Our only hope is that our generals resist the unlawful order to do so.

scotash on August 22, 2011 at 12:41 PM

scotass bewet: Qaddafi had a detente’ with America

Nuts.

Libya’s Justice Minister confirmed: Kaddafi (personally) masterminded Lockerbie.

There is no statute of limitations on mass murder of innocent Americans.

NATO had a duty to bring Kaddafi to justice; or justice to Kaddafi.

I don’t much care whether Kaddafi meets a criminal court or Mussolini’s fate on a meat-hook. But Kaddafi (personally) must answer for his atrocities.

Iran’s mullahs are watching: Anything short of a Kaddafi dirt-nap will be a grave mistake.

Terp Mole on August 22, 2011 at 2:19 PM

I wish Bilbo had killed him when he had the chance.

Christien on August 22, 2011 at 2:21 PM

Susan Cohen, Mother Of Woman Killed In Lockerbie Bombing, Elated

Her daughter Theodora was a Syracuse University student when her plane exploded and Susan believes that Gadhafi was responsible and still wants more answers, and she wants Ghadafi to get what he deserves.

“Personally, I hope they kill him. But if he’s taken to the court, he’s taken to the court,” she said. “I’ll tell you, in my view, justice would be a bullet through his brain.”

Theodora was one of 35 Syracuse students on the flight, one of 38 New Jerseyans on board, and one of 189 Americans.

See also Dark Elegy.

Terp Mole on August 22, 2011 at 2:36 PM

Y’all are geniuses. Keep being wrong through the entire timeline. You just get more and more amusing.

Constantine on August 22, 2011 at 2:38 PM

progressive boasted: Keep being wrong

um, about what exactly, genius?

Terp Mole on August 22, 2011 at 3:07 PM

Libyan Draft Constitution: Sharia is ‘Principal Source of Legislation’

Akzed on August 22, 2011 at 4:45 PM

Libyan Draft Constitution: Sharia is ‘Principal Source of Legislation’

Akzed on August 22, 2011 at 4:45 PM

Just like Iraq and Afghanistan. Looks like the military officer’s oath needs to be updated from protect and defend the U.S. Constitution, to protect and defend Shariah.

Lon Chaney on August 22, 2011 at 8:00 PM

Oh! I almost forgot. And in the new updated oath there should probably be something in their about promoting diversity, our greatest strength.

Lon Chaney on August 22, 2011 at 8:05 PM

Really? On what basis?

blink on August 22, 2011 at 3:10 PM

On the basis that if they bother us, we bother them, until a leadership emerges that has the divine inspiration to leave us the hell alone. Then we do the same.

Uncle Sams Nephew on August 22, 2011 at 9:59 PM

Uncle Sam explained: if they bother us, we bother them, until a leadership emerges that has the divine inspiration to leave us the hell alone

Yep. That’s been US policy since ~Jefferson’s Tripolitan War.

Don’t mess with the bull, young man, you’ll get the horns.

Terp Mole on August 23, 2011 at 8:06 AM

Oh, Revolution’s pretty much over, is it?

Well, then – Time to stab your erstwhile partners in the back, before they do the same to you.

Oh, and – Welcome to real life.

mojo on August 23, 2011 at 10:40 AM