Qaddafi to supporters: “Go cleanse all of Tripoli — clear it of the rats”; Update: Journalists held hostage? Update: Freed?

posted at 10:05 am on August 24, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Rebel fighters overran Moammar Qaddafi’s compound in Tripoli, but the dictator himself has yet to surface — at least in person. NBC News reports on a radio address given by Qaddafi today to his supporters in Tripoli urging them to rise up and fight the rebels. The translation makes clear that Qaddafi wants a “cleansing” of the capital of any opposition to his regime:

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Doesn’t sound like a man looking to surrender to the tender mercies of the International Criminal Court, does it? Despite the specter of a trial at The Hague, Qaddafi has no problem calling for massive bloodshed of men, women, and children in order to restore his crumbling regime.

Interestingly, it seems that Qaddafi might have been in the compound when rebels overran it. He claims to have withdrawn for “tactical” reasons, but as NBC reports, Qaddafi doesn’t make clear exactly when he left.  But that leaves open the question of where he is now.  Does he have access to another bunker, or did the rebel seizure of Bab al-Aziziya force Qaddafi to move in the open?  If that’s the case, then Qaddafi is most likely looking for a way out of Tripoli to safety, and his call for a last stand in the capital might be another “tactical” decision to cover his escape.  At this point, would anyone in Tripoli respond to that call?

Update: Sky News reports that journalists in the Rixos Hotel in Tripoli are describing themselves as captives to the regime’s soldiers:

With electricity and water cut off and no staff left, the 30 or so journalists from around the world have grouped together, donning flak jackets and helmets as they listen to the sounds of gunfire outside.

When stray bullets struck the hotel as the rebels moved into the capital, some correspondents hung banners on their balconies, reading: “Television, press, don’t shoot.”

Fox News producer Tadek Markowski told Sky News the media felt they were being held “hostage”.

He said: “We are into day five of what is essentially a hostage situation.["]

And Markowski adds this ominous note:

“We are speaking to colleagues who are with the rebels. We know they are very close and we get the sense that something is about to happen.

“We would love it to end in a whimper and not a bang, but we are moving with a sense of purpose now because we think the end is very close.”

Let’s keep these folks in our prayers, and remember that war correspondents put themselves in danger in order to get us the real story on the ground.  Hopefully, this works out well in the end.

Update II: Mediaite reports that the regime’s soldiers have now allowed the journalists to leave the Rixos.

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Months not years.

artist on August 24, 2011 at 10:07 AM

Loony Toons.

Count to 10 on August 24, 2011 at 10:11 AM

You say Quadafi and I say Gadafi, You say Moammar and I say Momar
Quadafi, Gadafi Moammar, Momar, Let’s call the whole thing off.

RadClown on August 24, 2011 at 10:16 AM

If that moron hadn’t started yapping about “cleansing” Benghazi when his goons had the upper hand, he probably would have won.

forest on August 24, 2011 at 10:17 AM

Kaddafi was a tunnel drilling fanatic.

He’s dug more ratholes than Kim Jong-il.

Gaddafi could prove elusive thanks to the vast network of tunnels

Obsessed by his own security, the Libyan dictator oversaw the construction of hundreds of miles of tunnels and bomb proof bunkers that connect many of his compounds and key buildings… beyond his warren of personal passages beneath Tripoli is a vast complex of tunnels stretching out under the desert and connecting many of the key towns and cities.

Terp Mole on August 24, 2011 at 10:17 AM

I have been watching the going-ons in Libya with a mixture of amusement and trepidation. I can’t help shaking off the feeling that this will end up like Iraq or worse.

The key takeaway from Iraq was that you cannot throw out an albeit evil dictator who has held power for 40+ years and expect the country to fall back in line within “weeks” or “months”.

There are a sizable number of Qaddafi loyalists remaining and Libya, like Iraq, is split along tribal lines.

While it is easy to use superior aerial power and military might to overthrow any Middle Eastern dictator, there is no alternative to “boots on the ground” if peace must be maintained. Are the Europeans prepared to do it post their Iraq vilification? Or shelve it off to us as they usually do?

TheRightMan on August 24, 2011 at 10:21 AM

If that moron hadn’t started yapping about “cleansing” Benghazi when his goons had the upper hand, he probably would have won.

forest on August 24, 2011 at 10:17 AM

If our moron hadn’t waited until the rebels were almost destroyed before pledging NATO support, this war would have been over in March.

KingGold on August 24, 2011 at 10:22 AM

He’s probably in effing Martha’s Vineyard by now…

catmman on August 24, 2011 at 10:22 AM

Qaddafi to supporters: “Go cleanse all of Tripoli — clear it of the rats”

And we will cleanse Washing DC of all the rats–the dhimmincRATS>

davidk on August 24, 2011 at 10:24 AM

“Clear it of the rats…and make them stop drinking the tainted Nescafe!!”

vcferlita on August 24, 2011 at 10:32 AM

Qaddafi to supporters: “Go cleanse all of Tripoli — clear it of the rats”

He sounds exactly like Maxine Waters and that other nutjob in the red hat talking to their supporters about the Tea Party….

UltimateBob on August 24, 2011 at 10:33 AM

Big Peace had an article on Daffy Qaddafi’s multi-billion dollar tunnel system supposedly thousands of miles in length, perhaps leading out of Tripoli to other locations. He’s probably down in one of those.

irishspy on August 24, 2011 at 10:35 AM

“clear it of the rats”

Ironic, coming from the Rathole Master;‘Luxury’ Bunker

The bunker discovered by rebels underneath Qaddafi’s villa in the mountain town of Bayda may give a clue what the tunnels in Tripoli might be like.

According to a report and photos in the Daily Mail newspaper in February, the bunker had three nine-inch-thick blast doors and led to a massage room, seven bedrooms, a kitchen and caverns full of equipment. Passageways with power generators and an air-filtration system led to an escape shaft in the countryside.

That’s a lot more luxurious than the accommodation Iraq’s Hussein had to resort to. His chamber was six to eight feet deep, with only enough room for one person to lie down, an air vent and an extractor fan.

Terp Mole on August 24, 2011 at 10:39 AM

At least he didn’t say they should go to hell.

The Mega Independent on August 24, 2011 at 10:39 AM

Qaddafi is a bit of a paranoid. I understand that NATO has a PILL for that.

Dr Evil on August 24, 2011 at 10:45 AM

Pro tip: If you are concerned for your safety, if you do not wish to be a hostage, if you are uneasy about war….

Don’t put yourself in a warzone to complain about it.

Brad on August 24, 2011 at 10:53 AM

Those tunnels were part of his stimulus- high speed escape rail system.

anikol on August 24, 2011 at 11:19 AM

Rebels fighters did NOT overrun the Gaddafi compound. US/NATO bombs already reduced it to rubble before the rebels entered.

Gaddafi forces had already left the rubbled areas and much of them took off their uniforms to roam freely amongst the rebels.

The real news is that in order for the rebels leadership to have “confirmed” erroneously the capture of Gaddafi’s sons, there must be a wide infiltration of Gaddafi supporters within the ranks of the rebels.

This means Gaddafi is working on the rebels from within—this no doubt is the “in fighting” that has been reported in the news.

Gaddafi is NOT going to ever give up, nor will his sons. They know , even if the MSM doesn’t , that most Libyans support them.
MOST Libyans are anti west , anti NATO and anti American.
Not that Obama/NATO has given them any other alternative except to be put on trial for alledged “crimes against humanity”

There is only two options in how this will turn out.
Option A: Gaddafi wins and the US/NATO leaves putting an immediate end to this war.
Option B: Gaddafi is killed and the new leadership (whether Libyan born or NATO installed)is plagued by Gaddafi supporters majority resistance for years to come.

BTW, how does the regime’s soldiers hold journalist hostage when the journalist have reported the city was taken over by the rebels days ago and the journalists have beeen in non stop communication with the rebels?

LeeSeneca on August 24, 2011 at 11:42 AM

Looks like the Obama victory tour may be a tad premature.

And just how many times can the MSM trumpet “It’s all over!”

GarandFan on August 24, 2011 at 11:43 AM

Cleanse?

Scrub buckets, mops and floor wax, maybe?

Its gonna take something to get all those red stains out.

ajacksonian on August 24, 2011 at 11:44 AM

I have this feeling that I should be paying closer attention to this and care more because it will be used as part of The Won’s campaign as a glorious victory that he is responsible for. As it is, I can get excited over the crazy people because they will still be crazy no matter who is in charge. And the United States will always be the enemy.

Cindy Munford on August 24, 2011 at 11:47 AM

Cindy Munford on August 24, 2011 at 11:47 AM

I think it was Fox News that had a blurb from the Libyan rebels. The new Libyan government will be based on Sharia Law. I won’t miss Qaddafi, but isn’t Hillary supposed to be trying to influence the Libyan rebels toward Democracy not a Theocracy? I heard that our government is looking for a way to get the Libyan assets we froze, to go to the Libyan rebels. I would be making sure we are not replacing one terrorist group with another, before we start making funds available to them.

Dr Evil on August 24, 2011 at 11:55 AM

Dr Evil on August 24, 2011 at 11:55 AM

Did Libya ever pay the Lockerby (sic?) families? I don’t trust our influence anywhere in the world right now so I agree, don’t release any funds. But we know that isn’t what is going to happen because of the Left, in general, and Obama, in particular, bribing people is tactic number one. Even when it doesn’t get the desired outcome. These are lazy unimaginative and uneducated people and I don’t care how many degrees they have.

Cindy Munford on August 24, 2011 at 12:07 PM

I have this feeling that I should be paying closer attention to this and care more because it will be used as part of The Won’s campaign as a glorious victory that he is responsible for.

Cindy Munford on August 24, 2011 at 11:47 AM

The media want it to be so but I doubt they will get their wish. They have tried declaring Libya “Mission Accomplished” so many times already despite situations on the ground being much more fluid than what is being reported.

As I said in my comment @ 10:21am, it is easy enough to use aerial power and military might to overthrow Middle East dictators but much more difficult to keep the peace.

Middle East/Arab societies tend towards autocratic rule, Israel being an exception. There pretty much has to be a strong man to keep the peace – minus the strong man, you get tribes pitted against one another…

The Libya rebels might appear victorious now but until they can get all Qaddafi’s supporting tribes on their side, it will take “years” and not weeks or months as Obama/Dems/media hope. Hence the African Union refusing to support the military overthrow of Qaddafi.

TheRightMan on August 24, 2011 at 12:11 PM

TheRightMan on August 24, 2011 at 12:11 PM

The Won really likes this type of war where he doesn’t get his hands dirty doesn’t he? Drones and aerial attacks are his cup of tea.

Cindy Munford on August 24, 2011 at 12:24 PM