U.S. officials confirm east of country has ‘fallen’ to rebels
Libyan troops defy Gadhafi, side with protesters (NBC Nightly News, Feb. 22, 2011) – As Moammar Gadhafi vowed Tuesday to fight and die a martyr rather than give up power, the eastern region of the country already appeared to no longer be under government control. NBC’s Chief Foreign Correspondent Richard Engel reports. (03:46)
NBC News’ Robert Windrem, Reuters, and The Associated Press via MSNBC.com
February 22, 2011
TRIPOLI — Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi called Tuesday for his supporters to take back the streets from anti-government protesters and vowed to fight on and die as a “martyr.”
Gadhafi spoke as U.S. officials confirmed reports by NBC News’ Richard Engel, who has managed to enter the country from Egypt, that part of the east of Libya has “fallen” to the protesters and was no longer controlled by the central government.
The officials confirmed that military units had defected to side with the protesters and that a major tribe crucial to the dictator’s survival said they would not back Gadhafi because of his brutal treatment of the people.
Despite a mounting revolt against his 41-year rule, Gadhafi said in a rambling speech Tuesday that he would never leave the country where his grandfather and father were buried.
“I will die as a martyr at the end,” he said. “I have not yet ordered the use of force, not yet ordered one bullet to be fired … when I do, everything will burn.” …
Protesters peel away Gadhafi’s grip on power (AP and Reuters via MSNBC.com, Feb. 23, 2011) – Moammar Gadhafi’s control over Libya was being whittled away Wednesday as major cities and towns closer to the capital fell to the rebellion against his rule. In the east, now all but broken away, the opposition vowed to “liberate” Tripoli, where the Libyan leader is holed up with a force of militiamen roaming the streets and tanks guarding the outskirts. But an army of African mercenaries was streaming toward Tripoli to reinforce Gadhafi’s stronghold, The New York Times reported. … Full story
Americans await evacuation from falling Libya (NBC Nightly News, Feb. 23, 2011) – Pro-Khaddafy forces moved to crush protesters Wednesday as more police, military and diplomatic officials abandoned their posts; meanwhile, bad weather held up thousands of foreigners attempting to flee the country. NBC’s Richard Engel reports. (05:14)
Qaddafi’s Forces Hit Back at Rebels (Kareem Fahim and David D. Kirkpatrick, New York Times, March 1, 2011) — Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s forces struck back at his opponents on three fronts on Monday, with special forces, regular army troops and, rebels said, fighter jets, in an escalation of hostilities that brought Libya a step closer to civil war. … Full story
Related reports on this site
Libya descends into chaos (Huffington Post, Feb. 21, 2011)
Libyan Rebels Advance on Tripoli (March 5, 2011)
Deadly Crackdown in Libya (Feb. 20, 2011)
Middle East Protests Spread to Iraq (Feb. 16, 2011)
Protests Sweep Middle East (Feb. 14, 2011)
Middle East Instability Spreading (Feb. 3, 2011)
Fears of Egyptian Domino Effect (Jan. 31, 2011)
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One year ago today, I reported that Iran said it planned to build two new uranium enrichment facilities deep inside mountains to protect them from attack, a new challenge to Western powers trying to curb Tehran’s nuclear program for fear it is aimed at making weapons.
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