Gadhafi vows to ‘die a martyr’ rather than flee Libya

Foreigners escape violence against foes of regime

EXIT STRATEGY: Egyptians, seeking to flee Libya through the Salloum land port gate (rear), wait with their luggage Tuesday. They were among thousands fleeing the violence. (Associated Press)EXIT STRATEGY: Egyptians, seeking to flee Libya through the Salloum land port gate (rear), wait with their luggage Tuesday. They were among thousands fleeing the violence. (Associated Press)
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Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi vowed Tuesday to “die a martyr” rather than flee his embattled country, as tens of thousands of foreigners rushed across the borders to Tunisia or Egypt or caught emergency flights to Europe.

Col. Gadhafi also called on supporters to take to the streets to fight anti-government protesters claiming control over almost all of the eastern part of Libya with the help of rebellious soldiers, as the Libyan army Tuesday deployed “large numbers” of troops to Sabratah, west of the capital, Tripoli, where demonstrators destroyed most of the offices of the state security services.

In Washington, White House spokesman Jay Carney denounced the “appalling violence” in Libya, and Sen. John Kerry, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, called the army’s vicious assaults Monday on unarmed civilians “cowardly” and “beyond despicable.”

The Massachusetts Democrat also appealed to President Obama to reimpose sanctions on Libya that President George W. Bush lifted after Col. Gadhafi renounced weapons of mass destruction.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who denounced the violence, again expressed her outrage at the Gadhafi regime.

BITTER END? Seen here in images taken Tuesday from Libyan state TV, Moammar Gadhafi, who has ruled the North African nation since 1969, vowed: "I will not leave Libya. I will die a martyr." (Libyan state television via Associated Press)

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BITTER END? Seen here in images taken Tuesday from Libyan state TV, ... more >

“There is no ambivalence. There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that the violence must stop and that the government of Libya has a responsibility to respect the universal rights of all of its citizens and to support the exercise of those rights,” she said.

In New York, a unanimous U.N. Security Council called for an immediate end to the violence and “deplored the repression against peaceful demonstrators, and expressed deep regret at the deaths of hundreds of civilians.”

After the closed-door U.N. session, Libyan Deputy Ambassador Ibrahim Dabbashi made a potentially damning claim under international law, saying army units were indiscriminately attacking unarmed civilians “and the genocide started.” Other Libyan diplomats have also used the word “genocide” since Monday.

Col. Gadhafi continued to lose diplomatic support. The Arab League barred Libya from its meetings, while Libyan ambassadors in Bangladesh, India and Indonesia resigned, joining the ambassador to the Arab League, who quit Monday. On Tuesday evening, Peru became the first nation to cut all diplomatic ties with Libya.

Libya’s ambassador to the United States on Tuesday called for Col. Gadhafi to resign.

“There’s no other solution,” said Ambassador Ali Aujali, who added that he was staying on to represent the “good side” of the Libyan government. He implored the United States to “raise its voice very strongly.”

“This regime is shaking, and this is the time to get rid of it,” Mr. Aujali said. “Please, please, help the Libyan people.”

In a defiant and rambling speech carried on Libya’s state TV, Col. Gadhafi lashed out at protesters, called on supporters to take to the streets and blamed the unrest on drug-crazed young people.

“I will not leave Libya. I will die a martyr,” said the mercurial despot, dressed in brown robes and a turban, which he repeatedly readjusted on his head. “I am a fighter, a revolutionary from tents.”

Although his army killed hundreds in several days of unrest, Col. Gadhafi said, “I have not yet ordered the use of force, not yet ordered one bullet to be fired. … When I do, everything will burn.”

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About the Author
Ashish Kumar Sen

Ashish Kumar Sen

Ashish Kumar Sen is a reporter covering foreign policy and international developments for The Washington Times.

Prior to joining The Times, Mr. Sen worked for publications in Asia and the Middle East. His work has appeared in a number of publications and online news sites including the British Broadcasting Corp., Asia Times Online and Outlook magazine.

 

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