In today’s UN Security Council meeting at UNHQ/NY, Libya’s Ambassador Mohammad Abdel-Rahman Shalgham (until today, apparently loyal to Col. Muammar Qaddhafi, and according to AFP his childhood friend) formally joined his deputy (Ibrahim Dabbashi), and the opposition to the current regime in his country. Shalgham reportedly told the Security Council: “Please, the United Nations, save Libya. Let there be no bloodshed, no killing of innocents. We want a decisive, rapid and courageous resolution from you”. [This was reported in an AFP dispatch published here. The AFP said that Shalgham made references in his speech to Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot…
In today’s meeting of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, the entire Libyan delegation announced that they represented the people, and not the government of Libya, and they called for a moment of silence in honor of the victims of the violence of the regime.
And, Col. Qaddhafi and his son both gave second speeches today (their second since the outbreak of the uprising this month). I was out and missed them. Hussein Ibish of the American Task Force on Palestine wrote today on his blog here that “Well, he [Col. Qaddhafi] finally came right out and said it: ‘those who do not love me do not deserve to live’. With those words, uttered on Libyan state television today, Libyan dictator Moammar Qaddafi at least rhetorically outdid all his megalomaniacal and mass murdering predecessors including Saddam Hussein, Ceausescu, Stalin and the whole bunch. Anyone who still doubts that this man is ready and willing to visit the utmost bloodshed upon his people simply isn’t paying attention. The question is, is he able? The answer is, at this stage at least, quite possibly”.
Ibish later added this update to his post: “There is now some dispute over whether Qaddafi said ‘those who do not love me do not deserve to live” or “if people do not love me, I do not deserve to live’. Al Arabiya reports the later here. But first-rate tweeters reporter Muna Shikaki quoted him as ‘Qaddafi: ‘those who don’t like me don’t deserve to live’ and Sultan Al Qassemi wrote ‘Gaddafi now in TV “I’m in central Tripoli now. The people who don’t love me don’t deserve to live”.’ Those are two pretty good sources, in my view. Either way, the thrust of the arguments remain unchanged. At UN today, the Libyan ambassador finally abandoned Qaddafi after sticking by him till now in an open dispute with his deputy. With emotions and tears flowing, Amb. Shalqam embraced Sec. Gen. Ban and asked the UN to ‘save Libya, we want quick action, save Libya’. He rightly said Qaddafi’s message to Libyans was if I cannot rule you, ‘I will kill you’. I think that says it all. And there is no dispute that Qaddafi today threatened to turn Libya into ‘a burning hell’.”
The Independent reported that “The beleaguered Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi defiantly appealed to his hardcore supporters to ‘defend the nation’ against an uprising which was last night closing in on Tripoli after thousands of protesters braved gunfire to try to march through the capital. Standing on the ramparts of a fort overlooking the city’s Green Square, Colonel Gaddafi pumped his fist and told 1,000 pro-regime demonstrators: ‘We can crush any enemy. We can crush it with the people’s will. The people are armed and when necessary, we will open arsenals to arm all the Libyan people and all Libyan tribes’. Urging the crowd to ‘retaliate against them, retaliate against them’, the 68-year-old President was shown on state television calling on them to prepare to defend the nation and defend the oil’.” This report, written by a team in Bengazi, is published here.
AFP reported that Qaddhafi said in Friday’s speech: “Sing, dance and prepare yourselves … If needs be, we will open all the arsenals”. The U.S. warmed up to Libya after it gave up its nuclear weapons program (after revelations that it came from Pakistani nuclear scientist and salesman], but reports indicate that Libya still has chemical and biological weapons…
In the UN Security Council today, UN Secretary-General BAN Ki-Moon said that “Colonel Qaddhafi and members of his family continue to threaten the population with civil war… Let us be frank, these remarks… raise grave considerations… I strongly believe that the first obligation of the international community is to ensure (protection)”
BAN also noted that “Today the Human Rights Commission convened in special session… it is the first time that a member of the HRC is the subject of a special session … The HRC today took steps to establish independent commission of inquiry and recommended that the UN General Assembly consider suspending Libya from HRC”
And, he said, “There are also indications of a growing crisis of refugees (since Feb 22, some 22,000 fled overland to Tunisia, and 15,000 to Egypt, but much larger numbers are trapped… And those who managed to cross the border said the journey was terrifying … It is crucial for humanitarian agencies to have access to the border”.
And, BAN said, the UN’s World Food Program is concerned about Libya’s food supplies
In those who can stand it — and especially for those who love these things — here is a UN video of today’s UN Security Council meeting on Libya:
According to a Reuters report published in Haaretz, a six-page draft UN Security Council resolution says that “The attacks against Libyan civilians may be ‘crimes against humanity’ warranting prosecution by the International Criminal Court in The Hague, according to a draft UN sanctions resolution. The text, drafted by France and Britain and circulated to other members of the UN Security Council on Friday, also calls for an arms embargo against Libya as well as travel bans and asset freezes for the country’s top leaders … The 15-nation council has only referred one other case to the ICC – the conflict in Sudan’s western Darfur region”. This Haaretz report is posted here.
Here are some selected Tweets on the situation in Libya over the last working week:
@marianhouk: Could become one of the most expedited decisions ever taken by UN Security Council – case for humanitarian intervention in #Libya
@marianhouk: To the last man + woman! RT@cnnbrk – Gadhafi’s son: #Libya’s army has been told to restore
security “at any price” http://on.cnn.com/ge2mrQ
@marianhouk: Situation in Libya doesn’t need to be international for UN Security Council action under rarely-used humanitarian imperative resolutions…
@marianhouk: It was like a music video @RT IvanCNN: Watch Gadhafi’s…strange…pre-dawn appearance with an umbrella on Libyan TV – http://bit.ly/hCZTR7
@marianhouk: The neo-Con right has tried for years to kick #Libya off the UN Human Rights Commission, then Council. This is inadequate to the carnage now
@themoornextdoor – Qadhafi: “….and the punishment is death” this is really all you need to know from this speech.
@lassecgen LAS Council decides to suspend participation of Libyan delegations in all LAS meetings.
@SultanAlQassemi – Abdul Fattah Younis: Gaddafi, that dirty man, wanted to say that I was killed by protesters so that my tribe, the Obeidat will stand by him
@marianhouk: “Greasy rats”! — one of the most disgusting and chilling things Qaddhafi said today, over + over
@marianhouk: Revelations abt Qaddafi murder of Musa al-Sadr and his secret burial ‘n Sebha, then murder of some who knew [n.b. reportedly including Qaddhafi’s personal pilot]: @SultanAlQassimi + @_RichardHall
Wednesday 23 February:
@marianhouk: After revelations about murder + burial in Libya of Musa al-Sadr, when will we learn about Mansour Kikhya, who disappeared in Cairo?
@marianhouk: @weddady – on list of who owes how much to Libya, Nicaragua is $123,000,000+ http://af.reuters.com/article/eritreaNews/idAFLDE7181NC20110209
@marianhouk: Maybe to be repaid in kind, UN votes? @kelliestrom – Nicaragua loan $123 million from #Libya but balance is $302 million. Interest charges?
Thursday 24 February:
@pressfreedom – Deputy Foreign Minister of #Libya: Foriegn journos will be treated as #AlQaeda collaborators. http://bit.ly/eo4SCW #Feb17
@marianhouk: Astonishing US State Dep warning to journalists: Senior Libyan officials told US that unauthorized media in Libya are Al-Qaeda collaborators
@marianhouk: Be advised, US State Dept tells media, it’s now additionally hazardous.Libya says join authorized media teams or u r terrorist collaborators
@markknoller- State Dept planning final evacuation flight out of Tripoli tomorrow. http://go.usa.gov/gwk.
@RobertNisbet – #Libya: Obama will call David Cameron and Nicolas Sarkozy this afternoon to coordinate response to Libya
Friday 25 February:
@UN – Today’s Human Rights Council meeting is 1st time a member is the subject of a Special Session http://bit.ly/gdRlNI #Libya
@marianhouk: Kicking Libya off Human Rts Council to take advantage of moment? Or use of responsibility to protect mandate? RT @UN HRC to meet on #Libya
@marianhouk: Like UN Security Council imposing sanctions, kicking #Libya off UN Human Rts Council is inadequate to danger, carnage, and is opportunistic
@marianhouk: Will there be useful “teamwork” — or disconnect — between work of UN Security Council in NY + UN Human Rights Council in Geneva?
@marianhouk: UN High Commissnr for Human Rts Navi Pillay’s remarks on #Libya focussed on responsibility to protect civ. pop from crimes against humanity
@marianhouk: Guess Pillay couldn’t urge Libya ouster from UN Human Rts Commission even if she wanted to, but it’s sure on agenda http://on.ft.com/eSiwNf
@marianhouk: UN High Commissionr for Human Rts Navi Pillay to Geneva meeting: “There can be no doubt about the need for action by this Council now”..
@marianhouk: UN High Commissioner Navi Pillay: “The “Human Rights Council + its mechanisms should step in vigorously to help end violence in Libya”…
@marianhouk: Pillay: HR “Council should use all means available to compel Libyan Government to respect the human rights + heed the will of its people”.
@fearraigh75 – Interesting to learn Libya is a shareholder in the Pearson Group, owner of the Financial Times. In