Live: Libya Unrest

Daily, Live minute-by-minute coverage of the unrest in Libya.

LIVE: Libyan Unrest: NATO to take over Coalition operations over Libya

We are tracking the latest developments to keep you updated on the situation on the ground. There are interactive maps located in the Protest map page to keep up with the latest movements. Also check out the featured twitters on the … Continue reading

LIVE: Libyan Unrest: Explosions heard in Tripoli but location remains unclear

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LIVE: Libyan Unrest: No fly zone over Libya appears to be entering fourth night in Tripoli

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LIVE: Libyan Unrest: “It is US policy that Gaddafi needs to go” –Barack Obama

We are tracking the latest developments to keep you updated on the situation on the ground. There are interactive maps located in the Protest map page to keep up with the latest movements. You can also click on our links … Continue reading

Dental records for Hana Gaddafi reopen mystery of Libyan leader’s daughter

By James Kirkup

Files stored in a basement room in one of London’s most expensive districts could shed new light on one of the greatest mysteries of Muammar Gaddafi’s Libya: the alleged death of his baby daughter.

The documents were found in the Libyan Embassy in Knightsbridge this week after rebels fighting to end Gaddafi’s reign formally took possession of the “People’s Bureau”. They disclose a London dentist’s work for the Gaddafi regime, reopening the mystery of the daughter the Libyan leader claims was killed in a US bombing raid.

Stephen Hopson refused to discuss his dealings with Libya

The Daily Telegraph has seen the papers. They show that in 2008 Libyan officials in London arranged for the dentist, Stephen Hopson, to fly to Tripoli to treat a patient called “Hana Ghadafi”.

Hana was the name of the baby daughter that Gaddafi claimed was killed in the US air strike on Tripoli in 1986. The attack is said to have led the dictator to order terrorist reprisals, including the 1988 Lockerbie bombing.

Hana Gaddafi’s death has never been verified, and many Libyans believe she actually survived the 1986 attack and still lives in Tripoli.

In 2008, the Libyan ambassador, Omar Jelban, personally arranged a business class flight to Tripoli for Mr Hopson.

The dentist declined yesterday to give details of his patient or discuss his professional dealings with the regime. There is no suggestion of wrongdoing on his part, but the documents will revive speculation about the dictator’s daughter.

They show the Libyan embassy arranging for Mr Hopson to visit Tripoli in April 2008. In a fax to Mr Jelban, the dentist said he would be treating a patient he identified as “Miss Hana Ghadafi”.

It reads: “This is to confirm that I will be visiting Tripoli to treat Miss Hana Ghadafi this coming weekend. I will need a return plane ticket leaving the morning of Saturday 19th April and returning to London on the afternoon/evening of Sunday 20th April.”

There is no agreed way of rendering Arabic names into Roman script, meaning that Western spellings of Libyan names vary.

Also on April 14 2008, the Libyan ambassador instructed a London travel company to arrange flights for Mr Hopson, at the Libyan government’s expense.

Mr Jelban wrote a signed letter to Arab Tours asking them to issue the dentist with business-class British Airways tickets for the dates he requested. “Please send your invoice for settlement, with a copy of this letter, to the Libyan People’s Bureau in London,” he wrote.

Asked about Miss Gaddafi and the Libyan trip, Mr Hopson said he was “neither admitting or denying” anything. He said he could not give any details about his patient.

“There’s an element of patient confidentiality and if you were a patient, you wouldn’t want me revealing anything about any care that you had received and that’s why I can make no comment about any of this” he said.

Asked if his patient was Col Gaddafi’s daughter, Mr Hopson said: “It’s possible perhaps there could be a second Hana Gaddafi. It’s not beyond the realms of possibility.”

This week, Die Welt, a German newspaper, reported that Gaddafi’s daughter is alive and well and living in Tripoli.

Hana Gaddafi is thought to have been born in November 1985 and adopted by the Libyan leader shortly afterwards. Since her alleged death, a number of reports have suggested that she survived and remains close to Col Gaddafi.

In 1999, the official Chinese state news agency reported the presence of a Hana Gaddafi at a lunch her father held for Nelson Mandela.

This year, the Swiss froze assets linked to the Gaddafi family, including assets held under that name. Miss Gaddafi was reported to have lived in London as a teenager before studying medicine in Tripoli and working for the health ministry.

The embassy’s files contain numerous other documents relating to trips arranged to Libya by officials, but few involved Mr Jelban directly.

A Libyan government official on Friday night claimed that Hana is a second adopted daughter taken on by Col Gaddafi after the first one was killed in the 1986 bombing.

“This not an important issue when we have children dead and Nato bombing civilians in our country,” a Tripoli official said. “The Daily Telegraph should concentrate on these important issues.”

Source: Telegraph

Armed militia members haven’t been integrated into new Libya

In an abandoned house on a rocky escarpment perched high above Tripoli’s coastline, a lone teenage fighter sat in his pickup, armed with a pair of Kalashnikov rifles.

Abdullah Ghurah, 19, came from the city of Zintan, high in Libya’s western mountains. Like many young men who belonged to the brigades of revolutionary fighters that stormed Tripoli in August, he is still here with his band of militiamen.

Libya’s civil war is over, but the country is full of men such as Ghurah, members of independent militias who have not been reintegrated into normal life or absorbed into the new national army.

Libya’s civil war is over

Throughout the capital, there are checkpoints manned by brigades of fighters who use trucks mounted with anti-aircraft guns and other heavy weapons even though the city was liberated from government forces in August.

Libya’s new leaders say it will be difficult asserting authority over these brigades, some of which worry that the revolution can be reversed, and persuading them to disband.

“Those who want to … can join the national army and will be given proper training,” said Abdelrahman Busin, the military spokesman for the National Transitional Council. He acknowledged that there was an unwillingness among some fighters to put aside their weapons.

“A lot of people are concerned about the revolution being stolen from them, and until the government can prove that they are working in their best interests, they won’t lay down their arms,” he said.

No one knows how many men took up arms, but estimates range from 125,000 to 150,000, Busin said. The Interior Ministry plans to give jobs to 20,000 of these men in new security forces. Another 20,000 are to get positions in border security.

That leaves many others without jobs.

Many of the militias are groups of civilians who took up arms and organized themselves locally – naming their brigades after the towns or regions they come from. These bands of independent fighters greatly outnumber the units from Moammar Gadhafi’s army that defected and joined the revolutionaries.

For many, disbanding would mean conceding some of the status they won on the battlefield and handing over control to the politicians running Libya, an unelected council of technocrats.

Fighters from the western city of Misrata, where some of the bloodiest battles of the civil war took place, continue to patrol parts of the country, including Tripoli, Sirte and the south. Fighters from the city are holding on to their weapons.

“Misrata has not decided to surrender weapons unto the government,” said Ismail Zoubi, a young man from the Tiger brigade.

“We all agree that we have to take these weapons out of the street,” said Mohammed bin Rasali of the Misrata city council, “but for the revolutionary fighters to hand in their weapons to an unelected government, I think that these weapons should be handed to an elected government.” He points out that Libya’s National Transitional Council is a self-appointed body.

Rasali said he has seen no programs to reintegrate fighters into normal life. “They (revolutionary fighters) right now are in a state of shock, and once they do emerge, they will be very hard to please,” he said.

Throughout the capital, young fighters spoke of their disorientation as they try to adjust to normal life after months at the front line.

“I saw things that I can never delete from my life,” said Mouad Beitru, 20, an architecture student who joined a brigade at the beginning of the revolution. “One day you’re happy, one day you’re sad, one day you’re mad, one day you’re crazy. We’re watching movies now, but we saw it live.”

Part of the problem is that Libya has never had a truly professional army. Gadhafi, who himself took power in a military coup as a junior officer, mistrusted his officers and would try to balance power among various military outfits.

“Gadhafi didn’t like the army before, he just made brigades for his sons and himself,” explained Fouad ben Shabban, a fighter from the town of Zintan who manned a checkpoint in downtown Tripoli. “The army was very bad, but now we’re trying to make it better.”

Not all fighters are unwilling to turn in their arms.

Abdul Basset Hussein showed a certificate he received for turning in his weapon. He hopes others will do the same.

” I want to deliver a message to the world: Don’t be afraid, we are not fighters,” he said.

Source: USA Today

LIVE: Libyan Unrest

LIVE: Libyan Unrest: NATO to take over Coalition operations over Libya

We are tracking the latest developments to keep you updated on the situation on the ground. There are interactive maps located in the Protest map page to keep up with the latest movements. Also check out the featured twitters on the … Continue reading

LIVE: Libyan Unrest: Explosions heard in Tripoli but location remains unclear

We are tracking the latest developments to keep you updated on the situation on the ground. There are interactive maps located in the Protest map page to keep up with the latest movements. Also check out the featured twitters on the … Continue reading

LIVE: Libyan Unrest: No fly zone over Libya appears to be entering fourth night in Tripoli

We are tracking the latest developments to keep you updated on the situation on the ground. There are interactive maps located in the Protest map page to keep up with the latest movements. You can also click on our links to … Continue reading

LIVE: Libyan Unrest: “It is US policy that Gaddafi needs to go” –Barack Obama

We are tracking the latest developments to keep you updated on the situation on the ground. There are interactive maps located in the Protest map page to keep up with the latest movements. You can also click on our links … Continue reading

Video: Syrian Ambassador fleeing embassy in Libya

2/9/12

The Interim Government gave the Syrian Ambassador 72 hours to pack up earlier this week. Here are his last moments fleeing from the embassy on the way to the airport.

Summary

We’re going tо wrap uр thе live blog. Here’s a summary оf whеrе things stand:

• Basic details оf thе attack оn a US diplomatic outpost іn Benghazi, Libya, remain unknown. US officials said thеу don’t know hоw Ambassador Chris Stevens died. It іѕ unclear whо carried оut thе attack, аnd whеthеr іt wаѕ planned bеfоrеhаnd, аѕ thе White House suspects.

• President Obama paid tribute tо Ambassador Chris Stevens, Sean Smith аnd twо оthеr Americans killed іn Benghazi іn a meeting wіth State Department staff.

• Thе film said tо hаvе incited thе anti-US violence appears tо hаvе bееn mаdе wіthоut thе full cooperation оf іtѕ actors, оnе оf whоm told Gawker ѕhе wаѕ shocked tо learn ѕhе hаd performed іn a spoof оf Islam. Thе film wаѕ originally nоt аbоut thе Prophet Mohammed but аbоut ѕоmеоnе called Master George, ѕhе said. Thе identity оf thе filmmaker іѕ ѕtіll unknown.

• Thе outpost іn Benghazi wаѕ unguarded bу Marines, аѕ аll full US embassies аrе. Thе Benghazi post wаѕ аn interim facility wіth lesser security. Fifty members оf аn elite Marine guard wеrе deployed tо Benghazi Wednesday.

• Mitt Romney drew fіrе fоr attacking thе White House response tо thе crisis іn Cairo bеfоrе news hаd emerged оf Stevens’ death іn Libya. President Obama said Romney “seems tо hаvе a tendency tо shoot fіrѕt аnd aim later.”

• Libyans staged rallies іn Tripoli аnd Benghazi tо condemn thе attacks оn thе US outpost. Libya elected іtѕ fіrѕt post-Gaddafi prime minister, Mustafa Abushagur.

Libya Chooses New Prime Minister

By MARGARET COKER

The Libyan National Transitional Council has chosen a Tripoli businessman to head the interim governing authority and help shepherd the country’s political transition from its Gadhafi-era dictatorship to its first elections.

Abdul Rahmin El Keeb won a simple majority of the votes cast by the 54 members of the NTC, beating out several other candidates who had been culled from the running after they lost in earlier rounds of voting Monday evening.

Newly elected Libyan Prime Minister Abdul Rahmin El Keeb is congratulated by National Transitional Council chairman Mustafa Abdel Jalil (R) at the end of a public vote in Tripoli.

Mr. Elkeeb spent many years in exile outside Libya, but played a significant role in financing the revolt against Moammar Gadhafi and organizing the underground rebellion inside Tripoli this summer, when the capital was struggling to shake off the tight grip of the regime’s troops and intelligence agents.

He will take the place of Mahmoud Jibril, who has headed the rebel-led governing authority throughout the revolt and is credited with receiving foreign recognition for the NTC and building tight relationships between the NTC and North Atlantic Treaty Organization countries.

Mr. Elkeeb is expected to form a new cabinet in coming days, while the NTC legislative body discusses a formula to expand its ranks from its current number to at least 70 members, according to Libyan officials.

The NTC is now in a period of expansion, bringing in representatives from all parts of Libya, including areas of the country that won independence from the Gadhafi regime early in the struggle that began in February and areas that were the last to fall, such as the former ruler’s hometown of Sirte, which the NTC fighters gained control of only two weeks ago.

Mr. Jibril, the departing prime minister, has suggested increasing the size of the legislative body to 120 members to include both regional representatives as well as officials from key segments of society, such as women, young people and the military councils that control security in each Libyan municipality.

Source: WSJ