Entries in Gadhafi (11)


Missing Libya Missiles: UN Calls on Libya, Neighbors to Find Weapons

Scott Peterson/Getty Images(UNITED NATIONS) -- A resolution calling on Libya and its neighbors to secure unguarded Libyan weapons stockpiles and prevent terrorists from acquiring them was unanimously adopted Monday by the 15 members of the United Nations Security Council.

The resolution called on "Libyan authorities to take all necessary steps to prevent the proliferation of all arms […], in particular man-portable surface-to-air missiles" to keep the weapons from falling into the hands of terrorists, including al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, a North African offshoot of the terror group. It also called upon neighboring nations to "consider appropriate measures to prevent the proliferation" of these weapons, but stopped short of suggesting concrete measures to help secure the munitions.

A U.N. Security Council diplomat told ABC News this resolution would allow greater international cooperation in securing the weapons and would put in place a reporting and tracking mechanism that would help better monitor the situation.

Since the fall of Tripoli in late August, multiple weapons depots with stockpiles of heat-seeking surface-to-air missiles, heavy machine guns and ammunition have been discovered unguarded by journalists and NGOs. The Gadhafi regime once had as many as 20,000 Russian surface-to-air missiles, and U.S. military contractors are now in Libya trying to find thousands that are unaccounted for.

In the past month, some of the SAMs have turned up in Egypt and at the Israeli border. Egyptian authorities say they have arrested weapons smugglers bringing the weapons east from Libya toward Israel. According to the Washington Post, so many of the weapons were being sold in Egyptian black markets that the price had dropped from $10,000 to $4,000 per weapon.

It would take only one of the shoulder-fired, heat-seeking anti-aircraft missiles, which have a range of two miles, to bring down a commercial aircraft.

In a report aired on ABC News last week, a month after U.S. officials told ABC News they were moving quickly to secure unguarded weapons in Libya, human rights investigators filmed a huge cache of unprotected weapons, including bombs, tank shells and dozens of surface-to-air missiles, in the city of Sirte.

"Anybody want a surface-to-air missile?" asks Peter Bouckaert, emergencies director of Human Rights Watch, in a video shot last week near where Moammar Gadhafi and his son Mutassim made their last stand. Though the U.S. is rushing more and more specialists to Libya in a race to find the weapons that have gone missing since the start of the Libyan uprising, Bouckaert beat them to Sirte.

Assistant Secretary of State Andrew Shapiro told ABC News that there was "obviously" a race to find the weapons before they fall into the hands of terrorists, "and that's why we're deploying people as quickly as we possibly can." Shapiro said the U.S. plans to increase its presence on the ground from 10 teams of weapons specialists, or less than 35 people total, to 50 teams.

"We believe that based on our examination of the numerous sites that thousands of missiles were actually destroyed during the NATO bombing campaign," said Shapiro, "and [that another] thousand missiles have been disabled or damaged."

But Shapiro also said the U.S. still doesn't know how many of the 20,000 surface-to-air missiles once held by the Gadhafi regime are unaccounted for. "We're in the process of visiting sites and putting together the information about the scope of the problem," said Shapiro.

Last week, Bouckaert found dozens of Russian SA-7 missiles scattered across the ground in Sirte, along with empty crates.

"These facilities are still uncontrolled," said Bouckaert. "We could literally have come here with a convoy of 18-wheeler trucks and wheeled away whatever we wanted without even being noticed." Bouckaert says despite his warnings to the U.S. State Department and the CIA since February, real progress in securing the weapons has been slow.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


War Powers Act: Diminished With the Success of Libya Operation?

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) -- Does the success of the operation against Moammar Gadhafi change the minds of those who believe the War Powers Act was violated when the president did not seek congressional authorization for the deployment of military force? For supporters of the law the president still needed congressional authorization to continue operations 60 days after the deployment.

“The academics will debate this, but this will just further erode the War Powers Act,” says professor Sarah Kreps of Cornell University. “Congress had little leverage on what the president did.”

In June the administration sent a report to Congress describing its role in Libya. “The President is of the view,” the report said, “that the current U.S. military operations in Libya are consistent with the War Powers Resolution and do not, under that law, require further congressional authorization because U.S. military operations are distinct from the kind of ‘hostilities’ contemplated by the Resolution’s 60 day termination provision. U.S. forces are playing a constrained and supporting role in a multinational coalition.”

Kreps believes the administration was splitting legal hairs when it said the law wasn’t violated because NATO was taking over the lead role, and says that it doesn’t matter about the outcome of the operation.

“To say that something has changed now that Gadhafi is dead would be to say the ends justify the means,” the professor said.

She acknowledges that because of the success of the operation the war powers act has been diminished.

“In some ways because the outcome was favorable I think there will be a sense of  we did the job, it doesn’t matter how we got the job done,” Kreps said.

Ten Republican lawmakers, lead by Rep. Dennis Kucinich, had gone to court arguing that Obama had violated the law. On Thursday, the same day that Gadhafi was killed, a federal judge dismissed the suit. United States District Judge Reggie B. Walton concluded that the lawmakers did not have the legal right to bring the suit.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


President Obama to Make Remarks on Gadhafi Death

Joseph Sohm-Visions of America/Photodisc(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama is expected to make a statement from the White House at 2 p.m. ET on Thursday regarding the fate of Muommar Gadhafi.

The statement will be made from the Rose Garden.

After months on the run, the former Libyan dictator was found and shot by rebel fighters in his hometown of Sirte, according to Libya's new ruling body, the National Transitional Council. The White House and NATO have yet to confirm his death.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Bulldozers Begin Demolition of Gadhafi's Tripoli Compound

AFP/Getty Images(TRIPOLI) -- The people of Tripoli experienced a hugely symbolic moment over the weekend as bulldozers knocked down the massive concrete walls circling Gadhafi’s compound. The area is set to be turned into a park, according to Ahmad Ghargory, commander of a revolutionary brigade.

The area in front of the home, formerly used by Gadhafi to deliver speeches rallying supporters, has already been transformed into a pet market.

The Gadhafi stronghold is seen by revolutionaries as a symbol of repression, and on Sunday the new leaders said it was finally time to “tear down this symbol of tyranny.”

This is seen as a turning point in the civil war, as people had long been scared to even walk around the area for more than four decades during Gadhafi’s rule.

Copyright 2011 ABC News radio


Report: Beijing Offered Gadhafi Forces Weapons, China Denies

Guang Niu/Getty Images(BEIJING) - Canada's The Globe and Mail reported on Friday that it obtained documents from a pile of trash in Tripoli showing that Chinese arms manufacturers offered to sell $200 million worth of weapons to Gadhafi forces in late July. If true, this would have been in violation of U.N. sanctions. 

On Tuesday Beijing confirmed that Gadhafi officials did indeed visit China in July seeking to buy arms, but no contracts were signed and no weapons were shipped. At a daily press briefing Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said that Gadhafi's officials met with representatives from Chinese companies, but gave no details about the discussions.

Yu said that China strictly adheres to a U.N. ban on supplying arms to Gadhafi’s now-toppled regime.  Omar Hariri, chief of the transitional council’s military committee, told The Globe and Mail that he was “almost certain that these guns arrived and used against [the rebels].”  China has so far refused to denounce Gadhafi or recognize the rebel movement, so even if no arms were delivered,  this news will add to the growing mistrust between Beijing and the NTC.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Spokesman Says Gadhafi is Ready for Transitional Talks 

FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images(TRIPOLI) Libyan rebels have continued to secure the capital of Tripoli, but fighting has continued around Sirte, the hometown of Colonel Gadhafi.

A spokesman for Gadhafi says the Colonel is ready to begin talks concerning the transfer power. The talks would be led by Gadhafi’s son Saadi.

The Arab League has meanwhile given its backing to the National Transitional Council.  

Gadhafi has been in hiding since rebels took over Tripoli last week.

Copyright 2011 aBC News Radio


Libyan Rebels Close in Capitol Tripoli

US State Department(TRIPOLI) -- Rebel forces are closing in on Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafias rebels began what is being called the first true assault on Tripoli, hitting it from three fronts, with help from NATO war planes in the sky overnight.

The assault comes after rebels took control of cities just to the east and just to the west of Tripoli.

On Saturday, opposition fighters captured the strategic Libyan coastal city of Zawiya on their march toward Tripoli.

Fighting has been going on for more than a week on the main streets of Zawiya, with Gadhafi snipers positioned on top of Zawiya's hospital, a bank and a hotel overlooking the main square.

As NATO ramps up the pressure on Gadhafi, Libyan government spokesman Moussa Ibrahim said the rebels were acting under the cover of NATO, which has the blood of innocent Libyans on its hands.

He singled out the leaders of the U.S., Britain and France as he spoke to foreign press in Tripoli Sunday.

"We hold Mr. Obama , Mr. Cameron and Mr. Sarkozy morally responsible for every single unnecessary death that takes place in this country," Ibrahim said.

He also insisted that Tripoli is well defended from the rebels.

"Tripoli is well protected and we have thousands upon thousands of professional soldiers who are ready to defend this city," Ibrahim said.

He warned that the fighting would continue if there is no ceasefire.

"We are going to fight on unless everybody agrees on a ceasefire because as a dignified nation we have our freedom, we have our honor and we know that people even scared in their houses at this very moment, they do not want us to give up," Ibrahim said.

The State Department shut down the Libyan Embassy in February after closing the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli.

"Gadhafi's days are numbered," Feltman told reporters in Benghazi Saturday. "The best-case scenario is for Gadhafi to step down now ... that's the best protection for civilians."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Reports Suggest Gadhafi's Youngest Son was Killed in NATO Strike

Photo by Salah Malkawi/ Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- There are reports from AFP that suggest that “an overnight NATO strike on an operations center in the western town of Zilten killed Moammar Gadhafi’s son, Khamis and 32 others,” quoting Mohammed Zawawi, a spokesman for the United Revolutionary Forces.

Khamis, Gadhafi’s youngest son, has been rumored killed before. He was previously thought killed by a kamikaze pilot back in March before he appeared alive and well on state TV.

However, if true, this would be rather significant news, as he is head of the feared and well-equipped, special forces 32nd Brigade known as the Khamis Brigade.

A NATO Spokesman in Naples confirms a NATO strike was made on an Ammunition Cache in Zilten, but could had no information to confirm that Khamis died in this strike.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


State Dept. Calls for Transitional National Council to Unify in Libya

US State Department(WASHINGTON) -- The State Department Friday urged the Transitional National Council (TNC), the interim government in Libya created by revolutionaries, to come together in the wake of the killing of one of the rebels’ top military commanders.

"This underscores some of the challenges that the Transitional National Council faces," State Department deputy spokes Mark Toner told reporters Friday.

"They've had to overcome many challenges in their struggle. And I think what's important is that they work to -- both diligently and transparently, to ensure the unity of the Libyan opposition. And, you know, it's important to keep in mind that the objective here is to -- is to get Gadhafi to step aside and allow the Transitional National Council to lead this democratic transition," he added.

"The details surrounding the killing of Transitional National Council's Chief of Staff Younes as well as two other officers are still unclear. We've -- our envoy in Benghazi and his team are talking to the Transitional National Council, trying to get a better picture of what exactly happened," Toner said.

This comes at a time when NATO itself has moved the goalposts with regard to the end game in Libya. Both the United Kingdom and France have endorsed a plan whereby Gadhafi could remain in the country provided he steps down from power. The United States has maintained that such decisions depend on Libyan people.

That philosophy was rejected by a TNC leader this week, but according to some reports top U.S. officials floated this plan with Gadhafi’s representatives during a meeting on July 16 in Tunisia. Initial reports indicated that they only told them that Gadhafi had to leave power.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Exclusive: Gadhafi, Allies May Be Seeking Way Out, Clinton Tells ABC News

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- People close to Libya's embattled leader Moammar Gadhafi are reaching out to allies around the world exploring their "options," Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told ABC News' Diane Sawyer Tuesday, and the U.S. government has gotten unconfirmed reports that at least one of Gadhafi's sons has been killed.

"We've heard about other people close to him reaching out to people that they know around the world -- Africa, the Middle East, Europe, North America, beyond -- saying what do we do? How do we get out of this? What happens next?," Clinton said in an exclusive interview. "I'm not aware that he personally has reached out, but I do know that people allegedly on his behalf have been reaching out."

"Some of it is theater. Some of it is, you know, kind of, shall we say game playing, to try to do one message to one group, another message to somebody else," she added. "A lot of it is just the way he behaves. It's somewhat unpredictable. But some of it, we think, is exploring. You know, what are my options, where could I go, what could I do. And we would encourage that."

Clinton said she's also heard reports that one of Gadhafi's sons may have been killed in the air strikes. But she added that the "evidence is not sufficient" to confirm and that it was not U.S. forces that would've killed him.

As coalition airstrikes attacked Gadhafi's military assets for the fourth day in a row, Clinton expressed optimism about an early handover, saying the United States would transfer leadership to another country within days. She downplayed concerns about a fracture in the coalition.

"It will be days. Whether it's by Saturday or not depends on the evaluation made by our military commanders along with our allies and partners," she said.

U.S. partners like Italy want NATO to take charge but some of its members, like Russia and Turkey, have expressed skepticism about the goal of the U.N.-backed air strikes and the potential of civilian casualties.

Clinton said details on who will assume leadership are still being worked out but that NATO will play a front role.

"NATO will be definitely involved because we do have a lot of NATO members who are committed to this process. And, you know, they want to see command and control that is organized," she told Sawyer. "But I'm very relaxed about it... I think it is proceeding. It's moving forward in the right direction and we will have what we need in the next few days."

Clinton reiterated President Obama's point that the goal of the mission is not to oust Gadhafi but to prevent civilian casualties.

But she would not say whether the United States is confident that Gadhafi will be removed from power.

On a personal note, Clinton -- who said last week she would not accept a role in a possible second Obama administration -- told Sawyer that she would stay until the beginning of the next term, at least.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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