Moammar Gadhafi was killed Thursday by fighters belonging to the popular uprising his murderous antics spawned among the 99% of the Libyan population that didn’t benefit from his despotic rule, according to this story from the Al Jazeera news service.
Their National Transitional Council (NTC) is the oil-rich nation’s government now. Gadhafi was wounded and captured after Libyan fighters – don’t call them rebels any more – drove the remnants of his once powerful army from the 69-year-old’s hometown of Sirte in fierce gunbattles. Abdul Hakim Belhaj, an NTC military chief, confirmed that Gadafi later died of his wounds.
The Misrata Military Council, one of multiple command groups for revolutionary forces, told The Associated Press that its fighters captured Gadhafi. One NTC commander said Gadhafi was killed when an airstrike hit his fleeing convoy.
“Gaddafi’s body is with our unit in a car and we are taking the body to a secret place for security reasons,” an NTC official in the city of Misrata, told Reuters.
Abdel Majid, a senior NTC military official said Gadhafi was wounded in both legs.
NTC commanders also reported the capture of Moussa Ibrahim, former spokesman for Gaddafi’s fallen government, and the death of Abu Bakr Younus Jabr, the chief of Gaddafi’s armed forces.
“I’ve seen him with my own eyes,” one NTC commander said of Jabr’s body.
The death of Gadhafi and decimation of his inner circle appears to end a regime widely perceived as bizarre and creepy. It comes eight months into a popular uprising inspired by similar events in Tunisia and Egypt. However, the Libya revolution is by far the bloodiest so far of the so-called Arab Spring – a series of protests against the exploitation of the many by the few.
The protests and revolts have spawned a wave of demonstrations in the United States and Europe, where residents are battling against the de facto takeover of their democracies by banks and other business interests. The typical scenario involves heavy government borrowing to enrich a small group, with responsibility for paying off the new debt being passed along to the entire populace.
The widespread protests in the United States have been nonviolent, so far, except for the sporadic brutality of riot police. The protests in Libya started out peacefully, but quickly morphed into armed revolt after Gadhafi’s core supporters launched a brutal crackdown against anyone who disagreed with them.
Gadhafi had ruled Libya for 41 years. He sought to hand power down to his children in the type of hereditary succession long associated with monarchies. The leading candidate was his son Seif (below right).
It’s not clear if Seif was also captured in Sirte, where reports have at least one of Gadhafi’s many sons being taken prisoner. However, Seif and his father had vowed to turn their country into a river of blood rather than yield power to a representative government. The elder Gadhafi had also vowed to die fighting.
Those wishes now have been fulfilled.
The situation in Libya highlights one possible outcome when a small ruling class seeks to enslave their fellow country men and women. It also proves that there is a key difference between the 99% of a national population subjugated by the 1% in unequal societies – the 1% cannot afford to lose even once.
Ecstatic Libyans celebrated the fall of Sirte by firing into the sky, pumping their guns, knives and even a meat cleaver in the air and singing the national anthem, according to AP. The wire service reported that NTC fighters jumped up and down with joy in the central quarter of Sirte where the final battle occurred. Some burned the green Gadhafi flag, then stepped on it with their boots.
The streets of Sirte were littered with discarded military uniforms as Gadhafi loyalists sought to flee or hide. At least 16 had been captured.
“Our forces control the last neighborhood in Sirte,” Hassan Draoua, a member of Libya’s interim National Transitional Council, told AP. “The city has been liberated.”
Just before the pivotal battle, about five carloads of Gadhafi loyalists tried to flee the enclave down a coastal highway, according to AP reporters
The battle for Sirte appears to bring an end to one of the strangest regimes of the modern era. Gadhafi ruled Libya with an iron fist but in recent years had refused to take any official leadership title. Instead, he preferred to be addressed as “the Brother Leader” and the “Guide of the Revolution.”
Gadhafi sponsored terrorism and pursued weapons of mass destruction prior to the capture of Iraqi strongman Saddam Hussein by American soldiers in 2004. He forged close ties with the Irish Republican Army, Palestinian Liberation Organization and other terrorist organizations during The Cold War, when he accepted arms and money from the former Soviet Union.
Libyan intelligence operatives were responsible for the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988, which claimed 259 lives on the plane and 11 more on the ground. Libya also was responsible for the 1986 bombing of a Berlin nightclub frequented by U.S. service members, which killed three and wounded 229.
New Jersey residents refused to allow Gadhafi to stay in a Lybian-owned mansion there in 2009 when he visited the United Nation in nearby Manhattan, citing the 33 state residents who died aboard Pan Am Flight 103.
Gadhafi’s rule was marked by bizarre behavior, such as his utilization of a personal bodyguard unit comprised entirely of attractive young women and his apparent obsession with former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who paid a formal visit to Tripoli in 2008. He refered to Rice as “my darling black African woman” and gave her a diamond ring, a lute, a locket with an engraved likeness of himself inside and an inscribed edition of “The Green Book,” a personal political manifesto that explains his “Third Universal Theory for a new democratic society.”
Rebels fighters found a photo album (left) composed entirely of pictures of Rice when they captured Gadhafi’s compound in the Lybian captial of Tripoli in August.
State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland described much of Gadhafi’s behavior as “bizarre and creepy.”
Gadhafi had an active program to develop and secure weapons of mass destruction prior to 2004, when he renounced them after the capture of Iraqi strongman Saddam Hussein by U.S. soldiers.
Gadhafi repeatedly tried to secure a nuclear bomb, approaching China and India, and working with Pakistan to develop one in 1977 before that nation severed ties with his regime. He also reportedly stockpiled nerve gas and mustard gas.
Gadhafi worked closely with the government of President George W. Bush during the war on terror, according to this story by the Russia’s RT news service. He assisted it with shadier aspects such as“extraordinary renditions” and torture of terror suspects, RT said citing documents seized by NTC.
The International Criminal Court issued 27 arrest warrants in June for Gadhafi, his son Seif, and son-in-law Abdullah al-Senussi for crimes against humanity