Gaddafi Up-Close

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It is believed he fled from Tripoli shortly before it fell in August. Motorcades carrying his wife and daughter to Algeria, and at least one other son to Niger, were spotted and the details leaked to the media by Nato. But the convoy carrying the dictator appears to have been missed. For his escape, Gaddafi had only one highway to travel — leading south of the capital to Beni Walid, 90 miles from Tripoli, the only highway not in rebel hands.

A further detour would then have been necessary to avoid the rebels who were pushing in all directions out of the coastal city of Misrata, involving the convoy driving south-east, deeper into the Libyan desert, to the only traffic junction leading to Sirte at Waddan. The rebels were deeply divided over where Gaddafi was. Some believed he had fled on one of the convoys carrying his wife and other sons that were spotted crossing south to Niger and east to Algeria.

Still others thought he had driven to the fabled Bunker, a possibly mythical concrete complex constructed deep in the desert by the dictator for such an emergency. They were all wrong. And like Gaddafi, Dhao was not supposed to be in Sirte. Instead, it was widely reported that Dhao had fled Libya in a convoy of cars heading for Niger. But as the weeks of the siege of Sirte went on, it became clear this was not true.

A day later Dhao was interviewed by a television crew. The rebels were surrounding the whole area, so we had heavy clashes with them and tried to escape towards Jarif and break out of the siege. After that the rebels surrounded us outside the area and prevented us from reaching the road to Jarif. They launched heavy raids on us which led to the destruction of the cars and the death of many individuals who were with us. I do not know what happened in the final moments, because I was unconscious after I was hit on my back.

Some things do not ring true. According to Dhao, Gaddafi was moving from place to place and apartment to apartment until last week, but given the state of the siege of Sirte at that stage it seems unlikely that he could have entered the city from outside.

The Big Lie About the Libyan War – Foreign Policy

The net was closing around the last loyalists who were squeezed into a pocket, surrounded on all sides, that was becoming ever smaller by the day. Dhao made no mention either of the attack on the Gaddafi convoy by a US Predator drone and a French Rafale jet as it tried to break out of Sirte, attempting to drive three kilometres through hostile territory before it was scattered and brought to a halt by rebel fighters. It is possible that Dhao did not know that the first missiles to hit the Gaddafi convoy as it tried to flee came from the air. What is clear is that at around 8am on Thursday, as National Transitional Council fighters launched a final assault to capture the last remaining buildings in Sirte, in an area about metres square, the pro-Gaddafi forces had also readied a large convoy to break out.

These armed vehicles were leaving Sirte at high speed and were attempting to force their way around the outskirts of the city. The vehicles were carrying a substantial amount of weapons and ammunition, posing a significant threat to the local civilian population. The convoy was engaged by a Nato aircraft to reduce the threat. It was that air attack — which destroyed around a dozen cars — that dispersed the convoy into several groups, the largest numbering about As NTC fighters descended on the fleeing groups of cars, some individuals jumped from their vehicles to escape on foot, among them Gaddafi and a group of guards.

Finding a trail of blood, NTC fighters followed it to a sandy culvert with two storm drains. In one of these Gaddafi was hiding. Accounts here differ. According to some fighters quoted after the event, he begged his captors not to shoot. What is certain from several of the clips of video footage — most telling that shot by Ali Algadi — is that Gaddafi was dazed but still alive, although possibly already fatally wounded. Meanwhile, Qaddafi and those close to him were amassing fortunes in oil revenue while the regime murdered those it deemed as dissidents. Qaddafi's ruling style was not just oppressive, it was eccentric.

He had a cadre of female bodyguards in heels, considered himself the king of Africa, erected a tent to stay in when he traveled abroad, and dressed in strange costume-like outfits.

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In addition to his destructive rule at home, Qaddafi was despised by much of the international community. His government was implicated in the financing of many anti-Western groups around the world, including some terror plots.

Intervening in Libya in 2011 was the right thing to do | Bernard-Henri Lévy

The Irish Republican Army allegedly had links to Qaddafi. Because of the regime's links to Irish terrorism, the United Kingdom cut off diplomatic relations with Libya for more than a decade. In , Libyan terrorists were thought to be behind the bombing of a West Berlin dance club that killed three and injured scores of people.

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The U. In the most famous instance of the country's connection to terrorism, Libya was implicated in the Lockerbie bombing. A plane carrying people blew up near Lockerbie, Scotland, killing all on board, with falling debris killing 11 civilians on the ground. Libyan terrorists, including an in-law of Qaddafi's, were also believed to be behind the destruction of a French passenger jet in , killing all on board. In s, the relationship between Qaddafi and the West began to thaw. As Qaddafi faced a growing threat from Islamists who opposed his rule, he began to share information with the British and American intelligence services.

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In , Nelson Mandela persuaded the Libyan leader to hand over the suspects from the Lockerbie bombing. It wasn't long before Qaddafi had mended relations with the West on many fronts. Qaddafi's son and heir apparent, Seif al-Islam Qaddafi, mixed with London's high society for several years.

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Many critics of the newfound friendship of Qaddafi and the West believed it was based on business and access to oil. In , the United Nations eased sanctions on Libya, and foreign oil companies worked out lucrative new contracts to operate in the country. The influx of money to Libya made Qaddafi, his family and his associates even wealthier. The disparity between the ruling family and the masses became ever more apparent. After more than four decades in power, Qaddafi's downfall happened in less than a year. The next month, Egyptian ruler Hosni Mubarak was forced out, providing a morale boost to protesters in several Arab capitals.

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Despite the atmosphere of severe repression, demonstrations broke out in the city of Benghazi and spread throughout Libya. Qaddafi used aggressive force to try to suppress the protests, and the violence quickly escalated. Police and foreign mercenaries were brought in to shoot at protesters, and helicopters were sent to bombard citizens from the air.

As violence spread through the country, Qaddafi made several rambling speeches on state television, claiming the demonstrators were traitors, foreigners, al-Qaeda and drug addicts.

He urged his supporters to continue the fight, and small groups of heavily armed loyalists battled against the rebels. By the end of February , the opposition had gained control over much of the country, and the rebels formed a governing body called the National Transitional Council. The opposition surrounded Tripoli, where Qaddafi still had some support. Most of the international community expressed support for the NTC and called for the ouster of Qaddafi.

At the end of March, a NATO coalition began to provide support for the rebel forces in the form of airstrikes and a no-fly zone. NATO's military intervention over the next six months proved to be decisive. When Tripoli fell to rebel forces in late August, it was seen as a major victory for the opposition and a symbolic end for Qaddafi's rule. In June , the International Criminal Court issued warrants for the arrest of Qaddafi, his son Seif al-Islam, and his brother-in-law for crimes against humanity.

Qaddafi had lost control of Libya, but his whereabouts were still unknown. Early reports had conflicting accounts of his death, with some stating that he had been killed in a gun battle and others claiming that he had been targeted by a NATO aerial attack. Video circulated of Qaddafi's bloodied body being dragged around by fighters. For months, Qaddafi and his family had been at large, believed to be hiding in the western part of the country where they still had small pockets of support.

As news of the former dictator's death spread, Libyans poured into the streets, celebrating the what many hailed as the culmination of their revolution. Post Qaddafi, Libya has continued to be embroiled in violence. With state authority eventually being held by the General National Congress, various militia groups have vied for power. Dozens of political figures and activists in Benghazi have been killed, with many having to leave the area.

The country has also seen a succession of interim prime ministers. We strive for accuracy and fairness.