Anarchy in Tripoli puts every man for himself

Libya’s rebels have tasted the victory and reject their opponents’ proposal to negotiate a peace treaty, making final arrangements to finish the war by storming Gaddafi’s native city of Sirte, while the capital’s residents lay low anticipating chaos.

­The rebels in Libya have rejected the possibility of staging talks with Muammar Gaddafi. The National Transitional Council (NTC) says they want to see him in jail and not at the negotiating table.

NTC Information Minister Mahmoud Shammam made their position quite clear – they want Gaddafi and will search him street after street, district after district, to jail him.

In the meantime Mustafa Mohammed Abdul Jalil, the chairman of Libya’s rebel National Transitional Council, rejected the idea of sending Gaddafi – if captured – to The Hague International Criminal Tribunal. The NTC leader explained his country had never joined the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, so in this case the Libyan jurisdiction has priority over the international one.

Muammar Gaddafi and his son Saif al-Islam are wanted by the ICC in The Hague for alleged war crimes.

Yesterday Gaddafi’s spokesperson Moussa Ibrahim announced his party is ready for talks with the rebels to form a transitional government and that Gaddafi’s third son Al-Saadi would be leading these negotiations – but to no effect.

A week ago, on Sunday, August 21, the rebels, heavily supported by NATO Air Forces and elite British SAS groups, together with French Foreign Legion commandos, undertook a successful assault on Tripoli, announcing the Libyan capital was under their control and that they would capture Gaddafi is a matter of hours. But a week passed and the shooting on the streets of Tripoli is still going on, with swollen corpses lying here and there, and with nobody going to bury them. And just like one week ago, nobody can tell for sure the whereabouts of Muammar Gaddafi.

Still, it looks like the rebels are doing well, preparing for the “final battle” – an assault on Gaddafi’s native town of Sirte. At the same time they claim they held talks with Gaddafi’s supporters in Sirte to avoid a military operation that promises to be a bloody one: the citizens of this town must have gloomy suspicions about surrendering at the discretion of the Al-Qaeda Islamists that constitute the backbone of the Libyan rebel army.

If the negotiations bring no result, the assault on Sirte will start within the next two days.

Today the citizens of Tripoli are struggling for survival, facing severe shortages of electricity, food, water and gasoline. Garbage together with unburied bodies are rotting on the streets, some citizens are trying to clean what they can.

There is a fear of anarchy because there are no police, so volunteers armed with machine guns – given to them by Gaddafi’s regime – are patrolling their streets to protect their families and neighbors. Nobody knows when there will be the end to all this.

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