Muammar Gaddafi announced a war against imperialism in the first address he has given to his supporters in days, all while coalition forces continue air-strikes on Libya for the fourth consecutive night.
Libyan TV broadcast what it called a live address by the country’s leader to his supporters from Gaddafi’s compound near the Libyan capital of Tripoli on Tuesday night.
Gaddafi denounced the coalition’s strikes on his troops, saying it was “unjustified aggression“. “We’ll be victorious in this historic battle, we won’t surrender,” he said.
“We are leading the revolution,” Gaddafi added. “We are leading the global revolution against imperialism.“
Gaddafi promised to make “fun” of the coalition’s rockets and threatened that he has not yet used all his forces.
It was Gaddafi’s first public appearance in a week.
With no-fly zone imposed, ground fighting intensifies
After the coalition forces started ensuring a no-fly zone over Libya on Saturday, no stray aircraft have entered the country’s airspace. On Tuesday, coalition pilots carried out over 300 missions, with the US military reporting over 100 air strikes.
The no-fly zone has caused ground fighting to increase two-fold. The cities of Misrata, Az Zintan and Ajdabiya are still under a siege by pro-Gaddafi troops and suffer worst.
In Misrata, a city 200km east of Tripoli, 13 civilians were killed on Tuesday, four of them children, as a result of the advance of Gaddafi’s forces. This brings the death toll in the city to 90 in the past five days. Gaddafi’s soldiers are reported to have taken sniper positions on roofs. The local hospital is said to have run out of medicine and is turning people away.
The rebels have failed to advance beyond the town of Benghazi, their major stronghold, as their weapons do not compare to those of Gaddafi’s troops. The rebels also lack crucial command and rank structure. The absence of leadership could mean that nobody will be able to take over Gaddafi’s post should he be forced to step down.
The West’s involvement in the Libyan crisis seems to have backfired on the coalition, as more and more Libyans criticize the international community for interfering in Libya’s internal affairs. Air strikes which have lead to multiple injuries among Libyan villagers are bringing many civilians closer to Gaddafi.