Latest reports from Libya say that rebel forces are advancing on Gaddafi’s hometown of Sirte, while the hunt for the colonel continues in Tripoli. Meanwhile, the rebels are getting ever closer to getting hold of Libya’s frozen assets.
The US has removed the last obstacle preventing the unfreezing of Libyan assets and their being handed over to the rebels.
South Africa had previously blocked any agreement on unfreezing the money, but according to the latest reports Mark Kornblau, a spokesman for the US Mission to the UN, said a deal has been reached with South Africa to release $1.5 billion in Libyan assets held in American banks.
Italy has also pledged to release half a billion dollars to help the insurgents run Libya.
In the meantime, as the battle for Tripoli continues, Al-Orouba TV has broadcast a new audio recording of the Libyan leader addressing the nation.
“Libya belongs to you! Libya is yours,” Colonel Gaddafi said. “It is not for the traitors who prostrate themselves before NATO. They are traitors. They’re not from Tripoli. They are not people of Tripoli. They are foreigners, they’re traitors. Tripoli belongs to you!”
Journalist and activist Don Debar says it is difficult to tell from media reports what is going on on the ground and shared his view on the situation with RT.
“I am curious who the maker of the check of $500 million will be, but certainly it is clear that the recipient is [Abdel] Jalil,” he said. “You know, this is a guy who only two weeks ago has been linked to the murder of his own general and then a purge of his council, so he ends up in control of among other things the finance ministry of the National Transitional Council.”
Debar says that Libyan sovereign funds are now going to be handed over to a person who “you can’t really characterize as anything at this point but an attempted coupster.”
“Libyan sovereign funds have been spent , contrary to the propaganda, over the last 35 – 40 years on the people of Libya, constructing housing that they own free of encumbrance, a healthcare system that is free, and an education system that is free,” he explained.
Meanwhile, Al Jazeera is reporting it has found evidence of a possible mass execution by Gaddafi forces, while the colonel himself has been accusing the rebels of killing civilians.
“There is evidence, including video evidence, that the executions were by rebels of Libyan nationals who were handcuffed,” Debar argues. “On the other side, any revenge killings would be a defense basically of their homeland by invaders.”
In earlier reports, the rebels claimed they are close to capturing Gaddafi. However, they are under pressure to deliver results and therefore might feel compelled to give out prematurely optimistic messages.
Journalist and broadcaster Neil Clark says that it is still not at all clear what areas the rebels actually control, as reports are very conflicting and aimed at convincing the world community they are the new power and therefore deserve full control of Libyan assets.
“All we’ve had is lie, after lie, after lie,” he said. “The rebels are trying to pitch this to the international audience and are trying to make out they are in complete control of the country, that Gaddafi is finished, that the war is basically over, and that everyone supports them.”
He says that the real danger is that the money will not go to the Libyan people.
“The money is going to go to western corporations – it is not going to go to Libyan people,” he said. “The western powers, who have regime change here, really want to get their money back, and they want to get profits.”