The Envoy
  • Even as the Libyan rebels claimed to have most of the capital of Tripoli under their control, the whereabouts of Moammar Gadhafi remain a mystery. Libya's opposition National Transition Council said Wednesday it was offering a $1.4 million bounty for Gadhafi's capture, dead or alive.

    Jubilant rebels swarmed through Gadhafi's compound in the Tripoli neighborhood of Bab al-Azizya Tuesday, "seizing arms and smashing symbols" of the tyrant who has brutally ruled the North African nation for the past 42 years, Reuters reported from Tripoli.

    At about the 2-minute mark in the video below, you can see one euphoric Libyan freedom fighter delighting in his find of what looks to be one of Gadhafi's military hats, allegedly seized from the Gadhafi compound.

    Gadhafi taunted the rebels in an interview with a pro-regime radio station late Tuesday. He claimed his retreat from Azizya was a tactical matter necessitated by NATO air strikes on the compound. "I have been out a bit in Tripoli discreetly, without being seen by people, and ... I did not feel that Tripoli was in danger," Gadhafi said, Reuters reported. He vowed, as he typically does, to fight "until victory or martyrdom."

    Rebel fighters were meantime moving Wednesday on Gadhafi's hometown of Sirte, over 300 miles east of Tripoli, under suspicion he may be there.

    Read More »from Libyan opposition offers $1.4 million bounty for Gadhafi
  • With the fall of Libya's Moammar Gadhafi regime widely anticipated, some American lawmakers are calling anew on Libyan opposition leaders to agree to turn over the Libyan official who was convicted in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing 270 people.

    Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, 59, a reported former Libyan intelligence officer, was convicted by a Scottish court in 2001 for the bombing and sentenced to life in prison.Convicted Lockerbie bomber Abdulbaset al-Megrahi appears at pro-Gadhafi rally on July 27, 2011. (Libyan State TV/AP)

    Scottish authorities released Megrahi two years ago and allowed him to return to Libya, citing compassion because Megrahi supposedly was dying within weeks of cancer. Megrahi received a hero's welcome upon his return to Libya. The United States government as well as some of the Lockerbie victims' families denounced the deal; several American lawmakers have since raised concerns that it was done less on any medical-legal basis than to benefit British business interests in Libya, including those of British Petroleum.  The British government has of course denied that to be the case. (The 2009 return of Megrahi to Libya occurred under then British prime minister Tony Blair and was opposed at the time by David Cameron, the current Conservative Party British prime minister who was then serving as an opposition member of Parliament.)

    Not only has Megrahi not died in the two years since he was returned to Libya, but last year a British doctor involved in the medical recommendation said that Megrahi probably had a 50 percent chance of living several more months, maybe even years.

    Last month, Megrahi--apparently very much alive--was seen on video attending a pro-Gadhafi rally in Tripoli (see the photo on the top right).

    Read More »from Another Lockerbie trial? Gadhafi’s downfall spurs new calls for bomber’s extradition
  • Gadhafi's son Seif al-Islam waves to troops loyal to his father in Tripoli Tuesday. (Dario Lopez-Mills/AP)The Libyan rebels' heady claims to have seized most of the capital of Tripoli and to have detained three of Moammar Gadhafi's sons were cast in doubt Tuesday when Gadhafi's son and heir apparent Seif al-Islam pulled up in a limousine at Tripoli's Rixos hotel. He proceeded to take foreign journalists staying there on a tour of neighborhoods he claimed were still under the control of the Gadhafi regime.

    An apparently embarrassed National Transition Council--the Libyan opposition body--offered a confusing explanation Tuesday for its claim on Sunday to have detained Seif as well as two other Gadhafi brothers, blaming the misinformation on a "fifth column" of traitors posing as rebels.

    "There was misinformation intentionally put out by fifth column people to discredit the NTC and they were successful," NTC spokesman Shamsiddin Abdulmolah said Tuesday, Reuters reported. "They should not have come out with an announcement until they had seen him in handcuffs in front of them. They came out with it based on someone's misinformation and took it at face value."

    Astonished foreign journalists including CNN's Matthew Chance posted photos to Twitter of Seif coming into the Rixos hotel.  (You can see Seif's triumphal appearance in the video below.)

    "We broke the backbone of the rebels," Seif boasted to reporters, according to the Washington Post. "We gave them a hard time. And so we are winning." He then proceeded to invite reporters "to accompany him 'to the hottest places in Tripoli,'" the Post report continued.

    Western diplomats said that this was not the first time that rebel claims had been found to be exaggerated.

    Read More »from Some rebel claims in doubt as Gadhafi son appears at Tripoli hotel


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