Latest From Libya

Moammar Gadhafi's stronghold of Tripoli is increasingly isolated with opposition forces in control just 30 miles away. Host Guy Raz has the latest news about the uprising in Libya and a conversation with a Libyan-American poet.

Copyright © 2011 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

GUY RAZ, host:

From NPR News, this is WEEKENDS ON ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm guy Raz.

(Soundbite of political protest)

RAZ: Just 30 miles west of Libya's capital, Tripoli, in the town of Zawiyah, the government is no longer in control. Colonel Moammar Gadhafi's stronghold of Tripoli is increasingly surrounded by anti-government forces. And in the country's second largest city, Benghazi, opposition leaders have formed what they're calling a national council, something, they say, to give a political face to the revolution.

One of those leaders is the former justice minister under Gadhafi, Mustafa Abdel-Jalil. He spoke to Al-Jazeera earlier today.

Mr. MUSTAFA ABDEL-JALIL (Former Justice Minister, Libya): (Through translator) What is happening in Libya is a popular revolution led by the youth, supported by the people, against oppression and against a dictator who has led Libya with a singular point of view and with a vengeful attitude and bloodthirsty soul.

Now we announce to the world that we intend to build a democratic nation with institutions that respect international obligations and treaties.

RAZ: Earlier today, Gadhafi's son and heir apparent Saif al-Islam al-Gadhafi told ABC News that reports of chaos and violence are false.

Mr. SAIF AL-ISLAM AL-GADHAFI: You are hearing rumors, false reports. Please, take your camera tomorrow morning, even (unintelligible). Everything is calm. Everything is peaceful.

RAZ: Now, most news accounts contradict that optimism. The U.N. Security Council slapped sanctions on Libya last night and referred the country's leadership to the International Criminal Court for possible war crimes violations. Here's what the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Susan Rice, had to say.

Ms. SUSAN RICE (United States Ambassador to the United Nations): This is a clear warning to the Libyan government that it must stop the killing. Those who slaughter civilians will be held personally accountable.

RAZ: Now, remember when those WikiLeaks cables were released last November? Well, one of those documents, written by a U.S. diplomat, described a, quote, "voluptuous blonde nurse," a Ukrainian national, who is always at Gadhafi's side.

Her name is Galyna Kolotnytska. She's thought to be a close Gadhafi confidante. Well, this morning, she, too, fled the country and arrived to the Ukrainian capital Kiev.

Copyright © 2011 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.