Mahmud Turkia/AFP/Getty Images
Moammar Gadhafi arrives at the Rixos hotel in Tripoli on Tuesday.
Moammar Gadhafi arrives at the Rixos hotel in Tripoli on Tuesday. Mahmud Turkia/AFP/Getty Images
Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi appeared at a hotel full of foreign journalists in Tripoli on Tuesday in what appeared to be an attempt to show that he is still on the scene and in control.
The Lede blog over at The New York Times says Gadhafi took part in an interview with Turkish television while at the hotel, but did not take questions from the mass of other reporters gathered there.
New York Times reporter David Kirkpatrick told NPR's Newscast unit in an interview Tuesday evening that the watch for Gadhafi's arrival at the hotel started at 3:15 p.m., but that the besieged leader did not actually appear until eight hours later at 11:15.
Kirkpatrick could only speculate on why Gadhafi decided to do the TV interview at the hotel, yet not talk to the assembled media.
"We're in a kind of a fog of war situation here in Tripoli," Kirkpatrick told NPR's Newscast. "The rumors have been flying that Gadhafi was shot by one of his sons, that there's some sort of palace intrigue, that there are negotiations going on, that people within his administration are talking about him leaving the country, all kinds of things; none of which are credible."
Kirkpatrick continued: "So I think it was meaningful for him to come and show his face, look confident, wave to the crowd and show the world that he's still in charge."
What Gadhafi had to say in the TV interview amounted to more of the same line that he has taken over the last week, according to Kirkpatrick. The Libyan leader accused foreign, Islamist fighters of inciting Libya's youth to rebel. And he, again, expressed his disappointment that the United Nations had not sent a fact-finding mission to the country before imposing sanctions on Libya.
Gadhafi's show came against a backdrop of continued heavy fighting west of Tripoli in Zawiya and to the east in Ras Lanuf.