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U.N. Security Council Passes Sanctions Vote; Gaddafi’s Son Says Reports of Violence ‘Just a Big Joke’ [VIDEO]

U.N. Security Council Passes Sanctions Vote; Gaddafi’s Son Says Reports of Violence ‘Just a Big Joke’ [VIDEO]

The 15 member United Nations Security Council has voted unanimously to impose sanctions on Muammar Gaddafi’s regime for its attempts to put down the uprising in Libya, the BBC reports. The Council had met on Saturday in an urgent session on Saturday. They have backed an arms embargo and freeze of the assets of Gaddafi and his eight children and referred Gaddafi to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague for alleged crimes against humanity.

 

The New York Times posted a video of Seif al-Islam el-Qaddafi, Gaddafi’s son and presumed heir, laughing at reports of the violence on Friday night. He had invited reporters to Tripoli and said: 

“Soon you will discover that what you have heard in Libya is just a big joke, a very big joke. And here in Libya, we are laughing about those reports, about hundreds and thousands of civ– of casualties; bombing Tripoli and Benghazi and Zawiya or whatever, and, what? ‘mercenaries.’” 

In a video of Seif al-Islam el-Qaddafi’s statement at a news conference, it is after saying the above that he laughs. 

On Saturday, New York Times reporter David Kirkpatrick was among a group of journalists taken on a state-run media tour of Tripoli on Saturday; he was able to speak to some residents and learned about ‘a massacre of at least 15 protesters on Friday’—violence that, it seems, the government is seeking to cover up and deny. Eyewitness accounts reported by the BBC describe people leaving prayers on Friday and being shot at by security forces so that the sky was ‘”raining with bullets.”‘ Below is a video of mourners digging graves for protesters killed in the uprising.

On Saturday, the BBC reports that the ‘capital city was calm, with shops open, people on the streets, and supporters of Col Gaddafi reportedly occupying central Green Square in a public show of support for the beleaguered leader .’

Meanwhile, the evacuation of thousands of foreign nationals, many of whom worked in Libya’s oil industry, continues by land, air, and sea. Two British military transport aircraft picked up about 150 in the desert south of Benghazi and flew them to Malta, says the Guardian. Some 10,000 people remain outside the Tripoli airport with thousands more inside. Most are Egyptians and have been waiting at the airport for several days, the BBC says.

Also on Saturday, in Yemen, a leading tribal leader, Sheikh Hussein al-Ahmar, announced his resignation from the ruling party. He called for the overthrow of the ruling government, which has relied on the supports of the tribes whohold a great deal of power in Yemen. According to Agence France-Presse, a large group of leaders, including elders of Yemen’s second largest confederation, the Baqil, received the Sheikh’s announcement with approval.

Violence flared in Tunisia where three were killed in anti-government protests on Saturday, according to the BBC. Currently there is an interim government in Tunisia under Prime Minister Mohammed Ghannouchi, who had served under the ousted President Ben Ali since 1999. Ghannouchi has promised elections by mid-July and introduced some reforms and removed a number of controversial cabinet members, but some members of the interim cabinet were figures in Ben Ali’s authoritarian government. According to Reuters, Egyptians fleeing from Libya are pouring in mass numbers into Tunisia.

And protests continue too in Egypt where, says the New York Times, the army dispersed protesters numbering in the tens of thousands from Tahrir Square. The BBC also reports that the Egyptian army has passed a draft of constitutional amendments that will be submitted to a national referendum. Among the proposed changes are that the president would only be allowed to serve two four-year terms, instead of unlimited six-year periods—deposed President Hosni Mubarak had been serving his fifth six-year term when he was ousted earlier this month. Another proposed change is that judicial oversight of elections will be reinstated.

Writing in an op-ed in the New York Times, Fouad Ajami, a professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, writes that the Arab revolutions are especially significant because they ‘are the works of the Arabs themselves.’ The Arab people, he writes, have grown ‘weary of the dictators’; the uprisings are an ‘inevitable response to the stagnation of the Arab economies.’ Ajami suggests that the rulers have lost their hold on their people, especially the younger generations: 

In this tumult, I was struck by the chasm between the incoherence of the rulers and the poise of the many who wanted the outside world to bear witness. A Libyan of early middle age, a professional and a diabetic, was proud to speak on camera, to show his face, in a discussion with CNN’s Anderson Cooper. He was a new man, he said, free of fear for the first time, and he beheld the future with confidence. The precision in his diction was a stark contrast to Colonel Qadaffi’s rambling TV address on Tuesday that blamed the “Arab media” for his ills and called on Libyans to “prepare to defend petrol.”

In the tyrant’s shadow, unknown to him and to the killers and cronies around him, a moral clarity had come to ordinary men and women.

Following Ajami’s commentary about how the Arab uprisings are turning ‘shame into liberty,’ I’ll end this update on a hopeful note, with a video of a rally in front of the People’s Hall in the Libyan city of Misurata, after it was liberated.

 

Sign the petition to tell Berlusconi: You Can Stop Violence Against Libyans

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Previous Care2 Coverage

U.N. Security Council Discusses Sanctions Against Libya In Urgent Session Saturday

One Month into the Arab World’s Popular Uprisings

‘Day of Rage’ Protests in North Africa and the Middle East [VIDEO]

Gaddafi Blames Uprising On Osama Bin Laden; Says Al Qaeda Drugging Libyan Youth (VIDEO)

Libyan Opposition Gains Greater Control; Mercenaries Roam Tripoli With Orders To Shoot; U.S. Tries To Evacuate Citizens (VIDEO)

World Leaders React To Gaddafi’s TV Address; Update On Protests In Bahrain, Yemen, Algeria and Egypt

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Photo: Screenshot of rally in Misurata (February 25) from Mukhtar Al Asad's YouTube channel.

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51 comments

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2:35PM PST on Mar 4, 2011

Thank you for the petitions to sign, as well as the article.
Bravery and desperation are powerful forces for change.

1:05PM PST on Feb 28, 2011

Chip off the old block.

9:28AM PST on Feb 28, 2011

Going around the world destabilizing countries is no joke either. Look how Iran, Iraq, and Afghanistan turned out... now we are everywhere with our supposed savvy techies revolutions but in this case it is a civil war and even we killed too many civilains in our civil war to further ambitions of empire over the entire country and beyond. We are no strangers to civilian casualties, look at Hiroshima and the firebombings or the agent orange birth defects continuing today in Vietnam. Once there is foreign meddling in revolutions like their probably was in ours as well as our civil war it isn't quite the same game anymore.

8:41AM PST on Feb 28, 2011

Let hope they can get controol of their governments before there is more killings.

6:16AM PST on Feb 28, 2011

Instituting sanctions may make those imposing them feel more comfortable, but sanctions have never proved very effective. Bullying military intervention is harmful. Let nations sort out their own problems; alien interference, especially by sensation-seeking media, merely exacerbates the situation.

1:46AM PST on Feb 28, 2011

I think a No Fly Zone is imperative to keep the struggle somewhat even ...Sanctions don't appear to have had much effect on Mugabe in Zimbabwe ...
I do understand the Libyan peoples reluctance to invite outsiders to their aid in removing their tyrant... after all, look at the results of such "aid" in Afghanistan and Iraq. So that probably rules out western intervention.

How about a coalition of democracy loving Islamic nations to enforce a No Fly Zone?
Not a lot to choose from .
So I guess the Libyan people are pretty much on their own, while Gaddaffi has the air force.
I wish them all the best.

As someone pointed out, this is what happens when government stops listening to it's people. Unresponsive and tyrannical regimes around the globe are surely watching the middle east with more than usual interest.
It's a sad old world.

1:32AM PST on Feb 28, 2011

Thanks for the info.

11:53PM PST on Feb 27, 2011

Gaddafi's son is an idiot just like his father and siblings.
Our tiny Maltese Island has been at the very heart of all that is happening in Libya. Thousand of evacuated workers from 90 different countries have fled to Malta by air and sea for a safer country after the bloodshed and fear they left behind.
We have heard so many terrible stories that I as a Maltese citizen feel both pride and fear at the same time. Pride for having been part of such a large exercise in the saving of so many thousands of human lives and fear at being so close to a terrible and mad tyrant who will not think twice of buring all the oil wells before going down at the expense of his own country its brave citizens and us, his innocent and nearest European neighbours. God help us all. For the moment we shall continue to provide a safe haven and a bridge building nation to all workers to get to their homes safely.

8:18PM PST on Feb 27, 2011

Wow, amazed by the determination and courage of the people. Will continue sending love and positive thoughts their way.
Namaste

7:08PM PST on Feb 27, 2011

"The apple doesn't fall far from the tree"!

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Kristina Chew Kristina Chew teaches ancient Greek, Latin and Classics at Saint Peter's University in New Jersey.... more
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