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BREAKING: Rebels Close To Toppling Gadhafi

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UPDATED: August 23, 2011 12:50pm (ET)
Al Jazeera and CNN, live on the ground in Tripoli, report the rebels have overrun and overtaken Gadhafi's compound in Tripoli. Rebels are making a room by room search of the compound in an effort to locate Colonel Moammar Gadhafi, whose whereabouts are still unknown.
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UPDATED: 9:15pm (ET)
In an usual turn of events, several news outlets, including CNN, are reporting that Moammar Gadhafi's most outspoken son, Saif Gadhafi, previously reported in rebel custody, has been seen on the streets in Tripoli. CNN reporter, Matthew Chance, confirms seeing and speaking with the younger Gadhafi outside his hotel in Tripoli. 
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UPDATED: 3:15pm (ET)
This afternoon, President Obama spoke out on events in Libya from his vacation home on Martha's Vineyard. Here is the full text of President Obama's statement:

"Good afternoon, everybody. I just completed a call with my National Security Council on the situation in Libya. And earlier today, I spoke to Prime Minister Cameron about the extraordinary events taking place there. The situation is still very fluid. There remains a degree of uncertainty, and there are still regime elements who pose a threat.

But this much is clear: The Gadhafi regime is coming to an end, and the future of Libya is in the hands of its people.

In just six months, the 42-year reign of Moammar Gadhafi has unraveled. Earlier this year, we were inspired by the peaceful protests that broke out across Libya. This basic and joyful longing for human freedom echoed the voices that we had heard all across the region, from Tunis to Cairo.

In the face of these protests, the Gadhafi regime responded with brutal crackdowns. Civilians were murdered in the streets. A campaign of violence was launched against the Libyan people. Gadhafi threatened to hunt peaceful protesters down like rats. As his forces advanced across the country, there existed the potential for wholesale massacres of innocent civilians.

In the face of this aggression, the international community took action. The United States helped shape a U.N. Security Council resolution that mandated the protection of Libyan civilians. An unprecedented coalition was formed that included the United States, our NATO partners and Arab nations. And in March, the international community launched a military operation to save lives and stop Gadhafi's forces in their tracks.

In the early days of this intervention, the United States provided the bulk of the fire power, and then our friends and allies stepped forward. The Transitional National Council established itself as a credible representative of the Libyan people. And the United States, together with our European allies and friends across the region, recognized the TNC as the legitimate governing authority in Libya.

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Gadhafi was cut off from arms and cash, and his forces were steadily degraded. From Benghazi to Misurata to the western mountains, the Libyan opposition courageously confronted the regime, and the tide turned in their favor.

Over the last several days, the situation in Libya has reached a tipping point, as the opposition increased its coordination from east to west, took town after town, and the people of -- of Tripoli rose up to claim their freedom. For over four decades, the Libyan people had lived under the rule of a tyrant who denied them their most basic human rights. Now, the celebrations that we've seen in the streets of Libya shows that the pursuit of human dignity is far stronger than any dictator.

I want to emphasize that this is not over yet. As the regime collapses, there's still fierce fighting in some areas, and we have reports of regime elements threatening to continue fighting. Although it's clear that Gadhafi's rule is over, he still has the opportunity to reduce further bloodshed by explicitly relinquishing power to the people of Libya and calling for those forces that continue to fight to lay down their arms for the sake of Libya.

As we move forward from this pivotal phase, the opposition should continue to take important steps to bring about a transition that is peaceful, inclusive and just. That the leadership of the TNC has made clear the rights of all Libyans must be respected. True justice will not come from reprisals and violence; it will come from reconciliation and a Libya that allows its citizens to determine their own destiny.

In that effort, the United States will be a friend and a partner. We will join with allies and partners to continue the work of safeguarding the people of Libya. As remaining regime elements menace parts of the country, I've directed my team to be in close contact with NATO as well as the United Nations to determine other steps that we can take to deal with the humanitarian impact. We're working to ensure that critical supplies reach those in need, particularly those who've been wounded.

Secretary Clinton spoke today with her counterparts from leading nations of the coalition on all these matters, and I've directed Ambassador Susan Rice to request that the UN secretary-general use next month's General Assembly to support this important transition.

For many months, the TNC has been working with the international community to prepare for a post-Gadhafi Libya. As those efforts proceed, our diplomats will work with the TNC as they ensure that the institutions of the Libyan state are protected, and we will support them with the assets of the Gadhafi regime that were frozen earlier this year. Above all, we will call for an inclusive transition that leads to a democratic Libya.

As we move forward, we should also recognize the extraordinary work that has already been done. To the American people, these events have particular resonance. Gadhafi's regime has murdered scores of American citizens in acts of terror in the past.

Today, we remember the lives of those who were taken in those acts of terror and stand in solidarity with their families.

We also pay tribute to Admiral Sam Locklear and all of the men and women in uniform who have saved so many lives over the last several months, including our brave pilots. They've executed their mission with skill and extraordinary bravery, and all of this was done without putting a single U.S. troop on the ground.

To our friends and allies, the Libyan intervention demonstrates what the international community can achieve when we stand together as one. Although the efforts in Libya are not yet over, NATO has once more proven that it is the most capable alliance in the world and that its strength comes from both its firepower and the power of our democratic ideals.

And the Arab members of our coalition have stepped up and shown what can be achieved when we act together as equal partners. Their actions sent a powerful message about the unity of our effort and our support for the future of Libya.

Finally, the Libyan people: Your courage and character have been unbreakable in the face of the tyrant. An ocean divides us, but we are joined in the basic human longing for freedom, for justice and for dignity. Your revolution is your own, and your sacrifices have been extraordinary. Now, the Libya that you deserve is within your reach. Going forward, we will stay in close coordination with the TNC to support that outcome. And though there will be huge challenges ahead, the extraordinary events in Libya remind us that fear can give way to hope, and that the power of people striving for freedom can bring about a brighter day.

Thank you very much."

At the time of this writing, three of Moammar Gadhafi's sons are in custody in Libya. Colonel Gadhafi's whereabouts are still unknown.  
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UPDATED: 6:45am (ET)
Al Jazeera Live Blog reports heavy shelling in Tripoli. 
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UPDATED: August 22, 2011, 12:10am (ET)
Saadi Gadhafi, the third son of Moammar Gadhafi, has been arrested - not Muhammed Gadhafi, as first reported. 
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UPDATED: 10:30pm (ET)
A short time ago, President Obama's Press Office released the following statement on the current events in Libya:

"Tonight, the momentum against the Qadhafi regime has reached a tipping point. Tripoli is slipping from the grasp of a tyrant. The Qadhafi regime is showing signs of collapsing. The people of Libya are showing that the universal pursuit of dignity and freedom is far stronger than the iron fist of a dictator.

The surest way for the bloodshed to end is simple: Moammar Qadhafi and his regime need to recognize that their rule has come to an end. Qadhafi needs to acknowledge the reality that he no longer controls Libya. He needs to relinquish power once and for all. Meanwhile, the United States has recognized the Transitional National Council as the legitimate governing authority in Libya. At this pivotal and historic time, the TNC  should continue to demonstrate the leadership that is necessary to steer the country through a transition by respecting the rights of the people of Libya, avoiding civilian casualties, protecting the institutions of the Libyan state, and pursuing a transition to democracy that is just and inclusive for all of the people of Libya. A season of conflict must lead to one of peace.

The future of Libya is now in the hands of the Libyan people. Going forward, the United States will continue to stay in close coordination with the TNC. We will continue to insist that the basic rights of the Libyan people are respected. And we will continue to work with our allies and partners in the international community to protect the people of Libya, and to support a peaceful transition to democracy."

At the time of this update, rebel forces had not yet located Moammar Gadhafi.

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After a six month struggle that included aerial bombing by NATO forces, Libyan rebels are close to toppling Moammar Gadhafi, Libya's dictatorial ruler who has controlled Libya since September 1, 1969. Al Jazeera and CNN report two of Gadhafi's sons have been arrested; Gadhafi's second son and most visible spokesman, Saif al-Islam Gadhafi, and his less political brother, Muhammed Gadhafi.

At this time, there is no word on the whereabouts of Moammar Gadhafi, but CNN reports rebels are advancing toward Gadhafi's Tripoli compound.

President Obama, vacationing on Martha's Vineyard, is being briefed on events in Libya, but has yet to release a statement.

Opednews will continue to update critical events as they unfold.

 

LindaMilazzo.com

Linda Milazzo was a Managing Editor of Opednews until Fall 2014, and a Los Angeles based writer, educator and activist. Since 1974, she has divided her time between the entertainment industry, government organizations, community development (more...)
 

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...is that I'm a bit torn about the whole Libya is... by Taylor on Sunday, Aug 21, 2011 at 8:39:46 PM
You talk as if the Libyan people don't even enter ... by Mac McKinney on Sunday, Aug 21, 2011 at 9:24:47 PM
...In ten years we'll be calling those rebels/free... by Taylor on Monday, Aug 22, 2011 at 1:34:23 PM
Yes. They are not talking about that Gaddy is prod... by John Smith on Monday, Aug 22, 2011 at 10:22:00 PM
I'm with Taylor. Moreover, the reports I've seen f... by B. Ross Ashley on Sunday, Aug 21, 2011 at 9:20:24 PM
The Green Square has already been renamed Martyr's... by Mac McKinney on Sunday, Aug 21, 2011 at 9:36:19 PM
Why do I feel that Gadhafi's fall is only one shoe... by John Sanchez Jr. on Monday, Aug 22, 2011 at 7:12:59 AM
after Putin kicked them off Russia and showed em h... by John Smith on Monday, Aug 22, 2011 at 10:39:51 PM
qxp (Queen takes pawn)   The Grand Chessboa... by Ned Lud on Monday, Aug 22, 2011 at 9:57:04 AM
Ned, as a former professional chess player I follo... by Mark Sashine on Monday, Aug 22, 2011 at 10:39:03 AM
They bombed the man-Made River back in April, and ... by Taylor on Monday, Aug 22, 2011 at 9:59:23 AM
Yes, I've been following the uprising in Libya sin... by John Shriver on Monday, Aug 22, 2011 at 10:48:30 AM
on the same planet. If one does not take that into... by Daniel Geery on Tuesday, Aug 23, 2011 at 6:57:45 PM
The way this is presented it supports US governmen... by Lawrence Worley on Monday, Aug 22, 2011 at 12:30:10 PM
OEN isn't endorsing the overthrow of Gadhafi in of... by Linda Milazzo on Monday, Aug 22, 2011 at 2:48:15 PM
I appreciate the shrugs and confusion - we are not... by Gustav Wynn on Monday, Aug 22, 2011 at 12:31:47 PM
...I wish I could "Like" this twice!  Strong ... by Taylor on Monday, Aug 22, 2011 at 1:28:21 PM
You know, Wynn, what you say is true of course, an... by Peter Duveen on Monday, Aug 22, 2011 at 5:45:34 PM
It is disgusting that this web site should spew ou... by Patricia Gray on Monday, Aug 22, 2011 at 6:04:59 PM
"For many months, the TNC has been working with th... by John Smith on Monday, Aug 22, 2011 at 10:31:11 PM
http://www.answercoalition.org/national/index.html... by tim mcghie on Tuesday, Aug 23, 2011 at 6:01:35 AM
This isn't news. It's propaganda, using discredite... by Peter Duveen on Tuesday, Aug 23, 2011 at 12:47:56 PM
I agree with the other posters questioning what is... by conrad elledge on Tuesday, Aug 23, 2011 at 6:33:04 PM