Abdul Fattah Younis came over to the side of the Libyan revolution while it was still in its infancy. The General defected from the Colonel on February 23, 2011, less than a week after the February 17th "Day of Rage" kick-off. Before the revolutionary army could even walk, he brought with him 8,000 Libyan soldiers, among them 3,000 Special Forces. It was a great victory for the uprising at a critical juncture in it's development.
Abdul Fatah Younis helped Muammar Qaddafi take power in the 1969 coup that ousted King Idris. For forty years he was his friend and close adviser. He was Qaddafi's security chief and later the Libyan Interior Minister and a Major General of Libyan Special Forces. He was a big fish. He topped a week of cascading defections from the Qaddafi regime and he brought an army with him. In one stroke, Qaddafi's hopes of quickly crushing the rebellion in the East evaporated.
Abdul Fattah Younis was from Benghazi. The story is that after the barracks were seized by protesters, he was sent back to his hometown by Qaddafi "with instructions to arrange a Tiananmen Square-style massacre of the demonstrators."
Libyan State TV was reporting that Abdul Fattah Younis had been kidnapped by "gangs" in Benghazi. Then he came on free Libyan TV and made a statement. He said that Qaddafi was planning to attack civilians on a wide scale and that he resigned after hearing that 300 unarmed civilians had been killed in Benghazi.
He said then that he had just survived an attempt on his life that Qaddafi intended to use to stoke tribal infighting:
"Gaddafi's men came to shoot me but the bullets missed me. Those who shot at me were Gaddafi's men, the bullet missed me but hit one of my relatives. Gaddafi, that dirty man, wanted to say that I was killed by protesters so that my tribe, the Obeidat will stand by him."Thank you to Sultan Al Qassemi for his translation on Twitter @SultanAlQassemi
"I am not a traitor. I was a close friend. I was surprised by what Gaddafi did. I stood by him for many years. We undertook (the 1969) revolution for the people of Libya, not to turn around & start shooting at them."
"I wish Gaddafi had said a prayer for the fallen martyrs rather than his long speech."
"I gave orders to my men in Benghazi not to shoot at protesters, not one of my men shot at protesters."
"Many tribes pledged to me that they have joined the protesters including the Tuareg (mentioned many other names)."
"From my knowledge of Gaddafi, he won't leave, he will stay to the end, but he will stay alone. Gaddafi's speech was very clear to any one who has a brain. He is nervous, he is stubborn. He may commit suicide."
"To Gaddafi I tell him: Please end your life by praying for the martyrs, ask for God's forgiveness & the people's."
"To Libyan people, you are a brave people, stand courageously, Libya will become a strong country."
"Gaddafi is a stubborn man but its finished. Everything is collapsing now. I am sad for all what has happened."
"The people are now in charge. We have crossed the point of no return now."
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