Libya: Qaddafi rejects ceasefire, NATO bombs rebels

Moammar Qaddafi’s regime rejected a rebel offer of a ceasefire April 1, as fighting continued for the rebel-held city of Misrata in western Libya. In an exact reversal of the situation just ten days earlier, government spokesman Mussa Ibrahim called the ceasefire proposal a “trick,” telling reporters: “The rebels never offered peace. They don’t offer peace, they are making impossible demands. We will not leave our cities. We are the government, not them.” NATO warplanes meanwhile strafed positions held by Qaddafi-loyalist forces in the al-Khums and al-Rojban regions east and southwest of the capital Tripoli. (AFP, April 2)

NATO for the first time April 2 expressed concern over reports of civilian deaths in an air-strike near Brega, where a rebel convoy was apparently hit by mistake. Among the 13 dead were four civilians—an ambulance driver and three medical students from Benghazi. By some reports, the rebels inadvertently drew the air-strike by firing in the air in jubilation as they advanced on Brega. (AFP, UPI, April 2)

See our last post on the Libya crisis.

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  1. Libya: split in rebel ranks?
    The Washington Post on April 2 reports on a split within the Libyan rebel forces between Abdul Hafidh Ghoga, vice president of the Transitional National Council, and Khalifa Haftar, a former army colonel who recently returned to Libya after living for many years in Falls Church, Va. Haftar was initially hailed by the Transitional National Council as a leader who could help discipline the new army and train its largely volunteer ranks. But now Ghoga is baiting him as a Johnny-come-lately and saying he has no leadership role in the rebel army.

    “We defined the military leadership before the arrival of Haftar from the United States,” he said, referring to the appointment of Abdul Fattah Younis as commander of the armed forces and Omar al-Hariri as the council’s senior defense official. “We told Mr. Haftar that if he wants, he can work within the structure that we have laid out.”

    However, a source within the military who is close to Haftar said Haftar is still commanding the army, and that Ghoga’s announcement had upset the public.

    We hope the CIA has a better idea of what’s going on here than the Washington Post. Or maybe, on the contrary, we should be heartened by their apparent ignorance…