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Gaddafi Offers Peace, Rebels Reject

Muammar GaddafiLibyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, who has been in hiding at least since the rebels started to march on Tripoli, is now offering to hold peace talks to form a new government. On Saturday evening, Moussa Ibrahim, the chief spokesman for the leader, called New York to say that Gaddafi was still in Tripoli and that he saw him on Friday. He is offering to hold talks with the rebels about developing a transitional government, with his son al-Saadi leading the negotiations, he added.

Gaddafi has previously referred to the rebels as rats and thugs, as well as encouraged his loyalists to kill them and rid the country of their filth. It’s no surprise that they don’t want to negotiate and are, instead, planning an assault on his hometown of Sirte if negotiations for a peaceful surrender with the tribal elders fail. Rebels in Bin Jawad, which is about 100 miles from the town, say they are waiting for possible weapons warehouses to be bombed by NATO.

Foreign Secretary William Hague says the National Transitional Council (NTC) is in charge of Libya already. All they need is for Gaddafi to order his remaining forces to surrender. The NTC welcomed discussions, he continued, and have been talking with tribes in Sirte in an attempt to end the violence. However, to offer transition of power discussions now is a little late and another one of the former dictator’s delusional statements. A transition of power is already happening, with NTC ministers in Tripoli and gaining more control of the situation.

This offer, which hasn’t been proven as genuine, could be a sign of desperation for the leader and his son Saif, who face being arrested or killed upon returning to speak to the public in person. The leader’s family also faces having to live in hiding now that the rebels are getting more control.

The supposed offer of peaceful negotiations emerged as 150 Libyan civilian bodies were found near Tripoli on Saturday after they were said to have been massacred by loyalist forces. Reporters say that up to 53 executed bodies could be counted in a burned farm warehouse close to the military base at Khamis, where it’s believed the murders happened last Tuesday and Wednesday. Two soldiers’ bodies were found among them – their hands tied behind them – and it’s believed they refused to shoot at the people being held inside, so they were murdered.

At the same time, human rights groups are saying that at least 17 detainees have been killed by Gaddafi, while dozens of civilians were immediately executed, as the rebels marched to Tripoli. Reporters are said to have found decomposing corpses in many parts of the capital as well. Human Rights Watch’s Sarah Leah Witson says the evidence they have gathered so far suggests that Gaddafi’s forces went on a series of arbitrary killings as the capital was falling.

 

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