Gaddafi says Libya could turn into ‘another Vietnam’

March 3rd, 2011 - 12:35 pm ICT by ANI  

Barack Obama London/Tripoli, Mar. 3 (ANI): Colonel Muammar Gaddafi has promised “another Vietnam” if foreign powers answer a Libyan dissidents plea for military intervention.

In a fiery speech in Tripoli, the Libyan leader vowed to wage a bloody war if foreign powers dared to intervene, saying it would only plunge Libya into “another Vietnam”.

“We will enter a bloody war and thousands and thousands of Libyans will die if the United States enters or NATO enters,” he told supporters in a two-and-a-half-hour televised speech.

“We are ready to hand out weapons to a million, or 2 million or 3 million, and another Vietnam will begin. It doesn’t matter to us. We no longer care about anything,” he added.

His defiant words came as pro-regime forces were pushed out of the oil port town of Brega on Wednesday afternoon.

The rebels have called on the UN to sanction the launch of international air strikes on strongholds occupied by foreign mercenaries, the mainly African fighters flown in to bolster Colonel Gaddafi’s army.

The United States has started to move two of its warships towards the Libyan coast via the Suez Canal, claiming they are expected to deliver humanitarian aid, but has not ruled out military intervention.

The White House said USS Ponce and USS Kearsarge were being repositioned for possible humanitarian efforts, but said the US “was not taking any options off the table”.

The Independent quoted the newly formed rebel council in Benghazi, the country’s second city, which has been under the control of opposition forces for over a week now, as reiterating that Colonel Gaddafi is using mercenaries from African countries to fire on his own people, and equated it to a foreign invasion.

“We call for specific attacks on strongholds of these mercenaries. The presence of any foreign forces on Libyan soil is strongly opposed. There is a big difference between this and strategic air strikes,” the paper quoted Hafiz Ghoga, a council spokesman, as saying in Benghazi.

Rebel forces are facing the most critical challenge to their recent gains since they took Benghazi more than a week ago, won only after a brutal crackdown by Colonel Gaddafi’s troops left hundreds dead.

In the past week, NATO allies have been divided over what measures to take against Libya’s leadership. The US and Britain had tentatively backed the establishment of a no-fly zone that would prevent Colonel Gaddafi from striking his people from the air, but such a move would first require NATO to take out Libya’s air defence capabilities. France has opposed such a move, saying any military action would require UN backing.

In a significant development, President Barack Obama is understood to have asked the National Security Council in Washington to establish channels of communication with the protest movement in Benghazi, according to diplomatic sources, and has additionally requested the names of key individuals. The NSC, however, denied the claims.

Such a move would follow a decision by Paris to provide aid directly to Benghazi three days ago. It is also sending its second-largest warship to Libya to help evacuate refugees. (ANI)

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