Colonel Gaddafi orders ceasefire in Libya
20 Mar, 2011 19:06
Colonel Gaddafi issued an order to all military forces in Libya to cease fire by 19:00 GMT, according to Reuters.
Meanwhile, the White House has announced that it does not recognize the Libyan government’s ceasefire and will continue to enforce the UN resolution, Reuters reports. This comes as no surprise as a previous ceasefire announcement from the Gaddafi regime turned out to be empty, with the government continuing military action against the rebels. Late Sunday, British forces resumed attacks on Gaddafi’s troops, firing Tomahawk missiles from a British submarine in the Mediterranean. After the ceasefire was announced, RT correspondents in Libya reported that anti-aircraft gunfire could be heard in Tripoli. It remained unclear why the government troops were firing at the sky, as at that moment there was no incoming fire.Some suggested it was a show of strength, an attempt for Gaddafi to make clear to his supporters that he is still in charge.In addition to the ceasefire, the Libyan government called on its citizens to take part in a symbolic march to Benghazi to discuss domestic affairs, Reuters reported.The statement from Tripoli followed a reported disagreement among the coalition of nations concerning the enforcement of a no-fly zone over Libya.The Arab League held an emergency meeting in Cairo on Sunday to discuss the events in Libya. Arab League leader Amr Moussa expressed his ire at military actions by Western powers in Libya, saying that the international intervention has gone beyond what the Arab League backed and is now causing civilian deaths. He also added that the Arab League endorsed a no-fly zone in order to protect civilians, not to kill them.However, according to the latest reports, the Arab League is still supporting the no-fly zone, so whether or not there was a misunderstanding remains unclear. Meanwhile, Qatar agreed to send four fighter jets to participate in military operations enforcing a no-fly zone over Libya and to protect civilians, a spokesman for the French Ministry of Defense said. Qatar became the first Arab state to participate militarily in the coalition.The United Arab Emirates and Jordan may also support the mission, though most likely in a non-military fashion.On Sunday, President Barack Obama spoke with Jordanian leader Abdullah II and agreed on the need for a broad coalition against Muammar Gaddafi’s regime.However, reportedly, most people in Libya that support the no-fly zone would rather see countries like Tunisia and Egypt helping with their Arab democratic revolution.Throughout the day, Libyan state television showed pictures of alleged victims of Western air strikes. According to the Libyan authorities, more than 60 people were killed.Most of the focus of fighting on Sunday was in the city of Misurata, the third largest in the country. The city, which is controlled by the opposition, was attacked by Gaddafi’s troops.Foreign media have reportedly been prevented from going to the city. However, some eyewitnesses said that tanks have rolled into the town center, and Gaddafi’s soldiers went from house to house, conducting a so-called cleansing.The latest news from the international forces is that the British Typhoon and Tornado planes were sent to an Italian base which is only 30 minutes away from Libya.There are also reports that despite the Western allies’ announcement that they had managed to deplete most of Gaddafi’s surface-to-air missile defense systems, the Libyan leader still possesses other hidden ones.