Going postal: purported Gaddafi letter to Congress urges ceasefire

South Africa, Cape Town: Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi signs the guestbook after he toured the prison on Robben Island which was the home of South African President Nelson Mandela for many years, off Cape Town 14 June 1999 (AFP Photo)
Some members of the US Congress have reportedly received a letter from Colonel Gaddafi, saying he is ready to negotiate a ceasefire. The authenticity of the letter has not yet been confirmed.

The three-page letter, dated June 9, was made public by several US media outlets on Friday. If proved authentic, the address signed “Col. Muammar Gaddafi, Commander of the Great Revolution” would give an assessment of the current situation in Libya and ways of resolving the humanitarian and military crisis as seen by the Colonel.

In the letter, Gaddafi calls for a ceasefire and says he is ready to hold negotiations with the opposition under the close watch of the US.

In his purported letter, Gaddafi urges a ceasefire, “the funding of humanitarian relief and assistance in fostering and furthering accommodation between the internal parties within Libya that are at odds.”

“We are ready to sit at the table with appropriate internal interlocutors lead by the United States. Let's stop the destruction and begin the negotiations to find a peaceful solution for Libya,” the letter says. “I appeal to you, as the great Democracy, to assist us to determine our future as a people. Our nation must not be colonized again by Europeans. Our country must not be divided again. Help us to achieve our own self determination.”

The message echoes Gaddafi’s stance on the civil war being a solely internal affair for Libya, saying that “the UN Security Council Resolutions numbered 1970 and 1973 are ultra vires acts of the United Nations because they sanction intervention by NATO in an internal domestic event.”

Gaddafi blames “oil-hungry France” for starting the military intervention in Libya: “Clearly France's actions are motivated by its desire to seize Libyan oil and to take advantage of the strategic location of Libya.” He claims that France “seeks to advance its own commercial interests” at the expense of the US.

He also warns that the Transitional National Council (TNC) has ties with Islamic extremists and that the TNC “are a group of individuals with extremist connections, the majority of which are not native to Libya.”

“It is very important for the Congress of the United States to recognize that AQ and Islamic extremists dominate the Eastern Region (Benghazi & Derna) and that these individuals have been, in the main, responsible for committing horrific atrocities against Libyan citizens,” the letter says.

However, the White House and the Congressmen that received the letter were far from impressed. A spokesperson for House Speaker John Boehner, one of those who received the letter, called the letter incoherent and pointed out that it “reinforces that Gaddafi must go.”

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was also among those who received the message, his communication director has dismissed the letter saying: “We have received a letter but, we’re not spending much time trying to confirm authenticity because we don’t much care what he has to say unless it includes a resignation,” as quoted by The Washington Post.

Earlier this week, Turkey offered Libya's leader guarantees in return for leaving Libya. Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in an interview with NTV channel broadcast on Friday, that they are still waiting to hear back. Erdogan did not specify what those guarantees are and when the offer to Gaddafi was made.

"He has no other option but to leave Libya, with the condition that he is given certain guarantees. That's the picture," Erdogan said in the interview. "We have given him these guarantees; we said we will help you leave for wherever you would like."

Earlier, an unnamed alliance official claimed that NATO now considers Colonel Gaddafi a legitimate target. NATO has long insisted that regime change is not an objective of the military operation.

Meanwhile in Misrata, after clashes between pro-Gaddafi and rebel forces, 31 people were reported dead and 110 injured, as reported by Reuters on Saturday.

Two hundred kilometers away from Misrata, the country’s capital Tripoli is being once again rocked by NATO airstrikes.

Lecturer in Modern History at Oxford University, Professor Mark Almond, says Gaddafi's positions are not as weak as the West might want to present.

“Gaddafi is obviously under pressure,” he said. “His ground forces are being bombed by NATO. But he also has seen that in the US Congress a resolution was passed highly critical of what President Obama had done since the bombing started. So he begins to sense that there is division in Washington and perhaps in the West in general, inside NATO.”

­According to radio host and author Stephen Lendman, Muammar Gaddafi, more than anyone else, wants an end to the conflict.

“Gaddafi never wanted conflict in the first place. He did not begin it. He responded to it,” he said. “When Washington and NATO … began it, Gaddafi responded. Of course he wants it ended. He wants a cease-fire. He does not want any of this to go on. The West is committing the violence."