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22nd February 2011 to 28th Feb in the Libyan Civil War

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See 15th February 2011 to 21st Feb in the Libyan Civil War

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April 2011 in the Libyan Civil War

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22 February[edit]

File:Col Gaddafi's statement, 22 Feb 2011.JPG
Muammar Gaddafi uttering his historic "I am in Tripoli" rallying call through Libyan state television, 22 February 2011.

""I am in Tripoli.[2] Do not believe the (news) channels belonging to stray dogs."[3][4]"

Gunfire was reportedly heard throughout the night of 21–22 February. Government soldiers were reported to have continued some bombarding to keep defecting soldiers away from the protests. Fighter jets were reported to have targeted army ammunition depots in order to prevent troops from joining the protesters.[5]
  • A Libyan naval vessel was reportedly sighted off the coast of Malta. According to Al Jazeera, five Italian fighter jets overflew the ship, and the Italian Navy began conducting surveillance. The ship reportedly had its flag lowered, suggesting that the crew may want to defect.[6] The Armed Forces of Malta several times denied reports in the international media that it was monitoring any such vessels approaching Maltese shores.[7]
  • Former Libyan Ambassador to India Ali Abd-al-Aziz al-Isawi, stated that he feared returning to Libya. He also confirmed that fighter jets were used to bomb civilians, and that foreign mercenaries, who seemed to have come from other African states, were "massacring" people.[8]
  • Former Libyan Ambassador to Bangladesh A. H. Elimam, was also reported to have "disappeared" after 9:00 Bangladesh time. Al Jazeera said the last conversation with him noted "a sense of panic" in his voice and that his phone had been switched off. He indicated a feeling of being threatened by an intelligence officer at the embassy, who was from the same village as Gaddafi. The Bangladeshi Foreign Ministry and other diplomats in that state could not confirm his whereabouts.[9]
  • A doctor in Tripoli told Asharq Al-Awsat that mercenaries broke into his hospital and killed injured people.[10]
File:Muammar Gaddafi speech, 22 Feb 2011.png
Muammar Gaddafi during his hour-long speech, also on Libyan state television, 22 February 2011.
  • Former UK Foreign Secretary David Owen said that a "military intervention" via a no-fly zone was immediately necessary.[11] The Austrian Army reported that the airspace around Tripoli had been closed,[12] but later retracted the statement. An Austrian Defense Ministry spokesman, Michael Huber, said: "One of our sources said that initially that it (airspace) was closed, but then another later confirmed otherwise. Our plane was able to leave."[13]
  • Eyewitnesses reported that thousands of African mercenaries were flown into Tripoli to put down the uprising.[14] One insider source reportedly said that Gaddafi now could only rely on his own clan and 5,000 men, out of 45,000, and knew he could not retake Libya. According to this source, he apparently planned to force a Pyrrhic victory on his opponents; to whittle down their numbers with many skirmishes, harm the economy by sabotaging oil reserves, and in every sense damaging infrastructure to the best of his ability, stating "I have the money and arms to fight for a long time".[15] Oil infrastructures may be sabotaged to cut economic supply to rebel clans, while fights may lead thousands to flee Libya to pressure them. Thus, all may prefer to accept the Gaddafi's status quo.[15]
I am a Bedouin warrior who brought glory to Libyans|Muammar Gaddafi during his speech on 22 February 2011.[16]
  • In a second speech within twenty-four hours, believed by commentators to be made from his family compound in the Bab al-Azizia military barracks in southern Tripoli,[17] Gaddafi blamed foreign powers and hallucinogens being forced on the protesters for the unrest.[18] He rejected stepping down, saying he had no official position from which he could step down, and stated that he would "die as martyr". The scenery of the speech indicated that Gaddafi was in Libya.[19][17]
  • In his hour-long speech, he blamed the uprising on "Islamists", and then warned that an "Islamic emirate" has already been set up in Al Bayda and Derna, where he threatened the use of extreme force and genocide-like tactics, to stop the Islamfication of Libya. Gaddafi vowed to fight on and die a "martyr" on Libyan soil. He then called on his supporters to take back the streets on the 23rd from protesters and tribal rebels, who were demanding that he step down. He also went on to state that he had "not yet ordered the use of force", and warned viewers that "when I do, everything will burn".[20]
  • Gaddafi vowed to fight his opponents "until the last drop of his blood had been spilt" rather than step down, describing anti-regime protesters as "rats" and "mercenaries" working for foreign states and corporate agendas. Gaddafi said the rioting urban youths that were opposed to his rule were manipulated by others who gave them drugs and who were trying to turn Libya into an Islamic state.[21] (In earlier speeches he blamed "Zionists" for the riots.)[20] Furthermore, he threatened a Tiananmen-style crackdown.[22] The speech would later be parodied in a viral YouTube video entitled Zenga Zenga.[23]
  • Abdul Fatah Younis, who held the position of top general and interior minister, escaped from house arrest, resigned, and called for the army and police to fight Gaddafi and his regime. Until his resignation, General Younis was regarded as the second most powerful man in Libya.[11]
  • Human Rights Watch said that at least 233 people had been killed up to 22 February.[24]
  • By nighttime, the Arab League had suspended the Libyan delegation from meetings until the Libyan people were safe.[21]

23 February[edit]

A young Libyan carrying King Idris's photograph during a protest in Benghazi on 23 February 2011.
  • UK Foreign Secretary Hague said in a press release that there were "many indications of the structure of the State collapsing in Libya". He also urged the Libyan state to listen to people's demands.[20] Luxembourger Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn called the situation in Libya a genocide and called for massive intervention from the international community. He argued a resolution was needed allowing control of Libyan airspace so as to stop mercenaries entering Libya. He called Gaddafi a "sick and dangerous" "tyrant".[25]
  • Peru fully severed diplomatic ties with Libya's government[20] and the African Union conducted a security meeting on the rapidly changing situation in Libya. The European Union agreed in principle to impose sanctions, the form of which to be decided the following Friday, and the Dutch government met in emergency session to consider freezing billions of euros of assets invested by Tamoil, the Libyan government's oil company.[26]
  • The Warfalla, the largest of the numerous tribes in Libya, joined calls from other tribes for Gaddafi to stand down.[20]
  • A 23 February Reuters article stated that according to a WikiLeaks-leaked US cable, Gaddafi pressed the US to foster division and disagreements in Saudi Arabia and exerted heavy pressure on the US as well as on oil companies to reimburse the $1.5 billion Libya had paid in 2008 into a fund to settle terrorism claims from the 1980s.[32]
  • By the end of the day, headlines in online news services were reporting a range of themes underlining the precarious state of the regime – former justice minister Mustafa Abud Al-Jeleil alleged that Gaddafi personally ordered the 1988 Lockerbie bombing,[33] resignations and "defections" of close allies,[34] the loss of Benghazi, the second-largest city in Libya, reported to be "alive with celebration"[35] and other cities including Tobruk and Misrata reportedly falling[31] with some believing that government had retained control of "just a few pockets",[30] Gaddafi family members allegedly refused entry to safe jurisdictions (an unscheduled plane said to be carrying Gaddafi's daughter Aisha was denied permission to enter Malta,[36][37] although the Maltese government later denied knowing whether she was on board),[37][38] mounting international isolation and pressure,[30][39] and reports that Middle East media considered the end of his "disintegrating" regime all but inevitable.[40]
  • Around midnight, some reports began to emerge describing the situation as civil war[41][42] or revolution,[43] with Gaddafi trying to ensure control over the capital and his political base Tripoli.[44]

24 February[edit]

See also: Battle of Misrata and Battle of Az Zawiyah
  • Protesters assumed complete control of Tobruk, where soldiers and residents celebrated by waving the former Libyan flag used during the Kingdom of Libya (1951–1969), firing guns into the air and honking horns. Army units in Tobruk and throughout eastern Libya sided with protesters, with some soldiers and officers participating in demonstrations. Commanders pledged to defend the "liberated territory" with their lives after Gaddafi threatened to take it back by force. Two airmen bailed out of their jet, which crashed into the desert, after defying orders to bomb Tobruk. In the collapse of central authority, residents formed public-defence committees for security, and opened welfare organisations to ensure that residents had enough to eat. At newly established security checkpoints, demonstrators handed out bottled water and juice to passing motorists.[45]
  • Cities and towns close to Tripoli were reported to be falling to protesters, while in Tripoli itself, pro-Gaddafi militia patrolled the streets to prevent demonstrations.[45] In the east, civilian protesters and military units that had defected and reorganized armed themselves to prepare for an upcoming "Battle of Tripoli". Meanwhile Gaddafi prepared for the defense of the city by gathering pro-government forces in the capital and deploying tanks in the suburbs.[46]
  • The North African wing of al-Qaeda announced that they would support the Libyan uprising.[47] In a televised phone call to the people of Az Zawiyah, where fighting was taking place, Gaddafi claimed the revolts could be blamed on Osama bin Laden, and that young Libyans had been duped with drugs and alcohol.[48] Gaddafi dispatched an envoy to Az Zawiyah, who warned protesters of a "massacre" if they did not leave.[49]
  • Pro-Gaddafi Libyan forces and foreign mercenaries opened fire on a mosque in Az Zawiyah, where residents, some armed with hunting rifles, had been holding a sit-in to support the protesters in Tripoli. The troops blasted the mosque's minaret with an anti-aircraft gun, killing 10 people and wounding 150. Thousands of people then gathered in Az Zawiyah's main square to demonstrate against Gaddafi. Hours after the attack, Gaddafi gave a speech on state television, where he expressed condolences for the deaths, but scolded the city's residents for siding with the uprising, saying "shame on you, people of Zawiyah, control your children", and that "they are loyal to Bin Laden. What do you have to do with Bin Laden, people of Zawiyah? They are exploiting young people... I insist it is Bin Laden". He also blamed teenagers on hallucinogenic pills given to them "in their coffee with milk, like Nescafé".[49]
  • Pro-Gaddafi militia and foreign mercenaries also attacked an airport outside Misrata, which was defended by protesters armed with rifles, in what would become the Battle of Misrata. During the fighting, the militia bombarded the protesters with rocket-propelled grenades and mortars, while the protesters managed to seize an anti-aircraft gun and turn it against the militia. At the same time, officers from an air-force school near the airport mutinied, and with the help of local residents, overran an adjacent airbase where Gaddafi supporters were holed up, and disabled fighter jets to prevent their use against protesters. Five people were killed during the fighting: four protesters and one pro-Gaddafi militiaman, and another forty wounded.[49]
  • In Tripoli, militia and foreign mercenaries continued patrolling the streets, firing guns into the air, while neighbourhood-watch groups barricaded side streets to try to keep the fighters out. Security forces also raided numerous homes around the city and arrested suspected political opponents. Armed militiamen entered a hospital to search for government opponents among the wounded.[49]
  • Ahmed Ghadaf al-Dam, a cousin and one of Gaddafi's closest aides, defected to Egypt, protesting what he called "grave violations of human rights and human and international laws.[49]
  • The European Union called for Libya to be suspended from the United Nations Human Rights Council, and for the United Nations Security Council to approve a probe to investigate "gross and systematic violations of human rights by the Libyan authorities", while Switzerland froze all of Gaddafi's assets there.[49] Sources in the UK government including the UK Treasury, announced that Gaddafi's assets were being tracked and that £20 billion in liquid assets and a £10-million mansion in London would be seized within days.[50]

25 February[edit]

  • For the first time in days, thousands took to the streets of Tripoli to protest, with protester and civilian death tolls rising.[51]
  • Gaddafi appeared at 18:55 (local time) in Tripoli's Green Square, with a crowd of supporters,[54] "Sing, dance and be ready, we will fight those who are against us"[55] and "If the people of Libya and the Arabs and Africans don't love Moammar Gadhafi then Moammar Gadhafi does not deserve to live."[56]

26 February[edit]

  • In Az Zawiyah, a city about Template:convert/kmTemplate:convert/test/Anone away from the Tripoli, an amateur video appeared to show soldiers switching sides and joining anti-government protesters.Template:citation needed Witnesses told Al Jazeera Arabic that Libyan protesters had taken control of a number of areas in Tripoli.[57] Security forces had abandoned the working-class Tajoura district,Template:clarify after five days of anti-government demonstrations, residents told foreign correspondents who visited the area.[58]
  • In Benghazi, a small naval base became controlled by the opposition. The naval force consisted of a missile cruiser, a frigate, a decommissioned minesweeper and a decommissioned submarine. The commander of the fleet that remained, after his superiors deserted their posts, said that he would defend the city against Gaddafi forces, saying that "He [Gaddafi] means nothing to me, he sees the east part of the country as enemies and he will do anything to exterminate us".[59]
  • In Benghazi, a spokesman for the revolution told Agence France-Presse that they were drawing up plans for a transitional government to take power, but in the nearby town of Ajdabiya, local residents said food was becoming scarce.[60]

National Transitional Council established (27 February – 3 March)[edit]

27 February[edit]

  • After distancing itself from the Gaddafi regime, the Italian government officially suspended the "friendship" treaty it holds with Libya. The treaty forbids warfare or military confrontation between the two states, but the suspension of the treaty would allow otherwise.[64]
  • On 27 February, The Tripoli Post reported that the UN Security Council on 26 February had voted unanimously to impose sanctions against the Libyan authorities, imposing an arms embargo and freezing the assets of its leaders, while referring the ongoing violent repression of civilian demonstrators to the International Criminal Court.[65]
  • Gaddafi gave an interview to Serbian television station RTV Pink, calling the UN Security Council resolution "invalid in accordance with the United Nations Charter" and that the resolution was based on the news reports rather than on actual state in Libya. He vowed to stay in Libya blaming the "foreigners and Al-Qaeda" for the unrest, saying that the protests began when "the gangs of drugged young men attacked regular army forces".[66][67]
  • Tripoli was largely quiet during the morning, with militiamen erecting additional roadblocks and tanks parked at major intersections. Residents said the Libyan leader was arming civilian supporters to set up checkpoints and roving patrols around the capital to control movement and quash dissent.[70]
  • Az Zawiyah, a city of 290,000 just Template:convert/miTemplate:convert/test/Anone west of Tripoli, appeared to be a potential focal point for clashes as anti-government forces mounted tanks and anti-aircraft guns throughout the city center, and Gaddafi forces surrounded the outskirts with tanks and military checkpoints, according to an Associated Press reporter who visited the city.[71]
  • The UK revoked the diplomatic immunity of Gaddafi and his family, UK Foreign Secretary Hague said on Sunday, urging the dictator to step down.[72] The Belgian government annnounced that it would shut down its embassy in Tripoli on 28 February, temporarily discontinuing diplomatic activities in the troubled north African state, the foreign ministry said. Canada, France, the UK and the US were among the states that had already temporarily shut their embassies in Tripoli and evacuated their staff amid growing unrest over demands for Gaddafi to quit.[73]
  • US Secretary of State Clinton offered "any kind of assistance" to Libyans and opposition groups seeking to overthrow Gaddafi.[74]
  • Hafiz Ghoga, spokesman for the National Transitional Council, said the council was not an interim government, was not contacting foreign governments and did not want them to intervene. "We will help liberate other Libyan cities, in particular Tripoli through our national army, our armed forces, of which part have announced their support for the people," Ghoga said, but he did not give details about how the council would help. Although not a direct response to Clinton's remarks, Ghoga said: "We are completely against foreign intervention. The rest of Libya will be liberated by the people and Gadhafi's security forces will be eliminated by the people of Libya."[75]

28 February[edit]

  • It was reported that opposition forces shot down a government warplane during the Battle of Misrata.[76]
  • The US Navy began positioning several ships near the coast of Libya, although it was still unclear what action they might take. Calls for a military enforced no-fly-zone on Libya became increasingly prominent. UK Prime Minister David Cameron, proposed the idea of a no-fly zone to prevent Gaddafi from airlifting mercenaries and using his military aeroplanes and armoured helicopters against civilians.[77] Rhetoric used by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton suggested that the implication of such was likely. Clinton also stepped up her rhetoric against Gaddafi, calling for his immediate removal.[78]
  • Gaddafi had reportedly appointed the head of Libya's foreign intelligence service to speak to the leadership of the anti-government protesters in the east of Libya.[78]
  • The US froze US$30 billion of assets belonging to the Libyan government, the largest amount of assets ever frozen.[79]
  • On Monday, pro-Gadhafi forces tried to retake control of the western border crossings with Tunisia that had fallen under opposition control and they bombed an ammunition depot in the rebel-held east, residents in the area said. The Libyan Defense Ministry denied the bombing.[80]
  • During the day, regime forces attacked Zawiya and Misrata, but were repelled by anti-government forces with a small number of casualties on both sides.[81]


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