Gaddafi: West conspiring to control Libyan oil

Pentagon says US is considering military options on Libya; warplanes and tanks continue to bombard rebels, destroying city of Zawiyah.

March 9, 2011 10:16
2 minute read.
Man holds a picture of Gaddafi from a bank window.

man holds pic of Gaddafi_311. (photo credit: Chris Helgren / Reuters)


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Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi said on Wednesday that Western powers are conspiring against Libya in order to control its oil fields.

Speaking on state television, he called on Libyans in Zitan to abandon the rebels in the city, presenting a Zitan-based clan that had declared its loyalty to Gaddafi.

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Also on Wednesday, the Pentagon said the US is still looking at a full range of military options on Libya, a day before NATO defense ministers gather for a meeting likely to expand on Western nations' deliberations about a no-fly zone.

Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell told reporters that US Defence Secretary Robert Gates, who concluded a visit to Afghanistan on Wednesday, was expected to discuss Libya with counterparts from other NATO nations during the regular ministerial meeting beginning on Thursday.

"We are preparing, as we've made clear for days and days now, a range of military options for the president, including a no-fly zone and each of those options will also spell out the potential consequences of each course of action," Morrell said.

Gaddafi's aircraft and tanks continued to pound rebels in Zawiyah, the closest rebel-held city to the Libyan stronghold of Tripoli in the west, on Wednesday. A relentless government barrage blocked rebels in the east from advancing west to his strategic hometown of Sirte.

"Zawiyah as you knew it no longer exists. They have been attacking the town from 10 in the morning until 11:30 in the evening," Zawiyah resident, Ibrahim, said early on Wednesday:

Click for full Jpost coverage of turmoil in the Middle East

 Only giving one name, he told Reuters by telephone that dozens of bodies were on the streets. "There is no electricity, no water and we are cut off from the outside world," he said.

Counter-attacks by Gaddafi loyalists suggest the flamboyant autocrat in power for 41 years will not go quietly or relatively quickly as fellow leaders in Egypt and Tunisia did in a tide of popular unrest now shaking the Arab world.

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