Muammar Gaddafi has threatened to attack the West in revenge for NATO’s bombings. Meanwhile, the African Union has refused to recognize the arrest warrant issued for the Colonel by the International Criminal Court.
The threats were announced on Friday through loudspeakers during one of the biggest demonstrations in recent troublesome months, as thousands of Gaddafi supporters gathered in Tripoli’s main square to show that the Libyan leader still boasts serious support from his people. The demonstrators stretched out a several-hundred-meter green Libyan flag that snaked above the crowd.
“If you do not stop your military actions and do not leave the Libyan people in peace, it will be a catastrophe for you,” warned the Libyan leader. “We are able to penetrate into Europe like locusts, like bees to respond the aggressors with their own methods.”
“These people [Libyans] will bring the battle into Europe and then your homes, offices and families will become the lawful targets,” said Gaddafi in his recorded audio message also broadcasted by state TV.
He also advised his political enemies to “apologize to the Libyan people and leave the country,” stating that “NATO air strikes have failed and the game is over.”
Only two hours after the demonstration, NATO carried out another air strike, dropping several bombs near Gaddafi’s compound.
Soon after Gaddafi’s address, the US and Spain stated that his threats of attacks on Europe would not stop their mission of “protecting civilians in Libya.”
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that “instead of issuing threats, [Gaddafi] should be putting the well-being and interests of his own people first,” the Associated Press reported.
“He should step down from power,” she said. “We will continue exerting the same military and political pressure to protect Libyan citizens from the threat and the use of military violence by Colonel Gaddafi.”
On March 17, 2011, the United Nations Security Council adopted the Resolution 1973 imposing a no-fly zone over Libya, authorizing all necessary means to protect civilians and civilian-populated areas, except for a “foreign occupation force.”
On March 19, 2011, a multi-state coalition started an air campaign on Libya with the US, UK, France, Canada, Italy, Belgium, Denmark, Norway, Qatar and Spain as major participants. The effort was initially largely led by France and the UK, with command shared with the US.
On March 31 NATO took full control over the operation, set to be completed by June 27, but on June 1, NATO extended it for 90 more days – until the end of September.
Also on Friday, the member countries of the African Union decided not to execute the Gaddafi’s arrest warrant, as they believe it will “seriously impede” all efforts aimed at a peace settlement to the Libyan conflict. The statement was made at the African Union summit.
“The African Union acknowledges the arrest warrant will seriously hamper the efforts to find a political and diplomatic solution of the Libyan crises and to bring to peace all the sides involved taking into consideration all the mutual interests. The whole world admits ICC [the International Criminal Court] always intervenes at a moment that is not convenient, to put oil on the fire,” Russia’s RIA Novosti news agency quotes African Union Commission chairman Jean Ping as saying.
Earlier this week, on June 27, the International Criminal Court in The Hague issued an arrest warrant for Muammar Gaddafi, charging the Libyan leader with committing crimes against humanity and using arms against participants of anti-government rallies.