Leila Fadel , Liz Sly and Anthony Faiola
Feb 27, 2011
BENGHAZI, LIBYA – Col. Moammar Gaddafi faced fresh setbacks domestically and internationally early Sunday with opposition forces in eastern Libya preparing to dispatch a rebel force to his stronghold in Tripoli and the United Nation’s imposing military and financial sanctions while raising the specter that the isolated leader could face charges for crimes against humanity.
Even as the opposition consolidated its grip on the country’s second city, Benghazi, a top anti-Gaddafi leader, Brig. Gen. Ahmed Gatrani, said a small force comprising army defectors and rebels has already reached the outskirts of the capital. An attempt to oust Gaddafi in Tripoli on Friday was crushed by pro-regime paramilitaries and soldiers firing indiscriminately at protesters on the streets.
It happened as the wave of civil revolts of recent weeks continued to convulse the Middle East, with even Tunisia and Egypt, two nations where protesters succeeded in ousting longtime authoritarian rulers, seeing heated protests on Saturday that led to violent military crackdowns. In Oman on Sunday, two people were killed in protests, Reuters reported, as police fired tear gas and cordoned off protesters demonstrating for a second day in the city of Sohar.
But the focus remained on the upheaval in Libya. “We are trying to organize people who will sacrifice their lives to free Tripoli from the dictator,” said Gatrani, who heads the military committee now in charge of the army in Benghazi, 600 miles east of the capital and the first major city to fall under opposition control. But, he cautioned: “Entering Tripoli is not easy. Anyone trying will be shot.”
This article was posted: Sunday, February 27, 2011 at 9:13 am