As Rebels Close in on The Regime, Gaddafi's Sons Send Mixed Messages: Will They Surrender?

 Abdelhakim Belhaj, the National Transitional Council's military leader in Tripoli, announced to Al Jazeera  that Saadi Gaddafi, Muammar Gaddafi's third son's, is ready to surrender.  He also said that rebels know where the leaders of their detested regime are hiding. But then reports surfaced that Saadi would refuse surrender, and Gaddafi's other son, Saif al-Islam, vowed to continue resistance, offering no signs of negotiating. 

Here is a transcript of Belhaj's Al Jazeera interview.  Watch the video here. 

"We have the intelligence apparatrus that belongs to the revolutionaries, that allows us to gather information to find Gaddafi, and and his close aids that represent a pillage of the regime. We know for sure where some of them are, and we have unconfirmed reports where Gaddafi is. Today I had a phone conversation with Gaddafi's son Saadi, where he asked to be part of the revolution and to get guarantees to come back to his people and to the capitol of Tripoli.  He hinted towards his whereabouts, and we will be in contact with him to follow up on this matter."

According to Al Jazeera, victorious rebels are gearing up to catch Gaddafi:

'"Gaddafi is now fleeing - and we have a good idea where he is,' Ali Tarhouni, a senior NTC minister said earlier, without elaborating. 'We don't have any doubt that we will catch him.'"

And:

"There has been speculation that Gaddafi is seeking refuge in Sirte or one of the other remaining regime strongholds, among them the towns of Bani Walid or Sabha."

The exclusive interview also revealed information about the Gaddafi family's plans once the rebels' take over is in place:

"According to Belhaj, Saddi doesn't want to leave Libya, he wants to talk to the national council and negotiate his surrender. He thinks he knows the whereabouts of Saddi Gaddafi from the phone call. Also says he believes some senior figures of the government are now ready to surrender, such as the former prime minister.

But then, CNN reported that Saadi denied plans to surrender and is not ready to negotiate. “I would rather surrender to a real government than to those people,”said Saadi, according to CNN. 

What'smore, on the Syrian-owned al-Rai television network, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi announced he was speaking from a suburb of Tripoli and promised to "liberate te Green Square" in Tripoli from NTC forces.

According to Reuters, Saif said:

'"We assure people we are here, ready and in good shape. Resistance is continuing and victory is near,' he said, adding that 20,000 armed youths were ready for the NTC forces surrounding his father's hometown of Sirte."

At this point, the regime's plans to surrender or step-up are unknown, but one thing is for sure:  The rebels will not stop until they find freedom. 

AlterNet / By Kristen Gwynne

Posted at August 31, 2011, 10:04am

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