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Chaos in Libya; Obama Administration Blasts Gadhafi

Aired February 28, 2011 - 22:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: It is 5:00 a.m. in Libya right now, day 15 in the battle for the future of that country, a battle that will have ripple effects on us all.

Moammar Gadhafi faced reporters today and spun a story of what he says is happening in Libya. It was a story. He says the people love him. His son says everything is peaceful. Tonight you will hear their statements and then you will hear the facts of what is happening. You will hear facts and you will see evidence for yourselves. You will learn the truth from our reporters on the ground and the Libyan people themselves trapped in their homes in many cases, but speaking out, no longer letting fear rule their lives, new video tonight of fighting taking place about 130 miles to the east of Tripoli in a city called Misurata where anti-government protesters are in control.

Listen to the fire. You can see some of the tracer fire, heavy machine guns, anti-aircraft guns. When aimed at human beings, it is devastating. Also, 30 miles west of Tripoli, this is the scene, the city of Zawiyah also controlled by anti-government protesters tonight.

But Gadhafi's grip on Tripoli, the capital, remains tight, though his grip on reality does not. Take a look at his newest interview, talking about how his people love him.


M. GADHAFI: They love me. All my people with me, they love me, all.



M. GADHAFI: They will die to protect me, my people.


AMANPOUR: If you say they do love you, then why are they capturing Benghazi and they say they're against you there? Why are they...

M. GADHAFI: It is al Qaeda. It is al Qaeda. It is al Qaeda, not my people. It is al Qaeda.


M. GADHAFI: Al Qaeda, al Qaeda, yes. They came from outside.


COOPER: Saying Qaeda, saying it's al Qaeda, Moammar Gadhafi blaming al Qaeda yet again. We're going to talk to one reporter who interviewed Gadhafi in a moment.

America's U.N. ambassador today calling his statements delusional. Whatever you call them, you can add his latest comments to a long list of lies he's been telling for days. Listen.


M. GADHAFI (through translator): RPG, rocket launchers has been provided to Benghazi by the Americans. They offer them those hallucination pills in order to use them. Those youth, 16-, 17-year- old, are not guilty because they are manipulated by people from Tunisia.

These coming from Misurata, they spike their coffees or milk with (END each. After they take these tablets, go and attack this police station.


COOPER: Well, Gadhafi's son Saif who for years has paraded around the west and the United States in silk suits talking about reforms and trying to attract investors to Libya, well, he now appears as fake as his father. Listen to what he told Christian Amanpour.


SAIF AL-ISLAM GADHAFI, SON OF MOAMMAR GADHAFI: Everything is calm. Everything is people. The point is, there's a big, big gap between reality and the media reports.



AMANPOUR: You say there is a big, big gap between reality and media reports. Some might say there is a big, big gap between what you're thinking and saying to me and the reality around the rest of Libya.

GADHAFI: Why the south -- the whole south is calm. The west is calm. The middle is calm, even part of the east.


COOPER: Some might say. Well, that is a fact.

Everything is peaceful, he claims, and it is a fact it is not. He denies killing Libyans. Let's just repeat that. The Gadhafi -- the regime are claiming everything is peaceful and they have not slaughtered civilians in the streets.

I want to show you the reality, new video from a hospital in Misurata. It's disturbing video. And I do want to warn you that. But when a ruler claims that their hands are clean, the only way to show you they are not is to show you how just blood-soaked those hands really are. We don't know the stories of these two men who are clearly dead in a hospital in Misurata.

But we talked to a doctor in a hospital there who has seen many dead and many wounded for days.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's lying. He and his son, they're lying. They're killing -- they're looking of people every day. That's what they're doing now just to protect their selves and their regime.


COOPER: Well, the Gadhafis deny it, but U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon estimates 1,000 people have been killed in Libya so far.

Libya's former America's ambassador today said the number may be closer to 2,000. We frankly don't know. We showed you Gadhafi's son Saif with a smile and a wink on his face on Friday before an interview with CNN Turk. When he gives interviews to Western reporters, he tries to seem reasonable.

But take a look at him in Tripoli in Arabic brandishing a weapon promising to his supporters to get them more weapons.


S. GADHAFI (through translator): Don't leave your country for vagrants. These people are not an army or anything. They are just trash, vagrants.

Today, we will go out in Tripoli, my brothers. You will live in it, and they won't be able to say anything. I'm going now. I will be sending you the weaponry, and tonight I'm out to get more of it.



COOPER: The son promising more weaponry to fight an uprising his father denies is even happening.

Again, the best rebuttal to spin coming from the Libyan people, all of whom are taking a great risk to talk to us.

Earlier tonight, I spoke with a woman in Misurata.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) COOPER: What is the situation right now in your town?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Currently, the city of Misurata is in the hands of the opposition. There have been some skirmishes on the outskirts of the city.

I live in an area called Hadad (ph). And there have been attacks on the radio antenna that's about a mile from my home for the past three days.

COOPER: Attacks by government forces?


COOPER: And you have heard that?



One of the reasons that they're -- well, the reason that they're trying to attack the antenna, that the opposition forces are using the radio station to organize the city. So that's the reason that there have been so many attacks.

COOPER: Are you scared?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sometimes. Sometimes I am, honestly. Other times, I'm not. It just depends I guess on how much shooting is going on, or what kind of reports are coming through the media outlets at any given time.

COOPER: Do you think that -- that Tripoli will continue to remain in Gadhafi hands?


You know, this regime has been here for 42 years, and it's reached its end. I'm confident that the regime will fall soon, if not today, then tomorrow, if not tomorrow, then within the next week or two or three, but his time has come to an end. He's oppressed the Libyan people for over four decades. We're not -- prior to the protests, people were afraid to speak on the phone.

They couldn't talk in the street. People spoke in hushed tones. My father's a member of the opposition. And so I was born and raised in California, but we had family members who were too afraid to call us, to keep in touch. Or, even when my father came here, they were people who were too afraid to speak to him.

So people have been afraid and have been living under his tyrannical regime for too long. We have reached the point of no return. Too much blood has been shed and too many people have been injured for this regime to stay in place.

COOPER: And yet you hear Gadhafi speak, you hear his son speak, and they essentially say they haven't been killing civilians, that there aren't even protests in Tripoli itself.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To say that is ridiculous. I don't think that at this point anyone believes those kinds of things. Gadhafi has been making all kinds of claims.

He says -- at one moment, he's saying that all of the Libyan people are taking hallucinogens. Another moment, he's saying that we're all members of al Qaeda and that we're extremist Muslims. He's just -- he's making -- he's all lover the place. He's making all different kinds of nonsensical claims.

COOPER: And his son Saif, who many in the West always considered the most reform-minded, the most sort of Western-oriented, walked around in nice slick suits, he seems to be saying these exact same things that his father is now saying.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's as barbaric as his father. When he spoke on -- to the first address to the nation, we thought that he was going to come talking of reforms, the same way that we heard leaders in Egypt and in Tunisia.

And he came saying that Libya was going to turn into another Algeria, and that women were going to be raped and that people -- whole cities were going to be massacred, and all sorts of these veiled threats. He's like his father, if not worse.

COOPER: And when you hear them say they will arm citizens, they will open up the arsenals, does that scare you? Does that worry you?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't -- I don't believe that. You know, he's too afraid that the people would use those against him. I don't believe those claims. He's too afraid.

COOPER: So what do you want people to know about what is happening right now?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That Libyans are not members of al Qaeda. That's absolutely ridiculous.

And we're not all -- not -- everyone's not on drugs here, that we're fighting for our basic rights, the right to freedom, the right to education, the right to health care, the right to clean water, the right to just basic human rights, and that we will continue to fight until this regime falls.

COOPER: Take care. Thank you for talking to us.



COOPER: Yet again another woman risking her life to tell us what's happening from her vantage point in Libya.

We have extensive coverage tonight. Fouad Ajami is with us, also Nic Robertson in Tripoli and many others. You can join the live chat at

Up next, we will talk to one of the reporters who sat down today to Gadhafi. I'm curious to hear if she -- if she thinks Gadhafi really believes this stuff he's saying.

And later, the U.S. responds to the possibility of a no-fly zone. I will talk with a former CIA officer about what groups might come to power after Gadhafi.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The signs are saying and the crowd here are saying things like, Gadhafi, you bloodsucker; Gadhafi, you and your family have to go.

They're also calling, we want guns, we want guns.



COOPER: Some new video tonight just translated from a Libyan hospital, the voice on it saying these are the weapons that they used against the people of Misurata, anti-aircraft and anti-tank. This is coming from a man who seems to be a doctor. They are -- he says these are all the kind of weapons to kill the youth of Misurata.

Meantime, American warships are moving closer to Libya, the U.S. and NATO weighing a no fly zone over the country. We will talk about that in a little bit. The global community is distancing itself obviously from the Gadhafi regime. And Gadhafi himself is doubling down on the denial card.



M. GADHAFI: They love me. All my people with me, they love me, all.



M. GADHAFI: They will die to protect me, my people.


AMANPOUR: If you say they do love you, then why are they capturing Benghazi and they say they're against you there? Why are they...

M. GADHAFI: It is al Qaeda. It is al Qaeda. It is al Qaeda, not my people. It is al Qaeda. AMANPOUR: Al Qaeda?

M. GADHAFI: Al Qaeda, al Qaeda, yes. They came from outside.


COOPER: Gadhafi spoke today with ABC News, the BBC, and my next guest, Marie Colvin, foreign affairs correspondent for "The Sunday Times" of London.

Marie, thanks so much for being on the program.

You have interviewed Gadhafi before. How did he seem to you now compared to when you've talked to him in the past?

MARIE COLVIN, "THE SUNDAY TIMES": Well, this will sound strange, Anderson, but he seemed more energized and very relaxed. He laughed often during the program when we asked him questions. He seemed to find some of the things we were saying amusing.

COOPER: I don't want to ask you to be an armchair psychologist, but -- and maybe you can't answer this question, but does he believe the stuff he's saying? Does he appear to believe it's al Qaeda? Does he actually believe that these people are on hallucinogenic drugs that is being put in their milk?

COLVIN: There were other things he said that led one to wonder exactly that. He said there is -- there were no demonstrations at all in Libya.

When we asked if he was giving the army orders, he said there was no army in Libya. But this man did not remain in power, in absolute power, remember, for 42 years not -- being that uninformed that he did not know demonstrations were sweeping his country, that in fact about half of his country is out of his control. He does say it with great conviction, however.

COOPER: So why -- but -- so what's the advantage from him -- for him to be saying and his son to be saying, you know, everything's peaceful here, that there's no problems?

COLVIN: I don't see any advantage in that.

I think he met with us for two reasons. One of that was -- one of the reasons was to -- there are a lot of rumors sweeping Libya, in fact reports outside, that he had left Libya. This is the first time I interviewed him in any kind of setting with a window. We interviewed him, bizarrely, again, in a fish restaurant, with large windows that looked out over the port of Tripoli.

So, he was very much making it clear, at least subliminally, that: I am here. I am in Libya.

And that seemed to be important to him. In terms of why anyone -- anyone would be convinced by him saying there's no army, no demonstrations, I really don't have a clue. COOPER: Marie, I want to bring in our own Nic Robertson, who is also in Tripoli, and joining me here in New York is Professor Fouad Ajami of Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies and with the Hoover Institution.

Nic, the situation in Tripoli right now is what?

ROBERTSON: You know, it's -- there are more cars on the streets. There are more people out on the streets. A lot of the stored remain shuttered. Around the city, you will find armed soldiers, armed policemen. At checkpoints in the neighborhoods where we have heard and been told and can see the remnants of protests, there are riot police in armored police vehicles.

The city feels as if it's sort of getting back on its feet, and people are losing a bit of their fear and coming out of their homes more than perhaps a couple of days ago. But the feeling is still far, far from normal. I mean, people are on edge. They have been afraid. They're slightly less afraid now, apart from the people who want to protest.

They're terrified of even talking to us right now on the streets. We talked to some of them, and they're frankly shaking with fear that they might be seen doing that and then get picked up for talking to a Western news crew.

So it looks OK. It looks partly OK, but it's far from all right here.

COOPER: Two quick questions for you, Nic, before I go to our other guests. A, how free are you to able to move around? Are there government minders with you? Say what you will, whatever, or what you can about that. And also I have heard the government is not only paying protesters to come to pro-Gadhafi rallies; they have actually resorted to handing out money to citizens.

ROBERTSON: You know, we talked to a government official who went around with us today about people being paid money to come out for protests. And he said, no, absolutely not.

This guy -- and I won't go into details about him -- but he has been educated in the West, and he actually wants regime change as well. He thinks that the government's handled this wrong, and that the country should not be in this situation, changes should have been made five or six years ago.

But he -- when we told him he wanted to go into a neighborhood where we heard there was a protest this afternoon, he told the driver to get us back to the hotel. Earlier in the day, we could go wherever we want, talk to whomever we want. You get people pulling up on the side of the road. When they see the camera, they want to tell you they like Moammar Gadhafi.

And then you ask from them a few questions and they too say they want regime change. They just want it peacefully. They don't want it with violence. They're worried about what that may bring. So, we -- there are places we can go. We even got to see those opposition supporters yesterday in the middle of a town 40 minutes' drive from here. It seemed bizarre that the government would take us to see people who are trying to overthrow them, yet they did that -- Anderson.

COOPER: Fouad, I have been getting a couple of tweets from people hearing news reporters calling the anti-government protesters rebels. And I think that's not a term that's really correct, is it?


And now we have arrived at this moment. It's really the laws of gravity vs. Moammar Gadhafi. The laws of gravity, all around him, his country is being lost to him. One major cleric, a man of religion of great authority (INAUDIBLE) has just issued a fatwa saying, you can't fight for this man, you can't follow his orders.

And people will take notice of it. More of the oil wells are falling into the hand of the rebel forces, if you will, or the opposition forces to Moammar Gadhafi. And in his bunker, we know what the bunker truth is. The bunker breeds a certain kind of view of the world. I'm loved. People want me.


COOPER: Do you think he believes that?

AJAMI: I think -- I don't think we really know that. I don't think one really knows -- can say with any great certainty.

But there is one thing I would like to say at this point about this great story. This rebellion began on February 17, and it feels like we have been covering Moammar Gadhafi for -- since eternity. This is 11 days in the making.

And the idea that a regime of this tenacity, this power, that much power, that much repression, that much memory behind it, that this regime would fall in less than 11 or 12 days, that was already optimistic. We were spoiled by Tunisia and Egypt. We were really spoiled by it.

COOPER: Spoiled by the quickness of that?

AJAMI: Absolutely.


COOPER: ... the relative ease.

AJAMI: And by the peacefulness of it, by the peacefulness of it.

COOPER: Marie, do you -- how difficult is it for you as a reporter in Tripoli? I mean, you have an extraordinary career. You have worked in a lot of very, very tough places. How does this compare?

COLVIN: Oh, Tripoli's deceptive, because it's like being in the eye of the storm. And it's a bit easier for me than it is for Nic, because I don't have a camera. I can travel around quietly with a notebook.

For example, this morning, I jumped in a taxi and went around. I can see for myself Green Square is not full, for example, of Gadhafi supporters. It was completely empty.

That said two things. I'm hearing -- I have been coming here for quite a while. I'm hearing anger expressed more openly than I have ever heard it expressed before. And as Nic was saying, it's very interesting from government -- even government supporters are saying -- they are not expressing outright love. They are saying they want regime change. They want reform. But they're afraid of the violence.

And Tripoli is -- it seems calm, but, already, it is ringed by Gadhafi's elite units. So, whatever does happen in terms of the regime change Fouad is talking about, I think it has to happen from within Tripoli, because the rebels, whatever we want to call them, in Benghazi, in Zawiyah, they're not -- they're not organized.

They have guns, but no weapons, so whatever is going to happen to this regime will happen right here in this city.

COOPER: And that's what makes the battle for Libya so -- potentially so drawn out, because as long as Gadhafi is able to hold onto Tripoli, he can stay...


AJAMI: Absolutely. We have to come to a battle for Tripoli. I mean, this is the inevitable outcome of this war. It will have to come to a battle for Tripoli.

Now, can these forces in Benghazi, can they assemble enough power to hit, if you will, to come and flush this guy out of his spider hole, out of his bunker? That is what -- this is what gives this war its scary dimension. They have to come to this capital city that he controls and they have to win against him. This really is what this conflict is all about now.

And will the outside world even this battle, if you will? Will it come to the help of these people in Benghazi? I personally believe we should recognize the provisional government in Benghazi. We should say, American diplomacy should unequivocally say, we no longer believe that there is a regime in Tripoli. We believe the regime in Benghazi, the people in Benghazi represent the legitimate government of Libya.

And this would make enormous difference.

COOPER: Fouad, stick around.

Nic Robertson, thank you. Stay safe.

And, Marie Colvin, as well, many thanks for being on the program. Appreciate it.

Coming up: strong words from the U.S. and the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., using words like delusional to describe Gadhafi. But is there actually going to be action to back up any of the words? We will talk about that coming up next.

Also tonight, later on in the program, another big question: If Gadhafi's regime is toppled, what would actually take its place? What groups are there actually in the country? We will talk with Fouad and former CIA officer Bob Baer about that.


COOPER: Well, the United States response to the situation in Libya so far includes trying to hit the Gadhafi family financially and discussing military strategies. President Obama today met with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon to talk about options that are being with considered.

Ban said Gadhafi lost his legitimacy when he declared war on his people. Secretary of State Clinton echoed the sentiment today. She said Gadhafi has to be held accountable for anything that violates international law and common decency.

And U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice put it more bluntly, calling Gadhafi unfit to lead.


SUSAN RICE, UNITED STATES AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: It sounds just, frankly, delusional. And when he can laugh in talking to American -- an international journalist while he is slaughtering his own people, it only underscores how unfit he is to lead and how disconnected he is from reality.

It makes all the more important the urgent steps that we have taken over the course of the last week on a national basis, as well as the steps that we've taken collectively through the United Nations and -- and the Security Council. And we're going to continue to -- to keep the pressure on.


COOPER: Foreign affairs correspondent Jill Dougherty joins us now live from the State Department.

So, Jill, Hillary Clinton, Susan Rice both speaking out today. Where does the U.S. actually stand, though, in terms of actual efforts to stop Gadhafi?

JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think you would have to say that there are different levels now of -- what they're trying to do is tighten the noose and ratchet it up.

So, if you begin with the economic side, the diplomatic economic side, these are sanctions. And the biggest part of that for the United States is freezing $30 billion in assets held by Gadhafi, his family and the government. And, in fact, the Treasury Department today said that that is the largest amount that ever has been frozen in this type of sanction.

Also, Secretary Clinton herself signed an order on a travel ban that stops the visas for, again, Gadhafi and his family and other members of the government.

And then finally, the U.S. is joining the United Nations in these joint sanctions, including an arms embargo and some other things.

And then you have the humanitarian side of it. The U.S. is sending -- USAID is sending two teams, because as we know, there are thousands of people who are moving to those adjoining countries, Egypt and Tunisia. So they've sent two teams there to assess the situation. It's a serious, you know, urgent issue.

COOPER: Fouad was just talking to me during the break and saying there's not a huge constituency -- constituency in Congress calling for, you know, harder action, except for Senator John McCain and Joe Lieberman. They were on "THE STATE OF THE UNION," CNN's "STATE OF THE UNION" program yesterday, and they said the U.S. needs to get tough, in their words, and not just impose a no-fly zone, but also recognize the opposition provisional government in Benghazi and possibly arm the Libyan opposition. Do those -- are those things on the stable?

DOUGHERTY: Arming at this point does not seem at all to be on the table. They're certainly talking to the opposition, but one of the problems is, they're trying to assess who will end up on top. Who is the opposition, what exactly do they want?

I guess you'd have to say there's no -- there's no appetite for using U.S. troops, certainly. There is this talk of the no-fly zone. But even that, Anderson, they say could be problematical, because the U.S. can't just unilaterally have a no-fly zone. They have to do it in concert with other countries. And that means, usually, the United Nations, and you have countries like China and Russia who would oppose that.

COOPER: Jill Dougherty, appreciate the update. Thanks.

Joining us now from Washington, former deputy defense secretary, Paul Wolfowitz. He's a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and a Los Angeles former native, former NATO supreme allied commander, General Wesley Clark, a senior fellow at UCLA's Political Center for International Relations.

Secretary Wolfowitz, what do you make, A, of the Obama administration's response thus far?

PAUL WOLFOWITZ, FORMER DEPUTY DEFENSE SECRETARY: I don't think it's been very good, but I'd like to focus on what needs to be done now, because I think this business of tightening the noose and ratcheting up is not going to have any effect on a gang of criminals that are literally fighting for their lives.

COOPER: So what should be -- what can be done, do you think?

WOLFOWITZ: I think, first of all, something that we should be doing right away, without any hesitation, is a large-scale humanitarian relief. There's clearly a need for medical supplies. Even blood is running short in these hospitals. I think there's a food shortage emerging. It's something that would not be controversial, but would send a very strong message that we care about these people.

You know, too often in the past, in Iraq 20 years ago, in Bosnia a few years later, which General Clark's very familiar with and Rwanda. It's unfortunately a longish list of situations where people have cried out for help and the U.S. has sat on its hands.

We shouldn't be sitting on our hands now. And I think it's very important to do more than just be talking with people. I heard Professor Ajami say we should recognize the provisional government. We should certainly be talking to these local authorities, particularly in Benghazi, find out what they have in mind, establish some standards if standards are needed, for recognizing a provisional government.

And then we wouldn't be talking so abstractly about -- talking to ourselves in Washington about what we might do. We'd be talking to the people in Libya about what they need, and that's crucial.

COOPER: General Clark, what about the likelihood or possibility of a no-fly zone? From what I've read on the whole no-fly zone, I mean, it's really only been effective when it's a very small area that you're covering.

WESLEY CLARK, FORMER NATO SUPREME ALLIED COMMANDER: It's a big area. You've to get the legal basis for it; otherwise, it's just the United States going to war against a country.

When you do this, you need a U.N. Security Council resolution. You need to understand that, when you put this in, if an enemy radar comes up and you're tracked, you're going to launch a missile and destroy it. If an airplane flies, you're going to -- if you've given it warning and it doesn't respond, you're going to shoot it down. What if it's a transport plane? Who's in there? We don't know these things.

And so, you know, there's going to be a requirement for legal basis for this.

And then you've got the technical problem with helicopters. You've got a big country. You can get the fast movers. You know generally where they are, how many there are. You can track them. Helicopters is tough. It means a lot more aircraft overhead, and a lot more difficult engagements.

COOPER: So what do you think about what Secretary Wolfowitz has said about, you know, actually moving forward, about humanitarian relief and starting off? CLARK: Well, I think that humanitarian relief is definitely something we should be talking about. We should ideally do it with our allies, so it's not a unilateral U.S. action.

It's very frustrating, because events on the ground tend to outrun the pace at which you can muster consensus and bring diplomatic and legal pressures to Baer. And that's always the trouble in these situations.

So humanitarian, fine; it's a reasonable step. If you put troops in, though, with it, then the troops are going to be armed. They're going to defend themselves, and so that's the way you get down in the slippery slope of intervention.

COOPER: Right.

CLARK: We want to do this with our allies and with U.N. authorization. We need to push in that direction.

COOPER: At what point...

WOLFOWITZ: They're already in there ahead of us. I think we need to do more than talking. And I think if we were talking to the provisional authorities, and derecognizing this criminal gang in Tripoli, and beginning to say we're looking for the legitimate government of Libya, some of these legal issues would be different.

And I think what we'd be hearing, because you hear it often through CNN and other outlets. And by the way, I think CNN is getting high marks from the Egyptian people and the Libyan people, and that's something very important.

What we're hearing is, we don't want foreign troops. We're brave. I mean, look at the bravery of these people, walking with their hands in the air, unarmed, against machine guns. There's no lack of bravery. They may want a no-fly zone; I don't know. But I'm pretty sure what they're going to say is, "We can fight if you give us the means to do so."

COOPER: Well, that leads me to the next question, Secretary Wolfowitz, which is, I mean, you hear from Senator McCain and Lieberman about, you know, the idea of arming the opposition. There's a lot of folks that will hear that and say, "Wait a minute. You don't know where those arms may end up, you know, down the road." What do you think of that idea?

WOLFOWITZ: It sounds to me like more dithering and more inaction. There are problems with anything you do, but there's a crisis here. You've been eloquent about the innocent people that are being slaughtered as this goes on. And the representation of the United States is taking a terrible beating.

COOPER: So you're saying -- you're saying arm opposition.

WOLFOWITZ: I'm saying, talk to the opposition. Find out what they need. If the requests are reasonable, fill them. We face these decisions every day with legitimate governments that we supply weapons to. This is essentially a legitimate government that's in a fight for its life. We should be able to answer the questions.

COOPER: General Clark, what do you think about that?

CLARK: Anderson, I don't think the United States is taking a terrible beating from our friends and allies. We're working very closely with them. Certainly, we should be talking about, and maybe being able to put in humanitarian aide.

I don't want to see our troops going in there until there's a legal mandate to two it. I don't want to get too much into the past. But we've got two wars in the Middle East right now we're engaged in. We don't want to appear as though we're invading Libya. That helps Gadhafi, doesn't hurt him.

WOLFOWITZ: I could not agree with you more.

CLARK: We need a legal mandate, and we need to go in with our allies in there. We need to have a clear policy.

When we make the decision that he's got to go, we need the legal backing that says he's got to go. So an international criminal court indictment would be really helpful at this stage, and we may get it if he continues with the kind of actions that his troops and his mercenaries are perpetrating in Tripoli.

WOLFOWITZ: Anderson, let me be clear: I'm not talking about invading Libya. I don't think the Libyans want American troops on the ground. They don't want an occupation. Let me repeat: they are very brave people who've been fighting for themselves. We should find out how we can help them. I think the answer is going to be "give us the means, and we will do the job."

COOPER: Secretary Wolfowitz, I appreciate you being on.

General Wesley Clark, as well.

Fouad, you've been watching this. I know you wanted to get in the conversation. So let's just get -- what did you think of the...

AJAMI: First, I have to agree with Paul Wolfowitz. He was my boss; he was my dean. So obviously, I share his view of this conflict. We've been through this before. If -- we hesitated in the Balkans, and more than 100,000 Bosnians died needlessly, and it turned out that the Serbians' gangs were no match for American power.

I, too, don't want to see an American invasion of Libya, but look at the map. Benghazi and Tripoli are coastal cities. We have a enormous amount of power we can deploy there. Humanitarian intervention along the lines of Paul Wolfowitz.

COOPER: So you're saying talk to the people in Benghazi?

AJAMI: Absolutely. And we have to recognize them as a legitimate government. And the president, our president, President Obama has to put his fingerprints on this fight. Thus far, he's outsourced these statements to Susan Rice, to Secretary Clinton. He's even said -- he said that Gadhafi has to go, in a conversation with Anglo-Americans. Why don't we hear from the president himself? Why doesn't he own this question? That's one of the great questions of our politics of this -- of our time.

COOPER: General Clark, just very quickly to respond to that. How do you think the Obama administration has handled this? Should the president have to...


CLARK: ... handled it very well. I think you keep the president reserved. He worked the policy. Secretary of State Clinton's already said that he's lost his -- that Gadhafi's lost his mandate and legitimacy.

So we're clearly marking out the policy. And if we work this in a systematic way, it will work out the right way for the people in Libya and for the United States. Let's not get ahead of ourselves.

COOPER: Appreciate all your perspectives. Again, General Clark, Secretary Wolfowitz thank you. We'll have more with Fouad in a moment.

Still ahead, the opposition of Libya vowing they will win control in Tripoli. That's -- we all know that's what it's going to boil down to in the end game. Is it Tripoli?

The question is, what happens if and when Gadhafi and his family fall? Who's going to step into the power vacuum? We're going to talk about that, coming up.

Isha Sesay is following other stories tonight -- Isha.

ISHA SESAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, we've reported that stars like Beyonce, Usher and Mariah Carey have all performed for the Gadhafis in exchange for millions of dollars. Well, today, another music star stood up and announced they now plan to donate the money they received from the Libyan leader's family to charity. We'll tell you who just ahead.



BEN WEDEMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: When the pro-Gadhafi forces left this part of the country, they left a lot of their heavy equipment behind, like these old Soviet tanks. Now in this part of the country, the anti-Gadhafi forces are trying to organize themselves to take the fight to Tripoli.


COOPER: And as we said, that will be the key. Whether or not they're going to be able to organize themselves and actually make an assault on Tripoli remains to be seen. That was Ben Wedeman in eastern Libya.

The anti-government protesters are united right now by the common goal, getting rid of Gadhafi. But they are also a diverse group with different tribal ties that may make it difficult for them to maintain a united front, if and when they win their battle.

Now one of the great unknowns in Libya right now is who will fill the void, if and when Gadhafi falls? Al Qaeda and other terror cells could certainly try to exploit the kind of chaos we're seeing in Libya. Gadhafi's certainly playing up those fears, claiming without any evidence that al Qaeda is actually behind the uprising.

So what happens after Gadhafi? Joining me now is Bob Baer, intelligence columnist for and author of "The Company We Keep." He's also a former CIA officer, and Fouad Ajami is back with us, as well.

Fouad, the Gadhafis keep -- son keeps saying that the country will apart; there will be a civil war after Gadhafi. Is that a real possibility?

AJAMI: Well, of course, all despots by their rights are indispensable. And after them, the deluge. After them, always the deluge. Look, this is a country that has been tormented for a very long time. There will be a vacuum. Why? Because the man ate the green and the dry, as the desert people would say. He devoured the green and the dry in his own country.

COOPER: He ate the green and the dry?

AJAMI: Exactly. And when you -- when you look at what they've done to people.

COOPER: Right.

AJAMI: When you look at what they've done to power, the end of all institutions with any legitimacy. It's said that only the ministry of oil has any power, has any kind of continuity to it.

COOPER: The minister of oil, by the way, employs all of his sons, gives stipends to all the sons?

AJAMI: Absolutely. Go back. Go back, you now have enough -- you now have a fund of experience here at AC360. These people who write to you all the time, who write to us. We share their messages.

Tens of thousands of Libyans have studied abroad. These are very educated people. I mean, when you hear them talking, when you hear their diction, and you hear them correct -- hear the rantings of Muammar Gadhafi, you understand that this is an educated country yearning to be free.

Lawyers, professors, academics, all kinds of human beings, engineers. And there are many, many exiles who left Libya, not because they hated their country. They wish to go back. We should trust the Libyans with their freedom. This is fundamental. COOPER: Bob, you know, we've heard plenty of revolutions and we've seen plenty of revolutions in the past which get betrayed or -- or diverted in one way or another, taken over by small groups.

Obviously, Gadhafi's trying to play up this al Qaeda fear. How real do you think that is, the possibility of al Qaeda moving into a vacuum to try to create chaos?

ROBERT BAER, TIME.COM INTELLIGENCE COLUMNIST: I think they're going to try to move in to Libya at this point. There are networks in Mali, Niger, even Algeria, that Gadhafi himself, as I understand, has invited back to sell more chaos. They are a very small minority, but they can do a lot of damage. And they can put a veneer on this that's going to make it look like chaos.

But that's Gadhafi's plan saying, "Look, you made a big mistake getting rid of me. I put the militants in jail, I helped you with al Qaeda in Afghanistan, and look what you've done. Well, here's what you get in return."

Again, Gadhafi would like to turn over the table. And I think we're going to see a bit of violence. But as far as this revolution being hijacked by some sort of caliphate or al Qaeda, no. The question is, how long will the chaos go on?

Right, and I mean, in other places, Fouad, in Egypt you had the military. In Indonesia, you have a strong military which can function. You don't have that in Libya.

So if -- after Gadhafi, there really aren't democratic institutions. I mean, is it just some other thug who's been aligned to the regime who takes power?

AJAMI: Here is something that -- let's say -- let's say a word of praise for Muammar Gadhafi, ironically, he has done something for the people of Libya. He has done something for them during this ordeal. He's given them a sense of national unity.

On both borders, in Egypt and Tunisia, there's strong traditions of national identity, the Tunisians have always known they're Tunisians. The Egyptians since time immemorial, the physicians always tell you of the 7,000 years, and it's true that they have been Egyptians.

Libya is a new country. It's a construct of the 1950s. But out of this revolution, out of this new revolution, as the people in Benghazi watch the ordeal of Tripoli, as the people in Tripoli are thinking that rescue will come from the people of Benghazi.

A kind of Libya is being, I think forged right before our eyes. And again and again, I don't think people are going to fight this bloody dictator and lose thousands of people, 2,000. One estimate, I think, is very low. They're not going to lose that many people and then hand over their liberty to a bunch of al Qaeda fighters.

COOPER: So Bob, what do you see coming down the pike, assuming Gadhafi gets -- gets taken out at some point.

I think we're going to see some sort of coalescing of forces inside Libya, based on tribal allegiance. They're going to want to fill this vacuum. I don't have much confidence in the exiles who spent all these years away from Libya. In fact, I've dealt with them...

COOPER: You mean the exiled opposition?

BAER: ... for 25 years. Yes. I dealt with them in Khartoum. And we dealt with them in Europe, and we could never sort them of. They were never very reliable. I don't see them being parachuted in to bring order to the country.

I think you're going to see some sort of leadership appear in Benghazi. It's a leadership we need to get in touch with, figure out who they are. Sort them out, and help them out, it's been said, without making look like there's an American intervention.

COOPER: Hey, Bob, how -- why was it so tough to overthrow Gadhafi? I actually -- remember, I did my college thesis paper on CIA operations against Gadhafi under the Reagan administration. And there were a lot of them. Why was it so hard? I mean, you look at the guy, and he seems delusional and laughable. What -- how did he control the country for 42 years and make it difficult for outside powers to do something about it?

BAER: Well, No. 1 is he eviscerated the army. He came to power by a coup, and so what he did is anybody that stuck their head up, any colonel or even captain, he had him thrown out of the army or put in jail. So there is no army to speak of. I mean, they have troops and tanks and the rest of it, but it's not unified. It's not a cohesive force.

And then the opposition he immediately ran out of the country. And you know, they just -- most of them are Muslim brothers, and they were -- they didn't know what they were doing. They tried. We were in the middle of this in 1984, an attack on Azizi (ph) barracks, but it was a fiasco. They didn't come close.

And Gadhafi is a survivor. And what's come up this time is totally -- was unpredicted by his inner circle, completely unpredicted. He doesn't know how to deal with it, other than shooting people in the street. And he will ultimately lose, because the tribes will all turn against him.

COOPER: We have to leave you there. Bob Baer, appreciate you being on the program again. And as always, the fascinating Fouad Ajami, as well. Thanks, sir.

BP oil disaster. The Obama administration has taken a step to start drilling in the Gulf again. We have details on that.

And a two-time member of our "Ridu-List," making more news tonight for what he said in interviews today. We'll have the latest and a lot more on that ahead. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: In all the coverage of the Middle East, few reports have been focused on the extraordinary situation of the west African nation of Ivory Coast. Ivory Coast's incumbent leader, Laurent Gbagbo, lost the recent presidential election, but he's refusing to give up the presidency, despite international calls for him to step down.

An electoral commission declared Alhasan Watara the winner of November's election.

But now there's a bizarre stand-off where Watara is being protected by U.N. peacekeepers holed up in a hotel in Abidjan, the capitol of Ivory Coast. Local security forces were fired on -- local security forces today fired on a United Nations team, according to U.N. officials. The U.N. team was sent to look at reports that the country of Belarus defied an arms embargo by delivering three attack helicopters to the former president.

The government of Belarus denies the reports, and the U.N. team had to withdraw before it could confirm that the helicopter's actually arrived. So violence in Ivory Coast has risen over the past week as supporters of the former president and the duly-elected president clashed in the streets of the capital.

A spokesman for Watara says armed loyalists have committed gross human rights violations again their supporters, including burning people alive, gunning them down in public and committing sexual assaults.

Isha Sesay is following other stories tonight. She joins us with the "360 News & Business Bulletin" -- Isha.

SESAY: Anderson, singer Nelly Furtado says she will donate to charity the $1 million she received for performing for Muammar Gadhafi's family in 2007. She tweeted her decision today.

The last living U.S. World War I veteran has died. Frank Buckles was 110. Congress is taking steps to allow his casket to be displayed at the Capitol Rotunda. Plans are also in the works for his burial at Arlington National Cemetery.

For the first time since the BP disaster, the Obama administration has approved a permit to drill a deep-water oil well in the Gulf of Mexico. The moratorium on deep-water drilling was officially lifted in October.

And Anderson, actor Charlie Sheen says he has cured his substance abuse addictions on his own with his mind. He's also alleged that CBS, which put his sitcom on hiatus, is trying to take his money and destroy his family. Here's what else he had to say when he sat down with Piers Morgan tonight.


PIERS MORGAN, HOST, "PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT": Are you under the influence right now of any substances?

CHARLIE SHEEN, ACTOR: No, nothing. I'm under the influence of you.

MORGAN: The premise of their argument with you is that you're in some kind of denial about this, and actually, you've never really stopped and thought, "I've got to sort myself out properly."

SHEEN: And then I can have a life like theirs? I'm going to pass.

MORGAN: Really? Why?

SHEEN: Why? Because I'm a winner, and their lives look like they're, you know, ruled by losers, just to put it in black and white terms. I don't want their lives, and they want mine. They want to criticize the hell out of it, you know?

MORGAN: You have two girlfriends, basically.

SHEEN: I do, yes. And it's what David Moore described as the wedge.

MORGAN: The wedge?

SHEEN: The wedge.

MORGAN: What is the wedge?

SHEEN: The wedge is a football term. It's a formation that controls the guy carrying the ball.

MORGAN: With your kids, in particular. A lot of parents say to me, ask Charlie, when he wakes up from these things, how do you feel about the reaction that they're going to have?

SHEEN: That's not something I can control. What I can control is them never being exposed to anything dangerous, ever, at any point in time.

MORGAN: You never -- you never had any drugs in the house when your kids were around?


MORGAN: Have you ever hit a woman?

SHEEN: I have not, no. Women are not to be hit. They're to be hugged and caressed.


SESAY: A bizarre interview, Anderson. Charlie Sheen, a man not big on regrets. And his motto is to live life to the full.

COOPER: Yes, I mean... SESAY: Yes.

COOPER: I'm -- I have no comment.


COOPER: A lot more at the top of the hour, serious stuff, real stuff, starting with Muammar Gadhafi's claim that Libyans love him. Does it get any more weird?