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Libya Uprising: Rebels March on Tripoli; Transitional Council Has Clear Election Plans; Gadhafi Hiding, Fled, Uncertainty Remains

Aired August 22, 2011 - 03:00   ET


JOHN VAUSE, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: It's a brand new day in what may soon be a brand new Libya.

I'm John Vause. We welcome our viewers watching across the United States and around the world, for our continuing coverage of this breaking news in Libya.

Anti-Gadhafi forces control most of Tripoli. But the rebels caution there are still pockets of resistance. It appears three of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's sons are now under arrest. Opposition leaders and other sources say rebel forces have captured the sons, Saadi, Saif al-Islam, and Mohammed Gadhafi.

Sporadic gunfire and explosions have been heard coming from the direction of Gadhafi's Bab al-Azizyia compound in Tripoli, but we are told now that tanks are leaving that compound.

Speaking to Rosemary Church last hour a CNN producer in Tripoli says much of the compound has already been destroyed by NATO airstrikes over the past few months.


JOMANA KARRADSHEH, CNN PRODUCER: About an hour and a half ago we started hearing some sporadic gunfire, several explosions coming from the direction of the Bab al-Azizyia compound, the compound of Moammar Gadhafi. We are now hearing this intensifying, definitely more explosions. We are seeing some smoke rising from that direction. Also, as I tried to step outside, on the balcony, because of all the gunfire that is going on, we could also hear some chanting in the distance; very difficult to tell what they are chanting. We are about a kilometer, less than a mile away from the Bab al-Azizyia compound, but it does seem there is a battle around that compound that is intensifying. And as you had mentioned, Rosemary, this is a compound that has been targeted regularly by NATO airstrikes since March.

So, on our regular visits there, usually after airstrikes, there isn't much that is left of the Bab al-Azizyia compound. So it could be more of a symbolic fight for this compound that has symbolized Moammar Gadhafi and his rule in Libya, and a sign and a symbol of the regime hear in Tripoli.


VAUSE: Rebels and NATO officials say the end game is approaching for Moammar Gadhafi. We should stress again that as we get those reports of explosions near Gadhafi's Tripoli compound, we still aren't sure of just where he is. Earlier on Sunday, though, as rebels advanced on the capital Gadhafi broadcast yet another defiant speech to his supporters.


MOAMMAR GADHAFI, LIBYAN LEADER: Do you remember the million martyrs? I am with you, along side of you, in this fight. We will are not going to give way, or give up.


VAUSE: OK, let's get more now on how much the rebels actually do control. We have Guma El-Gamaty, the U.K. coordinator for the National Transitional Council in Libya. He joins us on the phone from London.

Mr. Al-Gamaty, can you just tell us what you know about the fighting in Tripoli. How much of the capital is now under opposition control?

GUMA EL-GAMATY, U.K. COORDINATOR, NATIONAL TRANSITIONAL COUNCIL, LIBYA: Well, the great majority of the capital, Tripoli, is under freedom fighter's control, is liberated. There are still few pockets and remnants of Gadhafi forces, in about three positions, one is in Tajura (ph), just outside what is known as the cardiology hospital. And one around the Rixos Hotel, the famous Rixos Hotel, where foreign journalists have been placed. And the other one is Bab al-Azizyia barracks. Those are the three key points where there are remnants of Gadhafi forces still holding on. But hopefully as the freedom fighters are engaging with them at the moment this will be sorted out in a few hours or in a day or two.

VAUSE: And where is Moammar Gadhafi right now?

EL-GAMATY: It is very difficult to tell exactly. We believe that he is either hiding somewhere close to Tripoli, or in the south of the country. Or could already be out of Libya, maybe in neighboring Chad, from the south, or neighboring Algeria from the west of Libya.

VAUSE: Why do you think he has chosen one of those two countries?

Because those are the only two countries, a neighboring countries, that have been showing support for him. Chad is closely associated with Gadhafi, the ruler there is a very close friend and Chad has been allowing a lot of mercenaries to come to the aid of Gadhafi. Algeria is has also been engaged in sanction busting and allowing aide and fuel and mercenaries and arms to come through the Algerian/Libyan border. So, we believe that if he were-if he has escaped, he would have gone to either of those two countries, because he wouldn't have been able to fly out of Libya because there has been a no-fly zone for the last six months.

VAUSE: OK, we're now talking about the situation with the Transitional National Council moving to Tripoli, when will that happen? EL-GAMATY: I think we look to stabilize the situation in Tripoli as soon as possible, and hopefully within a few days the NTC will be placed in Tripoli, the capital, and the process of stabilization of Tripoli and the whole country, and getting on with the transitional period will begin in earnest.

VAUSE: And what sort of government will this be? A lot of people have concerns that there was a Islamic influence amongst the rebels, possibility even cells of Al Qaeda fighters, or at least Al Qaeda linked fighters who were fighting alongside you during this uprising. So what will this government look like as it takes shape in the days and weeks ahead?

EL-GAMATY: It will be a government of nationalists, mainly Libyan nationalists, there will be technocrats, you know, experienced qualified people who will be appointed to oversee the various portfolios during this transitional period. The transition period is only a temporary transitional, with the specific task of stabilizing the country, ensuring that main services are maintained for the population. And also ensuring that there is a constitution crafted by the Libya people and then approved through a referendum and then that constitution or, if you like, will provide the political framework for the future political system for Libya which will we all hope that it will be a nationalist Democratic political system.

We hope that this transitional period will not last longer than about a year and a half, or 20 months. And after that there will be elections, possibly presidential and parliamentary, elections arriving at the permanent status of a new order, a new system, a new dawn in Libya, based on democracy, freedom, justice, and you know, doing away and departing from the dark episode of the last 42 years (UNINTELLIGIBLE) a lot of suffering.

VAUSE: OK, more immediately, though, sir-sorry, excuse me for interrupting.

More immediately you have the three Gadhafi sons in your control, is that correct?

EL-GAMATY: Well, two for sure. We can confirm definitely that Saif el-Slam has been arrested, the eldest son. You know he was very prominent over the last six months.

VAUSE: Uh-huh?

EL-GAMATY: And also, Mohammed, the son from Gadhafi's first wife, who was under house arrest yesterday and has been moved to a save place also by the freedom fighters. We cannot confirm any of the others. There are rumors that Saadi has been arrested, but that is not really confirmed yet.


EL-GAMATY: As for the other four sons, we think they are either hiding or they have run away to the south of Libya. VAUSE: So the two sons that you have, Mohammed and Saif, what will their fate be?

EL-GAMATY: Well, Saif el-Islam is already wanted by the International Criminal Court, the ICC. They have issued an official arrest warrant for him, a few weeks ago. He is wanted for-to stand trial.


EL-GAMATY: A trail, by the ICC.

VAUSE: Will you hand him over?

EL-GAMATY: I think-sorry?

VAUSE: Will you hand him over to the ICC?

EL-GAMATY: Well, that is a decision for a Libyan government, a national Libyan government to decide. It is a decision for the Libyan people. I think there will be a debate whether he can be tried, in Libya, by Libyans, or whether he should be tried by the ICC. I don't know, I'm not a legal expert-I'm not an international legal expert. I think that is a debate that the experts will engage with, in the coming days and weeks, and whether he should be tried by the ICC or tried by Libyans in Libya.

VAUSE: And also, of course, there is still the unanswered question of Moammar Gadhafi. Should he be captured alive, by the opposition fighters, what will his fate be?

EL-GAMATY: Again, he will be sought for a trail. The Libyan people will be very, very eager to see Moammar Gadhafi put on a trial in Libya; a fair and just trial witnessed by the whole world for Gadhafi to answer for all the crimes he has been responsible for against the Libyan people during the last 42 years. And especially during the last six months when Gadhafi has ordered the systematic killing, and shelling, of Libyans and raping of Libyan women, and other horrendous crimes. So Gadhafi will have a lot of crimes to answer for. And Libyans would love to see justice done, and you know, Gadhafi face a proper trial and answer for all the crimes he has committed against the Libyan people.

VAUSE: OK, we shall leave it there. Guma El-Gamaty, the U.K. coordinator for the National Transitional Council, joining us there on the phone from London. We appreciate you bringing us up to date with a number of developments there that we have been following, in particular, about the fate of Gadhafi's sons.

Well, as the rebels advance from the coastal city of Zawiya to the capital, our Sara Sidner was there with them. She has been talking to dozens of rebels gathered in what Gadhafi called the Green Square, which rebels are now calling Martyr's Square. And she filed this report.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Finish, finish, Gadhafi finish.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We very, very happy. Gadhafi is finished. Gadhafi finished, now we will live a free dog (ph).

SARA SIDNER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): We are in Green Square, and what you are seeing behind me are the celebrations, the rebels are now saying there is going to be a massive battle here. They do not have full control of the city.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At the moment we are not fully in control of Tripoli, because you can see, you can see that-

SIDNER: What does this make you-how do you feel about this day? You are from Tripoli?


SIDNER: Why is this day important? Is this day an historic day?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is a historic day because we had to leave from here, like scared, without anything. And now we have to fight. I'm not a fighter. I'm a student. And they it's my first time to like handle a gun.

SIDNER: The civilians are now gone from here. And now we also have to leave.


SIDNER: What's happening is everyone is sort fighting. We are pinned beneath (UNINTELLIGIBLE) here in the middle of Tripoli. What we are seeing is rebels all over the square. There are really no civilians. It is mostly men with guns in the square, but we are also seeing people running. There is a lot of gunfire. They say there are snipers. We all had to pull back. The situation is very tense here. But there is a lot of celebrating going on. Some of this is just gunfire in the air, but people are very, very concerned because they say there were snipers posted on the top of some of these buildings. They're not sure exactly where some of this gunfire is coming from. So every now and then you see people just running, trying to get out of the way. But right now the rebels have Green Square and it is a historic moment here, in Tripoli, in the capital, the real stronghold of Moammar Gadhafi has not been taken over by the rebels.

Sara Sidner, CNN, Tripoli.


VAUSE: Celebrations broke out in several Libyan cities on Sunday as word of the rebel gains got back to the areas which had been hard hit by this six-month long conflict. This was the scene in Misrata, which had suffered earlier, during the war. And you are looking a new video from the rebel held city of Tabrook (ph) in eastern Libya. People there are celebrating the news. The opposition has made substantial gains in the capital. Rebels have controlled that port city since the uprising began. For more analysis on the situation in Libya, where rebels go from here. We are joined by Barak Barfi, he is a research fellow at the New American Foundation. He's in the rebel stronghold of Benghazi. He joins us now.

And Barfi, I want to-I know we talk to you as an analyst, but right now you are in Benghazi, so I would like to talk to you as a witness about what's actually happening in the city there. What is the mood like? I've seen people celebrating. Are those celebrations continuing?

BARAK BARFI, NEW AMERICAN FOUNDATION: Well, people are elated here in the city of Benghazi. They stayed up into the early hours of the morning, firing off AK-47 rounds and fireworks, celebrating the fall of a man that they, for many months, weren't sure was going to fall, Colonel Moammar Gadhafi. And now they are moving toward the next step and they are trying to form a new democracy here. And the NTC, the rebel political council, is trying to put their leaders in position in Tripoli to ensure a smooth transition from Gadhafi authoritarian regime to a more democratic one, John.

VAUSE: Yes, all eyes are now on those opposition leaders. Because they are certainly untested, this is uncharted territory for so many people in Libya. What will this government look like? And what are the fears here of what could go wrong?

BARFI: Well, you said it right, John. This is a untested government. We're talking about civil society activists, professors, and dissidents who came back after a long time in exile to form this council. Mussafa Obja Savile, (ph) the rebel chief, said in an interview, in March, that after Gadhafi would fall, there would be elections in six months. And none of the NTC members will run for office. That means that a whole new set of political leaders will have to come up and take over power. And basically we don't know how that will look like at this point in time, John.

VAUSE: When you look at how Gadhafi ruled Libya. He effectively destroyed every civil institution. He was, effectively, the government. So this country is starting pretty much from zero, yes?

BARFI: That's true, John. There were no state institutions in Libya. Colonel Moammar Gadhafi really did destroy the state, the institutions that already did exist. And what he did he tried to favor certain tribes and he built upon these tribes a whole new tribal regime, that would only support him. (AUDIO GAP) legal or justice system, the bureaucracies aren't very strong. It was really a autocracy (ph) surrounded by Gadhafi and those he brought into power. And basically there has been no democracy here.

There was a law in 1972 that banned all political parties. So we haven' t seen any political parties since then. So it would be very difficult for them to quickly transition towards democracy at this point in time.

VAUSE: And I asked a member of the NTC, the National Transitional Council, a short time ago, about what will actually happen to Gadhafi's sons. He confirmed that two have been arrested, a third one is rumored to also have been arrested, as well. There is some debate about whether Saif Gadhafi, for example, will handed over to the ICC. What do you think their fate will be?

BARFI: Well, as you know, John, Gadhafi has a number of children. Some are active in politics, such as Saif and Islam. Some are active in the security services, such as Mustafa (ph) and Mensari (ph). And some aren't involved at all, in any politics, such as his elder son, Mohamed. People, such as Saif and Mustafa (ph) and Saadi, will (AUDIO GAP) court justice (AUDIO GAP) courts here. And that will be a difficult process for this Gadhafi family. And as we have seen the whole family is split. In Iraq in 2003, we saw the two sons of Saddam Hussein, Uday and Qusai, moved together. But what we have seen here in Libya is they are all separate and dispersed. And that is going be a problem that we're going to have to deal with moving forward.

VAUSE: Yes, one of many problems yet to be dealt with. Barak Barfi there for us in Benghazi. Thanks so much.

Well, countries around the world are the watching developments in Libya unfold. Coming up we'll have international reaction to the rebels advance into Tripoli. You're watching WORLD REPORT.


VAUSE: And welcome back. The U.S. President Barack Obama is vacationing on Martha's Vineyard, an island off the state of Massachusetts. Officials have been briefing the president on the latest developments in Libya. On Sunday evening, Mr. Obama issued a statement saying the Gadhafi regime has reached a tipping point.

Mr. Obama added that the surest way for the bloodshed to end is simple: Moammar Gadhafi and his regime need to recognize their rule has come to an end. The statement said Gadhafi needs to relinquish power once and for all. The president says the future of Libya is now in the hands of the Libyan people.

Well for more on U.S. reaction to the events unfolding, here is CNN's World Affairs Correspondent Jill Dougherty, from the State Department in Washington.


JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN WORLD AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: As the fighting rages on the ground the White House and the State Department are looking carefully at the possible next steps after Gadhafi. The president, tonight, President Obama, saying that the TNC, the Transitional National Council, that has lead the rebels so far, should continue to demonstrate leadership. He said they should respect the right of the people, avoid civilian casualties, protect the institutions of the Libyan state, and pursue a transition to democracy that is just and inclusive.

Those are all important issues as they move to what is the next step and that is creating an interim authority. This interim authority would be in charge until elections could be held in six to eight months.

But there are complications. One of them is the fact that Libya is a tribal country, many tribes and a power struggle could ensue after Gadhafi is gone. Also, loyalties, questions could be asked, who was loyal, who was not, to Gadhafi. Finally, oil, and the revenues that have been frozen that now will be given to the TNC. All of these issues could make that transition very complicated. So, as this fighting rages on the ground, the State Department, the White House, will be looking very carefully, and hoping that the TNC will follow through on the commitments it has already made. Jill Dougherty, CNN, Washington.


VAUSE: Now, Britain played a key role as NATO moved in to unseat Moammar Gadhafi. And Prime Minister David Cameron has released a statement on these fast-moving events saying, "It is clear from the scenes we are witnessing in Tripoli that the end is near" for Gadhafi. The statement goes on to say, "He has committed appalling crimes against the people of Libya and he must go now to avoid any further suffering for his people."

France took the early lead when NATO began military operations against Libya on March 19. French and British Air Force planes began regular bomb attacks on the country. Now a rebels begin taking control of Tripoli the French President Nicolas Sarkozy has urged Moammar Gadhafi to give up immediately what power he has left. In a statement from Paris, Mr. Sarkozy says Gadhafi should avoid having the Libyan people endure more suffering. And he urged Gadhafi to order his soldiers to lay down their weapons and return to their barracks. The French president also commended the courage of the rebel fighters as the fought for control of the country.

We're closely following this changing situation in Libya. We'll have the latest on the rebel advances in Tripoli, as well as reaction from NATO and the Libyan government's spokesperson about the situation from Gadhafi's regime. This is WORLD REPORT on CNN.




SAMMI ADDAHOUMI, CNN iREPORTER: August 21, quite possibly the first night of freedom for all of Libya.


VAUSE: That was the scene Sunday in the Libyan city of Benghazi. Thousands of people had gathered the celebrate the rebel advances.

Welcome back. You are watching CNN.

It might be a very different story in Tripoli right now, if not for the presence of NATO war planes and support as the rebels began their uprising. Earlier a spokeswoman for NATO told CNN the intervention by France, Britain and their allies, saved countless lives.


OANA LUNGESCU, NATO SPOKESPERSON: Those responsible for starting the bloodshed in Libya are the Gadhafi regime, as the United Nation's Security Council resolution made very clear, the mandate for NATO is to continue protecting civilians and civilian populated areas against attacks and the threat of attacks. And what we have seen consistently, systematically, and brutally, are attacks by the Gadhafi regime, ever since February. And NATO has consistently implemented that mandate.

And we have saved countless lives since we started this mission. The regime is crumbling. And the sooner Colonel Gadhafi realizes that there is no way that he can win this war against his people, that he has started, the better for everyone. So, that the Libyan people can start the transition to democracy that they want, they deserve; and they can start that sooner, rather than later.


VAUSE : Let's run down some more details about NATO's role in Libya. The Operation Unified Protector started on March 31. Since then NATO has flown more than 19,000 sorties. That includes more than 7,000 airstrikes. NATO's mission is to protect Libyan civilians while enforcing a U.N. arms embargo and a no fly zone.

We heard the NATO spokeswoman say Tripoli is crumbling. Well, earlier or Ralitsa Vassileva asked a Libyan government spokesman for his reaction to that. Take a listen.


MOUSSA IBRAHIM, LIBYAN GOVERNMENT SPOKESMAN: These are the fantasies of people sitting in offices in European capitals, deciding the futures of whole foreign nations. We are still very strong. We have whole tribes supporting us. At this very moment we have more than 65,000 fighting professional men in Tripoli, in addition to other thousands of people fighting with us. And we can hold for much longer.


VAUSE: Well, still ahead on WORLD REPORT, the debate over Libya's future. Some say the rebels won't be able to run the country if Gadhafi falls. We'll talk to one Libyan who says they have no choice but to succeed.


VAUSE: And welcome back.

Events have been moving very quickly in Libya. So here is the latest. Scenes of celebration in Tripoli over night as anti-Gadhafi forces claim they are in control of most parts of the Libyan capital. But the rebels caution there are still some pockets of resistance in the city. We don't know where Moammar Gadhafi is, but we do know there have been explosions and gunfire around his compound in Tripoli. Tanks, are now said, to be leaving that area.

Moammar Gadhafi's government said they had firm control of the nation's capital, yet the rebels moved in. Our Matthew Chance described how the scene developed in Tripoli.


MATTHEW CHANCE, SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, there has been dramatic hours in Tripoli. No one would have guessed this city, this stronghold of Colonel Gadhafi, would have fallen so quickly. From the west of Tripoli, rebels entering from the town of Zawiya, being greeted by celebration. Fireworks being set off, crowds, you know, celebrating the fact that the rebels have come in.

Also, according to the government, earlier today, the rebels controlling some eastern suburbs as well. And throughout this evening there have been gun battles with heavy machine gun fire, with rocket propelled grenades exploding. Serious clashes between the various armed groups, the Gadhafi loyalists on one side, the opposition fighters on the other, vying for control, for areas of the city.

But you know, this big-a big question here has been what's happened to the resistance that was meant to be taking place, that was promised by government officials, by Gadhafi, himself. That he said that government officials said that there were tens of thousands of well- trained professional soldiers, with heavy weapons, well armed and committed to defending this city. That kind of resistance, just in many areas of Tripoli, just didn't happen. As I say, and then in some areas, there were clashes with government forces, but in others the rebels simply walked in, to celebrations of the local population. And that Tripoli was out of the hands, at least parts of it, out of the hands of Colonel Gadhafi and into the hands of these opposition fighters.

Matthew Chance, CNN, in Tripoli.


VAUSE: As the events in Tripoli and across Libya unfold we have been hearing from people living in the Libyan capital with a front seat view of this historic moment. Earlier our Rosemary Church talked to a rebel who has been manning a check point there in Tripoli. We have kept his identity hidden, still, for his own protection.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At the moment we are just performing a sweep of the area. It is the connecting bridge between Sivozuma (ph) and the Gamania (ph) area of Naphleen (ph) which is in central Tripoli, right now. We just-uh, a couple of the militia have been walking around the area. And we've caught site of them, but they've gone into hiding at the moment. So we are just performing a sweep of the area to try and make sure that everything is safe all civilians are OK. We want to try to avoid any casualties. So, at the moment-

ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, we can hear you walking, actually. Most definitely we can pick that up. Can you tell us what you feel? And what your friends and families, and neighbors, think should happen to Moammar Gadhafi?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What they think should happen? Well, first of all, we need to know 100 percent that he's going to get caught. And let justice take care of it, whether it is-whether the Transitional Council feels it is appropriate to be judged by Libyan law, or by the ICC. For us, as long as fair justice comes after 42 years of (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and so many lives being ruined. A whole country, history, really, 42 years have gone by and we've missed out on so much, so-people's morale is still really high, and we're just waiting for it to all be over. We're waiting for the special forces that assigned to actually take over from us, to come in and take over. We're all very tired, but we're still very (UNINTELLIGIBLE) hopes are very high.


VAUSE: Now that Tripoli resident says the Transitional National Council is well-organized. But if opposition forces capture Tripoli, they'll have to transition into a leadership role. CNN's Hala Gorani and Michael Holmes talked to professor and author, Mansour El-Kikhia, about whether they can succeed.

MANSOUR EL-KIKHIA, LIBYAN POLITICAL ANALYST: I didn't expect that to happen so soon, but now that it did happen, I wish them the best and I hope they round it up and finish it up. You know it is important that we get rid of this ogre once and for all, and end this sorry chapter in Libya's history. It has been a long, long time, and it has taken up too many lives, it has taken up too many futures. And it is about time that this travesty ends. We never, never, put this up again.

HALA GORANI, CNN ANCHOR: Let me ask you, Mansour, because this is an important question going forward. You have the capturing of the capitol phase. And then you have a very important, more crucial phase, which is the future political landscape of this country, your country of origin. Will this transitional authority be able to lead Libya as one country?

EL-KIKHIA: I think so. And I hope so. I mean, I can't afford to be pessimistic. In this day I have to optimistic, I have to say yes. Because being pessimistic and not being able to do it would be a disaster. I think most Libyans understand that as well, too. Now I disagree with one thing that you earlier said. In Libya we a have tribes, we really have lots of tribes, but we are not really a tribal society in the sense of a tribal society. Tribe is important, but I think this revolution was not conducted by tribes. In fact, he called upon the tribe to support him, but ultimately it was a revolution lead by young people who were fed up of the Gadhafi regime. And most of them were actually born during the Gadhafi regime.

And so they are not asking for any special privileges. They are asking to live and to (UNINTELLIGIBLE) democratic system, where they can speak. This is what leads me to believe that there is a willingness on the part of the population, at least that what matters is to live together, to establish a new future for Libya. And this makes it really quite easy for the transitional council. The transitional council is-we have never seen something like this happen before, in the world. You never see, that people come together and say, we're going to take over now. And we are going to set up the system. And they will accept it. And the plan they have in place are good plans, they have the draft constitution. They want to establish a new government that will finish up the constitution. And they have a (UNINTELLIGIBLE) the constitutional framework.

GORANI: Sir, sorry to jump in, my colleague Mike Holmes would like to ask a question.

MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Mansour, I mean, you make a good point. And that is, true there was a common goal here, and there was a coming together of various, often fractured, points of views, and culturally and tribally and politically, in Libya. And it is good to be optimistic. And it is good to have that rosy outlook, but the reality is that is going to be very difficult.

I mean, you had people who were fighting together from neighboring towns, who would not have dinner together before this started. That is not going to be easy to paper over when it comes to, OK, we have won now. We've got Tripoli. Now let's bring together a cabinet, I mean, that is when the arguing starts, is it not?

EL-KIKHIA: I have no doubt it is not going to be an easy road. And we don't expect that to be easy. You are quite right. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) there has not been a constitutional framework for the last 40 years. Prior to Gadhafi there was. But you have to understand something. I mean, the alternative is really horrible and Libyans understand that is horrible. The most important thing that the council said, and I think, and I commend them for this, is that we can't hold a Libyan who was working in the Gadhafi regime as responsible. Only those people who have committed atrocities, committed crimes, stolen public property and so forth, those people have to be brought to account. But the majority of Libyans will not be harmed. Everyone worked for Gadhafi. There was nothing but to work for Gadhafi. I think Libyans understand that.

I know it is not going to be easy. I know it is going to be very tough, very difficult. But what is the other alternative? A civil war?


VAUSE: Now, our Ben Wedeman reported from the front lines of Libya for a number of months. He is now back in Cairo, but earlier he spoke with our Michael Holmes about these latest developments. And Michael began by asking him whether the speed of the rebels advance was surprising?


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Very surprised. Because first of all we had been told by many sources, within Tripoli, that there were widespread expectations of a bloodbath, when the opposition fighters finally got to Tripoli. Clearly there have been casualties, but certainly, nothing along the scale of what we were told to expect.

And at the same time, it really-the speed at which the rebels got to Tripoli was far, faster than we expected as well. Really I think the critical thing was when they cut off road from Tunisia, when they took the town of Zawiya, and Varian (ph), to the south of Tripoli. Basically the capital was cut off from the rest of the world and it was really just a matter of time before things started to fall apart in the capital.

MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You talked about Zawiya and getting the to the coast and the western rebels, and the speed with which they moved off in the Fussar (ph) western mountains, and hit the coast. You know, not to dilute what is going on, because there has been some very severe fighting at times, there has been many casualties over the last few weeks, in particular as those western rebels have headed for the coast.

But in the big picture of it all, this is a bunch of generally speaking, amateurs. One of the rebel commanders I was with at Birol Ganam (ph) was an X-ray technician and he was calling in grad missile strikes, up against, what ostensibly is mean to be a trained army. You surprised at just how quickly that army melted away in many cases?

WEDEMAN: Well, I think that there was a certain amount of momentum with the opposition fighters. They were, you know, convinced of the justice of their cause. And it was rough going, certainly at certain points. I remember in the Ajdabiya, Brega area in eastern Libya, it was really a work in progress; and often times there was no progress. They would come under fire from Gadhafi's forces, and just retreat in complete chaos. I think what we have seen in Misrata and western Libya was that a certain higher level of military competence, is not quite clear where that came from.

On the Gadhafi side, we interviewed many capture soldiers. And there did seem to be the feeling that there wasn't very high moral among their forces. That they were confused as to who they were fighting; they didn't know if they were fighting Libyans. They were told they were fighting foreigners, members of Al Qaeda, terrorists. They complained of officers who would leave them in the lurch at the front lines. They complained of shortages of food and ammunition, and very little in terms of logistical support. So, even though the Libyan army, on the surface at least, is better equipped better trained. They didn't seem to have much in the way of good leadership and their heart, it appears, just was not in the fight.


VAUSE: Our "Libya Uprising" coverage continues, but we are also following a major weather development. It is building strength and blowing up a storm. Irene is aiming at several Caribbean Island, right now. And it just might move in the direction of the southern U.S.. A weather check is coming up. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)


VAUSE: Welcome back to our coverage of the historic and dramatic developments in Libya. Six months after protests began against Moammar Gadhafi's 42 year grip on power, anti-Gadhafi forces say they are in control of most parts of Libya's capital. What Gadhafi called Green Square, has now been dubbed Martyr's Square, by the rebels. Colonel Gadhafi's whereabouts are unknown, but there has been sporadic gunfire and explosions near the embattled leader's Bab al-Azizyia compound in southern Tripoli.

Agence France Presse reports that a diplomatic source says Gadhafi may still be there. Tanks, reportedly, have left the compound headed to another area in the capital. The rebels say they have now captured three of Colonel Gadhafi's sons, Saadi, Saif el-Islam, and Mohammed.

Prosecutors for the International Criminal Court say they hope to put Saif Gadhafi on trail, but a Libyan rebel spokesman says the Libyan people should be the ones to decide whether to hand over Gadhafi's sons to the ICC.

Of course, the situation in Libya is fluid. We will continue to keep you updated. But right now, want to look at another developing story. A soon-to-be hurricane could pose a threat to millions of people in the coming days. Meteorologist Pedram Javaheri is at the International Weather Center.

We are following all of this and basically it is Irene, and she's coming.


VAUSE: Let's check what development in Libya are doing to the price of oil. Ramy Inocencio joins us now from CNN Hong Kong. Also want to have a quick look at the markets as well, Rami.


Asian markets are here firmly in negative territory as we close out this week's first day of trading. The reason for that, fears of a slowing global economy aren't going away. That is because there's no good data to lend any support. With that, the Nikkei just closed and it is down 1 percent. This means it is now down 15 percent over just the past four weeks. Exporters here are still being hammered because of the stronger yen. Toyota, for example, throttled back 2.5 percent. Nissan fell more than 4 percent. And that because last Friday the yen hit a new post-war record of 75.95 to the dollar. The Bank of Japan may intervene in the currency to weaken it in order to protect exporters over there.

The Hang Seng is down 0.6 percent. It is now in the last 15 minutes of trading. Oil and shipping shares extended losses from last Friday. For example, CNOOC, one of China's biggest oil producers is down more than 1 percent. Also COSCO Pacific making headlines. It is one of the world's biggest shipping terminal operators. That is down more than 4 percent because of a slower global demand for transport.

The Shanghai composite, across in the mainland is down 0.73 percent. And the domestic inflation is at a three-year high and global fears, are the big weights on investor sentiment here. And the ASX 200 down 0.5 percent. After it initially pushing higher at midday, there are two companies I do want to tell you about, BlueScope Steel is down 8 percent after disappointing earnings and about 1,000 layoffs. On the flip side, MacArthur coal, that jumped by about 2.5 percent. Reports are out that China's Citigroup (ph), and Anglo-American might be in a bid for this coal company. That would put it in direct competition to U.S. based Peabody Energy, John.

VAUSE: Ramy, let's go back to oil, because when all of this began six months ago or whenever it was, the price of oil jumped because everyone said uncertainty. So, now that it is coming to an end, is the price coming down?

INOCENCIO: Yes. Basically that is what is happening. Analysts are seeing it as the end game in Libya, right? If that is true it means more peaceful period for the country, as it picks up the pieces. That would involve more oil production. With that expectation the price of oil is trading at $185.81 a barrel. Earlier today I did speak with an oil analyst here in Hong Kong, his name is Neil Beverage. He said we could expect prices to fall even lower for the rest of the year and that the added supply from a more peaceful Libya will impact this price. The slowing global economy will also bring the price down because out of that data from the U.S., Europe as well as a slowing China, John.

VAUSE: OK, Ramy, thank you so much.

Again, we are continuing to monitor the very fluid situation in Libya. Right now let's check on some the other stories, which are making news around the world.

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad said in an interview on state-run TV that elections in his country could be held in February. And that his military is not targeting peaceful protesters, but protesters and human rights groups say Syria has not stopped its bloody crack down to end the uprising there.

Funerals have been held for the eight Israeli civilians and soldiers who died in Thursday's attack in southern Israel. Since then rockets have been fired from Palestinian Territory in to Israel. The Israeli military responded with air strikes. A human rights group says 15 people have been killed in those strikes.

A lawyer for the hotel housekeeper says she will attend a meeting with prosecutors in New York later today. The lawyer expects some or all of the charges against Dominique Straus-Kahn will be dropped. The housekeeper has accused the former head of the International Monetary Fund of sexual assault. A court hearing is scheduled on Tuesday.

We are watching what could be the beginning of the end of Gadhafi's rule in Libya. Much more on the developing situation there just ahead. You are watching WORLD REPORT on CNN. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VAUSE: A short time ago NATO's secretary general made a statement about the situation in Libya. Let's listen to what Anders Fogh Rasmussen had to say.


ANDERS FOGH RASMUSSEN, SECRETARY-GENERAL, NATO: The Gadhafi regime is clearly crumbling. The sooner Gadhafi realizes he cannot win the battle against his own people, the better; so that the Libyan people can be spared further bloodshed and suffering.

The Libyan people have suffered tremendously under Gadhafi's rule for over four decades. Now they have a chance for a new beginning. Now is the time for all threats against civilians to stop, as the United Nations Security Council demanded. Now is the time to create a new Libya, a state based on freedom, not fear, democracy, not dictatorship, the will of the many, not the whims of a few.

That transition must come peacefully. It must come now and it must be led and defined by the Libyan people. NATO is ready to work with the Libyan people. And with the Transitional National Council, which holds a great responsibility. They must make sure that the transition is smooth and inclusive. That the country stays united, and that the future is founded on reconciliation and respect for human rights.

Gadhafi's remaining allies and forces also have a great responsibility. It is time to end their careers of violence. The world is watching them. This is their opportunity to side with the Libyan people and choose the right side of history. We will continue to monitor military units and key facilities, as we have since March. And when we see any threatening moves, toward the Libyan people, we will act, in accordance with our United Nations mandate.

Our goal throughout this conflict has been to protect the people of Libya. And that is what we are doing; because the future of Libya belongs to the Libyan people. And it is for the international community to assist them, with the United Nations, and the contact group playing a leading role. NATO wants the Libyan people to be able to decide their future in freedom and in peace. Today, they can start building that future.


VAUSE: That was the NATO secretary general talking about the situation in Libya. So let's get an update now on the latest developments. Reuters is reporting that tanks were seen leaving Moammar Gadhafi's Tripoli compound amid reports of gun fire and explosions in that area. The news comes as rebels say they control large parts of the Libyan capital and the country itself.

Meanwhile, the location of Libya's long-time leader remains a mystery. As time runs out for Moammar Gadhafi, one possibility is exile in a neighboring country. But outside of Libya, Gadhafi has had a strong supporter in Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. He has strong ties to South Africa, but the foreign minister of South Africa says there are no plans right now to send any planes to evacuate Gadhafi. However, the international criminal court wants Gadhafi to answer for crime against humanity and Gadhafi has said more than once he really wants to die in Libya.

We will have more on the developing situation there, in Libya. Just ahead, Andrew Stevens is in Hong Kong. Charles Hobson is in London. Stay with CNN, the world's news leader .