Return to Transcripts main page


Moammar Gadhafi Still at-large; Gadhafi's son appeared in the Press; Leaders of Different Countries Send Message for Moammar Gadhafi; Battle for Tripoli

Aired August 22, 2011 - 23:00   ET


JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: He's back. Saif al-Islam, the son and heir of Moammar Gadhafi was said to be under arrest but he makes a surprise appearance at the Tripoli hotel and tells reporters that his father is still in the capital.

ISHA SESAY, CNN ANCHOR: Fighting to the finish. The war wages on in parts of Tripoli where Gadhafi loyalists continue to hold out.

VAUSE: Hello everyone. I'm John Vause at the CNN center.

SESAY: And I'm Isha Sesay. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and right around the world of our special coverage of the crisis in Libya.

Rebels say he was in their custody. But just hours ago, Saif al- Islam, the son of Moammar Gadhafi spoke outside a hotel in Tripoli and his message was clear. The government remains in control of the Libyan capital.


SAIF AL-ISLAM GADHAFI, MOAMMAR GADHAFI'S SON, TRIPOLI (through translator): There have led through the sea and through other means gangs of people who are sabotaging and you could see the people of Libya are standing and had to have broken the spine of those rats and gangsters, yesterday and today. Today, we'll go to the hot spots of Tripoli, in Tripoli, and we'll reassure the people that things are fine in Libya.


VAUSE: Now, Saif Gadhafi says his father remains in Tripoli despite speculation that he may have fled the country. Still, there's been no sign of the long-time Libyan leader. The chairman of the national transitional council says the real moment of victory will be when Gadhafi is captured.

SESAY: Meanwhile, the battles are far from over. Pro-Gadhafi enforcers still control pockets of the capitol of Tripoli and nearly towns, n Zawiya and (inaudible). Overhead, NATO jets continue their bombing runs and there also reports that pro-Gadhafi forces had scud missiles from the Libyan leader's hometown.

VAUSE: Now, it seems beyond belief that the high-profile son of Moammar Gadhafi making a triumphant appearance outside the government- controlled hotel came after news of his apparent capture.

Our Matthew Chance sort of or even spoke with Saif Gadhafi and Matthew talked about the encounter with Anderson cooper a short time ago.


MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on-camera): He seemed very relaxed. He seemed, you know, looking quite good, actually, for a man who was supposed to have been custody for the last 48 hours. He said that was a trick. He made the point that the rebels have come into Tripoli. He said that Gadhafi forces had broken their backbone and given them a hard time before the door closed and he drove off. But he drove off in a motorcade into Tripoli, clearly, into an area which is very much under control of the forces of his father.

ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, ANDERSON COOPER 360: And you say -I mean he said the opposition had fallen into some sort of trap. What did he mean? Because the opposition was claiming besides that they captured him but that they controlled 90 percent of Tripoli.

CHANCE: Yes, they are saying that. And, you know, I think there are questions tonight about to what extent that's the case. It's very difficult for us here in the hotel to verify what you know how much of Tripoli's controlled by the rebels and how much is controlled by Gadhafi but I can tell you this, Saif Gadhafi got into that motorcade and drove off through the gates of the Rixos into this area immediately around the hotel, the Gadhafi compound is in this area. And there are other key installations in this area and he was driving around with pretty limited security.

A couple of other cars filled with bodyguards. Didn't have like huge armored car or anything like that. He seemed pretty confident. He also said "look, get into the car and I'll take you to the hotter areas, supposedly, of Tripoli," the implication that there are areas that are being talked about as being in rebel hands. He wanted to you know show us that these areas were safe to drive around. We didn't take the opportunity for various reasons but, nevertheless, he did come across as very confident, indeed, Anderson.

COOPER: It would seem a multi-vehicle white land rover convoy would be a tempting target for NATO planes overhead. The fact that he's driving around at night does seem to show a certain amount of confidence.

CHANCE: It does. And you know, he already told reporters that are gathered at the Rixos earlier in the evening that he was going to be giving a press conference. We didn't know he was not in captivity at this point so we're all taken aback and skeptical that this would happen but our skepticism was confirmed when we went down at 11:00 at night, 11:30 at night to get ready for the press conference, he just didn't turn up so we thought it was just spin being put out by the rebels.

But then you know when his kind a rocked up to the hotel entrance I few hours later, about 1:30 in the morning we were all really surprised. I think what was really surprising of everything you know he was still in Tripoli. He was still - he was free and he said his father, Moammar Gadhafi was still in Tripoli as well, as where the rest of his family, trying to dispel those rumors that elements of the family has fled or been killed or been taken captive.

COOPER: At this time are you hearing gunfire or sounds of combat? And if not, when was the last time you did?

CHANCE: It was about, you know, three or four hours ago, shortly before Saif Gadhafi turned up at the hotel. Previous to that there had been you know enormous gun fights. Ferocious gun fights. Grenades exploding. Huge explosions of all kinds around the come pound, which is the Moammar Gadhafi compound. It's been under heavy bombing the last several months but more particularly, fire fights around there for the past 72 hours or so as the rebels entered, excuse me, Tripoli.

But after Saif Gadhafi made his appearance at the Rixos hotel, the whole situation seems to have changed. There's no gunfire outside, streets are very calm. You can see (inaudible) and told you on Skype, the electricity is only in the hotel. You know, a few hours ago we were all sitting in the searing heat because there were no air conditioners, there's no running water, its pitch black in the hotel, no lights outside and no lights inside and now. And now, you know the generators have gone back on again and it seems that, at least in this area, this pocket of Tripoli, around the Rixos hotel and the Gadhafi compound , you know the government have really kind of a succeed in defending this pocket and have re-established their control. Control, by the way Anderson, they never really lost in this particular area.


SESAY: Our Matthew Chance there. Well, as both sides fight for control of Tripoli, the battle rages on. Our Sarah Sidner has been following the fighting between rebels and forces loyal to Gadhafi. She spoke to Becky Anderson from Zawiya a short time ago.


SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We left the city is along with some rebels actually who went to have their evening meal. It was just not safe enough to stay in the city overnight. From what we assessed the rebels telling us we were not allowed to go down to Green Square, which is now they have renamed or want people to call it Murder Square. They say they've gotten control of about 90 percent of the city, but we heard quite a bit of fighting and gunfire toward the square and towards, also, Gadhafi's compound.

So certainly, the battle for Tripoli is not over. The rebels being very, very cautious. Every time there's a kind of rumor of a sniper, everyone goes running no matter where they are, even if there are few buildings around them there's a real fear of snipers and for good reason. Apparently, the rebels say there were snipers in area shooting from the tops of buildings and it's hard to see. Now that it is dark this becomes a very difficult war and, remember, the rebels are less equipped than any force you might be thinking about. These are people, many of them who have come from their neighborhoods from other parts, also, of the country. Not just Tripoli. So some of these fighters do not know the city of Tripoli amber and are reliant on the locals there to get them around.

So important to note that the night battles can be very difficult, very confusing, so it makes people very suspicious and makes things very tense as night falls in the city of Tripoli, Becky.

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Sara, we are just taking a look at the video that was shot earlier and you say the rebels rely on locals as they don't know the area and this has pushed into urban warfare at this point. Just how well supported are the rebels?

SIDNER: It's hard to gauge that. But I can tell you that when I say they rely on locals who know the area those are other rebels that they've been training with. They are not just stopping for example, at someone's door and saying where is this area of town or that area of town? They have tried to train as much as they can for what they knew would be urban warfare and I think the one thing that really surprised them was that they did not face the kind of numbers that Moammar Gadhafi had promised would rise up or fight on his behalf. They were surprised they were able to get so far into the city so quickly.

Once they got there, though, that's when a bit of the trouble started because they were not quite sure what they were dealing with and it was eerily quiet. I have to tell you, over the past 24 hours as we've seen these things unfold, as first this morning there was quite a bit of driving up and down the street and this afternoon, more of that and this evening, some celebration and families coming out. But as nightfall comes things get quiet in the city.

People sort of retracting, trying to see what is going on around them, very difficult. The power is out in a couple of places in the city. So it is very difficult to know just how much of a fight is left in the Gadhafi forces. And just how far the rebels will be able to go when it is this dark and it's very difficult to navigate the city.


VAUSE: Now, after a six-month long battle, no one expected events in Libya to move this quickly. Gadhafi's 42-year grip on power appears to be over and for many Libyans who have known anything else other than life under the leader these are heavy teams.

Colleen McEdwards has more on what many Libyans have been saying.

COLLEEN MCEDWARDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: As the events in Tripoli and across Libya unfold, we're hearing from people who are living in the Libyan capital and they have a front seat view on this historic moment.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Years have gone by and we've missed out on so much. So, people's morale is really high still. And we're just waiting for it to all be over.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is something that we've all been dreaming of forever. The second this starts, everyone is so happy. It's something we've been waiting for. We were living in fear for the past four decades and now all of the sudden, you can go out and say what you want, say what you feel. I can talk on the phone without being scared that they are going to come in and take me.

MCEDWARDS: Excitement there. And here are to look at the celebrations in Benghazi just to the east, thousands of people gathering to celebrate the rebel advances on Sunday at freedom square.

Sammi Addahoumi got this footage to CNN I report and we also talked on the phone.

SAMI ADDAHOUMI, CNN IREPORT: Everyone has been waiting for this day for Moammar Gadhafi to get out. Everyone in Benghazi is waiting for that very minute. They can capture the son. They can catch sure confidants of Gadhafi but until they have Gadhafi captured dead or alive, people are still, even in Benghazi, are somewhat apprehensive. Because the man who has been a bogeyman to everyone. So even, get out of Libya, the chance that he might return, the chance his followers might take up arms is still very real.


MCEDWARDS: Now, if you are in Libya, you can show us the scene on the ground. You can share your story. Logon to If you can remember, though of course, put your own safety first. But if you can get to the Web site we'd love to hear from you.

We want to show you now, something from a blogger in Libya. A blogger, who has not been able to blog since April of this year, actually just went ahead and posted something. Here it is. I'm safe and well in Libya. It's been a long, hard six months but I made it. The internet has been turned on and I'm slowly sifting through over 2,000 e-mails. Thanks to all who have commented, e-mailed, worried and prayed for me, I will update just as soon as I can, just so busy celebrating.

Again, that from a blogger we've been following, really, since the beginning of the protest so great to see that post come up.

And of course, we will keep you up to date on the very latest right here on CNN.

Back to you.

VAUSE: Colleen, thank you. The Libyan capital as we've seen is in turmoil.

SESAY: Yes. Actually, we have a Tripoli resident on the line with us right now to describe what exactly is going on. We're only going to identify him as Ihab for his own safety. Ihab, tell us what you're seeing, what you are hearing right now? IHAB, LIBYA (via telephone): Right now, the mood has gone back to being pretty quiet. The rebels and the residents have come back in but earlier on tonight, we had similar scenes to you were showing from the night before when the people came through in Tripoli. This time it was from the other side of Tripoli. You had people from the Misrata approximately numbers kind about 1,600 that come in. And everyone is slowly started out from the street and in our particular area to see the soldiers that, pretty much, have saved Misrata and we have come to help, also freeing Tripoli, the capital. So there was a lot of celebration, a lot of heavy gunfire in the air. So the mood was very, very buoyant.

VAUSE: So you're saying that there are 1600 people from Misrata, are these essentially reinforcements if you like for the fighters who are already there in the capital, Tripoli?

IHAB: Yes. These are initial reinforcements. There were people from Tajura that were there with them actually. And through the organization, the TNC, there was actually, probably, quite a bit more that were on the coastal road from Tajura up to the capital whereby for safety reasons we didn't want that too many civilians to join the infantry as we come it so - but it was just so good. The people could see that the rebels were really coming too slowly and they were there to join up with the rest to make a final push on the very center of Tripoli.

SESAY: And Ihab let me ask you this. These 1600 additional fighters that have arrived in the capital, do we know the next step? The next push and how that will, itself, play out?

IHAB: From speaking to the people on the ground that were there and that we've seen, we should be expecting a final push at some point today, actually. No particular time was given but we were told maybe after prayer that the push could start. But this is in coordination with the NATO strikes. So, whenever they seem to get the go-ahead and that's when they make the push.

VAUSE: And Ihab, of course, the big question out there is precisely, where is Moammar Gadhafi? What's the word on the streets?

IHAB: It seems that the guy - he's very unpredictable. But maybe for once he might be right in the fact that as he calls it, he calls the rebels "the rats" it may be that they are in his original compound with his family.

SESAY: Ihab, earlier on this evening, U.S. time, we saw the scenes of Saif al-Islam Gadhafi outside the Rixos hotel where the international journalists are hold up. This is the same Saif al-Islam that the opposition, the national transitional council that said was in custody. It's raising questions about the credibility of the opposition. First of all, have you heard the news yourself? What do you make of it?

IHAB: We were very well aware of the news. It filtered through very quickly. As far as we know, from what we've heard on the ground, there's nothing actually officially confirmed. News was filtering through the rebels. We haven't had an official statement to confirm that Saif is actually beyond capture.

So as far as we're concerned, the only reason we haven't seen anything official and on TV, we never actually believed that Saif al Islam had been captured. Same for his brother Mohammed and Saadi as well.

VAUSE: And Ihab, as the NTC, the National Transitional Council moves in to Tripoli and tries to form a government, what are your biggest fears as they try to do that in the days and weeks ahead?

IHAB: Well, for us, if I'm honest, you certainly go past the stage of fear right now. It's the point of no return. So we just hope that this gets done as quickly as possible and in the shortest period of time. Mainly for the safety for the civilians because we're still hearing stories of some other areas of Tripoli that are very close to the compound where there is some fear that there is pro-supporters mixed in along with the rebels, normal civilians are talking about here, that haven't rose up yet. They're so close and they're in fear of what the retaliation might be.

VAUSE: OK, Ihab. A resident of Tripoli, also manning a checkpoint there in the capital. Joining us on the phone and giving us valuable information about the current situation in the capitol. He said 1600 fighters have joined those opposition fighters already in the capital, reinforcements. He said the next stage in this push to take total control of the capital could come later today, essentially, within hours. Interestingly, he said all of these being coordinated with NATO.

SESAY: Yes, very interesting. And also this issue of Saif al-Islam appearing in Tripoli just hours ago, interesting his take on it. That it was never confirmed as it were is what he's saying. That he was in the custody of the opposition. So he's taking that approach as maybe this is just the form of battle as it were and rumors flying, unclear, very fluid but many questions being asked this evening.

All right, to the whereabouts of Moammar Gadhafi are still not known but already, plans being made to help the governments and the country's next government.

VAUSE: And while some Libyans show their content for their longtime leader, we'll have the latest world reaction to these stunning events. Stay with us.


SESAY: The U.N. is urgently looking at ways to help shape Libya's future. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has called a meeting this week with the African Union, the EU and the Arab league. Mister Ban says the U.N. is ready to assist.


BAN KI-MOON, GENERAL SECRETARY, UNITED NATIONS: This is a hopeful moment but also, there are risks ahead. Now is the time for all Libyans to focus on national unity, reconciliation and inclusiveness and determined to ensure that the United Nations does everything it can to promote an orderly transition, that response to the aspirations of the Libyan people for peace, democracy and opportunity.


VAUSE: The French President, Nicholas Sarkozy says, he is invited ahead of Libyan's Transitional government to Paris and he talked with the prime minister (inaudible) by phone. He along with the French foreign minister, praise what they call, the determination and courage of the Libyan rebels.


ALAIN JUPPE, FRENCH FOREIGN MINISTER (though translator): It is obviously for us I matter of great satisfaction. You know how much we are involved in this operation to help the Libyan people rid themselves of a dictatorship. France took risks, like a day with Ivory Coast, but these were calculated risks and the cause was just.


VAUSE: We also heard from U.S. President, Barack Obama, the president warned of the danger of reprisal as power changed hands and the importance of reconciliation. And he had a message for Moammar Gadhafi.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I want to emphasize that this is not over yet. As the regime collapses, there's still fierce fighting in some areas. And we have reports of regime elements threatening to continue fighting. Although it's clear that Gadhafi's rule is over he still has the opportunity to reduce further bloodshed by explicitly relinquishing power to the people of Libya and calling for those forces that continue to fight to lay down their arms for the sake of Libya.


SESAY: Our Jill Dougherty has this report on how the U.S. could help Libya's national transitional council.


JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Right up to the last minute before Libyan opposition forces launched their assault on Tripoli; officials close to Moammar Gadhafi reached out to the U.S., in a desperate attempt to stop the attack. That's what a senior state department official tells CNN.

Assistant secretary of state, Jeffrey Feltman says there was a sense of desperation, an attempt by the regime to buy time. The Libyans claim they wanted to negotiate but refused to talk about Moammar Gadhafi leaving power, he says.

Now as the rebels try to consolidate their military gains in Tripoli, the opposition National Transitional Council in Benghazi is trying to activate plans for a political transition. First priority, security. VICTORIA NULAND, SPOKESWOMAN, U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT: Because we don't need any more civilian life lost in Libya.

DOUGHERTY: U.S. officials say they are encouraged by reports that the rebels have set up checkpoints around public buildings to promote public safety. Tripoli does not look like Baghdad looked after the fall of Saddam Hussein with widespread looting, assistant secretary Feltman says, next step? An interim authority.

NULAND: The Transitional National Council would broaden and become an interim government that would represent a broad cross-section of Libyans from different walks of life, different parts of the country, different political backgrounds.

DOUGHERTY: But tribal loyalties control the oil revenues and over Libyan government assets including $30 billion worth frozen by the U.S., could cause rifts in the opposition. A former undersecretary of state warns things could turn ugly.

NICHOLAS BURNS, HARVARD UNIVERSITY: I think we'll have to expect to see a slow transition, perhaps a chaotic transition. Perhaps, even unfortunately, a violent transition, that wouldn't be surprising at all given a degree of dissatisfaction in this (inaudible) of this country is suffering for so long.

DOUGHERTY: Getting the interim government in place in Libya as quickly as possible is critical, the state department says. That government would lead the process of writing a constitution and moving towards elections, the building blocks of democracy. Something Libyans have been deprived of for more than four decades under Moammar Gadhafi. Jill Dougherty, CNN, the state department.


VAUSE: Now, months of turmoil in Libya has put its oil industry on hold.

SESAY: What will the rebels' advance on Tripoli mean to the market? We'll take a look at this vital component of Libya's economy.


SESAY: Rebels claimed - new developments in the turmoil in Libya to tell you about. The rebels say they captured the son of Moammar Gadhafi but Saif al-Islam emerged and spoke with reporters a short time ago. He shook hands and greeted reporters and spoke with our own, Matthew Chance. He said troops are loyal to his family had broken the back of opposition fighters who moved into Tripoli over the weekend.

VAUSE: Now, there still no sign of his father, Libyan Leader Moammar Gadhafi, but his son says the Libyan leader remains is in Tripoli. Meanwhile, rebel forces continue their push to rid Tripoli of pro- Gadhafi forces. Opposition fight this tells CNN several fears battles raged all day Monday. SESAY: OK. Let's get an update on the fighting now. Our Arwa Damon is travelling with rebel fighters and that the airport near Tripoli. A bit earlier, she described the scene to our own Anderson Cooper.


ARWA DAMON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): We're about 30 miles out they encountered their first resistance from Gadhafi's forces and they said that firefight lasted for around a few hours. They then pushed up to another location where another battle took place for around half an hour.

This second location also was very close to a military compound. They said they were finally able to secure the compound and get their hands on the weapons that were inside, that they described as being fairly extensive, before then making their way up to the airport where they say they got into a significant fight, but the battle was not as tough as the road had been on the way up.

Casualties on both sides, they said and they have been ongoing clashes all day in the periphery and the perimeter of the airport. A few miles just outside, they've been consistently clashing with Gadhafi forces. One location that is not too far away from us we're told is one of the main military compounds and they're expecting quite a significant fight.

What they're trying to do now is comb through the area surrounding the airport to try to fully secure them before they continue on their advance, because, Anderson, the road out of the airport is a straight shot to Gadhafi's Bab al-Aziziya compound as the jewel that the opposition wants to take over.

The mood amongst the fighters is fairly upbeat although they are quite tired, but they are really, really determined, and you see it etched on their faces. They realize that they have come this far. This is their main and final push and they're absolutely determined to take it until this end and we've been hearing some sporadic gunfire, a few explosions in the distance. So, there's still some clashes that appear to be happening in our vicinity.

ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, "ANDERSON COOPER 360": So, Arwa, I think it's about 4:40 in the morning right now in Tripoli. Correct me, if I'm wrong. How far is the airport from downtown Tripoli?

DAMON: Well, from what we've been able to gather it seems like the airport is around maybe 13 to 15 miles from Gadhafi's main compound.

COOPER: OK. Are the opposition fighters in full control of the airport? I mean, do they control the runways?

DAMON: Yes. We haven't been able to get up to the runway because of the late hour but they're telling us is that, yes, they do control the runways. There are aircrafts on them from various countries. They control all the buildings in the airport compound. And also say they have full control over all the entrances and they've got -- they're telling us, security stationed throughout and hundreds of fighters in this area and they came up from the south, from Zentan, the majority of them, and when they reached here they met up with a number of fighters that are from Tripoli -- people that were effectively were opposition sleeper cells, if that's what you want to call them, that were just waiting for the signal before they rose up and took weapons and began fighting themselves.

And so, all of these different groups from different parts have been advancing, merging and capitalizing on each other's experience and really trying to push forward as hard and as fast as they can.


VAUSE: So, let's take a close look now at Libya's National Transitional Council. It was officially established March 5th in Benghazi. The council is now recognized by more than 30 countries as Libya's legitimate governing authority. It's made up of 33 members. It's led by the chairman, Mustafa Abdul Jalil. The NTC says its aim is to steer Libya for an interim period only and its ultimate goals are free elections and establishing a constitution.

SESAY: While rebel fighters are now united against Moammar Gadhafi with just one goal in mind a big concern is what happens after his 42- year reign ends. Finding unity is never easy, but it's even more complicated because of Libya's make up, different factions, tribal rivalries and ethnic groups.

So, take a look with me now at the country's different ethnic groups. The majority of the population is Arab or Berber. You see them here in orange in the north and east. That's about 97 percent of the population. There's also a handful of other groups indicated by the different colors you see there on this map.

VAUSE: Now, world leaders are urging the National Transitional Council to pursue a peaceful evolution to democracy, but that won't be easy. The council is far from united. The shaky coalition includes former regime officials, nationalists, secularists and Islamists.

Then you have Libya's tribes -- 138 tribes in all. When Moammar Gadhafi came into power back in 1969, he broke up the power bases of Libya's most influential tribes. Land and influence were redistributed to more dependable tribes.

But tribal loyalties persisted in the absence of organized political groups. Eastern Libya, where the rebellion began has long been at odds with the west, Gadhafi's power base. So, western tribes may not support a movement which was actually sparked in the east.

SESAY: If Gadhafi is ousted, Libya's National Transitional Council will have the task of bringing democracy to the country. That will entail getting Libya's dozens of tribes to work together.

Jim Clancy and Michael Holmes explain why that's no easy job.


MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Libya has a lot of tribes -- more than 140 of them, in fact.

We want to talk a little bit about the most powerful.

Jim Clancy knows the region well. He's joining us here to have a chat. Why don't you kick it off?

JIM CLANCY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: All right. Let's take a look. These tribes are important because they played a role in the downfall of Gadhafi. They're a challenge in rebuilding the country afterwards.

As you can see there's a lot of different tribes involved. First in the east, the largest and most influential tribe, the Misrata tribe, the strong presence around the opposition stronghold here of Benghazi. Now, of course, that's where the revolution in Libya began, all the way back in February, in Benghazi.

Now, the Alawakir tribe is also notably because some of its members have held senior positions in Gadhafi's regime.

HOLMES: All right. Let's turn to the west now. Colonel Gadhafi's own tribe, the Khadafa tribe is here, the too. It's small but it has many of its members in the elite military unit. Of course, you know, you trust your own tribe, don't you?

Now, Libya's largest tribe is the Warfalla tribe. It actually has more than a million members, which is one-sixth of Libya's total population, always a stronghold of Gadhafi supporters, but was also among the first members to go across to the other side to join the anti-Gadhafi forces.

CLANCY: All right. Also important, the Magariha tribe. Now, why? Because they had key positions in the military. Some people have asked, why did they -- why were the rebels able to get so easily into Tripoli and the answer may be there. They had a key defection. Major Jalloud Abdessalam, Jalloud defected over the weekend, sent out messages basically saying that the Gadhafi regime was finished, it's thought that within the Magariha tribe, that there was a lot of defections. A lot of people saying we're not going to defend Gadhafi. We're looking to the pragmatic side and switch sides.

HOLMES: Yes, they also influential because they run many of the oil refineries which run along the coast well, and that tribe threatened to stop the flow of oil into western Libya unless authorities stopped their crackdown on opposition forces so --

CLANCY: They draw their name from that, the Zawiya tribe, you know, with all of the refineries. All of them important, all of them as we have heard from the U.N. secretary general, they've got to learn to work together. They got to change the past.

When tribalism was used to divide them, and they have to become united if they really want to see a new Libya.

HOLMES: That's right, because if they don't hold it together, it all falls apart.


SESAY: Important perspective there from Michael Holmes and Jim Clancy. The rebel advance into Tripoli has sparked hope that oil production in Libya will resume. That dropped the price of oil on the European benchmark.

When the Libyan conflict began, Saudi Arabia increased production to fill the gap. At the close, Brent crude fell $1.10 to $107 per barrel. That's a 1 percent drop.

VAUSE: All right. And it could be months before Libya can once again become an oil exporter. Jim Boulden explains why it will take so long.


JIM BOULDEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): First, the fighting has to stop. Before there can be a complete assessment of how bad Libya's oil infrastructure has been damaged.

JULIAN LEE, CENTRE FOR GLOBAL ENERGY STUDIES: There are pictures of damage being inflicted on those cities and those terminals. We don't know what the extent of that damage is and how quickly they can be repaired. We don't know what damage has been inflicted on the oil fields themselves or on the pipelines.

BOULDEN: At one time, Libya was responsible for 2 percent of world oil production and was a key exporter to Europe through links with Italian oil giant ENI. Eighty-five percent of Libyan exports once flowed to Europe.

AMRITA SEN, BARCLAYS CAPITAL: Libya is going to take some time to come back to even one million barrels per day, let alone to their previous peaks of 1.6 million or 1.7 million. We can see about 200,000, 250,000 barrels a day, maybe half a million barrels a day by the end of this year.

BOULDEN: Oil shares jumped in Europe on Monday. ENI shares closed 6 percent higher on the assumption it would not lose any of its oil contracts.

Spain's Repsol said in July, it will take four months maximum to restart production in Libya. It believed there was no damage to its facilities.

Total says it's monitoring the situation carefully to assess when it could restart operations.

Analysts, though, say oil-field workers would have been fighting themselves.

LEE: There will be great disruption to the human capital of the Libyan oil industry, which will have to be reassembled. People will have to be demobilized, disarmed and willing to go back to the oil industry -- BOULDEN: At least the National Transition Council said early on they would honor the oil service contract signed before the civil war began.

(on camera): Bottom line, only after hostilities fully cease, employees and experts are allowed back into oil fields to assess damage, could Libya once again become a player on the international oil markets.

Jim Boulden, CNN, London.


VAUSE: Now, coming up, we'll take a closer look at the man who's been in charge of Libya for 42 years.

SESAY: And perhaps we'll hear from Libya's former prime minister about Moammar Gadhafi and the rebellion against him.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We had to fight. I'm not a fighter. I'm a student. And it's my first time like handle a gun. And we had to fight to liberate our -- we didn't wish to have war. We want a peaceful, like in Tunisia or Egypt. We have a peaceful demonstration to change the dictatorship. It's been like for 42 years. And we have nothing to -- we don't have any rights, basically, no human rights.


SESAY: Well, the frustration and anger is directed at Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi , in power since a coup more than 40 years ago.

VAUSE: And during that time, his actions have drawn both controversy and a lot of confusion.

Our Hala Gorani takes a look at that.


HALA GORANI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As a 27-year-old army officer, Moammar Gadhafi overthrew Libya's king in 1969, and then set about wiping all foreign influence from the country, including all vestiges of communism or capitalism, publishing his personal philosophy in a three-volume green book.

Gadhafi always said that his goal was to change the world, but it was the way he set out to do it that amused, confused, and often infuriated.

Gadhafi said he wanted to unite the Arab world and even proclaimed a merger with Libya, Egypt and Syria in 1972. That merger plan fell apart. A later merger attempt with Tunisia disintegrated into bitter animosity. Maintaining a colorful profile whenever he went, he made a point of emphasizing his Bedouin roots, sleeping in tents, protected by an eye- catching female security detail.

His speeches were legendary, for both length and bombast. This 2009 speech at the U.N. was typical.

COLONEL MOAMMAR GADHAFI, LIBYAN LEADER (via translator): We are not committed to obey the rules or the resolutions of the Security Council because it is undemocratic, unjust.

GORANI: What was supposed to be a 15-minute talk -- rambled on more than 90 minutes.

But while he sometimes appeared a clown on the world stage, his actions were often deadly. In the mid '80s he funneled money and weapons to support the Palestine Liberation Organization's fight against Israel. The Irish Republican Army's efforts to defeat British rule in Northern Ireland and he viciously targeted Americans.

In 1986, Libyan agents were accused of bombing a Berlin nightclub, killing two Americans and a Turk. U.S. President Ronald Reagan responded by bombing Tripoli, targeting Gadhafi's house. The raid killed more than 100 people, including Gadhafi's own daughter.

Two years later, Pan Am flight 103 blew up over the tiny village of Lockerbie, Scotland, raining debris and taking 270 lives. It was traced to Libya. When Libya refused to turn over the suspects, the U.N. imposed tough sanctions, leaving the country isolated and increasingly destitute.

After 11 years as an international outcast, Gadhafi cut a deal. He gave up the Lockerbie bombing suspects for trial and after the U.S. invaded Iraq, he surprised the world by agreeing to destroy all of his chemical, nuclear and biological weapons.

Gadhafi soon welcomed western oil companies like BP and Total into Libya. But questions lingered about whether some western oil contracts were traded for Scotland's release of one of the convicted Lockerbie bombers.

And he didn't give up the bizarre behavior. On a 2009 visit to Italy, he invited 200 models to his Ambassador's house, paying each $75 to listen to lectures on Islam and giving each a copy of the Koran.

Back home, patience was running thin. After more than 40 years, rebellion bubbled up in the eastern part of the country, quickly spreading across Libya. As his Government disintegrated, he addressed the nation from the same house bombed by the U.S. in 1986.

GADHAFI (via translator): This is my country, the country of my grandfathers --

GORANI: He vowed to die a martyr in Libya.


VAUSE: Now, earlier on CNN, Becky Anderson sat down with the man who helped govern and guide Libya before Colonel Gadhafi.

In a rare interview, Mustapha Ben Halim shared his thoughts about what has unfolded in the last few days and in some of 40-plus years.

The first question for the former prime minister, whether Gadhafi ever cared about the country.


MUSTAPHA BEN HALIM, FORMER PRIME MINISTER OF LIBYA: There is only way Gadhafi wants to achieve, to have Libya belonging to him. Not only he got -- grabbed everything, but there is no controlling him, no responsibility, nothing. He does what he likes.

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Do you think he'll ever give himself in -- up to the rebels, or will he try to escape Libya, do you think?

BEN HALIM: He will not admit defeat. He, I think -- he might go outside Libya and sort of say that he's going to continue his fight. But I doubt this guy will get reason, get real thinking and that the circus is finished. And --

ANDERSON: What do you see as the future for Libya?

BEN HALIM: I think we will have good future, provided we realize that our problems begin the day he goes. Not the end. We have a lot of fighters, we have the new generation. We have many things to take into consideration which were not available --

See, when the first independence was declared, I was part of it, because -- but there was two leaders then.

At that time, we had -- I had no money, we had no money -- no manpower. But we had a good leadership.

ANDERSON: Who do you think is fit to run the country going forward?

BEN HALIM: Now, if the new people -- and I know some of them, and they are excellent people. But they have to try to start making a real government, a government which guarantees freedom.


VAUSE: You have to wonder if the former prime minister would ever have thought he would see a day like this.

SESAY: Yes, indeed.

VAUSE: We'll have the very latest from Libya and updates of other top stories, that's just ahead.

SESAY: And I'll bring you the story of new hope to a little girl maimed in the Libyan war.


SESAY: New developments in the turmoil in Libya to tell you about.

CNN has learned three Scud missiles were fired from Gadhafi's hometown of Sirte. The initial reports indicate they landed in the sea. There is no report they caused any casualties or damage.

VAUSE: Meantime, the rebels claim they had captured the son of Moammar Gadhafi. But Saif al-Islam, he emerged and he spoke with reporters. He shook hands. He greeted supporters and spoke with our Matthew Chance. He says troops loyal to his family had broken the back of opposition fighters that moved into Tripoli over the weekend.

SESAY: There's still no sign of his father, Moammar Gadhafi. But his son says the Libyan leader remains there in Tripoli.

VAUSE: Meanwhile, the rebel forces continue their push to rid Tripoli of pro-Gadhafi forces. Opposition fighters tell CNN a number of fierce battles have raged all day on Monday.

SESAY: We're following events in Libya very closely. But let's get a quick check of some other news and some stories that we're keeping an eye on you for right now.

The U.N. high commissioner for human rights says more than 2,200 people have been killed since the start of protests in Syria five months ago. Demonstrations by Syria's demanding more freedom have been met with brute force. The United States sent a humanitarian mission to Syria to investigate the crackdown.

VAUSE: New York prosecutors say the former head of the International Monetary Fund, Dominique Strauss-Kahn will not face sexual assault charges. They say the woman who accused him of rape could not be relied upon or believed beyond a reasonable doubt. His accuser has filed a civil lawsuit but he's filed a countersuit for slander.

SESAY: A fire sparked by lightning destroyed a Caribbean home of Sir Richard Branson. The Virgin Group chairman says about 20 people were in the house at the time and all escaped unharmed. Guests included Oscar-winning actress Kate Winslet. The house is located on Necker Island, in the British Virgin Islands.

Tropical storm Irene moved over the island before it strengthened to a hurricane. And that hurricane is passing the Dominican Republic right now.

VAUSE: Yes, let's get an update on it. Jennifer Delgado is at the international weather center.

Good to see you, Jennifer. Where is the hurricane?

JENNIFER DELGADO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, right now, it's located roughly about 120 kilometers off the coastline of Puerto Rico. It's going to continue to move in that direction. We're talking a west- northwesterly direction.

As we go through the next several hours, you can see on the satellite imagery since yesterday, the storm has gotten bigger and you can see where the heavier rain coming down and still in parts of Puerto Rico. You can see on the northern parts of the Dominican Republic. And then it's going to be spreading over northern areas of Haiti.

Now, that's the general track. As we go through the overnight hours. But if you notice, it's going to start take a more of a northwesterly turn. The winds right now 157 kilometers.

By 24 hours out, we're talking Tuesday, this is going to become a major hurricane and notice it's getting close to central Bahamas as a major hurricane as we go through Wednesday and then it looks like getting close to moving parallel do the coastline of the U.S., as we go into Friday as well as into Saturday.

Right now, we do have a hurricane warning in place, anywhere you're seeing in red. And that includes parts of the Dominican Republic. You can see southeastern parts of the Bahamas as well as Turks and Caicos.

This is the area we're concerned about right now because we're going to see strengthening of this and with this, we're talking about category 3 strength winds and certainly, that is going to potentially cause a good amount of damage, especially across areas including Turks and Caicos as well as the Bahamas.

This model gives you an idea of the track of hurricane Irene. You can see where the center of the storm system kind of moving over toward the west, but there's still some uncertainty with the track of the system. We're just showing you a couple of the different models to give you an idea exactly where potentially, hurricane Irene could be headed.

But I can tell you these guys, they're going to deal with some heavy rainfall, the threat is going to continue tonight for mudslides and landslides through parts of Haiti, as well as some very northern parts of the Dominican Republic.

Isha, let's send it back to you.

SESAY: Jennifer, thank you. Jennifer closely following the path of hurricane Irene.

OK. Well, now back to the unrest in Libya. But this is some good news for a change. A 5-year-old girl who lost her leg when a rocket slammed into her home has the chance to walk again. Thanks to an American volunteer.

I met the little girl and the woman who helps children maimed in disaster zones around the world.


SESAY (voice-over): Five-year-old Malaak Al-Shami is precocious little girl. Born in Libya, she wants to run and play just like any other child. And now, thanks to treatment arranged for her here in the United States, her wish could come true.

You see, Malaak lost her right leg as a result of Libya's brutal civil war. She was napping when her parents say pro-Gadhafi forces started shelling her rebel-controlled neighborhood in Misrata. In an instant, this young child's life changed when a Grad rocket slammed into her bedroom, maiming her for life.

Despite the horror of the attack, Malaak was luckier than others in her family. Her 3-year-old brother and 1-year-old sister both died in the explosion.

(on camera): How has this affected her personality?

MUSTAFA AL-SHAMI, MALAAK'S FATHER (through translator): It's as if Malaak has grown up and begun to understand that there's war, that there are Grad missiles that fall on us. She isn't supposed to know about that stuff but she does, and it's really unfortunate.

SESAY (voice-over): Malaak's leg was amputated but doctors in Libya said she would need advanced prosthetics not available in the country.

That's where Elissa Mantonti steps into the picture. She heads a U.S. nonprofit that helps children maimed in conflict and disaster zones around the world.

Mantonti arranges the victims to travel to the U.S. for medical treatment and pays for all of it through donations.

ELISSA MANTONTI, GLOBAL MEDICAL RELIEF FUND: She was actually, that was the first child that came to me from Libya. And there was absolutely -- there was no way I could say no because she needed help. And I know that they would approve her so it was just a matter of getting the paperwork and getting her here ASAP.

ISHA: That Shriners Hospital for children in Philadelphia where Mantonti arranged for Malaak to get fitted with a prosthetic leg that can fits comfortably under the child's knee.

MANTONTI: She's going to do really well because she's below the knee. And she'll be able to run. She'll be able to ride a bike.

So, you know, it's a wonderful feeling. You know? She was carried on to the plane and she's going to go home walking.

SESAY: Home, meaning Libya, where the civil war that took Malaak's leg and the lives of her siblings rages on.


SESAY: And it's good to see some bit of good news from Libya. It was quite amazing to meet her and her family, and they're just so very grateful to Elissa for giving them the chance for her to live, you know, a somewhat normal life. VAUSE: The great thing is you can see there's some hope there. But when you see that, it reminds you of all the other kids that are maimed and being killed and there's still no real death toll of the number of people who have been killed or hurt in this conflict that has been going on for so long and the kids who have actually been so badly hurt as well.

SESAY: Yes, indeed. One of the things that her father said that really touched me was that he was, of course, happy that she was here and getting this opportunity and getting this prosthetic. But he was also, of course, sad because he was very aware of the fact that his two other children died in that same attack.

VAUSE: We'll have the latest on the situation coming up right here in about two minutes from now.

SESAY: Stay with CNN, the world's news leader.