Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Gaddafi tells the media: ‘All my people love me. They would die to protect me’
This article titled “Gaddafi tells the media: ‘All my people love me. They would die to protect me’” was written by Ben Quinn, for The Guardian on Tuesday 1st March 2011 01.40 UTC
Muammar Gaddafi has insisted that the people of Libya love him and denied during an interview that there have been any demonstrations against his regime.
“All my people love me. They would die to protect me,” said the Libyan leader, speaking to news organisations including the BBC, laughing off international pressure to step down.
“As if anyone would leave their homeland,” he replied, accusing western leaders of betrayal and of having “no morals.”
Besides, he insisted, he had no official position from which he could resign: “It’s honorary. It has nothing to do with exercising power or authority.”
“In Britain who has the power, is it Queen Elizabeth or is it David Cameron?” he asked.
Throughout an interview, conducted at a Tripoli restaurant overlooking a port on the Mediterranean coast, he appeared to be in denial about the strength of the uprising against his 41-year rule that has ended his control over eastern Libya and is closing in on Tripoli itself.
Sometimes breaking into English from Arabic, he repeated claims that al-Qaida was behind the uprising and said that young people involved in it had been given drugs, which were now beginning to wear off.
Those who were under the influence of the drugs had seized weapons, but his supporters were under orders not to shoot back, he said. The Libyan leader also accused western countries of abandoning his government in its fight against terrorists and said he felt betrayed by the United States.
“I’m surprised that we have an alliance with the west to fight al-Qaida, and now that we are fighting terrorists they have abandoned us,” Gaddafi told his interviewers from ABC News, the BBC and the Sunday Times. “Perhaps they want to occupy Libya.”
Gaddafi described Barack Obama as a “good man” but said he appeared misinformed about the situation in Libya.
“The statements I have heard from [Obama] must have come from someone else,” Gaddafi said. “America is not the international police of the world.”
He went on to challenge other leaders, including David Cameron, who have accused him of having money abroad, to produce “one shred” of evidence that the Libyan leader had any money in the UK.
The US ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, said the interview showed that Gaddafi was delusional and “unfit to lead” his country.