Muammar Gaddafi laid out an apocalyptic vision for the country that had dared to overthrow him yesterday, telling his remaining supporters “let Libya burn” and vowing death for those guilty of disloyalty.
“Those who do not love me do not deserve to live,” he said in his latest message broadcast yesterday.
Gaddafi threatened to unleash a “long war against the agents of colonialism” in a recorded audio message on the Al-Rai channel in Syria on the 42nd anniversary of his seizing power. He vowed: “We will not surrender, we are not women, we will keep fighting.”
While the threat of the fallen dictator to unleash “a long war” may have sounded hollow, there was enough trepidation about his following among armed tribes for the opposition administration to extend the deadline for a negotiated settlement by another seven days.
Sirte, Gaddafi’s birthplace, Bani Walid and Sabah are all towns under siege by the rebels.
The Transitional National Council (TNC) had given regime forces until today, the first day after Eid al-Fitr, the celebrations after the holy month of Ramadan, to surrender before the new date was set.
There was evidence of the power the Gaddafi family still wields psychologically in the areas around his last remaining strongholds. Closer to Bani Walid, where the dictator’s son Saif al-Islam may be hiding, there were more of the regime’s green flags flying and residents seemed reluctant to believe that a new order was really in place in Tripoli.