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February 24th, 2011
05:00 PM ET

Gadhafi blames violence on young people, drugs, al Qaeda

CNN Wire Staff

Benghazi, Libya (CNN) - Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi on Thursday blamed the violence in his country on young people, who he said are taking some sort of pills and being exploited by Osama bin Laden.

Speaking by phone on state TV as reports came in of pro-Gadhafi forces killing unarmed civilians in the town of Zawiya, Gadhafi said, "Our children have been manipulated by al Qaeda."

"Those exploiting the youth have to be arrested," he added.

Gadhafi also addressed the situation in Zawiya, saying, "We shouldn't leave" the town "without any control."

Ten days into protests that have resulted in his loss of control of eastern Libya and led members of his government to defect, Gadhafi faced new international pressure Thursday. Switzerland ordered that his assets, and those of his entourage, be frozen, the Swiss Foreign Ministry said Thursday.

But Gadhafi showed no sign of considering giving up the post he has held for nearly 42 years. "I have only moral authority," he said, adding, "We have 3 million Libyans - they run the country."

It was unclear what he was referring to: Libya's population is 6.5 million, according to the CIA World Factbook.

Gadhafi's characteristically rambling remarks followed reports that anti-government forces had gained control of Zawiya, west of the capital, Tripoli.

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soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. Adam

    Mr. Anderson Cooper,
    On behalf of me and all the Libyan people, I can’t thank you enough for the role you and CNN are playing in exposing the ruthless regime of Ghadafi and the despicable acts he commits against the unarmed Libyan civilians just for having the courage to say enough is enough! I ask, urge and even beg you to continue putting the situation in Libya in the spotlight. I know you know and the whole world knows what this maniac is capable of doing behind close doors. Decency has no race, no color, no nationality or religion, decency can be named Anderson!

    February 24, 2011 at 11:04 pm |
  2. Cahil Marduff

    Please let us not have double standards. The Saudis are ruling their subjects under the cruel
    Sharia. Beheadings, stoning women, and yet neither you, Ajami or the U.S says anything. Isn't this hypocrisy.

    The Saudis are not royals–learn their origins and history, and please don't give us this sort of a one -sided view based on obfuscation and material gains for the U.S. Government, which has always supported tryrants for personal gains. You did this with Zia ul Haq, the Shah of Iran, Ferdinant Marcos,Augusto Pinochet and so many cruel dictators and murderers. Let us not avoid what is obvious to many of us. Ajami is playing the hypocrite by solely naming Syria and Iran. Let us not be selective for personal gains and appeasement of the despicable Saudis.

    February 24, 2011 at 10:44 pm |
  3. Cahil Marduff

    Dear Mr. Cooper, I admire your integrity and 360 program. However, I am disappointed on both your reluctance to provoke and prick Fuad Aajami into making comments on the evil Saudi regimes.
    They are not 'royals' and they without any doubt are the most evil. Fuad Ajami lashes out at Iran and Syrian, but says nothing about the Saudis. How cunning! Saudi is a U.S. "ally" and provides the U.S. with a continuous flow of oil, besides the U.S. has the biggest Military nase at Dhahran–so both of you do not with to topple tha apple cart, despite cruel regime.

    February 24, 2011 at 10:34 pm |
  4. Linda

    Gadhafi is not only a monster, but is now clearly either using drugs himself or has had a psychotic break. Most likely both. How long will the world's politicians wait to assist these people before they're all massacred?

    February 24, 2011 at 10:21 pm |
  5. aliousalam

    Is this legal?

    My job in psy-ops is to play with people's heads, to get the enemy to behave the way we want them to behave," Lt. Colonel Michael Holmes, the head of the "information operations" unit, told Rolling Stone reporter Michael Hastings, who also wrote an article last year that led to the dismissal of Gen. Stanley McChrystal.

    Heah, That;s what we are doing in other countries. Where would we stop?

    February 24, 2011 at 9:49 pm |
  6. Annie Kate

    Next thing you know Gadhafi will blame it all on the weather. If Gadhafi is so sure that he is the only one good for Libya and that if he left things would go to hell, then leave and see if it does – then perhaps he can go back as a returning hero. That won't happen but perhaps in the process he will see that he is not indispensable.

    February 24, 2011 at 9:38 pm |