Qaddafi just called into Libyan TV to give a relatively short statement.
He is NOT backing down and insists the protesters are all teenagers who are taking drugs handed out by Al Qaeda. He says the protesters are small in number.
Qaddafi again threatened to cut off oil supplies: “When the oil flow has been stopped, how are the people going to sustain a living. Will Bin Laden provide for them?”
However, Qaddafi tried to talk down his own authority. He called himself a symbolic leader like the Queen of England, who is there only to provide “parental advice.”
He offered small concessions: “You can put anyone who is suspected of corruption on trial. It is your call.” Also: “Maybe there can be a revision of salaries or other income.” “We are urging people to form committees.” He even talked about giving people interest-free loans.
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9:15 ET: Qaddafi is calling in to Libyan TV right now.
The first thing we hear is him talking about drugs that have been given to protesters to cause them to turn against the regime. He says there are no protesters over 20. These “kids” have been given a specific drug called the “taxi of jedaya” that makes them feel high and they start misbehaving.
He says the protesters are under Bin Laden’s influnce. “Even the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafees are not involved in the latest event. Those are the followers of the early age of Islam. They have political demands. They want to apply sharia law. A long time ago they resorted to violence, but they haven’t now. What has been the inciting factor has been Al Qaeda and Bin Laden.”
“Now that the oil flow has been stopped, how are they going to sustain a living. Will Bin Laden provide for them?”
Qaddafi seems to be trying to talk down his own authority. He says he is a symbolic leader, like the Queen of England.
To his critics he says: “You can put anyone who is suspected of corruption on trial. It is your call.”
Other small concessions: “Maybe there can be a revision of salaries or other income.” “We are urging people to form committees… I am only trying to give you parental advice. I do not have the authority to create laws.”
“Bin Laden should be happy now.”
Qaddafi says true jihad was jihad against the Italian occupiers. Bin Laden’s actions are not true jihad.
Background: Libyan state TV announced an imminent statement by Qaddafi just before 7 ET. The Colonel’s last statement was a defiant 85-minute tirade on Tuesday. Since then, defections have continued and the protesters have taken several cities. However, pro-Qaddafi forces have not backed down.
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