Current time and date in Tripoli:
MONDAY, February 28
11:00 PM The US Treasury has said that US$30 billion in Libyan assets have been blocked and US naval ships and planes are being moved closer to Libya, “planning and preparing” for missions, “whether humanitarian or otherwise”. Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, would not discuss military options but said that the US would consider a range of responses against Gaddafi if he continued to attack his own people. David Cameron said the UK did not rule out the use of force against Muammar Gaddafi and he has asked colleagues to work on plans for a no-fly zone and would consider arming the Libyan opposition.
France is sending two planes with humanitarian aid, including medicine and doctors, to Benghazi – the first direct western aid to the uprising.
9:00 PM Muammar Gaddafi tells BBC that no one is protesting against him, no one is against him, all the Libyan people love him and would die for him. He says the people protesting are Al Qaeda.
8:20 PM Al Arabiya reports an interview with a Revolutionary Guards Corps colonel who said Iran has “several military bases” in Libya, mostly along Libya’s borders with the African countries of Chad and Niger. He said that Iran and Libya have been collaborating on these bases since 2006, and “with the current unrest in Libya, over 500 Guards have been unable to evacuate and are under orders to destroy all documents”.
Saif al Islam Gaddafi holding a machine gun and shouting slogans to supporters. Yesterday said in interviews that everything was calm, the Gaddafis were “in high spirits” and “laughing” at reports of unrest.
Paragraphs 22-23 invite states to nominate regime members (inc military, police etc) who are responsible for human rights abuses and attacks on civilians. These individuals will be added to the list of those subject – immediately – to the assets freeze and travel ban: the sanctions imposed in other paras of the resolution. I don’t claim that this will bring about the immediate end of the Gadhaffi regime, but it’s something, and may have some deterrent effect.
The invitation to states to nominate these criminals is all very well, but with no diplomats in situ I don’t see how outside states can know who these people might be. Instead, how about providing a channel for Libyans on the ground observing the crimes of the regime to nominate people? Perhaps Human Rights Watch, Amnesty and others could think about this. Why don’t they invite nominations? Why don’t some right-thinking states including those who drafted and pushed this resolution do so too? I’m thinking perhaps of an email address where Libyans can nominate people for sanctions, or as others like Richard Robbins have suggested more imaginatively, what about a wiki which people on the ground could contribute evidence of crimes and abuses? Wouldn’t it be great if the UN itself – and quickly -were to set up such a site? But it needs to happen fast!
The Telegraph reports that when the UN Security Council called Saturday night for the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate the killings of demonstrators, the US insisted that the UN resolution was worded so that no one from an outside country that is not a member of the ICC could be prosecuted for their actions in Libya. Algeria, Ethiopia and Tunisia were all pointed out by the Telegraph as being states which were ported to have mercenaries in Libya, but were not members of the ICC.
The move was seen as an attempt to prevent a precedent that could see Americans prosecuted by the ICC for alleged crimes in other conflicts. While the US was once among the signatories to the court, George W. Bush withdrew from it in 2002 and declared that it did not have power over Washington.
The demonstrations in Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan have both involved unidentified, possibly US, security forces shooting protesters.
More from Al Jazeera on the provisional Libyan government with the temporary capital to be in Benghazi until Tripoli is liberated. The interim president is Abud Ajleil, and the government will undertake the development of a new constitution, flag and anthem once all of Libya has been liberated. Former Libyan justice minister Mustafa Mohamed Abdel Jalil told Al Jazeera the provisional government “will lead for no more than three months – and then there will be fair elections and the people will choose their leader.” About the provisional president, he said, “He is a very honest man. He was in charge of the justice issue in the eastern part of Libya when the regime asked him to hang an innocent Libyan citizen and he refused. I am sure he will gain support of all Libyans and of the international community.” He repeated many times that the capital will be in Tripoli.
Al Jazeera reports 2000 Gaddafi troops have surrounded the city of Zawiyah where the protesters say more than 2000 police had defected and were now with the protesters. The protesters also say they have seized weapons and even tanks to defend themselves.