BBC Reports: Gaddifi Captured

The BBC is reporting that rebels claim to have captured the ousted leader of Libya.

Via the BBC:  Libyan forces ‘capture Gaddafi’

Commanders for Libya’s transitional authorities say they have captured ousted leader Col Muammar Gaddafi.

The reports came after transitional forces claimed control of Sirte, Col Gaddafi’s birthplace, following weeks of fierce fighting.

Col Gaddafi is said to be wounded. There is no independent confirmation of the reports.

May it be so.

More as information emerges.

See also, CNN:  Gadhafi captured, says military council on Libyan TV.

The NYT has a report solely on the taking of Surt:  Libyan Fighters Say Qaddafi Stronghold Has Fallen.

Update (Doug Mataconis): Reports now seem to agree that Gadhafi is dead.

TRIPOLI, Libya — Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, the former Libyan strongman who fled into hiding after rebels toppled his regime two months ago in the Arab Spring’s most violent uprising, was killed Thursday as fighters battling the vestiges of his loyalist forces wrested control of his hometown of Surt, the interim government announced.

Al-Jazeera television showed what it said was Colonel Qaddafi’s corpse as jubilant fighters in Surt fired automatic weapons in the air, punctuating what appeared to be an emphatic and violent ending to his four decades as the self-proclaimed king of kings of Africa.

Libyans rejoiced as news of his death spread. Car horns blared in Tripoli as residents poured into the streets to celebrate.

Mahmoud Shammam, the chief spokesman of the Transitional National Council, the interim government that replaced Colonel Qaddafi’s regime after he fled Tripoli in late August, confirmed that Colonel Qaddafi was killed, though he did not provide other details.

“A new Libya is born today,” he said.  “This is the day of real liberation. We were serious about giving him a fair trial.  It seems God has some other wish.”

Abdul Hakim Belhaj, the leader of the Tripoli military council, said on Al Jazeera that anti-Qaddafi forces had Colonel Qaddafi’s body.

It was not clear precisely how he died. Some reports, which could not be verified, recounted that Colonel Qaddafi was arrested, wounded by gunshots and died in custody.

Libya’s interim leaders had said they believed that some Qaddafi family members including the colonel himself and some of his sons had been hiding in Surt or in Bani Walid, another loyalist bastion that the anti-Qaddafi forces captured earlier this week.

There was no immediate comment on the news of his death from American officials or from NATO, which conducted a prolonged bombing campaign against Colonel Qaddafi’s military during the uprising that led to his downfall.

And from al-Jazeera English:

Colonel Ahmed Bani, the military spokesman of the National Transition Council, has confirmed to Al Jazeera that Muammar Gaddafi has been killed.

Abdul Hakim Belhaj, an NTC military chief, said Gaddafi had died of his wounds after being captured near his hometown Sirte.

The body of the former Libyan leader was taken to a location which is being kept secret for security reasons, an NTC official said.

“Gaddafi’s body is with our unit in a car and we are taking the body to a secret place for security reasons,” Mohamed Abdel Kafi, an NTC official in the city of Misrata, told Reuters.

Earlier, Abdel Majid, another NTC official, said the toppled leader had been wounded in both legs.

A photograph taken on a mobile phone appeared to show Gaddafi heavily bloodied, but it was not possible to confirm the authenticity of the picture.

The news came shortly after the NTC captured Sirte, Gaddafi’s hometown, after weeks of fighting.

“Thank God they have caught this person. In one hour, Sirte was liberated,” a fighter in the town said.

There is a photo out purporting to be a cell phone picture of what appears to be a dead person that at least resembles the former Libyan leader. The unanswered question right now appears to be the manner of death. One report says that Gaddafi was discovered hiding by Libyan rebels and died of injuries sustained in a firefight. Another story is that he was killed when a convoy fleeing Sirte was hit from the air by NATO aircraft. Obviously, the Libyan rebels would prefer if the story turned out to be the he was killed by his own people.

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Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. sam says:

    Morning Joe is reporting he’s been killed.

  2. Hey Norm says:

    One less bad guy…no Americans lost…imagine if Obama wasn’t so damn incompetent…oh…wait…er…I mean….

  3. Neil Hudelson says:

    The Guardian’s middle east blog is aggregating the most up to date information. They recently changed headline from “captured” to “killed” but didn’t explain their decision (other than the dozen or so “killed” reports on the blog).* There is also a picture of a body that looks remarkably like Gaddafi’s, but it looks alive.

    *The Misrata Security council is saying he was captured by then either was killed or died in captivity. They will be talking to the press shortly about how it happened.

  4. anjin-san says:

    I am also seeing reports he has been killed. If either is true, it will be interesting to see how the right tries to spin it into an “Obama sucks” meme…

  5. @anjin-san:

    Kadaffi’s death isn’t the end of Libya’s problems. If Iraq is any guide, this is just the beginning; without opposition to the former regime to unite them, all the various subgroups in the new government will begin fighting each other.

    I will give Obama credit on one thing: at least there’s not thousands of our troops caught in the crossfire.

    But it’s far from guaranteed that the new Libya will be any better than the old Libya.

  6. ponce says:

    I thought the more interesting Middle East news this morning was that 10,000 Turkish troops invaded Iraq.

    But I’m nutty that way.

  7. anjin-san says:

    Kadaffi’s death isn’t the end of Libya’s problems.

    That seems patently obvious. In the meantime, I think everyone would be happy that this mass murderer of Americans is dead.

  8. michael reynolds says:

    The man who ordered Pan Am 103 to be blown out of the sky killing 270 innocent people including 189 Americans, is dead.

    It was done as a joint operation of the NTC, Europeans and the US. The US clearly provided the diplomatic muscle, and carried much of the military weight, and yet we never became the face of the intervention. Zero western casualties. No quagmire.

    It’s hard to think of a better-run military intervention.

    Of course we don’t know what happens next. We never do. Life is uncertainty, and the end results of choices are never clear until time plays out.

  9. @anjin-san:

    I was glad when Saddam died too, but years later I don’t think that momment of happiness was worth the cost paid for it. It remains to be seen whether this momment will be worth the cost.

    But the one constant is that these thingsis that, like some geopolitical version of Hofstadter’s Law, they always ending up costing far more than we expected going in.

  10. Jeremy R says:


    I am also seeing reports he has been killed. If either is true, it will be interesting to see how the right tries to spin it into an “Obama sucks” meme…

    If you’ve seen any of Fox’s coverage this morning, particularly the John Bolton appearances, apparently President Obama is responsible for the deaths of countless Libyan innocents because if he’d just had the balls to put boots on the ground it would have been all neatly wrapped up inside a week. :rolleyes:

  11. Jay says:

    Partisan bickering aside, let’s take a minute to think about the fact that a Nato Airstrike may just have killed a foreign leader. This is a big deal.

  12. anjin-san says:

    the cost paid for it

    Well, at this point the cost of Iraq exceeds the cost of Libya by so many orders of magnitude the comparison is meaningless. And there is no rule that says just because the outcome is uncertain that it is necessarily going to be a bad one.

  13. Scott F. says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    If Iraq is any guide

    It’s not. The End.

  14. Jay Tea says:

    @anjin-san: I am also seeing reports he has been killed. If either is true, it will be interesting to see how the right tries to spin it into an “Obama sucks” meme…

    Challenge Accepted.


  15. anjin-san says:

    Challenge Accepted.

    Not a peep from you about the Lockerbie bombing.

    No surprise. You are a single-issue guy, and your agenda is to damage the President by any means possible – in short, you are a typical fringe wingnut.

    If you are a dogmatic Obama hater, justice for murdered Americans is only important if there is a political advantage in it. Clearly in this case, from your perspective, there is not.

  16. Neil Hudelson says:


    I don’t think he could be called a foreign leader at this point. Considering the NTC is the majority political and military faction, Gaddafi would be better termed as a rebel leader of a faction allied against one of our allies.

  17. Jay Tea says:

    @anjin-san: Actually, anjin, I indirectly did — Giacomo’s brother I referred to was aboard Pan Am 103. I should have made it more explicit, and will now. So yeah, I did take that into account.

    And “you just hate Obama” is a wonderful way of saying “I can’t refute what you say, so I’ll just call you a big ol’ doodyhead and ignore what you say.”


  18. Pug says:

    @Jay Tea:

    There is no walking back “from the abyss”, as you said in your article, after you’ve pulled the trigger and murdered 259 innocent civilians in an airplane bombing. Once Osama ordered planes to crash into the WTC, there was no rehabilitation possible.

    The only bad thing about this is that it took so long. Ronald Reagan took a shot at Muammar and got his daughter (allegedly). I’m glad this time they got him.

    And you are a big ol’ doodyhead, but that’s not important.

  19. Rob in CT says:


    That is worrisome.

  20. anjin-san says:


    Do you actually think you said anything that rises to the level of needing rebuttal? You spend too much time on Whiz Bang.

    It is worth noting that you seem to think Lockerbie is like a speeding ticket and Kadhafi somehow bought himself absolution by getting his checkbook out and paying “repariations”.

    See I am one of those weenie liberals you have so much contempt for. I like Obama’s approach. If some asshole thinks it is safe to murder Americans, we declare hunting season on him and won’t quit, ever, until they are dead or in a cage for life.

  21. Jay Tea says:

    @anjin-san: It’s called realpolitik. I was as bloodthirsty against K-Daffy as anyone for a long, long time. But when he caved after we invaded Iraq, we got most of what we wanted without a shot being fired, a single life lost, I reconciled myself that vengeance would have to be set aside for pragmatism.

    Iran, Syria, North Korea… all have done heinous things, even to the US. But we haven’t done anything like what we did to Libya. (Well, Reagan and Bush I smacked them around a bit.) On the other hand, Saddam Hussein did a lot of bad things and was utterly unrepentant, but a lot of liberals wanted to forgive him and let them slide right up until 9/11. He’d almost bought his way out of the sanctions until those attacks changed everything.

    We made a deal with him — at least tacitly. He gave up his WMDs, stopped supporting terrorists, and gave us info on them, and we’d let him off the hook on his past offenses. I didn’t love the deal, but I saw how it was overall a tolerable deal. We got concessions of real substance in exchange for forswearing vengeance.

    Then, first chance we had, under pressure from Europe, we went back on that deal. You think Kim Jong Il, Ahmadinnerjacket, and the Dorktator of Syria didn’t notice how well making a deal with the US worked out for K-Daffy? They’d be idiots to cut a deal with us now.

    All for revenge. Revenge that not too many people on your side thought was too important until Obama declared his UnWar on K-Daffy.

    Hope it works out well. Here’s hoping that Libya doesn’t turn out like Egypt is heading.


  22. anjin-san says:


    Here is some realpolitik for you.

    Kadhafi is really dead.

    We really lost no American lives in the process.

    The people of Libya really have a chance for a better life, which they may or may not take advantage of. (its pretty clear what outcome you are rooting for)

    North Korea can really destroy Seoul any time they want to, which really means there is not much chance of us using military force against them. They are really aware of that, and intervention in Libya is a non-factor in our dealings with them.

    And dude? Loose the “K-Daffy” thing. Seriously. It would be embarrassing coming from a kid writing for a high school newspaper. This is not a situation that calls for levity, especially of the ham-handed variety. People are really dying over there.

  23. anjin-san says:

    Then, first chance we had, under pressure from Europe

    It seems like just… yesterday you were telling us how Obama has alienated Europe. Now he is kowtowing to them?

    Pick a line of BS and stick with it. You would still not be credible, but you might work your way up from being a complete joke.

  24. Jay Tea says:

    @anjin-san: I stole the “K-Daffy” bit from Peter David, my favorite author and seriously moonbatty leftist, who coined it in frustration over all the different spellings. And no, I won’t drop it.

    Your “realpolitik” is more like “cockeyed optimism.” Yes, I’m glad K-Daffy’s dead and I’m even gladder that no US lives were lost in the process. As for the rest, it’s clear you’re following the Tinkerbell model of clapping and hoping for the best. Along with ignoring the precedent it set about cutting deals with the US.

    I’ll wait and see.


  25. An Interested Party says:

    I reconciled myself that vengeance would have to be set aside for pragmatism.

    A pity Bush didn’t think that way before he decided to conduct his Iraq Debacle…revenge that your side was all for, by the way…and an action which put “Ahmadinnerjacket’s” country in a much better position than it had previously been in…proof that pursuing revenge can be a pretty stupid thing…

  26. Jay Tea says:

    @An Interested Party: Revenge was only one aspect, as I’ve explained too many times… and probably the least important factor.

  27. An Interested Party says:

    @Jay Tea: Oh yes of course, because 9/11 changed everything, including common sense, apparently…

  28. Jay says:

    @Neil Hudelson: That’s an interesting point. It’s hard to know how to apply any of our typical Just War guidelines to countries that have such unstable factions. I should amend my comment to say “a NATO airstrike may have just killed either a foreign leader or helped a foreign gov kill a rebel.” Not as striking, I admit 🙂

  29. anjin-san says:

    A pity Bush didn’t think that way before he decided to conduct his Iraq Debacle…revenge that your side was all for

    And of course they wanted to take revenge on Saddam for something bin laden did. Then they proceeded to forget about getting bin laden.

  30. anjin-san says:

    Your “realpolitik” is more like “cockeyed optimism.”

    North Korea can destroy Seoul and almost ceartainly Tokyo. The west is not going to attack them and they know it. Nuclear weapons are actually pretty good at stopping wars before they start.

  31. matt says:

    @anjin-san: There’s enough artillery aimed at Seoul that they don’t even need a nuclear weapon..