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CNN BREAKING NEWS
Moammar Gadhafi Is Dead
Aired October 20, 2011 - 12:59 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: I'd like to welcome our viewers from around the world. I'm Don Lemon, here with Hala Gorani.
You know, he overthrew a king and ruled by decree for almost 42 years. Now less than two months after he was overthrown, with NATO support, Moammar Gadhafi is dead.
GORANI: Well, Don, it's an historic day for Libya, it's an historic day for the region, for the world as well. And welcome, by the way, to our CNN International viewers. We continue to cover all the fast-moving developments and the still-emerging details as only CNN can.
LEMON: And we have been watching the pictures unfold. Here are some live pictures now. It's been a very raucous day of celebrating in Tripoli, the Libyan capital. And that's what you're looking at pictures of, especially in Martyrs Square there. The new prime minister from the National Transitional Council says, and I quote this, "all the evils have vanished from this beloved country." The council plans to declare the nation liberated as soon as today, Hala.
GORANI: Well, Gadhafi was killed in his own hometown. The entire time, it appears, Don, as though he was there. This is graphic video that we're showing you. Cell phone camera video from Sirte, east of Tripoli. Images of the fallen dictator's body were obtained by al Jazeera. We note a NATO air strike hit a pro-Gadhafi convoy there. But leading officials say Gadhafi was shot to death in the end by fighters of the new regime.
Wolf Blitzer is in Washington, D.C., with the U.S. ambassador of the Libyan National Transitional Council, Ali Alijali (ph). They will both join us live in a moment. But first, a look at the life of Moammar Gadhafi.
GORANI (voice-over): As a 27-year-old army officer, Moammar Gadhafi overthrew Libya's king in 1969. And then set about wiping all foreign influence from the country, including all vestiges of communism or capitalism, publishing his personal philosophy in a three-volume green book.
Gadhafi always said that his goal was to change the world. But it was the way he set out to do it that amused, confused, and often infuriated. Gadhafi said he wanted to unite the Arab world and even proclaimed a merger with Libya, Egypt and Syria in 1972. That merger plan fell apart. A later merger attempt with Tunisia disintegrated into bitter animosity. Maintaining a colorful profile wherever he went, he made a point of emphasizing his bed win (ph)roots, sleeping in tents, protected by an eye-catching female security detail. His speeches were legendary for both length and bombast. This 2009 speech at the U.N. was typical.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MOAMMAR GADHAFI, FORMER LEADER OF LIBYA (through translator): we are not committed to obey the rules or resolutions of the councils with this information because it is undemocratic --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: What was supposed to be a 15-minute talk rambled on more than 90 minutes. But while he sometimes appeared a clown on the world stage, his actions were often deadly. In the mid-80s, he funneled money and weapons to support the Palestine liberation organization's fight against Israel, The Irish Republican army's efforts to defeat British rule in northern Ireland, And he viciously targeted Americans.
In 1986, Libyan agents were accused of bombing a Berlin nightclub killing two Americans and a Turk. U.S. president Ronald Reagan responded by bombing Tripoli, targeting Gadhafi's house. The raid killed more than 100 people, including Gadhafi's own daughter. Two years later, Pan Am Flight 103 blew up over the tiny village of Lockerbie, Scotland, raining debris and taking 270 lives.
Investigators traced the attack to Libya. When Libya refused to turn over the suspect, the U.N. Imposed tough sanctions leaving the country isolated and increasingly destitute. After 11 years as an international outcast, Gadhafi cut a deal. He gave up the Lockerbie bombing suspects for trial, and after the U.S. invaded Iraq, he surprised the world by agreeing to destroy all of his chemical, nuclear and biological weapons.
Gadhafi soon welcomed western oil companies like BP and total into Libya, but questions lingered about whether some western oil contracts were traded for Scotland's release of one of the convicted Lockerbie bombers. And he didn't give up the bizarre behavior. On a 2009 visit to Italy, he invited 200 models to his ambassador's house, paying each $75 to listen to lectures on Islam and giving each a copy of the Koran.
Back home, patience was running thin. After more than 40 years, rebellion bubbled up in the Eastern part of the country, quickly spreading across Libya. As his government disintegrated, he addressed the nation from the same house bombed by the U.S. in 1986.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GADHAFI (through translator): This is my country, the country of my grandfathers.
(END VIDEO CLIP) GORANI: He vowed to die a martyr in Libya.
LEMON: We have some breaking news now to report out of Libya. We have been telling you about what happened when Moammar Gadhafi was captured and then killed. And there was some news or concern exactly who was with him, which son was with him and we're getting new information about that.
Well, the national transitional council said a few hours ago that Mo'tassim, another son of Moammar Gadhafi was killed. Now al Arabiya television is reporting that Seif al-Islam Gadhafi, probably the best known public face among the sons of Moammar Gadhafi, that man who wore the western face, the sort of a friendly face of Libya when it came to negotiating an end to the nuclear program, when it came to negotiating a settlement with the Lockerbie bombing victims, this is Seif al-Islam Gadhafi. And now reports coming from al Arabiya that he has been killed -- the 39-year-old killed in Libya today, the same day his father was killed by rebel fighters.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You saw early in the summer when all of the uprising was happening in Libya, he was the face of the -- of the government there -- of the Gadhafi government there and had -- was the spokesman for his father, born in 1972. He was 39 -- would have been 39 years old.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: I would caution though to be just a little bit careful with this information, because though the Moammar Gadhafi news was confirmed, we heard, Joe, remember several weeks ago in Tripoli -- or I should say several months now after the fall of Tripoli that he was captured and he was not in the end. So, we're going to have to wait for a definite confirmation of the --
LEMON: And that's why the secretary of state this morning -- because there were reports of the same thing, Moammar Gadhafi had been killed and it turned out not to be true. This time it is true and again we're learning about Seif al-Islam, at least al Arabiya is reporting about that.
Now, let's bring in CNN's Wolf Blitzer now for some analysis on this. Wolf, this breaking news coming in now, and as Hala said, we have to be careful because it is reported by al Arabiya, not CNN's reporting here.
BLITZER: Right. And there had been previous reports over these many months that one another of Gadhafi's sons had been killed. Those reports are proved to be inaccurate. So, let's be cautious a little bit. But if it's true that Seif al-Islam was in fact killed today together with his father today, that is obviously major, major news.
I'm told that Dan Rivers is our man in Tripoli right now. Dan, have you gotten independent confirmation that Seif al-Islam or Mo'tassim Gadhafi, that either one of them was killed today in this operation?
DAN RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: No, we haven't, Wolf. I mean, we've been hearing the rumors about what seen earlier on today but not being independently. The NTC held a press conference and basically, you know, playing for time a little bit when it comes to the specifics of how Moammar Gadhafi was killed and any details about his sons. So, we haven't gotten any independent confirmation of that. (INAUDIBLE), this is what used to be called Green Square.
I don't know if the cameraman can -- just to give you a little view of what it is now, it is a sea of the new flags of the new Libya. They've renamed it Martyr's Square. It is full of people here not only celebrating but poignantly reflecting on the horrors of the Gadhafi regime. Some of them are here holding photos of loved ones who died either in the fight to liberate Libya or who died at the hands of the Gadhafi regime. So, it's not all about celebration and laughter, but there is certainly a huge sense of relief here, a huge sense of this as a day of enormous import, of enormous history.
And the 20th of October I think will be a day that no one here will ever forget. I'm sure they'll be naming streets after it for decades to come and I'm sure they'll be teaching this in schools and history lessons for decades to come as well as the day that Libya was finally liberated from Colonel Gadhafi.
BLITZER: And so the celebration, for the meantime, continues but all of the information, all of the circumstances surrounding the killing of Moammar Gadhafi and whether or not, as al Arabiya reports, Seif al-Islam was killed in the same operation as well, all of that still remains very, very murky. We are getting more information. Dan, stand by, I'm going to come back to you shortly. But we'll take quick break. The breaking news will continue. The Libya's ambassador here in the United States is here at CNN. We're going to be speaking with him live in just a moment. We'll get the very latest information from Libya's man in Washington, Ali Aujali, when we come back.
BLITZER: Months before Gadhafi's death, rebel fighters established the National Transitional Council. The former Libyan justice minister Mustafa Abdul-Jalil became chairman. The Council then formed an interim government naming -- actually University president and Mahmoud Jalil the prime minister. On July 15th, the United States recognized the National Transitional Council as the legitimate governing authority in Libya. Jibril has promised to build, quote, "a state of institutions and a state of law." So far the Council's financial body has received $662 million in international loans and payments from Libya's assets that were frozen and held here in the United States. Despite allegations of financial corruption by the Council's money managers, the prime minister Jalil has promised full transparency in its economic dealings.
Joining us now is Ali Aujali, the ambassador of the Libyan National Transitional Council to the United States. He's recognized as Libya's ambassador here in Washington. He was Libya's ambassador during the Gadhafi regime. He broke with Gadhafi. He's now the ambassador of the new government.
Mr. Ambassador, thanks very much for coming in. Let's get to some of the important news. First of all, can you confirm that Seif al-Islam, the son of Gadhafi, is in fact dead?
ALI AUJALI, AMBASSADOR TO U.S., NATIONAL TRANSITIONAL COUNCIL: I just heard the news when I'm step in CNN. I have no time to call Tripoli to find out. But I believe this would be his end if he's not dead, then they would capture him very soon. I am sure of that. The family and sons, they have no place to go, no place to hide, not anymore. Libya is free from them, from their mercenaries.
BLITZER: Al Arabiya has reported that Seif al-Islam is dead. Do you know anything about the other son, Mo'tassim? Do you know if he's alive or dead? Was he with his father at the time of this incident this morning when Gadhafi was killed?
AUJALI: Well, my information from the NTC members this morning that both of them were killed, that Gadhafi and his son, Mo'tassim, and also the minister of defense, if I may call him minister,(INAUDIBLE), that the three of them have been killed.
BLITZER: The former minister, the minister during the Gadhafi regime.
AUJALI: During Gadhafi regime.
BLITZER: Do you know the circumstances? Have you been told by your government in Tripoli the circumstances, how Moammar Gadhafi was killed? And I specifically ask because there's a lot of questions still out there. Did that NATO air strike on some convoy in Sirte this morning, was that part -- did that lead to the death eventually of Gadhafi?
AUJALI: Well, the details I have, there was a convoy of Gadhafi and this convoy was engaged in exchanging fires with the revolutionaries and Gadhafi were killed. But to me if you ask me, Wolf, I am not really very interested in the details how Gadhafi was killed. For me, that Gadhafi better to be killed than captured alive. I think this is less problem for us, even the Libyan people. I think they want to see him alive, but I think this will be an issue. I believe that he was killed because they -- his assistants or his bodyguard, they don't stop shooting the revolutionaries then because of this that he was killed in the battling.
BLITZER: So, it doesn't make any difference to you whether he survived the battle, was wounded, but then later executed by some of the Libyan forces. You don't care --
AUJALI: No, I don't think -- I don't -- no, no, no. I don't -- I do care that the revolutionary will not be executing him if they captured him alive. This is very important issue. I think all the Libyans, they need to see him alive if they can get it. But we don't know if Gadhafi has been shot dead before the revolutionary they get him. Nobody can claim at all that he's been killed after he's been captured alive. It is not true at all. The Libyan, as I said, they want to see him alive and they want to capture him and they want to ask him. Not only the Libyan, maybe the international community, the ICC, International Court of Criminals. They all want to see him alive.
BLITZER: Because I know that there have been -- there were many suggestions by you and other transitional authorities in Libya that maybe he could be tried in both Libya, as well as subsequently at the International Criminal Court in the Netherlands. I know you were thinking about all those legal aspects. But all of those questions right now moot given the fact that Gadhafi is dead.
Do you know what they're going to do with his body right now? I ask the question because the Obama administration was so sensitive when it killed bin Laden in Pakistan, in Abbottabad, Pakistan. They took the body and they buried it at sea in accordance with Islamic law. Do you know what your government is going to do with Moammar Gadhafi's body?
AUJALI: Well, I believe that according to the Islamic instruction, that a dead body have to be buried. This is the normal procedures and I think -- and I'm sure that the NTC, they will do the same thing with the body of Gadhafi and the other dead people. The mercenaries, when they captured them or when they found them dead, then they do the same thing in Misrata and Udebia (ph) and Sirte, all the cities, they take them and they bury them. It will be the same thing for Gadhafi's body and (INAUDIBLE) and the rest of his family, if any of them has been killed. Yes, that's what it will be. We have to respect, you know, the dead people, dead people.
BLITZER: And will it be at a location that will be well known? I ask the question only because he probably has some followers out there who may decide they want to create a shrine around that grave site, if you will. Is that going to be at a marked grave or will it be unknown to the public?
AUJALI: Well, Wolf, I can tell you the chapter of Gadhafi is over. The Gadhafi (INAUDIBLE) to the Libyan of terror, not in martyr death. A nightmare. Then if he's -- is -- if he's grave is known to the Libyans or is not known to the Libyans, I think it will make no difference for the Libyans who suffered for the last 42 years from Gadhafi. It may be for his own family, that's true. But Libyans, they bury their dead in a very humble, you know, way. We don't have this many of marbles and things like that. You see -- you can see them, but usually the Libyans, they bury their dead in a very simple way.
BLITZER: You're the ambassador of Libya to the United States. So what do you want to say to the American people, to the Obama administration, members of Congress, and NATO, for that matter, for the assistance that you received that led up to the overthrow of the Gadhafi regime and now to his death.
AUJALI: I remember very well, Wolf, when you ask me this question maybe second time you interview me, what I do want from Obama. What I want to tell President Obama. And I told him my message at that time that he should help the Libyans. Now I want to tell, through you, through the CNN, that the president, the American people, the Capitol Hill, the media, thank you very much what you did for Libyans. They have to be proud. American you have to be proud because they take the lead -- took the lead for the first few weeks to help the Libyan -- or to stop Gadhafi from killing his own people.
But now the war is over. There are so many challenges. The relation between Libya and the United States is already changed. When we process even visas for the Americans completely different. It's more faster than it used to be. Then the confidence is there. But we need the Americans to be close to us. We need them to help us to build our democratic institution. We need them also to help the Libyans to build their economy. The American companies are invited to participate in reconstruction of Libya. And also training Libyan people. This is a very emergent case.
The other important thing that the Libyan (INAUDIBLE). This is a great challenge. And I'm really grateful to Secretary Clinton, to Senator McCain, Senator Rubio, Graham (ph) (INAUDIBLE) who went to Libya and when they came back then they called for demonstration to help the treatment of the Libyan injuries (ph), either by sending hospital ship or by opening the military hospitals in Europe to receive the Libyan injured. This is a great challenge now in front of the NTC.
And, of course, I have to thank NATO and our countries, neighbor countries, who help us. Thank you very much, America. Thank you. But you took the right decision, you know, to help the Libyan people. You are sending now the Libyan people, they are sending a strong message to all over the world, the dictatorship, they have no more place on the earth.
BLITZER: Because it wasn't just NATO and the United States and Canada, for that matter. It was also some Arab --
AUJALI: And Canada also, yes.
BLITZER: Your fellow Arab countries, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, as well as Jordan, were directly involved militarily in helping you.
Let me just wind up, Mr. Ambassador, with two sensitive questions. I spoke about this with Senator McCain earlier it the day. He said when he was recently in Libya, your government said that it would consider reimbursing American taxpayers for the cost of helping you liberate your country from Gadhafi. The vice president, Joe Biden, just said it was $2 billion. Are you open to that, to reimbursing the United States for the expense of all of the operations, the NATO operations, in Libya?
AUJALI: Well, I think this is one of the issues that can be discussed among -- between the Libyans and the Americans. But I believe -- this is my personal view -- if the American reimbursed, then it will not give the same feeling to the Libyans when the Americans they came to help them just for the sake of democracy, for the sake of human rights, for the sake of human being. When the Gadhafi, he came, start killing his own people, using a different kind of weapon and the Americans, they speed up and came up with the strong position to help the Libyan people.
But at the same time, we do understand the economic problems facing United States and Europeans and I think the Libyans, they will be ready to discuss any kind of issues concerning this.
BLITZER: Because Libya itself, as you know and all of our viewers know, potentially a wealthy country given the fact that it's a major oil exporting country.
One final question, Mr. Ambassador. The Pan Am 103 convicted killer, Abdul Basat al Megrahi (ph). As you know, the Pan Am families, they're very concerned. They would like to see him -- assuming he survives -- he's been alive now for two years since coming back from Scotland, they would like to see him brought, let's say, to the United States for questioning. Are you open to that assuming he is healthy enough to do that?
AUJALI: Well, Wolf, you know that Megrahi, he's a very sick man. He's living with oxygen beside his bed. I think the thing this may be Americans and the Libyans and the justice want for him that if he has any information that he can give to help us to establish how the Lockerbie bombing was made during the Gadhafi's in (ph) power.
But apart from that, I believe that the American families, they have more compassion and they are -- do understand the situation and the Libyans societies also and the traditions and I don't think that they will be seeking for Megrahi to go back to Scotland or to be captured by other, you know, countries, you know, for more trials. I think what we need, that we need how this has been made -- or how this was done, you know, if he has any useful information. But if -- I saw the last photo of him. He's a very sick man.
BLITZER: Mr. Ambassador, I know you're a very happy man on this day. The confirmation that Gadhafi is dead, maybe one or both of his sons, his other sons Moatessem and Saif al-Arab -- Saif al-Islam. Saif al-Arab already dead. But Saif al-Islam may be dead as well according to al Arabiya.
We'll continue our conversation. But thanks so much for joining us. Thanks for coming in.
AUJALI: Thank you for your support. Thank you very much. I appreciate your help and your understanding and your support of the Libyan peoples' struggles. Thank you for every country helping Libya.
BLITZER: Ali Aujali is the Libyan ambassador to the United States.
Mr. Ambassador, thanks very much.
Much more of the breaking news coverage for our viewers here in the United States and around the world. After a short break, we'll also have a time line of the Gadhafi rise to power.
LEMON: Welcome back now to our continuing coverage of the capture and eventual death of Moammar Gadhafi.
HALA GORANI, CNN ANCHOR: And these reports that at least one of the sons of Moammar Gadhafi, Moatessem, is also dead. Saif al-Islam Gadhafi, reports that he's been killed unconfirmed.
You're seeing a live feed there of the White House. We're expecting President Obama to give -- to make a statement a little bit later on at 2:00 p.m. Eastern on the reported death of Moammar Gadhafi.
LEMON: The president will do that at 2:00 p.m., at the top of the hour, in just about 30 minutes. And he'll do it from the Rose Garden in the United States.
Moammar Gadhafi was a man of grand ambitions and sometimes ruthless methods, Hala. And he was born in 1942 near the Libyan town of Sirte. He studied at the military academy in Benghazi. And, ironically, the seat of the revolution that ousted him. He married twice, fathered eight children and adopted two others.
In September of 1969, he led the revolt that toppled Libya's king and he never looked back since then. In 1986, President Reagan ordered Tripoli bombed over Libya's role in a nightclub bombing that killed two U.S. troops in Berlin. And then two years later, Pan Am Flight 103 was bombed over Lockerbie, Scotland, and Libyan agents were implicated in that.
GORANI: In 2003, after the invasion of Iraq, Gadhafi publicly renounced weapons of mass destruction. But this year, after turning his guns and artillery on his own people, the U.N. called for a no fly zone. That quickly led to a NATO air campaign. By July the U.S. had formally recognized the rebels, the National Transitional Council, as Libya's rightful rulers. And one month later, they overran Tripoli.
Our next guest is a veteran foreign correspondent who's interviewed Gadhafi. Today Robin Wright is a author and distinguished scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center.
Now, your first sort of reaction as you heard the news first and then saw this remarkable video of Gadhafi apparently dead, and then video later on that surfaced of him still alive in rebel hands.
ROBIN WRIGHT, SCHOLAR, WOODROW WILSON CENTER: Well, this is an extraordinary moment for Libya as it moves into a whole different era. Libya is the one country of the 22 nations that actually has the prospect of making it through a transition. And the only holdout was this period when Moammar Gadhafi fought his own people from August 22 until today.
And his passing means that the Libyans can move beyond this trauma to begin to reconstruct. And that's really a turning point for the entire region as important as the ouster of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt and President Ben Ali in Tunisia.
GORANI: Just in the last few hours, Robin, We have heard from analysts and Middle East experts say not so fast. This isn't necessarily going to be easy for Libya, that there are divisions even among the revolutionaries. There are tribal divisions, there are geographic differences, and there is going to be a real fight for power and control of the massive resources of Libya.
WRIGHT: Well, there are 140-odd tribes and clans and deep rivalries between the two different parts of the country, the east in Benghazi and the west in Tripoli.
And, yes, there will be militias as well that all feel that they played a significant role in ousting the regime and want a share of both the political and economic spoils. This is the basis for a lot of tension down the road. But Libya's also a country with only six- and-a-half million people and vast oil resources.
And so it has far fewer problems than a country like Egypt, for example, with 85 million people and very limited resources. So this is a period when the international community is also going to want to find at least one country where it can help, and there's a big incentive because of Libya's resources, frankly.
LEMON: And, Robin, a lot of people wanted to see him in front of an international war crimes court and they wanted to see him pay for this. What does it mean for him that and for the world, especially for Libya and the world, that he was killed, rather than captured?
WRIGHT: Well, I think it sends an important message to other leaders in the region, whether it's the trial of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt for everything from corruption and human rights violations to possibly authorizing force against his own people, to Moammar Gadhafi's death today.
The message, common message is that leaders will be held to account and this is important turning point for the region. All 22 Arab countries and even the wider Islamic world, the last bloc of countries to hold out against the democratic tide, that their leaders are not immune, that everyone faces some kind of danger if they don't respond to the kind of grassroots opposition that's growing almost every place.
GORANI: And, Robin, at least some of all of this is going to boil down to those resources, these oil resources. Western countries certainly interested in establishing close links with the new governing -- with the new leadership in Libya in order to take advantage of those resources. So how is that going to unfold?
WRIGHT: Well, Libya is a country where, despite the kind of destruction that's happened, the U.S. estimate is that it can get its oil production up in less than two years.
And it has the potential even to produce more oil than it has in the past. And this is very important for our European allies, and in potentially in the price of oil to the rest of us.
Robin Wright, thanks very much for joining us on CNN and CNN International -- Don.
LEMON: And you know what?
Moammar Gadhafi has always said that he would never leave, he was going to die, he was going to die in Libya. And guess what? To that end, the protesters could only imagine back in February that all of this would happen as they took to the streets here.
Now, after eight months of protests and intense fighting, Libya now faces a new beginning, a true end to Gadhafi's 42-year reign. Now, this was the scene on the streets in Tripoli just today, lots of celebrating going on.
Want to bring in now Bobby Ghosh. He's a deputy international editor for "TIME" magazine. And he's reported extensively on Libya, Gadhafi and the battle for control of the front lines. He joins us now.
Thank you, sir. Appreciate you joining us.
An historic moment for Libyan people, no doubt, but the big question is what now? How do the Libyan people transition from a dictator to a democracy to a completely new political culture?
BOBBY GHOSH, DEPUTY INTERNATIONAL EDITOR, "TIME": Well, the transition began two months ago when Tripoli fell to the rebels. I guess we can no longer call them rebels. They're now the government forces.
I think one of the first challenges for the administration is to create a security apparatus, new police, new military. They will have to build on what infrastructure they already have. Some of the forces that were loyal to Gadhafi will have to be taken in to any new apparatus.
But once they can establish law and order and peace in their cities, which doesn't look like it is going to be a major problem, then they can get down to the serious business of recovering all the money that Gadhafi had in foreign banks and in foreign countries, and then begin to invest that money into the Libyan economy, create jobs for all these people who are right now out in the streets firing guns in the air and are very happy, but in the weeks and months ahead are going to begin to wonder about where they get their incomes and how they feed their families.
LEMON: Bobby, I want to talk to you a little bit more about the transition, but my question is same to you as to Robin, little bit different though. A lot of people wanted to see him go on trial in front of an international war crimes court.
The question is, because a lot of people wanted answers there. They don't know what happened to their loved ones, hundreds, maybe thousands of people. Will they ever get some answers? Is there anyone who can answer this besides Moammar Gadhafi?
GHOSH: I think quite a lot of those answers will be available. There are enough people around Gadhafi who have been arrested. There are enough documents that have been claimed, that have been secured that will provide some of those answers. Gadhafi will have taken some to the grave with him.
The important thing I think is how Libyans feel about this, rather than the rest of us. And I think if you asked in the streets of Tripoli -- in fact, I have seen you do that -- the response has universally been, we're glad to be rid of him. Yes, it would be nice to see him in the dock, but there is a catharsis to seeing the end of this.
Keep in mind that for the majority of Libyans, they have known no other leader than this one and they're very, very keen and very much in a hurry to get on with their post-Gadhafi life. And so the end of Gadhafi in this way, although it may leave some answers -- some questions unanswered, is probably for the Libyan society on balance probably a good thing.
Bobby Ghosh, lots more questions for you, but unfortunately we're out of time. Thank you so much from "TIME" magazine. We appreciate it.
GORANI: Well, he took control of Libya in 1969 after overthrowing the king there.
LEMON: Yes, a look at Gadhafi and how he rose to power and U.S. reaction to his death, that's next.
GORANI: Many Libyans today are celebrating the death of Moammar Gadhafi, but how is his demise being viewed in other Muslim nations and the rest of the Arab world as well?
Fawaz Gerges is director of the Middle East Center at the London School of Economics. He's an expert on Islam and author of two books on jihad and Muslim militancy.
Professor Gerges joins us live from Paris.
All right, so we have seen the images now, Fawaz. We have seen the cell phone video. We have seen what is really once again the highly symbolic and physical death of a dictator. Now what?
FAWAZ GERGES, LONDON SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS: Well, I mean I think that's the biggest question.
In fact, I am extremely, Hala, concerned about this frenzied celebration, the joy over the brutal killing of a dictator. I think this will likely reinforce some of the divisions that exist in Libya. Remember in the last few weeks, the fighting in Sirte and Bani Walid basically tell me that the ideological and the tribal divisions are very real.
And this new frenzied celebration will likely deepen and widen the cleavages in particular among some of the loyalists of Gadhafi. But I think the message throughout the Arab world is that basically if you oppress your people, if you don't engage your civil society, if you stay in power for -- if you stay in power for so many years, this will be your end.
If I was sitting in Damascus tonight, if I were sitting in basically Sanaa today, Yemen, I would have a sleepless night because the symbolism and message is clear that this could happen to you, to President Ali Abdullah Saleh of Yemen, to even President Bashar al- Assad of Syria.
GORANI: Well, but one of the things you do say, Fawaz, is don't celebrate too soon, not so fast, in other words, that the road ahead is going to be difficult. It is going to be difficult to unify the opposition, in fact unify the country of Libya, not just in a country like Libya, but in others as well, once the dictator is gone, when you have no tradition of democracy.
I mean, these challenges are going to take years to overcome, aren't they?
GERGES: Absolutely. And remember, Hala, I mean, the Egyptians were united over getting rid of Mubarak. Look where Egypt today -- look at the fierce political struggle.
The same thing applies to Libya. In fact, Libya is much more divided than Egypt or even Yemen for this particular sense. The Misrata Council does not even recognize the TNC in Tripoli as the legitimate government of Libya. The entire world has recognized the TNC in Tripoli as the government of Libya, yet the Misrata Council in Eastern Libya does not do so. This tells you about the regional differences.
I am yet -- I don't want to give any slack to the rebels in Libya. We have reports, Hala, coming out from human rights organizations about human rights violations, about killings, about stabbing of prisoners in Libya, and even the story of how Gadhafi is killed, I want to see more about what happened. He was captured alive and yet we're told he's dead.
So the reality is the challenges are much more greater than basically the celebration we are seeing today in Western capitals. And I think the morning after, we will wake up to a Libya that has changed very little in terms of really mending the rifts inside the country itself.
I want to see the new leadership of Libya making really serious efforts at basically mending the rifts and bringing the regional, the ideological and the tribal elements into the new government, a unified national unity government in Libya.
GORANI: Fawaz Gerges, there is a time for celebration. Today is a time for celebration for many Libyans, but then, as you point out, a time to look in a sober way at the challenges ahead and also to hold to account those who have taken over in Libya, as you mentioned. That is going to be most certainly one of the things we're going to have to keep a close eye on.
Thanks so much, Fawaz Gerges.
He's live in Paris today -- Don.
LEMON: Yes, we're going to get to our Wolf Blitzer, but before we do that we have a bit of developing news we want to show now because with Moammar Gadhafi, it's believed his son was there, Mutassim Gadhafi. We want to tell you that Libyan government television is showing a photograph of him dead. Again, this is according to Libyan television.
And that is a picture of Mutassim Gadhafi dead. That's what they're saying Moammar Gadhafi's son.
CNN's Wolf Blitzer in Washington.
Wolf, you heard what lies ahead with all of this, Moammar Gadhafi dead, one of his son, and then there are reports not confirmed by CNN, that Saif al-Islam, the son who really had taken over for his father, is now dead as well.
BLITZER: Yes, perhaps the best known of all the sons, Saif al- Islam.
Al-Arabiya, the Arabic satellite channel reporting that Saif al- Islam also dead. We have not confirmed that, but there you saw the picture of Mutassim Gadhafi, the other son, dead, a picture shown on Libyan state television.
Our next guest has a very unique perspective on Gadhafi's impact and the tactics that brought him down. General Wesley Clark is the former NATO supreme allied commander, the one-time presidential candidate here in the United States as well.
General, is this -- what NATO did right now -- and I want you to put on your cap as a former supreme NATO allied commander. What NATO did in Libya over these past several months, is that a precedent for what NATO potentially should do in Syria?
WESLEY CLARK, FORMER NATO SUPREME ALLIED COMMANDER: It could be a precedent. It has to be balanced off against the competing interests.
And Syria is a much different case. Every one of these activities, every case has to be looked at as a unique case. So Syria's going to be different from Libya. But what it does show, Wolf, is that NATO's capable of a sustained effort, despite political opposition, despite the fact that some member governments may not actively support it, and despite the fact that if you were on the other side of it you would look at NATO and say, look at them all quarreling, they will never get it done.
I'm sure Gadhafi and his group at one time or another would watch the political news and think, NATO is going to come apart. But, of course, it doesn't.
BLITZER: Would you recommend to the president of the United States and to the NATO commanders, the NATO allies that NATO start thinking along similar lines, doing in Syria what it has just done in Libya?
CLARK: Well, I would like to keep any recommendation I would make along that lines personal and private.
But what I would say is this, that the people in Syria are in desperate condition. They need assistance. They need support. They need moral support from the outside world.
And Bashar Assad in Syria should be under no illusions. If the Syrian people have sustained their resistance against his rule, month after month after month, through all the brutality and punishment he's doled out, they're going to be resisting him for a long time. His days are numbered. He's going to go the way of Gadhafi.
Gadhafi had a choice. He could have taken a statesmanlike approach when it broke out and the world came down against him. He could have said, look, I have done my part, I have made Libya a nation, I have gotten rid of the colonials, I have taken oil back for the Libyan people, and it is time for younger leadership. He could have gone out in a statesmanlike fashion. So could Bashar Assad.
BLITZER: Because Gadhafi did have many opportunities to leave Libya even. He said he would never do that, but he could have. He had free passage. His sons certainly had an opportunity to go to a third country. They would presumably be alive living very well right now, because they certainly had stashed away a lot of money in overseas accounts, money that the international community and especially the new Libyan government is looking for right now.
But they decided to stay there to fight for their regime, and now they have paid that price, as we know, Moammar Gadhafi now dead and now the picture of Mutassim, one of his sons shown on Libyan TV, dead, reports that Saif al-Islam also dead, although we have not confirmed that yet.
The most important mission that NATO undertook in Libya, as you know -- and this is why the United Nations Security Council with Arab country support went ahead with it, General, was to protect civilians, prevent a bloodbath from unfolding in Libya.
And I come back to the situation in Syria. We now know according to the United Nations and other international groups 3,000 Syrians, most of whom were just protesting peacefully against Bashar al-Assad, they are now confirmed dead, so many other thousands in prison. Many have been seriously injured.
Is it time for the U.N. Security Council to consider a similar resolution as far as Syria is concerned to do something to protect the human rights situation, and protect civilians in Syria?
CLARK: Absolutely it is, Wolf. The United Nations is long overdue in taking a strong stand on this. It's been blocked by the governments of Russia and China. Obviously they didn't like NATO's actions in Libya. All right, but get over it, because what NATO did was actually the minimum. This was done certainly with the backing of NATO, but it was the leadership and the endurance of the Libyan people that brought this outcome to bear, just as is the case in Syria.
And, you know, none of these leaders in these countries ever believe it is going to happen. When Noriega was in Panama and the 82 Airborne landed on the airstrip, he turned to his aide and he said, I never thought they'd come.
Saddam I'm sure never thought the United States would invade. And I'm sure Moammar Gadhafi never really believed, despite the warnings he was given, that he would be pulled from a hole in the ground. And yet that's the way it happens.
And Bashar Assad in Syria should recognize that when there's a strong sense of injustice, when people's rights have been violated like this, people will rise up and in a democratic age, there's no holding them back.
BLITZER: And one final question, General Clark, before I let you go. We're waiting for the president of the United States. He's about to walk into the Rose Garden over at the White House and speak to the world on what has happened on this day.
What's the single most important thing you would like to hear the president say?
CLARK: Well, I would like to hear him congratulate the people of Libya for what they have done and thank our allies and also to offer some guidance to the people of Libya and the people of the region in the course ahead, because this is just the first stage in what is happening in Libya.
It is yet to be seen whether order can be restored fully, whether the fighting will really stop, whether there will be revenge killings or not and whether democracy and self-government can really take root in a proper way in Libya.
BLITZER: General Clark, thanks, as usual, for joining us.
CLARK: Thank you. Good to be with you, Wolf.
BLITZER: All right, let's go back to Don and Hala at the CNN Center.
LEMON: And, Wolf, as you mentioned, in just about 10 minutes, at the top of the hour, the president will make that speech regarding -- the comments regarding at the Rose Garden. And we will carry it for you live here on CNN.
GORANI: And while he is making his statement, people in Tripoli are celebrating Moammar Gadhafi's death.
He was unpredictable, he was repressive, he was often a brutal ruler. But his violent tactics went beyond his country's borders, turning Libya into a pariah with the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 in 1988. The plane of course tragically exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing 270 people. Gadhafi allegedly behind that act of terrorism.
Among those Pan Am victims was Brian Flynn's brother J.P.
LEMON: And it is hard to look at those images even today.
Brian joins us now from New York. I'm sure it is even tougher for him.
So, Brian, it has been 23 years since you lost your brother. And you say Gadhafi's death is the end to a long jagged road to justice.
BRIAN FLYNN, BROTHER KILLED IN PAN AM FLIGHT 103 BOMBING: Yes.
And it's funny. How do you react to a situation like this when something you have dreamed about for more than 20 years actually comes true? And I always had this image of Gadhafi being captured by American special forces in a manner similar to how we either captured or killed Osama bin Laden.
But today we have this great juxtaposition to the freeing of the Libyan people. So, although it is sometimes hard to celebrate when someone gets killed brutally, I think in this case there is every cause for celebration. He was an unrepentant murderer who was oppressive of his people. And today because of the Libyan people and our assistance and the courage of some of the leaders in the U.S. and the U.K. and France, we have been able to bring down Gadhafi and free the Libyan people.
LEMON: Is there a difference, does it makes a difference to you that he was captured and killed rather than facing a trial?
FLYNN: I would love to tell you that I'm noble enough to always think that someone should face a trial and do it the right way. And unfortunately, part of me thinks this story had to end this way.
For the Libyan people to exact their own form of justice, rather than have him sit in some international court of justice, where his antics and eccentricities would have continued.
GORANI: What do you think your brother who died that day on Pan Am 103, how would you tell him the story of today? How do you think he would have reacted to it?
FLYNN: It's funny.
I told him -- I made a commitment when he died that we would do everything we could to bring some sense of justice and meaning to what had happened. And part of that means going on and living a good life and living a happy life. But also more importantly, it meant correcting an injustice in the world.
When that happens to one of your family members you feel a sense of purpose. And through the years, we have sued Pan Am. We found them guilty of willful misconduct. We lobbied Congress to establish the Iran-Libyan Sanctions Act, which is a law specifically designed to punish Libya.
We also got the U.N. to put serious sanctions on Libya that ended up working. We did everything we could. And I kept saying that was part of my commit many to my brother, that I would continue the fight for justice. And then today when the Libyan people have done this, they freed themselves from this ruler, sure, our part was very small in it in a sense of our pursuit of justice, but there's something to it that makes us feel like we were part of it.
And to my brother I would say, hey, we did something.
LEMON: The reaction from the rest of your family members?
FLYNN: It's interesting. I have heard from a lot of them today. We have been in great communication and this is a great example of how a group of people, of just ordinary people can come together and do something extraordinary. We believe that by holding people accountable, by keeping up this fight for more than 20 years, that people, my parents and their friends and parents of other victims were an inspiration to me.
I was a teenager when it happened. And through years, they said it's time for to you step up and do something. What they have been saying to me today is that it is such an overwhelming mix of emotions. You all of a sudden see a video of Gadhafi lying there dead and bloodied, and you find yourself having this reaction of, yes. that's what it is meant to be.
And then you think, oh, well, perhaps I shouldn't have been so visceral in that reaction. But the reality is that it is an unrepentant murderer. And the freeing of the Libyan people -- the juxtaposition on those videos of the people celebrating at the same time has made a big difference.
LEMON: And, Brian, that's a human reaction. That is a human reaction.
LEMON: We thank you. Thank you for joining us today and our regards to your family.
FLYNN: Thank you very much.
GORANI: Brian Flynn, whose brother died in Pan Am 103, reacting to the death of Moammar Gadhafi.
Wolf is in Washington with more -- Wolf.
BLITZER: And we want to get some perspective, Hala, from our own Fareed Zakaria, the host of "FAREED ZAKARIA GPS," which airs here on CNN. Fareed is joining us now from Dubai.
So, when you heard that Gadhafi, Fareed, was dead, what went through your mind?
FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN WORLD AFFAIRS ANALYST: I was surprised, Wolf.
You may recall we had conversation on air a couple months ago where you asked me whether I thought he would give up. And I never thought Gadhafi would give up, because he was not a bureaucrat like Hosni Mubarak. He was not somebody who had been standing in line in the regime and it became his turn to be the dictator.
He was a revolutionary. He was a guy who had launched a colonel's coup 42 years ago. He had always been a kind of fighter, romantic, mad, crazy. And as a result, I always suspected that he would go down fighting. I also thought that there was much less to his (AUDIO GAP) than people made out.
He did not actually have lots of tribes loyal to him. He had paid off a bunch of them. But once the money starts drying up, that kind of loyalty disappears pretty quickly. I also thought it was a sad statement about the way in which he and his sons, as you pointed out, Wolf, plundered the country, wrecked it economically, and were unable to even provide some kind of transition to a decent next stage.
BLITZER: You speak about the sons. We saw the picture of Mutassim that Libyan state television has just showed confirming that he was killed today as well. Al-Arabiya reporting that Saif al-Islam, the other son, was killed, although we have not independently confirmed that.
If in fact both of these sons, Fareed, are dead in addition to the father, that represents really, I would say for all practical purposes, the complete end of any hope that any Gadhafi ever might reemerge and take charge.
ZAKARIA: I think that's right, though there was very little hope in any event.
I interviewed Gadhafi when he was in New York. I think I was the last Western journalist trying to interview him. And at the time I had negotiated with Mutassim, the guy who we have seen now dead. And he struck me as a playboy. He struck me as a rich kid. He had just come back from Las Vegas in a private plane with girls and God knows what else.
These were not people who could really of have succeeded Gadhafi. Gadhafi had become even more crazy than usual and his sons were running things. But at the end of the day, Gadhafi was the (AUDIO GAP) of the regime. The sons were just, they were spoiled brats who I couldn't ever see being able to succeed. Mutassim came across as extremely immature, like a young mafia gangster, more than a leader in waiting.
BLITZER: Although Saif al-Islam, as you know, he did get a doctor from the London School of Economics, although there were investigations later whether he plagiarized and simply paid for that doctorate. You remember that scandal, don't you, Fareed?
ZAKARIA: Oh, yes. Saif was a more cerebral character. He was smart. He spoke very well and often spoke very movingly about trying to liberalize Libya.
But then there was another side to him. He was a great playboy, spent all that time in Monte Carlo and the casinos of Europe. None of these characters seemed really to have either the capacity or the power to be real nation-builders.
In the context of being the son of Moammar Gadhafi, Saif was impressive, not on his own. And I think what you will see is that the coterie around Gadhafi will crumble entirely. This was a one-man regime. It was a one-man cult, and now that man is gone.
BLITZER: All right, Fareed Zakaria on the scene for us in Dubai -- Fareed, thank you very much.
Much more of the breaking news coverage after this.