Crisis In Libya: Ambassador Quits 'Dictatorship Regime;' Gadhafi Defiant

February 22, 2011

Mark Memmott

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"I resign from serving the current dictatorship regime," Libya's ambassador to the U.S. told ABC News' Good Morning America a short time ago, Reuters reports. And in the wake of a brutal crackdown on protesters that has left more than 200 people dead (according to Human Rights Watch), Ambassador Ali Aujali called on Moammar Gadhafi "to go and leave our people alone."

As The Associated Press says, the ambassador's resignation is just one of many "deep cracks [that] opened in Moammar Gadhafi's regime Monday, with Libyan government officials at home and abroad resigning, air force pilots defecting and a bloody crackdown on protest in the capital of Tripoli."

But Gadhafi, the AP adds, "remained defiant, appearing on state television to say he was still in the capital."

The BBC reports this morning that "correspondents in Tripoli say the capital is calm but there is a sense of intimidation after a night of fighting."

From Egypt's side of the border with Libya, NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro reported on Morning Edition today that Libyans crossing the border say that in the eastern part of their country, "there is no presence of the police, there is no presence of the Libyan army and that the protesters are in control of the streets of eastern Libya. ... Armed militias — young men — are basically now the security forces."

Lourdes also said the people she's talked with have graphic videos showing mercenaries — sent there by Ghadhafi''s regime — attacking protesters last week.

Here's the conversation Lourdes had with Morning Edition host Renee Montagne:

Also on Morning Edition, the editor of Foreign Policy magazine's Arabic edition told Renee, that Gadhafi is "ready to burn Libya to stay in power." And Mahmoud Shamem warned that Gadhafi has over the years rendered the Libyan army incapable of standing up to his regime. Here's the conversation Renee had with Shamem:

We'll keep an eye on news from Libya as the day continues. NPR's Andy Carvin (@acarvin) continues to monitor what's being reported on Twitter about events in Libya and other nations where protesters are demanding reform. Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.