Gadhafi Threatens NATO Over Airstrikes

Posted July 1st, 2011 at 2:35 pm (UTC-5)
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Embattled Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi is threatening NATO that if the coalition does not end its campaign of airstrikes, it will face consequences.

Mr. Gadhafi delivered the warning Friday in an audio message aired to thousands of supporters gathered in Tripoli's main square.

The Libyan capital is at the center of Colonel Gadhafi's area of control in the wartorn country and has been the site of multiple coalition airstrikes against pro-government forces.

On Monday, the International Criminal Court issued arrest warrants for Colonel Gadhafi, his son and Libya's top intelligence chief for allegedly orchestrating the deaths of civilians during the months of protests.

Mr. Gadhafi's son, Saif al-Islam, insisted Friday that neither he nor his father ordered the killing of civilian protesters during Libya's ongoing pro-democracy rebellion against 42 years of autocratic rule.

In an interview with the Russian news channel Russia Today, posted online, the younger Gadhafi defended the actions of Libya's military, saying troops had killed people in order to defend military sites and to prevent the theft of ammunition or arms.

He also dismissed the International Criminal Court as a “joke.”

The Libyan leader's son urged the Russian government to diplomatically intervene in the escalating Libyan conflict and show the world that it is a superpower.

On Thursday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accused France of possibly violating a U.N. arms embargo on Libya last month by air-dropping weapons to rebels fighting government troops.

Lavrov said Moscow has asked Paris to explain the reasoning for the arms drop to rebels in Libya's Western Mountains region. He said that if the incident is confirmed, it is a “flagrant violation” of a U.N. Security Council resolution that imposed an arms embargo on Libya in February.

French ambassador to the United Nations Gerard Araud said Wednesday the arms drop complied with a separate Security Council resolution adopted in March, establishing a no-fly zone over Libya to protect civilians. He said the French weapons were meant to defend Libyan civilians from attack by Mr. Gadhafi's forces.