Moammar Gadhafi may have finally found some sense.
After three months of fighting and not giving a fizzzuck about the lives of his people, the president of South Africa says Gadhafi is ready to stop the insanity. Unfortunately, at this point those rebel armies could care less about a cease fire.
South African President Jacob Zuma said Gadhafi is ready to accept an African Union initiative for a cease-fire that would stop all hostilities, including NATO airstrikes in support of rebel forces. “He is ready to implement the road map,” Zuma said.
Zuma said Gadhafi insists that “all Libyans be given a chance to talk among themselves” to determine the country’s future. He did not say Gadhafi is ready to step down, which is the central demand of the rebels. He was speaking to reporters from South African and Libyan TV, which broadcast his remarks late Monday.
In April, Zuma led a delegation of the African Union to Tripoli with an AU proposal for a truce. Gadhafi said he would accept the truce but quickly ignored it and resumed his attacks, while the rebels rejected the cease-fire out of hand because it did not include Gadhafi’s exit from power. Since then many cease-fire efforts have failed for similar reasons.
In Benghazi, the de facto rebel capital, rebel Foreign Minister Fathi Baja rejected the African Union plan. “We refuse completely, we don’t consider it a political initiative, it is only some stuff that Gadhafi wants to announce to stay in power,” he told The Associated Press.
He said he believes Zuma is in Tripoli to negotiate an exit strategy for Gadhafi, though Zuma’s office denies that. Baja also said the rebels would launch an offensive against Gadhafi soon.
The thing is, the rebels really have good reason to stay the course until they get what they’ve been fighting for: Gadhafi’s own people are turning against him now.
Eight top Libyan army officers, including five generals, who have defected from Moammar Gadhafi’s regime appealed to their fellow officers Monday to join the revolt to hasten the end of Gadhafi’s 40-year rule.
Italian Foreign Ministry officials presented the generals, two colonels and a major to reporters in Rome three days after they fled Libya.
One of the officers, Gen. Melud Massoud Halasa, estimated that Gadhafi’s military forces are now “only 20 percent as effective” as what they were before the revolt broke out in mid-February, and that “not more than 10″ generals remain loyal to Gadhafi.
Former Libyan Foreign Minister Abdel Rahman Shalgam, who now backs the anti-Gadhafi rebels, told the news conference that the eight officers are “part of 120 officials who left and abandoned Gadhafi and are now out of Libya.”
Italy, Libya’s former colonial ruler, long had close economic and diplomatic ties with Tripoli, but Rome was among the first Western nations to break with the regime and establish formal relations with the Libyan National Transitional Council, that is representing anti-Gadhafi forces.
Gen. On Ali On read an appeal to fellow army officers and top police and security officials “in the name of the martyrs who have fallen in the defense of freedom to have the courage” to abandon the regime.
The general, wearing street clothes like his fellow defectors, denounced both “genocide” and “violence against women in various Libyan cities.”
Yeah, see? That sh*t is real for really real reasons.