In an audio message delivered today in Tripoli, Libyan ruler Moammar Gadhafi warned Europe that it faced retaliation if NATO did not immediately halt its bombing campaign. He insisted that Libya could descend upon Europe “like locusts.”
Gadhafi went on to say that should such attacks on Europe begin, they would treat civilian homes and office buildings as “legitimate military targets, like you have targeted our homes.” One of Gadhafi’s sons, Saif al-Arab, was killed in a strike on his home in Tripoli early in the war.
While much was made of the comments in the Western media, however, it must not be forgotten that the audience for this speech was ten thousand or so pro-Gadhafi marchers in a capital city beset by over 100 days of bombardment, and looking for some indication, any indication, that the war will end.
In that context then the comments are indeed aimed more at rhetorical value among the besieged population of the capital than they are a serious statement of policy. Though Libya may retain the ability to launch such attacks, it seems the effort to end the war is better served not with escalation, but with reconciliation talks, which are rumored to be under way.
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