As rebel and pro-government forces in Libya maneuvered on the battlefield on Wednesday, Moammar Gadhafi wrote a letter to U.S. President Barack Obama asking him to halt the NATO military campaign against Libya, while wishing him success in his 2012 re-election bid,
“You are a man who has enough courage to annul a wrong and mistaken action,” Gadhafi wrote in a rambling, three-page letter to Barack Obama. “I am sure that you are able to shoulder the responsibility for that.”
Gadhafi asked Obama to stop the “unjust war against a small people of a developing country” and said those in the opposition are terrorists and members of al Qaeda, the official said.
“We have been hurt more morally than physically because of what had happened against us in both deeds and words by you,” Gadhafi wrote, according to the official. “Despite all this you will always remain our son.”
The White House confirmed the letter, but top officials said there was “nothing new” in the letter. “I don’t think there is any mystery about what is expected from Mr. Gadhafi at this time,” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, repeating U.S. and allied demands that Gadhafi’s forces pull back and cease attacks.
Referring to the new background role of the U.S. air force, Jana, the official Libyan news agency, said that “the leader of the revolution (Gadhafi) sent a message to U.S. president Barack Obama after the United States withdrew from the aggressive, colonialist coalition crusading against Libya.”
Neither White House press secretary Jay Carney nor State Department spokesman Mark Toner would discuss the details of the letter, composed in formal but stilted English, and includes numerous spelling and grammatical errors.
The Libyan leader had written to Obama before the conflict, but his new missive will raise some hopes in London and Washington that the pressure created by nearly three weeks of attacks is beginning to take its toll.
A former U.S. congressman with prior dealings with Gadhafi has arrived in Tripoli on a private mission seeking a peace deal that would include the Libyan’s departure.
Curt Weldon, a Republican representative from Pennsylvania from 1987 to 2007, said that he was in Libya as the leader of a small private delegation at the invitation of Gadhafi’s chief of staff. “Our purpose is to meet with Col. Gadhafi and persuade him to step aside,” he said.
Meanwhile, forces loyal to Gadhafi shelled Misrata on Wednesday and one resident was killed in clashes, rebels said, calling for tougher NATO action.
Like many cities, Misrata rejected Gadhafi’s rule in a revolt in February. In a violent crackdown, Gadhafi forces retook most of western Libya, leaving Misrata cut off and surrounded, with dwindling supplies.
In recent days rebel leaders have criticized NATO’s mission to help protect civilians, saying residents in Misrata and elsewhere have suffered under horrific attacks from pro-Gadhafi forces with little evidence of NATO air power overhead.
“I am extremely sorry to say this, but NATO truly disappointed us,” Gen. Abdul Fatah Younis, the opposition’s top military official, said Tuesday.
“Civilians are being killed every day, including children, women and elderly. If NATO will wait another week, Misrata will be finished. No one will be left alive. Do they want to wait, and watch them die, and let this crime be a shameful disgrace for the international community forever?”
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is “deeply concerned about the deterioriating situation facing civilians in Libyan cities under military attack,” according to a statement.
Conditions in Misrata are “especially grave,” the statement said, “with reports of the use of heavy weapons to attack the city, where the population is trapped and unable, as a result of heavy shelling that has continued over several weeks, to receive basic supplies, including clean water, food and medicines.”
We, here at TheBlogIsMine, think that after weeks of relentless fighting, a military victory for either side seems remote. A political or diplomatic solution might be the only way to end the crisis. And what do you think? Tell your thoughts in the comments. [via CNN, AOL News and Montreal Gazette]