1:25pm

Fri April 8, 2011
The Two-Way

Gadhafi Regime Spokesman Claims World Has Things All Wrong

To hear Libyan government spokesman Moussa Ibrahim tell it, most of the world just doesn't know what's really going on in Libya.

-- Has Moammar Gahdafi's regime broken its promise to observe a ceasefire? No, he says. "In international law you are not breaking your promise of a ceasefire if you are attacked," Ibrahim told All Things Considered host Melissa Block today. And, "we are being attacked from the air by the NATO and on the ground by the rebels."

-- Is the regime effectively using civilians as shields by putting its weapons in populated centers? "This is absolutely false," he said. Those who say that are "sitting in capitals around the world and judging us based on media reports ... and so-called eyewitness accounts."

-- What about reports that medical personnel have been tortured and killed because they were treating opposition fighters? Human rights groups saying that "smuggle themselves into the country" and only talk to the rebels, Ibrahim said.

-- Is there a civil war going on? "We do not have a civil war in Libya. ... We have an armed rebellion," according to Ibrahim.

-- Does he still believe that Iman al-Obeidi, whose story of being held captive and raped by soldiers loyal to Gadhafi has captured headlines around the world, is a prostitute — as Ibrahim earlier alleged? He wouldn't directly answer that question, but claimed that authorities suspect "she had other agendas" when she came forward with the accusation.

As you'll hear on ATC later, Melissa raised a long series of issues. Ibrahim, while saying that the regime (Gadhafi has been in power more than 40 years) wants "fair, transparent, honest political change," challenged each point.

And Ibrahim repeats something he's said often in recent weeks: That the regime wants "international observers" to come to Libya.

He also said, regarding reports that Gadhafi's sons might be trying to negotiate a way for their father to step down so that one of them could then assume power, that "they have no rights to decide what should happen to the Libyan nation. ... We welcome any open political system that allows Libyans to decide for themselves."

That said, Gadhafi has been "a guy who's able to lead the tribes who have feuds," Ibrahim added. Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.