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Libyan capital fell a month ago: Where's victory?

Revolutionary fighters fire cannons toward pro-Gadhafi forces from the western outskirts of Sirte on Wednesday.

Associated Press

Revolutionary fighters fire cannons toward pro-Gadhafi forces from the western outskirts of Sirte on Wednesday.

TRIPOLI, Libya — Moammar Gadhafi remains at large. His supporters are well armed. Fighting rages on three fronts, even as NATO warplanes drop more bombs.

That doesn't sound much like victory. But don't tell that to the crowds packing Martyrs' Square in Tripoli every night with the boom of celebratory gunfire as a soundtrack.

A month after revolutionary fighters claimed the capital, Tripoli, and most other parts of the country, forces loyal to Gadhafi have shown no signs of giving up, raising the prospect of a long-term insurgency.

Libya's new rulers dismiss those fears and say time is on their side, insisting the holdouts in Gadhafi's hometown of Sirte, Bani Walid and Sabha were die-hard supporters, including many who escaped the Tripoli blitz and believe they have no choice but to resist or face war crime charges themselves.

"These people will fight to the last breath," said Sadeq al-Kabir, a Tripoli representative on the National Transitional Council, which led the rebellion and is the closest thing Libya has to a government.

He said rebels believe some of the main regime figures are still hiding in the areas, including Gadhafi's son Seif al-Islam.

President Barack Obama said the international community must continue to support Libyans. "All of us have a responsibility to support the new Libya, the new Libyan government, as they confront the challenge of turning this moment of promise into a just and lasting peace for all Libyans," he said in an address at the U.N. General Assembly.

U.S. ambassador returns: U.S. Ambassador Gene Cretz arrived Wednesday in Tripoli, a day before plans to raise the U.S. flag over the embassy building. He left for Washington in January after WikiLeaks posted his opinions of Moammar Gadhafi's personal life and habits in a classified 2009 diplomatic cable. At the time, the Obama administration was considering replacing him due, in part, to strains in ties caused by the blunt assessment.

NATO extends mission: NATO granted approval Wednesday for the military alliance to continue its mission over Libya for another 90 days.

Yemeni troops

fire on mourners

Yemeni government forces on Wednesday fired mortars at tens of thousands of mourners at funerals held for protesters killed in clashes and attacked an opposition base, shattering a cease-fire negotiated a day earlier to end the Arab nation's latest bout of deadly violence. The two attacks killed 16 people. The mourners were gathered for funeral prayers for antigovernment protesters killed in a deadly, three-day government crackdown in which the death toll topped 80.

Egypt emergency law: Egypt's caretaker military government announced Wednesday that the emergency law that allows it to jail people without charges and try civilians before military courts will not be lifted until the middle of next year.

Iraq tells Syrian leader to resign: After months of keeping quiet, Iraq's government joined a chorus of other nations calling on President Bashar Assad of Syria to step down.

Times wires

Libyan capital fell a month ago: Where's victory? 09/21/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, September 21, 2011 10:19pm]
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