What? Not the Zionists? “Libya Blames Islamic Militants and the West for Unrest,” by David D. Kirkpatrick and Kareem Fahim in the New York Times, February 28:
TRIPOLI, Libya “” In the face of a mounting international outcry for the ouster of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi and sanctions to force him out, the Libyan authorities blamed Islamic radicals and the West on Monday for a conspiracy to cause chaos and take over the country.
At the same time, there were new reports of fighting with the rebels claiming that they had shot down a military aircraft on Monday as they repulsed a government bid to take back Libya’s third city, Misurata, 125 miles east of Tripoli. There, as in Zawiyah, 30 miles to the west, government forces seem to have encircled rebels but have been unable to dislodge them….
At a news conference for foreign journalists invited to Tripoli, a government spokesman, Musa Ibrahim, denied reports that Colonel Qaddafi’s loyalists had turned their guns on hundreds of civilians. “No massacres, no bombardments, no reckless violence against civilians,” he said, comparing Libya’s situation to that of Iraq before the American-led invasion in 2003….
Mr. Ibrahim said reports of massacres by government troops were analogous to those suggesting that Saddam Hussein had developed unconventional weapons in Iraq, suggesting that they were designed as a reason for military attack.
“The Islamists want chaos; the West also wants chaos,” he said, maintaining the West wanted access to Libya’s oil and the Islamists wanted to establish a bridgehead for international terrorism. “The Iraq example is not a legend “” we all lived through it. Doesn’t this remind you of the whole Iraq scenario?” he said….
Reporters told him that, on Sunday, they had visited Zawiyah, 30 miles from Tripoli, and saw no evidence of Islamist forces. “They knew you were coming,” the spokesman said. “They were hiding those with an obvious Al Qaeda look.”
The news conference came after a day of increasing self-confidence among the rebels, who spoke of tapping revenue from the vast Libyan oil resources now under their control “” estimated by some oil company officials to be about 80 percent of the country”s total. And in recognition of the insurrection’s growing power, Italy”s foreign minister on Sunday suspended a nonaggression treaty with Libya on the grounds that the Libyan state “no longer exists,” while Secretary of State Clinton said the United States was reaching out to the rebels to “offer any kind of assistance.”…