Video: Libyan ambassador welcomes news

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    >>> when kadary seized power 42 years ago, richard nixon is president and would take the tenure of six more presidents before gadhafi 's grip on power would come to an end. it was in february when riots broke out in benghazi after the arrest of human rights activist who was working to free political prisoners locked up by the gadhafi regime. just one week later, anti- gadhafi rebels took control of misrata and the security council and european union imposed sanctions including an armed embargo and a ban on travel to libya . on march 16th , the french television to pronounce everything be over in 48 hours . the very next day, the un authorizes a no-fly zone and improves the u.s. of all necessary measures to protect civilians. three days later, president obama told americans the u.s. will take action.

    >> we struck regime forces approaching ben gaza to save the city and the people within it. we hit gadhafi 's troops in neighboring -- allowing the opposition to drive them out. we hit gadhafiy's air defenses which paved the way for a no-fly zone.

    >> just over a month later, a nato missile strisz kills gadhafi 's youngest son while key figures condition to defect. in august with the rebels closing in on tripoli, he calls libyan state television and is barely audible in telling followers to liberate the country from his opponents claiming "the blood of martyrs is fuel for the battlefield." rebel forces enter tripoli with little or no resistance. since then it's a steady combination of nato air strikes and a better-organized and more determined rebel force committed to finding and cornering gadhafi . today, finally their task is complete can gadhafi is gone. just an hour ago i had the opportunity to speak with the libyan ambassador to the united states on this historic day for his nation. ambassador, i imagine this is a poignant and profound moment for yourself.

    >> it is of course. we have been waiting for this moment for a very long time. more than 40 years. it came after heavy casualties and sacrificing blood and lives and in the end, the people got the dictatorship regime. it is.

    >> what was your reaction when you saw the former dictator of your nation bloodied, dragged from underground and eventually observing pictures of him dead?

    >> there is the time i believe that the news i heard an hour or hour and a half before that it is true news. this is the reality now in front of my eyes and i was celebrating with my wife and my daughter. this is the end of the dictatorship. as you know the dictatorship end is always a tragedy. gadhafi chooses a bad way for his end if he from the beginning just gave up and let the people decide what they want, i can tell you that he will not face what he faced, he ands his family now.

    >> do you understand he resisted arrest and that's why his life was taken in the way it was?

    >> yeah. i think this is what he deserved. he is a cruel man. he killed just for the sake of killing. he treated the libyan people the way as he described them as rats and all these things. he has no respect for the libyan people. this will describe them as rats and this is the people who made the future of libya as taken out of the strong hands of gadhafi 's regime. the dream of the libyan people now came true. we are very proud of ourselves and our people. we are proud of our friends who helped the united states and qatar and britain and france and canada and all the countries who helped us. turkey and many of us, egypt and tunisia. i think that nato and the united states they are proud and celebrating that they came to risk and save the people from the man who has only one language. nothing but that.

    >> you said this is a great day for libyan and american relations . do you acknowledge the role of america in supporting the uprising in your homeland?

    >> i really do. i was interviewed by wolf blitzer from the second time in and he asked me what you would tell the president and he put the camera in front of my face and asked the president, please, mr. president, help the libyan people. don't let gadhafi kill them. the libyans do appreciate the leadership of the united states and the support of the people. the support of the media and the support of the government organization that has been working with us as this uprising starts. we also evaluate the support of the nato countries. i mentioned the other countries. i am very happy to tell the world that the libyans did not disappoint you. the libyans managed to put an end for the book of gadhafi 's regime. they open a new chapter with greater dreams for democratic countries and democratic regimes . libyans will enjoy for the first time in 40 years to know how to elect their own people. they still need their friends and they need them badly. we need them to establish our democratic institution. we need them to help -- we need them to help us and to help the libyans to be trained to take care of their countries. we still need their help.

    >> the transitional national council is in control of the entire nation. what assurances can you give your american friends that this nation is not going to be further detable stabilized, for example, by extremists in the mideast or indeed by remnants of the gadhafi regime. what assurances can you give us?

    >> the regime ended completely today. the people who were fighting beside him are fighting for their life. i resume no threat from the remains of the libyan regime. we have to work very hard for the consilliation for the libyan people and i can assure to you that libya will not change the gadhafi regime of dictatorship and abuse the human rights and no freedom with any other regime. the libyans , they fight for a long time. they fight for a new democratic libya . libya for every libyans .

    >> may i ask you a final question. how do you see president obama 's role? he called for ka daf to step down and he provided libyans with military support. are you satisfied with the way the president has led on this issue?

    >> we are not only satisfied, we are grateful to him and his administration and secretary clinton and everybody who participated. we are very grateful to president obama , of course.

    >> ambassador, congratulations on reopening the embassy in washington and thank you very much for joining us.

    >> thanks.

msnbc.com and NBC News
updated 10/20/2011 7:39:42 PM ET 2011-10-20T23:39:42

The council that has ruled Libya since the ouster of Col. Moammar Gadhafi is deeply fractured and faces a difficult task reuniting and rebuilding the country now that it is in complete control following Gadhafi's death, Libyan officials and international affairs experts said Thursday.

The U.S. and other Western powers recognized the National Transitional Council as Libya's official government earlier this year as it became increasingly clear that anti-Gadhafi rebels were likely to succeed in driving the eccentric colonel from power after 42 years of dictatorial rule.

Video: Libyan ambassador welcomes news (on this page)

The head of the council, Mahmoud Jibril — in effect, Libya's prime minister — has said free elections would be held eight months after the last vestiges of Gadhafi's regime had been defeated. That clock started ticking Thursday when Gadhafi was killed in his hometown, Sirte, the last major city to fall to the rebels.

Elections on a rushed timetable
The timeline would put the elections in April — a potentially oppressive deadline in a country that "starts really from zero," said Richard Haass, director of policy planning for the State Department during the administration of President George W. Bush.

Story: Who killed Gadhafi? Conflicting stories emerge

"There are no international institutions," said Haass, now the president of the Council on Foreign Relations, the nonpartisan policy institute in New York that publishes the influential journal Foreign Affairs. "There's not really a functioning political system or an economy."

When the elections are held, they will bring in an entirely new slate of leaders, because Jibril and the rest of the NTC are barred from serving in the next government under its interim constitution. Jibril — a U.S.-trained economist and former professor at the University of Pittsburgh — reinforced that message Tuesday during a news conference with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton when he said, "I will not be part of the upcoming government."

That lack of continuity will further hamper efforts to "transform this anti-Gadhafi movement into pro-Libya progress," said Marc Ginsberg, a senior foreign policy adviser during the Carter and Clinton administrations.

Video: Clinton says 'wow' as Gadhafi news comes in (on this page)

"There are 41 tribal leaders, all of whom probably want to get their hands" on the country's wealth — billions of dollars in overseas bank accounts and untold riches in oil still in the ground — Ginsberg said.

Kamran Bokhari, director of Middle East analysis for  Strategic Forecasting, a widely followed international affairs and intelligence company in Austin, Texas, identified the factions as coalescing around two primary forces: the NTC and the Tripoli Military Council, a coalition of rebel forces led by Abdelhakim Belhadj.

Belhadj is the former head of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, which was listed as a terrorist organization after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. He was detained at a secret prison by the CIA in 2004 before he was returned to Libya.

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"We have a very complex landscape that will somehow need to come together," Bokhari said in an analysis issued by Stratfor.

Haass said that until now, the factions had been held together by just one thread: their opposition to Gadhafi.

"Can they agree on what kind of Libya they want to bring about?" he asked. "That will be a real test."

Libyan ambassador asks for U.S. help
Ali Aujuli, the Libyan ambassador to the U.S., acknowledged the difficulties ahead, saying, "We need to work hard for reconcilation."

That will require continued assistance from the U.S. and other foreign governments, Aujuli said, because "we still need help (to) establish our democratic institutions; we need help (for) our injuries to be treated. We need them to help us to help the Libyans to be trained to take care of their country."

Vali Nasr, who until earlier this year was the Obama administration's senior adviser on Afghanistan and Pakistan, strongly agreed, saying he feared that "the killing of Gadhafi could be some form of closure for the NATO countries, and they could wash their hands of Libya very quickly."

"The NTC that overthrew Gadhafi is highly fractured," said Nasr, who now teaches international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy of Tufts University. "It doesn't have very strong central leadership.

"This is a country that literally has to build its political and economic systems from scratch, and that requires a lot of outside support and ongoing support," he said.

In fact, Nasr said, the death of Gadhafi could be irrelevant in the long run, saying, "It remains to be seen whether Libya will actually disintegrate into the same kind of chaos we saw in Iraq or if it is able to claw its way back to stability."

Haass concurred, saying it was far too early to project whether Libya would be able to make the transition to democracy.

Gadhafi's death will be seen as a victory only "if, several years from now, Libya is a viable state in which people enjoy freedom and economic opportunity," he said.

Video: Leiter: Libya faces many challenges  (on this page)

But Michael Leiter, former director of the U.S. National Counterterrorism Center, told NBC News' Brian Williams that while the death of Gadhafi wasn't the expressed goal of U.S. policy, it was still a welcome development.

"Without Gadhafi gone, there really wasn't going to be progress in Libya, and this was a critical step in that regard," Leiter said.

It's still "going to be hard for Libya," he cautioned, saying that in addition to political and economic challenges, "they've got potentially, still, problems with terrorist organizations in the south of their country."

Aujuli, the NTC's ambassador in Washington, said skepticism greeted the rebels when they started the civil war in February, and "I am very happy to tell the world that Libya did not disappoint you."

"We've been waiting for this moment a very long time, more than 40 years," he said. "We are proud of ourselves. We are proud of our people.

"They open a new chapter with greater dreams for a democratic country, a democratic regime, and (will) enjoy for the first time in 42 years to elect their own leader."

By Alex Johnson of msnbc.com with Andrea Mitchell of NBC News and Martin Bashir and Tamron Hall of MSNBC-TV.

© 2013 msnbc.com  Reprints

Photos: Moammar Gadhafi

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  1. Col. Moammar Gadhafi is seen in Tripoli on Sept. 27, 1969, after leading a military coup that toppled King Idris. Gadhafi has maintained his rule over Libya for more than four decades since the coup. Gadhafi was killed in Sirte on Oct. 20 as revolutionary forces took the last bastion of his supporters. (AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Gadhafi, left, and Egyptian President Gamal Abdul Nasser, right, arrive in Rabat, Morocco, in December 1969 for the Arab Summit Conference. (Benghabit / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Col. Gadhafi, left, jokes with a group of British hippies in Tripoli in July 1973. (AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Gadhafi was purportedly a major financier of the Black September movement, a band of Palestinian militants. Its members perpetrated the massacre of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich. One of the Black September guerrillas who broke into the Olympic Village is seen in this picture. (Keystone via Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Gadhafi during the summit of the Organization of African Unity on Aug. 4, 1975, in Kampala, Uganda. (AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Flowers are laid at the memorial to Yvonne Fletcher, a British police constable who was shot dead by terrorists in April 1984 while on duty during a protest outside the Libyan embassy in London. Fletcher's death led to an 11-day police siege of the embassy and a breakdown of diplomatic relations between Libya and the United Kingdom. (Fox Photos via Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Gadhafi and his second wife Safiya wave to the crowd upon their arrival in Dakar, Senegal, for a three-day official visit on Dec. 3, 1985. Gadhafi has eight biological children, six by Safiya. (Joel Robine / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. U.S. Ambassador to West Germany Richard Burt, fourth from left, and West Berlin Mayor Eberhard Diepgen, fifth from left, inspect the damage following an April 5, 1986, bombing at a Berlin discotheque frequented by American serveicemen. Libya was blamed for the blast, which killed three and injured more than 200. Then-U.S. President Ronald Reagan retaliated by ordering airstrikes against the Libyan capital of Tripoli and city of Benghazi. (Wolfgang Mrotzkowski / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. French policemen and army soldiers unload crates of arms and ammunition seized aboard the Panamian merchant ship Eksund on Nov. 3, 1987 at Brest military port in France. A huge supply of arms and explosives purportedly supplied by Libya and destined for the Irish Republican Army was found aboard the vessel. (Andre Durand / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. This Dec. 22, 1988, photo shows the wreckage of the Pan Am airliner that exploded and crashed over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing 270 people - most of them Americans. Gadhafi has accepted Libya's responsibility for the bombing and paid compensation to the victims' families. Libya's ex-justice minister was recently quoted as telling a Swedish newspaper that Gadhafi personally ordered the bombing. (Letkey / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, right, welcomes Gadhafi upon his arrival at Tunis airport on Jan. 10, 1990. (Frederic Neema / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Lockerbie bomber Abdel Baset al-Megrahi is escorted by security officers in Tripoli on Feb. 18, 1992. Al-Megrahi was granted a compassionate release from a Scottish prison in August 2009 on the grounds that he was suffering from prostate cancer and would die soon. (Manoocher Deghati / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, left, accompanies Gadhafi on a tour at the pyramids of Giza on Jan. 19, 1993. (Aladin Abdel Naby / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. An Egyptian border policeman counts passports belonging to Palestinians waiting at the post in Salloum for transit to the Gaza Strip on Sept. 12, 1995. Families were stranded at the border with Libya after Gadhafi decided to expel 30.000 Palestinians, reportedly in order to call attention to the political situation in the Gaza Strip and West Bank. (Amr Nabil / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. Libyan women bodyguards provide security for VIPs during a military parade in Green Square on Sept. 1, 2003, to mark the 34th anniversary of Gadhafi's acension to power. (Mike Nelson / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. Family members of people killed in the bombing of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, read documents on Sept. 12, 2003, as the U.N. Security Council votes to lift sanctions against Libya for the 1988 bombing. (Spencer Platt / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. British Prime Minister Tony Blair, left, flew to Libya in 2004 to hold talks with Gadhafi inside a Bedouin tent. Here, Blair and and Gadhafi stroll to a separate tent in Tripoli for lunch during a break in their talks. Blair's role was particularly vital in Gadhafi's international rehabilitation. He praised the leader for ending Libya's nuclear and chemical weapons program and stressed the need for new security alliances in the wake of the Sept. 11 terror attacks. (Stefan Rousseau / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. U.S. President George W. Bush looks at material and equipment surrendered by Libya, during a tour of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee on July 12, 2004. Bush officially lifted the U.S. trade embargo against Libya on Sept. 20, 2004. (Tim Sloan / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  19. View of the remains of Gadhafi's bombed-out headquarters, now turned into a living memento, inside his compound in Tripoli on Oct. 15, 2004. The sculpture in the center represents a golden fist grabbing a U.S. jet fighter. U.S. jets bombed Tripoli, killing Gadhafi's adopted 4-year-old daughter, in April 1986 in retaliation for the Berlin discotheque bombing. (John Macdougall / AFP/Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  20. French President Nicolas Sarkozy is welcomed by Gadhafi in Tripoli on July 25, 2007. Sarkozy arrived for a meeting with the Libyan leader a day after the release of six foreign medics from a Libyan prison. (Patrick Kovarik / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  21. Gadhafi's son Saif, center, attends a ceremony in the southern Libyan city of Ghiryan on Aug. 18, 2007, to mark the arrival of water from the Great Manmade River, a project to pipe water from desert wells to coastal communities. (Mahmud Turkia / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  22. Gadhafi looks at a Russian-language edition of his book "The Green Book" during a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on April 17, 2008, in Tripoli. Putin was in Libya for a two-day visit to rebuild Russian-Libyan relations. (Artyom Korotayev / Epsilon via Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  23. Gadhafi and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi pose for a picture after signing an agreement in the eastern city of Benghazi on Libya's Mediterranean coast on Aug. 30, 2008. Berlusconi apologized to Libya for damage inflicted by Italy during the colonial era and signed a $5 billion investment deal by way of compensation. (Mahmud Turkia / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  24. Gadhafi poses with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice prior to a meeting in Tripoli on Sept. 5, 2008. Rice arrived in Libya on the first such visit in more than half a century, marking a new chapter in Washington's reconciliation with the former enemy state. (Mahmud Turkia / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  25. Gadhafi attends the closing session of the Arab League summit in Doha, Qatar, on March 30, 2009. (Marwan Naamani / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  26. Gadhafi waves after delivering a speech during a meeting with 700 women from the business, political and cultural spheres on June 12, 2009, in Rome. The Libyan strongman drew cheers and jeers when he criticized Islam's treatment of women but then suggested it should be up to male relatives to decide if a woman can drive. (Christophe Simon / AFP/Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  27. U.S .President Barack Obama shakes hands with Gadhafi during the G-8 summit in L'Aquila, Italy, on July 9, 2009. (Michael Gottschalk / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  28. Libyan Abdel Baset al-Megrahi, who was found guilty of the 1988 Lockerbie bombing, top left, is accompanied by Seif al-Islam el-Gadhafi, son of the Libyan leader, upon his arrival at the airport in Tripoli on Aug. 20, 2009. Scotland freed the terminally ill Lockerbie bomber on compassionate grounds, allowing him to die at home in Libya despite American protests that he should be shown no mercy. (Amr Nabil / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  29. The president of the U.N. General Assembly, Ali Abdussalam Treki, top center, listens in apparent misery as Gadhafi speaks on Sept. 23, 2009, at U.N. headquarters in New York. It was Gadhafi's first appearance before the U.N., and he emptied out much of the chamber with an exhaustive 95-minute speech in which he criticized the decision-making structure of the world body and called for investigations of all the wars and assassinations that have taken place since the U.N.'s founding. (Stan Honda / AFP/Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  30. Gadhafi greets Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez during the plenary session at the Africa-South America Summit on Margarita Island on Sept. 27, 2009. Chavez and Gadhafi urged African and South American leaders to strive for a new world order countering Western economic dominance. (Carlos Garcia Rawlins / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  31. Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, Gadhafi and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak during a group picture of Arab and African leaders ahead of the opening of the second Arab-African summit in the coastal town of Sirte, Libya, on Oct. 10, 2010. Ben Ali and Mubarak were driven out of power by popular revolts in 2011. (Sabri Elmehedwi / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  32. Gadhafi is followed by members of the press in Tripoli before making a speech hoping to defuse tensions on March 2. Gadhafi blamed al-Qaida for creating turmoil and told applauding supporters there was a conspiracy to control Libya and its oil. (Ahmed Jadallah / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  33. Libyan rebels step on a picture of Gadhafi at a checkpoint in Tripoli's Qarqarsh district on Aug. 22. Libyan government tanks and snipers put up a scattered, last-ditch effort in Tripoli on Monday after rebels swept into the heart of the capital, cheered on by crowds hailing the end of Gadhafi's 42 years in power. (Bob Strong / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  34. A man in Tripoli holds a photo said to be of Moammar Gadhafi after the announcement of the former leader's death, Oct. 20, 2011. Gadhafi was killed when revolutionary forces overwhelmed his hometown, Sirte, the last major bastion of resistance two months after the regime fell. (Abdel Magid Al-fergany / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
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    Above: Slideshow (34) Moammar Gadhafi through the years
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    Slideshow (81) Conflict in Libya

Gallery: Gadhafi's children

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