Opposition Forces Close in on Libya's Gadhafi

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Opposition forces in Libya are closing in on dictator Muammar Gadhafi as the move to take control of the country is just one city away from the capital city, Tripoli.

Still, Gadhafi showed no signs of going quietly, even as the U.S. military has begun repositioning forces in the area to be ready to provide assistance to the protesters.

Crowds of protesters and military defectors say they're in control of Zawiyah, a town just 30 miles west of Gadhafi's command center.

Scott Wheeler, a national security expert with The Republican National Trust, talks more about the situation in Libya and how it could directly affect the U.S., following this report. Click play to watch.

"They can kill us. What the h---. We're looking for freedom. We have a cause," one protester cried.

But Gadhafi's son, Sardi Gadhafi, warned ABC News's Christiane Amanpour that if his father is forced to flee, it will tear apart the country.

"Let's say if he has to leave today, if he leaves today--today, just one hour later, local war, civil war in Libya," Sardi Gadhafi told Amanpour.

Isolating Gadhafi

As much as 80 percent of Libya's oil sites are now controlled by anti-Gadhafi forces. And as the opposition braces for a long fight with Gadhafi loyalists, the U.S. Navy is deploying closer to Libya in the Mediterranean.

Speaking in Geneva, Switzerland Monday, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hinted that the use of military force is at least being explored.

"We will continue to explore all possible options for action. As we have said, nothing is off the table," Clinton said.

At the same time, U.N. officials were congratulating themselves on the tough new sanctions passed by the U.N. Security Council, including a weapons embargo against Gadhafi.

"I cannot think of a time in recent memory when the council has acted so swiftly, so decisively, and in unanimity on an urgent matter of international human rights," U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice said.

Lost in the discussion was the U.N.'s action to elect Libya as chair of the Human Rights Council just eight years ago.

One Gadhafi spokesman wasted no time blasting the U.N. action.

"They did not ask to come in to Libya. They had no fact-finding mission in Libya. They based their decision on media reports," Libyan government spokesman Moussa Ibrahim said.

"Have you ever heard about a Security Council resolution that will decide the future of a country based on media reports?" he questioned.

As Gadhafi loses his grip on the country, people are remembering those who died under his regime.

"The pictures behind me are of all the young Libyan people who have been killed by Gadhafi and his helpers," Benghazi resident Muhammed Suleiman said.

The protesters are waiting for more military defectors to join them in the capital. Until then, the risk of more victims in the Libyan streets is high.

Rising Gas Prices

Meanwhile, the unrest in the Middle East and North Africa is keeping the price of oil in the $100 a barrel range, which is pushing gas prices higher.

Last week, the national average for a gallon of gas rose 4 percent. It now sits at $3.29 a gallon, the highest level ever for this time of year.
Many economist predict the prices could go up even more.

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CBN News
John Waage

John Waage

CBN News Sr. Editor

John Waage has covered politics and analyzed elections for CBN News since 1980, including primaries, conventions, and general elections. 

He also analyzes the convulsive politics of the Middle East.