By Christopher S. Chivvis and Frederic Wehrey for CNN
Editor's note: Editor's note: Christopher S. Chivvis is a political scientist and Frederic Wehrey is a senior policy analyst at the RAND Corporation, a nonprofit institution that seeks to improve policy and decision-making through research and analysis.
The death of Moammar Gadhafi marks a major moment for Libya - and for NATO. It opens a new phase in the country's struggle for independence, one that carries with it some real risks that Libya's new leadership will need to work hard to overcome in coming weeks.
The Libyan people have every reason to rejoice at Gadhafi's death. In 42 years of rule, his Orwellian regime deprived them of basic human dignities and forced them to live in perpetual fear and uncertainty about their futures. His death is a clear opening to a much brighter future for the 6 million people who live in Libya.
It should also help keep Libya from falling victim to a protracted insurgency led by those loyal to the old regime. By depriving his supporters of their central rallying point, Gadhafi's death reduces the chances they'll be able to organize effectively to take up arms against the new government.
But there's also a risk that with Gadhafi gone, the divisions within the rebel movement could grow. For months, the rebels have fought alongside one another in a common struggle to oust their oppressor. But, as the focus shifts from the battlefield to the political arena, rebel leaders have to redouble their efforts to maintain national unity and move the reconstruction process forward together. A critical goal is reconciling different views about Libya's future - whether secular or Islamist - and ensuring that Libya's different tribes and regions have a seat at the table. FULL POST
CNN Foreign Affairs Correspondent Jill Dougherty interviewed Secretary Clinton in Kabul, Afghanistan just after Clinton began receiving reports about Gadhafi's capture or death. Jill speaks with CNN's Wolf Blitzer about her interview.
CNN Producer Raja Razek in Tripoli obtained this statement from NTC spokesman Mohamed Elkish on the Libyan interim government's description of the last moments of Moammar Gadhafi.
The statement was given in response to reports that Gadhafi was killed by Libyans who had captured him alive, Elkish said. The information is based on what Interim Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril was told by the Misrata coroner's office and relayed initially at a Tripoli press conference:
" Gadhafi was captured alive and in good health. He was wearing an undershirt, trousers, and armed with a gun. Gadhafi did not resist the arrest. He was arrested and while they were transferring him to the vehicle that will take him to Misrata, he was shot in his right arm. And they made it to the vehicle, put him in the vehicle, and as soon as the vehicle took off, it was caught in a crossfire between the revolutionaries and Gadhafi troops and that is when Gadhafi got a bullet in his head.
The coronor reported that Gadhafi died a few moments before arriving at the hospital where a sample of his hair was taken, were they found his artificial hair. They took a sample of his DNA and they took a blood sample and his blood was still hot when they took the sample. And a saliva sample from his mouth, and they took a sample from his face and a sample from his armpit. And it was by these samples, it was proven to them that it was Moamar Gadhafi himself. They took photos of him and attached it to the report. FULL POST
By Brian Flynn, Special to CNN
Editor's note: Brian Flynn is the brother of Lockerbie victim J.P. Flynn and vice president of Pan Am 103, an advocacy organization. He is a business adviser.
Many times I've watched in dismay as crowds of Moammar Gadhafi supporters gathered to wave flags in front of Libya's former dictator - in particular, two years ago, when the convicted murderer Abdul Al Megrahi returned to his home country under the guise of near-death, to be welcomed as a hero, banners waving, Gadhafi embracing the man who helped him kill my brother.
We watched in jaw-dropped horror as these two conspirators embraced in front of what we believed to be a throng of paid political cheerleaders.
We'd often heard that part of the way Gadhafi kept up the sparkly image of a happy, well-led people was to pay them to show up and look as though they were viewing a god. It's classic imperial propaganda: Make sure the little people show the love when the cameras are on. It's a method designed by Joseph Goebbels and painstakingly perfected by Gadhafi.
By CNN's Fareed Zakaria
Former Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi is dead. In September 2009, I interviewed Gadhafi at the United Nations General Assembly in New York. He was without question the strangest foreign leader I had ever interviewed. Gadhafi seemed liked he was on drugs – completely out of it. He was bizarre, constantly quoted from his own Green Book and was unaware of what was going on around him. Interviewing Gadhafi was like interviewing Yoda. You had the feeling that his sons were tightly in control and that he had some kind of weird, mystical place in that firmament.
For the full blog post go to CNN's GPS Blog
Moammar Gaddafi's death makes for an interesting punctuation mark in the ever-evolving U.S. approach to war. The key choice: should it be an exclamation point ("We got him! And not a single American died!) or a question mark ("Did we just get lucky? Is this a template for how the U.S. should wage future wars?").
We shouldn't over-learn whatever lessons there are to be gleaned by Gaddafi's demise and the joyful crowds gathering in Tripoli and other Libyan cities. But neither should we be shy about exploring what they might be.
By Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr
In the coming days, NATO's top military official, Supreme Allied Commander Adm. James Stavridis, will make his recommendation when NATO can end its mission inLibya, a senior NATO official told CNN. A special session of the North Atlantic Council will then be convened for a vote.
“It will be very soon, perhaps next day or two -[Stavridis] will give a recommendation and a special session of the NAC will be convened," the official said.
Stavridis is now looking at “key pieces of intelligence” to make that recommendation. That will include assessing whether the rebel group controls Sirte, which NATO believes they do, and whether Gadhafi loyalists can mount any significant counstrike, which NATO believes is not the case.
By National Security Producer Jamie Crawford
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Moammer Gadhafi’s capture or killing in Sirte, Libya would Gadhafi’s capture would “add legitimacy and relief to the formation of a new government.”
“There was a concerted effort by Libyans to liberate Sirte and it’s been going very well,” Clinton said in an interview Thursday with CNN Foreign Affairs Correspondent Jill Dougherty in Kabul, Afghanistan just as the reports from Libya were emerging.
Clinton was not able to confirm the reports herself during the interview due to the conflicting reports coming out of Libya.
Clinton visited the Libyan capitol of Tripoli earlier this week to meet with NTC leaders and to congratulate the country on the progress the country has made. She was the highest U.S. government official to visit Libya since 2008.
In her discussions with Libya’s governing National Transitional Council, Clinton said NTC leaders told her they wanted to wait until Sirte was completely free before they declared the country as being completely liberated.
“They knew if he was at large, they would have continued security problems,” she said.
Even if the reports on Gadhafi are true, Clinton said there will still be challenges ahead for Libya with mercenaries and fighters loyal to Gadhafi still on the scene.
By CNN Wires Staff
Conflicting reports surfaced Thursday that deposed Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi is dead or has been captured. Deafening celebrations erupted in Tripoli, but none of the reports could be independently verified.
Gadhafi's death was reported by National Transitional Council television station Al-Ahrar. It did not cite a source.
Gadhafi's capture was also reported by Libyan television, citing the Misrata Military Council.
A National Transitional Council military spokesman told CNN that reports of Gadhafi's capture are only rumors.
From CNN State Department Correspondent Jill Dougherty in Kabul
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton took off her diplomatic gloves Thursday in Kabul, Afghanistan, challenging Pakistan to crack down on terrorist safe havens on its side of the border.
In a joint news conference with Afghan President Hamid Karzai the Secretary, and in unusually forceful language, Clinton laid almost all of the blame for recent terrror attacks on Pakistan.
The U.S., she said, knows the Haqqani terrorist network operates out of safe havens in Pakistan. "We intend to push the Pakistanis very hard," Clinton said, calling it a "time for clarity."
Clinton is due to travel to Pakistan after her visit to Kabul, along with other senior U.S. officials.
"Our message is very clear: we're going to be fighting, we're going to be talking, we're going to be building," she said. "And they [Pakistan] can either be helping or hindering but we are not going to stop our efforts to create a strong foundation for an Afghanistan free from interference, violent conflict and [that] has a chance to chart its own future."
Clinton said NATO was taking action against forces of the Haqqani Network, which is allied to the Taliban and al Qaeda, "eliminating them on this side of the border, trying to squeeze them." She added that "more will be apparent in coming days." She said it had taken time for the U.S. to address the threat posed by the Haqqanis, and the question remained of how much support Pakistan would provide to get rid of them.