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Moammar Gadhafi Still Nowhere to Be Found; Saif Al-Islam Appear to the Media; International Reporters Trapped in Rixo Hotel

Aired August 22, 2011 - 20:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, ANDERSON COOPER 360: Candy, thanks very much. Our breaking news coverage continues tonight.

The dictator who went from most fear to most hated, is now the most wanted but Moammar Gadhafi is nowhere to be found. The Libyan people whom he once compared to rats have made him go to ground like one.

But just before news time as Candy just mentioned his son, Saif Gadhafi, also wanted fro crimes against humanity has surfaced. This video just coming in to CNN of his sudden appearance. Remember the opposition claimed to have him in custody. So obviously this video showing him not in custody. It raises all sorts of questions about other statements that the opposition forces have been making.

Also another son, Mohammed, has managed to escape his opposition captors and has spoken with CNN. That's Mohammed. That is not all. Late reporting as well from the Arab News network citing opposition forces of new NATO air strikes like these against the Gadhafi compound which is where forces loyal to the Gadhafi's have chosen to make a stand. Especially heavy fighting there and outside the nearby hotel were foreign correspondents, including our own Matthew Chance, are pinned down by the fighting outside and armed thugs inside, forced into hallways away from windows.

In a moment you'll hear his riveting account of that as well as Saif Gadhafi's surprise appearance and interview with him at the hotel.

As for loyalists outside and scattered around the city, the question tonight is will they give up? Will they melt away and form terror cells? Will they take part in some kind of final offensive? This afternoon President Obama called on the missing dictator to resurface and make one final gesture to stop the killing.


BARCK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATED OF AMERICA: Although it's clear that Gadhafi's rule is over, he still has the opportunity to reduce further blood shed by explicitly relinquishing power to the people of Libya and calling for those forces that continue to fight to lay down their arms for the sake of Libya.


COOPER: That was president Obama this afternoon. And though the war is not over yet, opposition fighters have flooded into Tripoli over the weekend, now control most of the city and much of the country that is according to them.

Saif Gadhafi, moments ago, said reports that the opposition fighters controlling 90 percent of Tripoli are simply not true. Tonight you are going to hear from our correspondents on the ground.

From ordinary Libyans who are hopeful but still on edge. From the top expert on the western shadow warriors aiding the opposition and more.

First a quick look at developments up until now.


COOPER (voice-over): After weeks of intense fighting in the coastal city, opposition forces on Saturday finally gained control of the city. Their next target, Tripoli, only 30 miles away.

On Sunday, the advance began and even the rebels were surprised at how easily they were able to infiltrate the city.

SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The road, the coastal road was completely clear. We were able to get here in no time flat. We are just seeing the outskirts of town, but you can see there are checkpoints. You can see people are screaming go straight. You can hear the shooting in the air and we are getting very, very close now to the city center.

COOPER: By dusk the first reports of fighting within Tripoli. Western journalists are held by the government inside the Tripoli hotel.

MATHEW CHANCE, SENIOER INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: In the last few seconds really or last few minutes, we've learned that security that has been so prevalent around this hotel has all of a sudden decided to leave, essentially the government minders who were armed with classic rifles and things like that have departed the hotel now.

And it's pretty empty in the lobby apart from a few security staff, rather a few hotel staff. Apart from that, it's completely empty, which makes it kind of uncertain time. Because obviously what we don't know the exact reason why the miners have left with their weapons. The assumption here is because the rebels are very close by.

COOPER: Late Sunday, Gadhafi made an audio appeal on state television for residents to defend the capital.

MOAMMAR GADHAFI, PRESIDENT OF LIBYA (through translator): How can you allow Tripoli to be destroyed, burnt.

COOPER: Libyan government spokesman Moussa Ibrahim told reporters that Tripoli was, quote "being turned into a hell fire." By 1:15 a.m. Monday morning, the rebels marched into Green Square a site famous for pro-Gadhafi rallies.

SIDNER: Right now what's happening is everyone - we are here in the middle of Tripoli. What we're seeing are rebels all over the square. There are really no civilians. Men with guns in the square but we're also seeing people running. There's a lot of gunfire. They say there are snipers. We all had to pull back. The situation is very tense here.

COOPER: There are scenes of celebration inside the city as world leaders, including President Barack Obama, called on Gadhafi to surrender.

But as dawn broke, celebratory gunfire turned hostile as government forces fought back. This BBC reporter came under fire while riding into the center of the city with a convoy of opposition fighters.

Rebels gained another victory by announcing the arrest of Hala Misrati, a news anchor from Libyan State Television who over the weekend brandished a gun during her broadcast declaring she would become a martyr for the regime.

After her arrest, opposition forces say they gained control of the state-run network. A mouthpiece of propaganda for Gadhafi, and turned the broadcast off.

The fierce fighting continues in parts of Tripoli. The opposition says they are certain of victory and have begun making plans to govern the nation. The one task however, that could finally end this war once and for all still eludes them, however, the capture of Moammar Gadhafi. His whereabouts are unknown.


COOPER: Gadhafi's son Saif has made a surprise appearance tonight. He showed up at the hotel. The hotel that Matthew Chance and other journalists have been trapped in.

Matthew, tell us about what just happened.

CHANCE (via telephone): Yes. Well, there was a lot of confusion in the hotel about half an hour ago. People were saying that Saif al- Islam Gadhafi, the oldest son of Colonel Gadhafi, had turned up and was going to give a press conference. He didn't give that press conference yet.

There was a white armored land cruiser and people were pointing saying Saif was in there. I went up and knocked on the window. I said, "Saif, can you open the door, I need to see you with my own eyes." And he did that. I reached in and turned on the light in the inside of the armored land cruiser and yes, there he was, Saif al Islam Gadhafi, which made to be in the custody of the rebels of course. The International Criminal Court in the Haig has basically said that they confirmed he was in custody. And so, everyone has been reporting that this is the oldest son of Colonel Gadhafi has been captured by the rebels. But you know, here he's a free man.

I asked him where his father was and he said everybody, my whole family, are in Tripoli. He said that the rebels have been essentially lured into Tripoli and it had been a trick and that the Gadhafi forces have now broken the backbone of those rebels. Obviously him striking a very defiant tone. But the important thing I think at this point, Anderson, is this revelation that Saif al-Islam Gadhafi has not been captured by the rebels. In fact he's a very free man indeed and he drove off into the night into Tripoli in his armored convoy.

COOPER: How large a convoy does he have? How much security does he have?

CHANCE: You know, about three vehicles, maybe four, all armored land cruisers with, you know, his security personnel at his side carrying galashticans(ph). Apparently about half an hour or an hour earlier, he had met some other journalists from the Rixo. We had organized a pool kind of coverage because people have been saying earlier in the evening that Saif Gadhafi, he is going to give a press conference at the hotel. People came out at 11:30 at night to prepare for the press conference and he didn't turn up.

So I think the assumption from any of the journalists is this is not true, this is just more spin from the regime. And we've been getting a lot of that over the past several months, of course.

But then, you know, at 1:30 in the morning, you know, about half an hour ago or so, he turned up at the hotel. And, you know, it was very surprising. But he had given an interview and a short sound bite with some journalists about an hour earlier in the Gadhafi compound, which is a short distance from here, which is very interesting, because you know he's safe with Gadhafi and he said his other family members as well are in Tripoli.

So, presumably what he means by that, they're inside that Gadhafi compound, which has been so heavily bombed over the course of the past several months. And which is now the scene of some very fierce clashes, perhaps the fiercest we've seen in Tripoli since the rebels entered the Libyan capital 24, 48 hours ago, whenever it was.

The most ferocious clashes have been centered, around that Gadhafi compound, which is in the same area of Tripoli, as is this Rixo hotel where we've been essentially pinned down in the hotel because of the ferocity of that fighting, Anderson.

COOPER: This obviously, I mean if the rebels were incorrect or lying about having Saif Gadhafi or mistaken about having Saif Gadhafi in their custody, it raises all sorts of questions about other claims they have made, like controlling 90 percent of Tripoli. Do we have any way of knowing what the real status of the fight is in Tripoli right now?

CHANCE: No, we don't. It is you're right, it really does catch the rebels out in some short some shortcomings in their information to say the least. And it's difficult for me to give a really good assessment on to what extent the rebels have control over Tripoli, which areas they have control and which area they don't. I've been confined to the hotel. We've got a very narrow perspective on this conflict.

But I can say this, that even though there's been fighting around this area between rebels and Gadhafi loyalists, this area, which includes the Gadhafi compound, it includes the Rixo Hotel and other key government installations as well, from the outset remains firmly in the hands of Gadhafi's loyalists, of government forces. And at no time has it been occupied by the opposition fighters, the rebels, whatever you want to call them. It's always been a kind of Gadhafi strong hold. And I understand there are pockets like this all over the city. What we don't know is to what extent or percentage, for instance, Gadhafi still controls Tripoli and what percentage you know the rebels control it.

COOPER: Matthew, I want to show to our viewers a side-by-side picture of what Saif Gadhafi looked like in March and what he looked like today. He clearly seems to have lost a lot of weight. He's grown a beard which covers up some of it, but he looks quite different.

CHANCE: Yes, he does. He's grown a beard and he's - you know it's Ramadan right now as well, and so you know, a lot of people who observe Ramadan, a lot of Muslims, they lose weight at this time of year because they're fasting during daylight hours, so you tend to lose a lot of weight if you do that, Anderson.

He's clearly been observant in that regard. He's grown a beard. He's expressed some opinions in recent interviews, one he gave to "The New York Times" not long ago saying he was sympathetic to Islamists in the country. He's also been trying to call-off to some extent the Islamist agenda saying that you know it's possible that in the future Libya could become an Islamic state.

But on this occasion, you know he looked quite healthy. He looks in good spirits. You know, he was very defiant. He actually invited us at one point to get into the car and to drive with him around Tripoli because he wanted to show off all the areas that have been, you know all the hot areas he called them, the areas where supposedly there was fighting under way. Before we had a chance to do that, he drove out. We will see what happens in the days ahead. Now that we know he's out and not in captivity, he's not been captured, perhaps we'll get some good access to him and the rest of the Gadhafi family.

COOPER: But Matthew, your situation in the hotel has been tenuous to say the least. You've had armed government security people walking around the halls intimidating people. You've been limited on food and water. What's the situation now? You're not free to leave that hotel, are you?

CHANCE: No, we're not. It was pretty grim earlier on today and the past 24 hours it's been pretty ugly in the hotel. There's been a dark mood amongst all the journalists that have gathered here. I have to say it's lifted somewhat now that we've had this visit from Saif al- Islam Gadhafi at least because at least we feel that you know we had some contact with the outside world and there's some reason for us being here other than to provide some kind of shield for the various government officials that have used the Rixo Hotel.

And so that's been you know something that lifted our mood somewhat. A lot of the ugly scenes that we experienced earlier today were involving Gadhafi loyalists, gunmen who were in the hotel lobby. And you know, they expressed some hostility toward the international media, essentially blaming the media for what's happened in Libya and the crisis and saying that we compounded it by our reporting.

This is often the line that you get from you know Gadhafi loyalists. They say often blame the international media for what's going wrong in their country. But on this occasion, of course, it's the way gunmen way without control and so potentially very dangerous. But the situation seems to have calmed somewhat now. At the same time, we're still not permitted to go out of the hotel and still effectively being kept here at the disposal, fully under the control of Gadhafi's regime.

COOPER: These are very dangerous hours to be in Tripoli, Matthew. You and your crew please stay safe.

We'll check back in with Matthew. We'll also be live at the 10:00 hour on 360 for the entire hour.

Fighting has picked up again tonight in Zawiya. Sara Sidner is there for us.

Sara, you're reporting heavy fighter fighting, gunfire, NATO aircraft. Where are you in Zawiya which is about 30 miles from Tripoli? What's the latest?

SIDNER: We heard a lot of blasts, a lot of gunfire, but as it turns out, we spoke finally, were able to get in touch with one of the rebels here and he says, nope, that is celebratory gunfire. They have been celebrating again in this city. And sometimes, frankly, it is hard to tell the difference because they're using heavy, heavy artillery to celebrate with. We're talking about cannons, we're talking about antiaircraft missiles, we're talking about mortars that they are blowing off and we saw lots of tracer fire coming just over our head further into the city than we had seen it before, which gave us pause.

I want to also speak to something that we are hearing from rebels now. They have been told to clear out Bab al-Aziziya that is where the Gadhafi compound is, saying that they're in coordination with NATO and that they may have some action from NATO. And they have been told to clear out of that area. And we've heard that before. We heard that about 48 hours ago when rebels told us we know that we need to get out and get the residents out of the middle of Zawiya and the next 48 hours later NATO struck Zawiya and that, there by, ended the battle there because it got rid of the snipers.

We were hearing from rebels today that inside Tripoli where we were heading down near green square and down to the area of Bab al-Aziziya also that there were snipers in the area and there was definitely some kind of gun battle going on there and we were not allowed to go and see that.

However, we did tour some of the city. We went into the main drag of the city from the west. That road a very commercial road, though there's some residents along the way. It was completely open. We drove straight down it, no problems. There were rebel fighters driving up and down, celebrating, waving flags, shooting in the air, enjoying their lives, screaming Gadhafi must go, saying Libya is free. And so it is difficult to get a sense of who controls what, but they certainly control some of that city because we were in the city literally al day from sunrise to sunset.

COOPER: And you were in main parts of the city, because now you know, Saif Gadhafi has appeared. The rebels, the opposition fighters had said he was in their custody. Clearly that is not the case. Do we know how much of the city the rebels may occupy and or control?

SIDNER: First we heard 80 percent as the sun was setting. Then we heard 90 percent. Then it went up to 95. I mean, I think what you have here is people want to believe. They get so overly excited about their push into the city that they start to exaggerate. And we've seen this before.

You know, there is propaganda that comes from many different sides in this war. You can't just say that it's the Gadhafi regime that is spreading propaganda. Of course you're getting some of the similar types of messages from the other side, but what we did notice is that there were more and more residents. For the first time in that 24- hour period when I was there and they were running from snipers in Green Square to today, we saw actual residents coming out, coming on their balconies, yelling, waving flags, some of them painting their faces. Some of their children out on the streets.

It was a small group, however. It is a bit of an eerie situation in Tripoli because you get these patches of neighborhoods where people are celebrating and as you then drive along, everything - there's not a store open in the city and there's no one around for a little while until you see one of those rebel cars coming back and forth with the guns attached to them.

So a very eerie situation. And no matter what corner you turn, you don't know what you're going to be faced with. Whether you're going to be face-to-face with the Gadhafi's cannons or whether you're going to be face-to-face with just a resident standing there or whether you'll be with the rebels. So -

COOPER: We're losing Sara's signal so we're going to drop out. Sara, appreciate the reporting. Stay safe, you and your team.

Let us know what you think, we are on face book. Follow me on twitter @andersoncooper. I'll try to tweet something tonight.

Up next, how much help has the opposition gotten from NATO? You already know about the air support. What about Special Forces and other covert assistance?

We'll talk to a former top intelligence officer and former army intelligence commander about the possibilities.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tripoli, very, very happy. Gadhafi is finished. Gadhafi is finished. Now Libya is freedom. (END OF VIDEO CLIP)



CHANCE (via telephone): Everybody was surprised when the rebels managed to move into Tripoli so quickly, especially since it took so long for them to take control of the town. They were fighting there for more than a week remember, in some very heavy, you know close combat with those Gadhafi forces. Then they moved into Tripoli in many places virtually without resistance, and so it's very surprising because just the same day as they did that, government officials loyal to Colonel Gadhafi had said that there would be a fierce battle.


COOPER: Right now this moment we believe there is still fighting going on in Tripoli, outside the Gadhafi compound as well as NATO air strikes on it. Such air support has made a big difference in the war. So as the kind of assistance that you don't see on the nightly news including reports of Special Forces advising opposition fighters.

Once again our breaking news tonight is that Saif Gadhafi has surfaced in Tripoli, which is a direct contradiction to what opposition forces had been claiming.

Let's talk about it now with former CIA Officer, Robert Baer. He is the author of "the company, we keep". Also with us tonight, Retired Major General James Marks.

So, General Marks, with the fight for Tripoli on going, Gadhafi's whereabouts unknown, how do you see this playing out, especially with the appearance now of Saif Gadhafi?

MAJ, GEN. JAMES "SPIDER" MARKS, RETIRED U.S. ARMY: Well, I think the most important thing is that you never believe the first report you hear and obviously that's played out with the appearance of Saif Gadhafi in town.

But really the issue now becomes what type of command and control exists among this rebel force that can really put in place some degrees of control around Gadhafi's military that still exists. What are those units that have to be destroyed? And then how can they get that equipment from those forces, Anderson, and put them into locations so you can lock them down and start doing an inventory so they don't appear elsewhere in battle and, more importantly, they don't appear on the black market being sold someplace.

So it's very, very critical these next couple of days and that what we've seen is not at all certain.

COOPER: Bob, it seems that the opposition fighters, I mean in the early days of this we all saw how completely disorganized they were, shooting in the air, running forward, then retreating, jumping into vehicles. It was really complete chaos on the battlefield. They clearly began to get some direction and organization.

How much of that, do you think, came from foreign Special Forces, from intelligence operatives, from NATO and other countries?

ROBERT BAER, FMR. CIA OFFICER: A lot of it has. I mean NATO has played a crucial role in this. And in order to hit these targets as General Marks knows you need close air support, you need communications with airplanes, you need surveillance equipment. A lot of, in fact a lot of them are contractors flown into Benghazi this summer providing support, this communications equipment. Some of it was lethal support. And then you have British commandos as well as French and Qatari and they have been in the west and they played a key role. And that's why we've seen a lot fewer hits on rebel forces.

COOPER: It's also why there's been less coverage of opposition troop movements because I think they have finally got sort of battlefield control over where reporters go.

General Marks, though, if the battle is now in Tripoli, what role does NATO play in that? Obviously there is air support and they can bomb, but if it becomes a street-to-street fight, that becomes more difficult for NATO to be involved with unless they use some sort of covert forces on the ground, no?

MARKS: Absolutely, Anderson. All along we've been talking about the inevitability of some foreign boots on the ground. That will take place, whether the fighting assumes what we would call street-to- street, block-to-block type of engagements that are characterizations of urban warfare or, more importantly, during these periods of transition, and let's just state it as we see it, there will be a transition and it's coming up shortly. You've got to be able to lock down Gadhafi's military forces so they don't grow legs and go elsewhere and that takes some degree of a force on the ground.

COOPER: There's also concern, Bob, that, you know, they decide to do some sort of insurgency, that Gadhafi forces go out to the desert or some other area where they still think they can operate and just do kind of hit and run operations.

How likely do you think something like that is, or does he not have the kind of loyalty that that would require?

BAER: No, he can do this. In the early part of the conflict he was talking about in this inner circle about going to (inaudible). If you look at the map, it's way down in the desert. It's remote, it would be hard to hit. It's maybe a fantasy on his part, but remembers, this is a tribal conflict and there are still tribal loyalties. It's not going to be like overthrowing Saddam. Once he was out there wasn't all that much loyalty. But with Gadhafi, it's much more tribal bonding and we're going to see resistance on their part.

As general marks said, we need to get in there and some way prevent a civil war because that's always likelihood in a place like Libya.

COOPER: It is, General Marks, a key moment now. I mean I've been in countries that have fallen and I remember being the fall in the boot and once a dictator that's been in power for a long period of time many people owe their allegiance to, once he is seen to be weak, you never know what his forces are going to do.

MARKS: You don't. It's the euphoria of the moment. What you have is Gadhafi's forces now, everybody is trying to cut their own deal, everybody is now in a survival type of mode. His calls for some last- ditch effort to continue the fight really are going to cause greater blood shed.

And then the rebels, in which haven't demonstrated a lot of command and control, a lot of maturity and a lot of discipline have now been able to achieve this or about to achieve this great victory, the concern for score settling is very large.

COOPER: Bob Baer, we're going to talk to you a little later on as well. General Marks, thanks very much as always.

Up next the strong man who ruled with an iron fist is nowhere to be found right now. His son as popped up. I'll speak with a young Libyan woman who has only known life under the Gadhafi rule for her entire life. She said she is about - she feels it is on the brink, that she's about to taste freedom for the first time.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Now I'm 23 years old and as you say I lived all my life under the control of him. My feeling now, I'm very, very close for my freedom.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everyone has been waiting for this day for Moammar Gadhafi to get out. Everyone in Benghazi is waiting for that very minute. They can capture the sons. They can capture confidants of Gadhafi, but until they have Gadhafi captured, dead or alive, people are still, even in Benghazi, somewhere apprehensive, because the man has been, quite frankly, a boogeyman for everyone.

So even if he gets out of Libya, the chance that he might return, the chance that his followers might again pick up arms is still very real.


COOPER: Well, two of the sons who were thought to be captured it turns out aren't, Mohammed said to have escaped and Saif al-Islam Gadhafi there appearing just right before our broadcast went on the air near the hotel where so many journalists have been trapped.

Saif says opposition forces have been lured into Tripoli where he says they will be defeated.

Earlier, I spoke by phone with a 23-year-old Libyan woman. We're going to call her Noura to protect her identity. It's not her real name. Now, she lives in Tripoli with her parents and her siblings. She says that Gadhafi has deprived the Libyan people of basic human rights and that she's both happy and scared that it looks like the Gadhafi regime is close to being toppled, scared of what his supporters still might be capable of doing.

Here's part of what we talked about.


COOPER: How are you feeling? When you hear the gunfire, when you see what is happening now, how do you feel?

"NOURA," LIBYAN WOMAN IN TRIPOLI: I'm frightened because we know that Gadhafi and his army, the kind of people, they do not care about anyone.

And they -- they're kind of -- they are thinking in an evil way. They are not even human beings. You can not -- you can never, never expect what they will do. They're actually -- their reactions, they are unexpected, so we don't know. They may do anything.

Actually now, before one hour, two hours and a half, they were firing rocks. Though I'm 100 percent sure that we win in the end of that, because we are trying to -- because we are defending our freedom. And we didn't choose the situation. We didn't choose to have this war in our country.

Actually, it was forced by Gadhafi and his armies. He is the one who forced us to fight, to take our freedom from him. Now we are fighting to take our simplest needs as people, as human beings. We were treated by him a -- this 42 years as slaves.

COOPER: What does it feel like? Your entire life you have lived under Gadhafi. What does it feel like to be on the brink of change, to be on the brink of something new?

NOURA: You know, now I'm 23 years old. And, as you say, I lived all my house under the control of him.

My feeling now, I'm very, very close from my freedom. So I will just -- in the moment that I will take it, I will live every moment of my life and I will thank Allah for every moment I will live without him, without his control and his sons' control as well.

So I'm waiting. I'm really, really -- I'm waiting for this minute. I'm waiting for the time we will hear that Gadhafi is over, that we killed, they captured him and he's over, not Gadhafi at all. It will be like -- it will be -- I think even if I will die after that moment, it's all right because I just -- I live -- will live for a moment that they will tell me that there is no Gadhafi, that it will be the best thing will ever happen to me in my life.

COOPER: Thank you for talking to us.

NOURA: Yes, you're welcome. Thank you very much. Thank you. COOPER: Stay safe. Be careful.

NOURA: Thank you.


COOPER: We will have more on Libya in just a moment, but let's check in with Piers Morgan to have a look at what's coming up on "PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT."


We will, of course, have all the latest breaking news out of Libya tonight. I will be talking to journalists on the ground and Libyans in the heart of the battle.

And my exclusive one-on-one with a man who wants to be our next president, Jon Huntsman, a Republican who believes in global warming, supports civil unions, speaks Mandarin, and used to be in a rock band, the rather surprising Jon Huntsman tonight.

That and more at the top of the hour -- back to you, Anderson.

COOPER: Piers, thanks very much.

Up next on the program, the breaking news: Saif al-Islam Gadhafi has not been captured by opposition forces. You have seen the video. We're just now getting an interview with him about what he says is really happening in Tripoli. We will play that for you as soon as we get it.

Plus, Gadhafi, Moammar Gadhafi, his dad, has ruled for so long that there's -- well, there's going to be a power vacuum when he's gone. The question is, who's going to fill it? Can Libya's transition from dictatorship to democracy take place, and for how long will it likely take?

A panel of experts, among Fouad Ajami and Anne-Marie Slaughter and others, coming up next. We will be right back.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We had to fight. I'm not a fighter. I'm a student. And it's my first time to like handle a gun. And we had to fight to liberate our city, because we didn't wish to have a war.

We wanted a peaceful -- like in Tunisia or Egypt. We wanted a peaceful demonstration to change the dictatorship that has been like 42 years, and we have nothing to -- we don't have any rights, no basic human rights.


COOPER: It's so amazing how for months now we have not heard people in Tripoli speaking out. We have not heard people on the phone as we heard that young woman before the commercial break. And now finally a sense of being on the cusp of something new and people finally coming out of their homes and speaking.

A brave young Libyan we heard from just there taking part in the momentous events engulfing his country.

Gadhafi was a young man when he took control of Libya in 1969. He was just 27 years old when he led the revolution that ousted Libya's King Idris. That was 42 years ago. When he is finally gone, the power vacuum is expected to be filled by the National Transitional Council, which was formed earlier this year as a rebellion against Gadhafi's four-decade rule took root.

The NTC is currently based in Benghazi, the opposition stronghold in eastern Libya. And it's expected to move to Tripoli as soon as opposition forces secure the capital. The U.S., Britain, Spain, Canada, Germany has already recognized the NTC as the new legitimate government of Libya.

But a lot of folks who are observers of Libya tell CNN that the council has its work cut out. It must secure the country, for instance, and impose the rule of law, try to minimize revenge killings and guide Libya on its path from dictatorship to democracy, which is never an easy task.

Back with us is Robert Baer, former CIA officer. We're also joined by Fouad Ajami, senior fellow at the Hoover institution. And Anne-Marie Slaughter is the former director of policy planning at the State Department who is now a professor of politics and international affairs at Princeton University. She joins us on the phone.

Fouad, this obviously isn't Iraq, but you hear there's concerns about the possibility of Gadhafi loyalists dissolving away and then suddenly emerging as an insurgency. Is that a possibility?

FOUAD AJAMI, PROFESSOR OF MIDDLE EASTERN STUDIES, JOHNS HOPKINS SCHOOL OF ADVANCED INTERNATIONAL STUDIES: Well, I'm glad you mentioned Iraq, because in Iraq there was the war after the war and we will remember that the regime of Saddam Hussein fell in April and Saddam himself was captured in December.

There was seven to eight months interlude between the fall of the regime and the capture of the man who headed the regime. So we're heading into this great uncertainty. But there's no doubt the Gadhafi regime has fallen. Practically, it has fallen.


COOPER: No matter what Saif Gadhafi suddenly says?

AJAMI: It's -- I actually bear a grievance against Saif because I had already announced that he has been captured and now he has made this appearance.

I think the regime has fallen. Now, what happens in Libya next is, of course, anyone's guess. But the prospects for the Libyan people are promising. There can be no possibility that the regime that would rise in Libya that would equal the tyranny and the brutality of this regime. And then the young woman you talked to -- and there was another young woman you talked to several months ago -- these people give you hope.


AJAMI: These people have a dream of a better Libya. And it is on these people that we pin our hopes.

COOPER: I will never forget the women I talked to -- gosh, it was early on in this, five months ago -- who I think we went for 20 minutes on the program with her.


COOPER: And just it was like a cry in the night for help. And it was -- we haven't heard from her since. And I'm hoping to get back in touch with her as soon as she feels safe enough.

But, Bob Baer, we don't have the religious divisions in Libya that there were in Iraq, but there are tribal divisions and there's bound to be some disagreement over how to handle oil revenues. How serious do you think disputes or the potential for fault lines are?

ROBERT BAER, FORMER CIA OFFICER: I think there's a potential for a lot. You also have the Berbers, who are not really Arabs, and they played a key role in taking Tripoli, apparently, from what we have heard.

And the country is divided east and west. And you do have the tribal groups. And they still have the Qaddafi tribe, still a lot of loyalty. And remember this country has had no serious -- any sort of political institutions to build a democracy on.

I think it's going to need a lot of help. I think we need to get in there at some level, international level, to provide that help to avoid the possibility of a civil war, because it's going to always going to be a vacuum when a regime like this falls that is so brutal. You have to rebuild the police, the military and right from the ground a parliament.

COOPER: Anne-Marie Slaughter, what's so stunning about the idiocy of Gadhafi is that for all the money that he has made, that the oil revenues have brought that country, that he did not -- and for all his talk about building apartment blocks and caring for people, I mean, their hospitals are miserable. Their school system is pathetic.

He had such an opportunity to enrich his own people. There's not that many people in Libya and yet he chose not to do that. And now this is a country where the institutions need to be rebuilt.

ANNE-MARIE SLAUGHTER, DEAN, WOODROW WILSON SCHOOL OF PUBLIC AND INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS AT PRINCETON UNIVERSITY: Anderson, you're right. It's a country of six million people with tremendous oil wealth that has been not used for his people and where it is going to take quite a lot of time to rebuild the institutions or build the institutions for the first time.

But I do think before we immediately look at all the trouble ahead and we're already seeing, of course, that the fighting isn't over, it's still worth recognizing that six months ago, Gadhafi was threatening Benghazi with tanks and planes. He could have crushed the opposition completely. He was doing it already. And the world intervened. There was a real debate and the world intervened and six months later, the rebels are in Tripoli.

And that is a tremendous accomplishment. So before we plunge into what's coming, I think it's worth remembering that.

COOPER: Fouad, has NATO been a success here? You were critical of the Obama administration for being slow to get into this, for the way they got into it. Looking back now, what do you make of it?

AJAMI: Well, I think there's a Libyan patriot, a Libyan woman who corresponds with me. And she sent this e-mail and said liberal is nearly free, it's nearly free. We're on the edge of freedom.

And NATO I think was late. I think the American policy was late. I think the recognition of the Transitional Council should have come months earlier. But, nevertheless, you don't quibble now at this point with this spectacle of freedom in Libya, because I'm convinced that this regime is finished, this regime is over.

And I think what's interesting about the question you asked about how Gadhafi, what Gadhafi did to this country, he took six million people out to the stream of humanity. He basically relegated them to silence. And now we are hearing people speak, because dictatorship is always about the silence of the mass and the fact that one man, one despot speaks for all.

COOPER: Anne-Marie, there's concern obviously as there always is about Islamic extremists, about al Qaeda. There were reports that I think it was the second highest number of people who went to Iraq to fight against U.S. forces came from Libya. Is that a real concern moving forward for Libya?

SLAUGHTER: It is certainly something we have to watch, and there is some evidence that arms that have been sent into Libya have fallen into al Qaeda's hands.

And the National Transitional Council has a charter of transition in which it's clear that they are balancing support from Islamist groups, not al Qaeda, but just Islamist groups, that they are strong in Libya. But I don't think that's going to be the first order of the day.

What has to happen is just establishing basic order and political representation to avoid the kind of chaos that could then really support a haven for terrorists. COOPER: Bob, how much -- how much capability do you think Gadhafi and whatever troops he has loyal still have? I mean, there's reports that he stores of mustard gas and he still has weapons at his disposal?

BAER: I don't think much. I think he's been defeated. You know, I will probably regret those words, but I think he doesn't have any place to hide. The major cities are on the coast.

He's lost all of them, except parts of Tripoli. He can go into the interior and fight some rearguard action as he's been talking about, but he's lost power and the Libyans understand that.

And I like to say, Anderson, what's good about this whole thing, it's the Libyans that got rid of him. It wasn't foreign troops. You can't really paint them as some colonial force that came into Libya and occupied the country. And I think we're much better off that the Libyans did it themselves.

COOPER: That is an important point, isn't it?

AJAMI: Absolutely. This is a Libyan drama and I think President Obama was right to underplay -- in his remarks the last day or so to underplay the American role and underplay the Western role.

COOPER: Fouad Ajami, Bob Baer, Anne-Marie Slaughter, thank you.

Up next, Saif Gadhafi spotted at a hotel in Tripoli. Hear what he said about his father's regime and who is really controlling Tripoli, according to the Gadhafis -- next.



SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The rebels have Green Square. And it is a historic moment here in Tripoli, in the capital. The real stronghold of Moammar Gadhafi has now been taken over by the rebels.


COOPER: CNN's Sara Sidner witnessing the historic moment.

Our breaking news tonight: Saif al-Islam Gadhafi, son of Moammar Gadhafi, appeared in Tripoli within this past hour. He spoke with reporters just a short time ago.


SAIF AL-ISLAM GADHAFI, SON OF MOAMMAR GADHAFI (through translator): They have led through the sea and through other means gangs of people who are saboteurs.

And you could the people of Libya are standing and have broken the spine of those rats and the gangsters yesterday and today. Today, we will go into the old hot spots of Tripoli, in Tripoli, and we will reassure the people that things are fine in Libya. Now we are going to go on a walkabout in Tripoli and in the places where they said there has been -- that they have actually seized from us. Then he said, the hell with the ICC.



COOPER: The ICC, the International Criminal Court, which has a warrant out for him. Saif al-Islam also said his father is still in Tripoli with his family.

The Obama administration also believes he is still in Tripoli -- in Libya. A Pentagon spokesman said today that the U.S. military has no information that he has left the country. They don't know whether or not he's in Tripoli, or at least not publicly saying.

The head of Libya's National Transitional Council said that the real moment of victory in this battle will come when Gadhafi is captured. The opposition said yesterday that it arrested three of Gadhafi's sons, but tonight Libya's ambassador to the United States said that one of the sons, Mohammed Gadhafi, escaped from his captors.

And as you saw, Saif is clearly not in custody.

Let's check back once again quickly with CNN's Sara Sidner, who is now in Zawiyah, about 30 miles west of Tripoli, and with Matthew Chance in Tripoli. He and other journalists are pinned down at a hotel by pro- Gadhafi forces. He joins us via Skype.

Matthew, has the situation in the hotel changed at all within the last hour since Saif appeared?

CHANCE: It has. I'm speaking to you now by Skype, so that means we have got electricity on. You can see we have got lights.

I haven't had a chance to stop sweating yet because it's been so hot in this hotel. But, yes, the situation has got much better in the sense that the generators are working now. There's electricity. It all happened within about five or 10 minutes of Saif Gadhafi making that appearance outside the hotel.

One of the reasons he hadn't come earlier he said is that because there wasn't any electricity in the hotel, so he must have given some kind of order and sent some engineers over to get the generators fired up again. So it's much, much better for us at the moment in terms of the electricity.

COOPER: And, Sara Sidner, you are in Zawiyah, where it seems that the opposition movement is in firm control there, correct?

SIDNER: Yes, they're definitely in control here.

I want to bring up a point here. You know, we're hearing all these reports about people being arrested, the sons of Gadhafi being arrested. At one point, there were networks that were reporting that Moammar Gadhafi himself had been detained.

And we need to make a point here that what's happening is that the National Transitional Council needs to be very careful, because some of the same things that the Gadhafi regime was doing, where they were reporting different things that were happening on the ground that turned out not to be true, we are now seeming to get some of that information, wrong information from the council.

A lot of concern about how they're being able to handle this situation and handle information. We know ourselves that there are some detentions in the city. We were there at this center. It was really not for the purpose of detaining people, but they used it, this building, to bring in one of the anchors of Libya state TV. We just happened by it. Everyone said, she is inside. This is the same woman that took the gun and said, I will die or I will kill you when she was on state Libyan TV.

They detained her.

COOPER: Right.

SIDNER: And outside, I have to tell you, it was very intense because people were shooting in the air. We had to take cover, people trying to get at her. But we still have not seen her and we were not allowed to see her. We were pushed away from the area.


SIDNER: So, I think that this government has to be very careful in how they act. They don't want to start acting like the Gadhafi regime.

COOPER: Yes. A lot of conflicting information right now.

Matthew Chance, Sara Sidner, stay safe. We will check back with you live at 10:00.

We will be right back in a moment.


COOPER: And we're going to be back at 10:00 hour with another live edition of 360 with the latest information coming out of Libya because this is a fast-moving situation.

As you saw just in the last hour, Saif Gadhafi appeared, a man who was believed to have been in custody by the opposition forces. The opposition forces had been claiming that. That is certainly now clearly not true. There, you see Saif Gadhafi appearing just a short time ago.

We will have the latest at 10:00 on A.C. 360.