Col Gaddafi’s former right-hand man, who has defected to Italy, has warned that the Libyan leader will not commit suicide in his bunker as Adolf Hitler did and will not be toppled from power easily.
“I think it’s impossible that he’ll surrender,” Abdel-Salam Jalloud said in an interview on Italian television. “He is not like Hitler, who had the courage to kill himself.”
Jalloud, a former Libyan prime minister who was Gaddafi’s closest aide for decades before falling out with the leader in the 1990s, fled Tripoli for Tunisia on Friday and turned up in Rome.
He said he believed it was too late for Gaddafi to negotiate a deal with advancing rebels and that he would probably end up dead.
“I don’t think the evolution of the situation in Tripoli will allow him to survive. I believe the regime has a week left, 10 days at most. And maybe even less,” said Jalloud, a former regime stalwart who was part of a junta that brought Gaddafi to power in a 1969 coup.
“He has no way of leaving Tripoli. All the roads are blocked. He can only leave with an international agreement and I think that door is closed.”
In a video statement aired on Sunday on Al-Jazeera, Jalloud urged Gaddafi’s tribe to disown the embattled “tyrant” and called on the population of Tripoli to rise up in rebellion.
“Disown this tyrant because he will go and you will end up inheriting his legacy,” he said.
“The people of Tripoli, who account for a quarter of Libya’s inhabitants, should rise massively. It is time to act… overcome fear.”
Hitler committed suicide along with his mistress Eva Braun in the final days of the Second World War in 1945.
Franco Frattini, Italy’s foreign minister, said that Gaddafi no longer had the option of exile and should be sent to face justice at the International Criminal Court in The Hague.
“The offers of exile were made in increasingly explicit ways numerous times. The deadline by now has passed, the only path left is that of justice – the justice of the ICC,” said Mr Frattini.
“The time is up. There is no alternative to surrendering and handing himself in to justice. If Gaddafi keeps inciting a civil war, he alone will be responsible for a dramatic bloodbath that we must all try to avert.”
The Libyan regime controlled no more than 10-15 percent of Tripoli, he added.
“We have seen opposition to the regime advance further over the last hours and we can say that at the present time no more than 10 to 15 percent of the city is still in the hands of the regime.
“Around the airport, which is a key zone, the last attacks are being wound up, the snipers have been arrested and in some cases have given themselves up,” he said.