In the end, Gaddafi begged for his life

Muommar Gaddafi's final moments, captured on a cell phone.

The Guardian has some of the most vivid detail to date, on the ignominious end of Libya’s 40-year dictator.

From the story:

What is clear is that at around 8am on Thursday, as National Transitional Council fighters launched a final assault to capture the last remaining buildings in Sirte, in an area about 700 metres square, the pro-Gaddafi forces had also readied a large convoy to break out.

But if Dhao was not aware of the air strike, then neither did Nato’s air controllers and liaison officers with the NTC fighters know that Gaddafi was in the convoy of 75 cars attempting to flee Sirte, a fact revealed in a lengthy statement on Friday.

“At the time of the strike,” a spokesman said, “Nato did not know that Gaddafi was in the convoy. These armed vehicles were leaving Sirte at high speed and were attempting to force their way around the outskirts of the city. The vehicles were carrying a substantial amount of weapons and ammunition, posing a significant threat to the local civilian population. The convoy was engaged by a Nato aircraft to reduce the threat.”

It was that air attack – which destroyed around a dozen cars – that dispersed the convoy into several groups, the largest numbering about 20. As NTC fighters descended on the fleeing groups of cars, some individuals jumped from their vehicles to escape on foot, among them Gaddafi and a group of guards. Finding a trail of blood, NTC fighters followed it to a sandy culvert with two storm drains. In one of these Gaddafi was hiding.

Accounts here differ. According to some fighters quoted after the event, he begged his captors not to shoot. Others say he asked of one: “What did I do to you?” But it is what happened next that is the source of controversy.

Read the rest here.

Meanwhile, there’s growing revulsion around the world at the treatment of Gaddafi’s body, which apparently is still on display in a meat locker in Misrata. (Caution: graphic photo at that link. Europe doesn’t treat its readers as daintily as we do in the American media.)

And from Foreign Policy, a pretty amazing Gaddafi scrapbook, compiled from photos taken from the home of the deceased dictator. Or rather, the “homes.”

Also from Foreign Policy: how Gaddafi taught a whole generation of bad guys, plus: 40 years of foreign leaders “gripping and grinning” with the colonel. It’s hard to beat the one below for irony:

The Gaddafis and the Mubaraks of Egypt, circa 1980s. From <a href-"http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2011/10/20/Qaddafi_world_leaders?page=0,2">Foreignpolicy.com</a>

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