Libya in Crisis: Gadhafi to Rebels: 'Bring It On'

In a taped statement Gadhafi vowed he "will not surrender."

Sept. 1, 2011— -- A defiant Moammar Gadhafi urged his tribal allies to fight on and instructed them to "set Libya ablaze" in a taped statement that aired this morning.

In his fourth address since being driven from power, a spirited and angry Gadhafi told the rebels to "bring it on" and vowed he and his supporters "will not surrender."

"We are not women and we are going to keep fighting. We are not slaves," he said in a tape aired on Al Arabiyah. "We will fight in every street, every village and every city," and urges his tribal support to "set Libya ablaze."

The rebels believe they have narrowed Gadhafi's location to one of three towns, but those towns are not yet under their control.

Gadhafi's defiance comes one day after two of his more prominent sons offered conflicting messages, with one saying he and other loyalists will continue to fight the rebels while the other offered to negotiate with them on behalf of his father.

Moammar Gadhafi Threatens to "Set Libya Ablaze"

Separately, an Algerian newspaper reported today that Gadhafi was near the Libya-Algeria border, trying to reach Algeria's president for permission to enter, following other members of his family.

Saadi Gadhafi spoke with the Al Arabiya television channel Wednesday night by telephone, calling for an end to the "bloodshed" and talks with the rebels.

"If surrendering myself will end the bloodshed, I am ready to do so," the younger Gadhafi said, "but I do not represent only myself, and in order to reach a peaceful resolution to the crisis we should sit down with each other and negotiate."

Saadi, a former soccer player and Special Forces commander, said he was authorized by his father to speak with a top military official from the rebels' National Transitional Council in Tripoli "about negotiations based on ending bloodshed."

"We acknowledge that [the NTC] represent a legal party, but we are also the government and a legal negotiating party," he added.

Minutes later his older brother and once-presumed heir, Saif al-Islam, took a far less conciliatory tone, saying, "We are going to die in our land."

"No one is going to surrender," he said in an audio message on a pro-Gadhafi television station, adding that he was speaking for pro-Gadhafi leaders who still hold the town of Bani Walid.

"We would like to tell our people that we are well and good. The leader [Moammar Gaddafi] is fine. We have more than 20,000 armed youths and we are ready to fight. I tell our men to strike back against the rats," he added.

The NTC's vice chairman told the Associated Press that the differing statements is evidence that "the regime is dying."

"Gadhafi's family is trying to find an exit," Abdel Hafez Ghoga said. "They only have to surrender completely to the rebels and we will offer them a fair trial. We won't hold negotiations with them over anything."

While the rebels cement their control over Tripoli, several pro-Gadhafi towns have yet to fall and speculation over the senior Gadhafi's whereabouts are centered on them. The rebels no longer believe he is in Tripoli, military commander Abdel Hakim Belhaj told the Associated Press, instead rebel forces are moving on Gadhafi's hometown of Sirte, the town of Bani Walid and Sabha in southern Libya.

Meanwhile, Algerian newspaper Al Watan reported that Gadhafi was on the Libya-Algeria border, trying to reach Algerian president Abdelaziz Bouteflika by phone to gain access to his country. Bouteflika reportedly ignored the calls, though he had allowed several members of the Gadhafi family into the country just days ago.

On Wednesday, documents surfaced alleging talks between an official from President George W. Bush's administration and the Gadhafi regime. Al Jazeera found documents at the Libyan intelligence headquarters suggesting that former assistant Secretary of State David Welch was advising the Libyan regime on how to undermine the rebels, the U.S. and NATO.

"David Welch, a former assistant secretary, is now a private citizen," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said. "He was not carrying any message from the U.S. government…Any views represented were his, were his own."

The Hunt for Moammar Gadhafi

Also found was an alleged letter between Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich -- who opposed the war -- and one of Saif al-Islam Gadhafi's aides. He was purportedly looking for evidence of corruption among the NTC and evidence of al Qaeda links.

Kucinich denied writing the letter, telling The Atlantic: "I can't help what the Libyans put in their files ... Any implication I was doing anything other than trying to bring an end to an unauthorized war is fiction."

The rebels received several needed boosts on Thursday, including the capture of Gadhafi's foreign minister Abdul Ati al-Obeidi and long-sought recognition by the Russian government. Some $220 million in cash also arrived in the rebel capital of Benghazi shortly before France announced it would unfreeze $2.16 billion in Libyan assets, money sorely needed to stabilize the country.

A high-level conference to discuss Libya's future starts in Paris Thursday, with French President Nicholas Sarkozy, British Prime Minister David Cameron and American Secretary of State Hillary Clinton among the attendees.