Tripoli Fighting Continues

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Marco Werman: Earlier we also spoke with Los Angeles Time correspondent Borzu Daragahi, who was in a different part of the Libyan capital.

Borzu Daragahi: I'm in Souq al Juma, which is a neighborhood of the city. Right now we're just trying to deal with our way around here. There's still a lot of lawlessness. And you have various neighborhood bosses popping up and declaring themselves king of their neighborhood and pushing people around. Right now they are trying, they are basically kind of detaining us, the rebels. Or some guy who claims to be a rebel, saying that we need permission to work in journalism in this part of the town, like during the Gaddafi time. It sort of attests to the lawlessness right now of the country and the city.

Werman: It sounds kind of tough both for you as a journalist and for the Libyans who are there. How do people know who to trust right now?

Daragahi: It's a little easier to figure out who to trust just because I've been here before and I've traveled around here before. Also I think that most of the people with guns right now are rebels. There's very few of the Gaddafi loyalists. They're scared and in hiding, in general. Hold on. (Speaking to another) What do they want?

Werman: What's going on there, Borzu?

Daragahi: Nothing, there's just an argument about whether we need to have a - nothing. Nothing.

Werman: There are reports of running street battles in Tripoli, Borzu. Are they limited to a few small pockets?

Daragahi: As a matter of fact, in the city's southwest, which has long been a stronghold of Muammar Gaddafi, there are in fact street battles in two neighborhoods in particular. One is called Abu Salim, which is populated by members of the Warfallah tribe, who are very much loyal to Gaddafi. And one rebel commander I talked to described it as a battle between the people of the town themselves, those who support and those who are opposed to Gaddafi. Rebels are getting ready to move into the city. They are worried about causing civilian causalities. It's a very densely populated residential area. There's some concern as to how to bring security to this particular area. And then there is a neighboring neighborhood, called Adban, which - I was there yesterday - was the scene of intense fighting, intense clashes between various forces.

Werman: Is it clear to you, Borzu, that the apparent rebel victory and capturing of Tripoli is irreversible?

Daragahi: The most important thing is that the wall of fear has come down. The symbols of his power are gone. There's no way that he can come back to power. It was always clear to me that 95 percent of Libyans despised Gaddafi. Even those who said they supported him were just saying so out of fear. I think that it's going to be very hard for him to come to power. His armed forces are totally degraded and he himself is weary. He's in a rathole somewhere.

Werman: There's news that a group of rebels are saying that they believe Gaddafi is hiding in a group of apartment buildings near his compound. What have you heard about that?

Daragahi: There's so many rumors. We can play this game forever. Hold on one second. (Talking to another: You guys are wasting our time. [speaks Arabic] Tell your guys to stop being Gaddafi.) Sorry about that.

Werman: Borzu, I'm just impressed with the exchange you just had with those guys. Did you just say, "Stop being Gaddafi"?

Daragahi: Yeah, that's what I told a guy.

Werman: Wow, that's striking. Even a month ago that probably couldn't have been said on the streets of Tripoli.

Daragahi: But you know I've had this deal with the rebels, because I've dealt with the rebels before. You can get rid of Gaddafi, but you can't get rid of the effect that he had on this country. And the sort of authoritarian impact that he has had on people in this country. And the way thinking: Where is your permission? Who are you? Etcetera, etcetera. It's so pervasive. This man who ran this country for 42 years. You see the same sort of pattern with the rebels as you see with the government. It's going to take a long time for that to be gotten rid of.

Werman: Los Angeles Time reporter Borzu Daragahi there in Tripoli.