Gadhafi Vows Fight To Death As East Falls, Oil Ports Shut

Libyan leader Col. Moammar Gadhafi publicly defied protesters seeking to end his rule, vowing to remain in the country ""until the end"" in a televised speech that showed his determination to cling onto power.

Col. Gadhafi, speaking from what was described as one of his residences in Tripoli that was bombed by U.S. airstrikes in the 1980s and left unrepaired as a monument of defiance, said Tuesday he is prepared to die as a ""martyr"" rather than leave.

Libya's leader of 42 years dug in even as once-loyal diplomats, military and police withdrew their support amid mounting casualties from a violent government crackdown on protesters. International oil companies halted work in the country, and Libyan ports closed amid heightened tensions, traders said.

Large parts of eastern Libya appeared under the control of Col. Gadhafi's opponents. In the coastal city of Tobruq, Libya's historic red and green flag, which was barred during the last 40 years of Col. Gadhafi's reign, flew over most buildings.

Witnesses across Libya—from the traditionally pro-Gadhafi capital, Tripoli, to the eastern portion that has been a cradle of the country's opposition—reported that mercenary soldiers from Chad, Sudan and other African countries were firing on anti-regime protesters.

The events marked the first time that the unrest sweeping authoritarian regimes of the Middle East has destabilized a major oil producer. Libya's 41 billion barrels of proven reserves represent more than 3% of global supplies.

Italian oil and gas company Eni SpA said Tuesday it had suspended some of its Libyan production, including the Greenstream pipeline that supplies about 10% of Italy's natural gas needs. Spanish oil company Repsol YPF said Tuesday it is suspending operations in the country.
Wall Street Journal