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Only Syria airs Gaddafi’s rants

After Libyan state TV has been taken over by rebels, Syrian television is the only willing party to act as the colonel’s mouthpiece.
Syria gaddafi tvEnlarge
The last friend in the world still willing to listen? Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (Left) allows Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi (Right) to rant on Syrian TV. (KHALED DESOUKI/Staff/AFP/Getty Images)

For anyone interested in Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s rants, only Syrian owned television channels still offer the service.

“Qaddafi has spoken in two audio messages since losing control of the capital, Tripoli, this week,” writes Bloomberg.

“(B)oth aired by a privately owned network called Al Oruba TV. It is linked to Arrai TV, a Syrian-based television station owned by former Iraqi lawmaker Mishan Jabouri.

“Cleanse Tripoli of the rats,” Qaddafi said yesterday. “Let the crowds march everywhere to Tripoli.” Days earlier, he released another rambling message via Al Oruba in which he also called on his loyalists to defeat his opponents.

Qaddafi’s links to Syria may put further pressure on President Bashar al-Assad, who has been crushing anti-regime protests in his own country for the past five months. The U.S., Britain and France seek to freeze Assad’s assets and impose an arms embargo on Syria.

“By allying himself with Qaddafi like this, Assad is risking alienating himself further from the international community and the Arab community,” said Lina Khatib, who manages a program on Arab reform and democracy at Stanfor University, in a telephone interview today. “We may see this situation escalate as the Qaddafi regime crumbles.”

When queried by Bloomberg News, Paris-based Eutelsat Communications (ETL SA, which carries the channels through a wholesale arrangement, said it seeks to shut down both Al Ourba and Arrai.

Arrai has links with Rami Makhlouf, Assad’s cousin who controls Syria’s telecommunications sector, Khatib said. “Even though Arrai is a private channel, it would not have been able to broadcast had it not been approved by the Syrian regime,” she said.

Television pictures yesterday showed Al Oruba’s coverage combined with Arrai, and their logos alongside each other. Arrai’s Twitter Inc. feed updates news on Qaddafi, and advertises when he is about to release a message on Al Oruba, which it calls its “sister channel.”

Qaddafi hasn’t been seen in public for weeks, hiding from the rebels who now control most of Tripoli.”’s-rants