Deposed Libyan ruler Moammar Gadhafi, speaking from a secret location, said Thursday that he was prepared for a long war, and insisted that he would fight to defend his country from colonial powers.
Gadhafi delivered the address via an audio recording sent to loyalist television network Al-Rai. But the location where he spoke his words from is still a mystery. The colonel who overthrew Libya's king in 1969 escaped the clutches of revolutionaries after the fall of Tripoli and is now on the run.
Despite the rebels' continued advances across the Arab nation, Gadhafi is still free and, despite his bravado may be planning an escape from Libya. According to reports on Thursday, Gadhafi tried to call Algeria's President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who refused to pick up the phone. At least four members of Gadhafi's family, including his wife, his daughter Aisha, and his sons Hannibal and Muhammad have already escaped to Algeria, which has since closed its border.
The National Transitional Council -- the Libyan rebels' government -- now believes with relative certainty that Gadhafi is currently in the town of Bani Walid. One of the last loyalist strongholds, along with Sirte, Bani Walid is a desert city about 100 miles south of Tripoli. NATO is currently bombing military installations in the area while pro-Gadhafi forces continue to resist the rebels.
Other reports suggest that three of Gadhafi's sons, Saadi, Mutassim and Saif al-Islam, are holed up in a compound in Bani Walid. Earlier this week, the NTC said Saadi tried to negotiate his surrender, while Saif al-Islam again went on the offensive, saying that loyalists would fight until the end.
Some rebel leaders believe that the elder Gadhafi joined his sons in Bani Walid before heading south, likely to Sabha, another loyalist bastion. If so, he could be taking the same route that his family took when fleeing to Algeria.
If he does manage to get out of Libya, Gadhafi still has a few powerful friends left who could harbor him. Venezuela's Hugo Chavez said last Tuesday that he only recognizes Gadhafi as the leader of Libya, and branded the NATO campaign an imperialist effort to gain control of the Libya's oil wealth. If needed, Chavez would likely provide his friend with amnesty in Venezuela. Gadhafi also has an ally in Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega.
What is known, from his televised rhetoric, is that Gadhafi still feels in his heart that he is the leader of the Libyan people, even as he hides from them. But more likely than not, the man who once called himself the King of African Kings will be caught in Libya, and as promised, will be martyred for his nation.