(Colonel Gaddafi, Mubarak, Ben Ali, and Yemeni president Saleh in for them better days)-
- For reports on the situation in Libya on March 2, go here -
- Update: Canada’s The Globe and Mail has put together a solid infographic summarizing the sources of some of the influence Gaddafi enjoys in other parts of Africa:
- Update: A group calling itself with Libya Outreach Group is calling on the international community to undertake a series of concrete steps to show solidarity with the Libyan people in the face of what they are calling “war crimes against Libya”. They “ask all nations to stand with the Libyan people by”:
1. Establishing a no-fly zone to prevent Gaddafi from using the air-force against the Libyan people.
2. Calling on the United Nations Security Council to take decisive action and invoke Chapter 7 to stop the massacre of innocent civilians, and deployment of International Peace-keeping troops.
3. Facilitating the delivery of humanitarian aid and relief supplies such as medicine, blood, food, and other basic provisions to the people of Libya.
4. Freezing the international assets of the Gaddafi family as well as senior officials.
5. Indicting Gaddafi for crimes against humanity and trying him in the International Criminal Court.
6. The immediate deployment of U.N. troops to confirm reports of crimes against humanity.
Will the western world respond? While the Europe and the US have been much quicker to condemn Gaddafi’s murderous ways, they have been reticent to move beyond that, falling far short of any action under the Responsibility to Protect doctrine. Meanwhile, reports of violence and killings continue.
- Update: Gaddafi is now speeching (watch on Al Jazeera). Like many dictators, he is known for his long speeches, so it could take a while. Among a lot of jibberish, he has said “I will die as a martyr”.
In addition to the once again striking setup of this speech – a brownish gold robe, a model airplane above his head, and a crumbled bathroom-like setting – what’s notable are the long, seemingly nervous silences as he’s gathering for words. The great dictator Gaddafi looks pretty stricken to me.
- Update: Lol, a technical fault, and some employee comes in! What a weird, rambling speech.
- Update: Ok, that was it. That stuff about drugged youth inciting protests seems like a bit of projection on the part of Gadaffi to me. Compared to this guy, Mubarak was an example of sobriety.
- Update: Ben Wedeman, the only foreign journalist in Libya, reports the eastern part of the country is in the hands of the opposition. Parts of the army have defected to the opposition and government troops have retreated, burning ammunition depots on their way.
- Update: Al Jazeera reports a Libyan naval ship has been spotted on the coast of Malta. Italian and Malta marine are monitoring the ship. No information on what kind of ship it is or what it’s doing on the coast of Malta.
- Update: Apparently Gaddafi is soon going to address the people of Libya again. Watch Al Jazeera’s livestream. We will take wagers in the comments here as to 1) is it shorter or longer than the 15 second appearance of last night; and, 2) what video will today’s appearance be most easily mashed up with?
- Update: Libya’s ambassador to the United States Ali Aujali has defected from what he calls a ‘dictatorship regime’ among what Al Jazeera are now calling ‘en mass defections’ of Libyan foreign diplomats. In addition to the US, diplomats have Libyan diplomats have resigned from posts in the United Nations, the Arab League, Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Poland, India and Bangladesh and reportedly other countries. Al Jazeera has complied some of their statements about their resignations here. Some of the best include the Ambassador to Malaysia stating plainly: ”We are not loyal to him, we are loyal to the Libyan people”. The Ambassador to Indonesia has also weighed in forcefully: ”Soldiers are killing unarmed civilians mercilessly. Using heavy weaponry, fighter jets and mercenaries against its own people. It is not acceptable. I have enough of it. I don’t tolerate it anymore.” They worth a look to see just how strongly these close allies of the regime have turned against, including calling for Gaddafi’s prosecution.
- Update: A first report from the Egyptian border with Libya by Al Jazeera journalist Jamal Eshayyal.
The scene on the Libyan side of the border was jarring. Men – and teenage boys – with clubs, pistols and machine guns were trying to establish a modicum of order.
Hundreds of Egyptian workers were trying to get out, their meager possessions – bags, blankets, odds and ends – piled high on top of minibuses.
Egyptian border officials told us that 15,000 people had crossed from Libya on Monday alone.
“Welcome to free Libya,” said one of the armed young men now controlling the border.
- Update: Check out this mash-up of Rihanna and Gadaffi, who, by the way, in that clip according to Stephen Colbert looked like a ‘worn out Lionel Richie imitator’.
- Update: An interesting and worrisome analysis of the background situation in Libya by Andrew Solomon of The New Yorker:
The Qaddafi regime has made several strategic errors since (…) 2006. The most obvious has been the retreat from Seif’s plans for reform. (…)
A second mistake has been the lack of attention to the poverty of the population. (…)
A third mistake has been to ignore the needs of the young. When a third of the population is under fifteen and a further large proportion is under twenty-five, the young become central to coherent governance. (…)
It is striking that the protests began in the eastern part of Libya. The area around Benghazi has always been the one least under Qaddafi’s thumb, and most of his problems have originated there. (…)
A post-Qaddafi Libya could easily be roiled in internal battles, ultimately dividing into several smaller countries, each dominated by local tribes. (…) Modern Libya is an artificial construct, a remnant of colonialism. The glue holding it together is failing, and the warnings of chaos are real. (…)
We all understand that there is strong opposition to Qaddafi, but it’s not clear whether there is any internal coherence to that opposition. (…) Libya does not have any real opposition leaders; it hardly has any internal opposition as we generally define the word. If these protests are successful, and if Qaddafi flees, as there are already rumors he has, then who will take over? Libya has another important difference from Egypt: it’s a tiny country, with a population of just over six million. Even Tunisia has a population of over ten million. All the educated and competent people in Libya know one another, and most of them have worked in one way or another with the Qaddafi regime. If Qaddafi goes, there are not enough trained bureaucrats or statesmen to construct a new Libyan government that is not an extension of the old one, and this fact alone could propel Libya back into some form of tribalism.
- Original post: After a Monday of protests and an extreme crackdown by Colonel Gaddafi employing fighter jets, marine vessels and armed thugs, bordering on genocide, the Libyan uprising continues today. Diplomats and senior officials have defected, army officers as well, and important tribes have joined the protests. Check yesterday’s liveblog here. Today, we’ll continue to cover events as time allows it by providing links and posting remarkable happenings here.
For the best, up to date coverage, however, check the following links:
The NYT reports that the protests – which could perhaps now better be called civil strife – are continuing today.
Libya appeared to slip further from the grip of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi on Tuesday, as opposition forces in eastern Libya moved to consolidate control of the region, arming themselves with weapons taken from security warehouses, and fighting continued in Tripoli, witnesses said.
In Tripoli, the capital, the government was striking back at protesters challenging Colonel Qaddafi’s 40-year rule. Security forces and militiamen backed by helicopters and warplanes besieged parts of the city overnight, according to witnesses and news reports from Tripoli.
Fighting was heavy at times on Monday night, witnesses said, and the streets were thick with special forces loyal to Colonel Qaddafi fighting alongside mercenaries. Roving the streets in trucks, they shot freely as planes dropped what witnesses described as “small bombs” and helicopters fired on protesters.
Hundreds of Qaddafi supporters took over the central Green Square in the capital after truckloads of militiamen arrived and opened fire on protesters, scattering them. Residents said they now feared to leave their houses.
With pro-government security forces either absent or defecting to join the opposition in Benghazi, Libya’s second-largest city and the center of the week-long rebellion, citizens armed with guns organized into informal security committees, a resident reached by telephone said. Supermarkets and warehouses were open, as were local hospitals, caring for hundreds of people wounded during the government crackdown of the weekend, before defections to the people from the military brought a lull in the violence.
On Libya February 17, pics of ravage in Tripoli.