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Middle East: Qaddafi's end « Previous | |Next »
February 24, 2011

It was a quaint image: Qaddafi on Monday, responding to claims that he had fled the country by leaning out of something resembling a popemobile holding a white umbrella outside a house that had been bombed by the Americans in 1986.

In his bizarre and rambling speech on Tuesday , with its angry threats, sarcasm, wounded pride and delusions of grandeur, Qaddafi depicted the mass revolt against his regime, which was triggered by economic crisis, as a flare-up of old tribal rivalries.

BellSGaddafi.jpg Steve Bell

In The Guardian Tariq Ali says that Qaddafi's professed nationalism, modernism and radicalism were all for show:

Despite the oil wealth he refused to educate Libyans, or provide them with a health service or subsidised housing, squandering money on absurdist projects abroad .....At home he maintained a rigid tribal structure, thinking he could divide and buy tribes to stay in power. But no longer.

The Libyan people have had 42 years of arbitrary and destructive policies and repression by Qaddafi's brutal security apparatus. The West reconciled themselves to Qaddafi because they need Libya's oil to run their economy.

In The Guardian Nahla Daoud says:

People who were even faintly critical disappeared. Opposition figures were hunted down worldwide and assassinated – the stray dogs of Libya, as the regime referred to them. Siblings informed on each other. University students were forced to watch the execution of their fellow students on campus. People were questioned if they were out of the country for long. Frequent worshippers at mosques were picked up and "rehabilitated". Wounded soldiers returning from the Chad war were thrown from airplanes over Libya's vast desert to conceal the extent of losses suffered by the Libyan army. Thousands of political prisoners were exterminated in the infamous Abu Salim massacre in 1996.

The country is now divided in two, with the east largely in the hands of dissidents whilst the West --including an eerily silent Tripoli ---still under the thumb of Qaddafi’s security forces. The military in the East has gone over to the anti-Qaddafi rebels. Qaddafi's brutal crackdown seems to be backfiring and if anything may have accelerated the disintegration of his regime.

Stratfor's analysis is that the regime has lost control of the eastern part of the country where a lot of Libya’s oil wealth is located; a number of prominent tribes in Libya have reportedly turned on the regime; and the army is splintering.Without a strong regime at the helm to hold the army together the loyalties of many army officers will fall to their respective tribes, and at that point the threat of civil war in Libya considerably increases.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 7:00 AM | | Comments (4)


Gaddafi is looking increasingly isolated after damaging defections by senior regime figures and key military commanders and units as the uprising spread closer to Tripoli.

Gaddafi's claim that the protesters in Libya – the millions of demonstrators – "want to turn Libya into an Islamic state" is exactly the same nonsense that Mubarak peddled before the end in Egypt, the very same nonsense that Obama and La Clinton have suggested.

Even if there was some truth to Gaddafi's self-serving dribble... surely (under a fair democracy) it's up to the Libyan people to decide.

Opposition to Gaddafi appears to have reached a critical mass, with his influence confined to parts of the capital and steadily shrinking.

Gaddafi's hold on power appears confined to parts of Tripoli and perhaps several regions in the centre of the country. Towns to the west of the capital have fallen and all of eastern Libya is firmly in opposition hands