Top: An opposition supporter at a rally in Benghazi. Photo Asmaa Waguih/Reuters.
Bottom: Map showing the current disposition of forces in Libya. Source: Wikipedia.
This post is an update to my Feb. 22 post Libya struggling for freedom.
The political situation in Libya, after starting as classic tyrannical crackdown on the peacefully protesting citizens, escalated into civil war when some units of the Libyan army took the side of protesters, and some rebels apparently managed to arm themselves. The opposition fairly quickly established control over the eastern part of the country around the city of Benghazi and some western regions. At one time, the situation was unclear even in Tripoli -Qaddafi's stronghold. Now, he is attempting to retake the country but I think his efforts are doomed and can only bring more deaths and inflict more damage. (The southern regions are desert, so the green dots there are not as important as they seem.)
The regime continues to shoot ruthlessly unarmed people wherever it can and to abduct injured protesters from hospitals.
The Q-man said in a speech, "If I were president, I would have resigned, but I have no position to resign from." Indeed, he is not a President, not a Prime Minister, he occupies no normal position in a government - he is "just Leader of the revolution". More and more often, I am thinking of this "leader" as translated to German - "Fuehrer". Other people also make the same parallel. Let me quote Sky News: "Libya's ambassador to the United Nations, Abdurrahman Shalgham, a childhood friend of Gaddafi and former foreign minister who has turned against the regime, pleaded with the Security Council to act against the 'atrocities' by Gaddafi.
He spoke of... Nazi leader Adolf Hitler... Now Gaddafi was telling his people, 'either I rule over you or I kill you, destroy you,' the ambassador added. 'Please, the United Nations, save Libya...,' he said."
The world, however, has been too slow to react. The first concern of various countries, of course, was to evacuate their nationals from Libya. Now, several powers are discussing a no-fly zone to prevent Qaddafi from air attacks on Libyan citizens, but Russia ruled out this idea. Indeed, how could we expect Russia to be against killing protesters, after this has always been a tenet of its own policy?
"Day and night we are not safe in Tripoli
There have been helicopters today
up over head.
More than ever before.
All of them are moving
toward the coast.
I'm afraid to go outside to photograph them,
in case I turn into a target.
The dogs growl and bark.
The sun is setting now.
Tripoli is a nocturnal place.
Day or night,
we are not safe
Let me try to end this post in a more optimistic mood - quoting from the Happy Arab's Feb. 24 post:
"The unforgettable show this blog was promising to the readers in Libya has surpassed all expectations. In a spectacular outburst of madness Gaddafi ordered his air force and navy to bombard Libian cities. The death toll is running in thousands. Now it seems to be only a matter of time before the opposition storms Tripoli and dangles the Brother Leader from a lamp post. The opposition will have no other choice as attempting to try Gaddafi is risky of leading to hours long orations that would decimate the court and audience and overwhelm translators from Arabic assigned an impossible task... As the time to bid Shalom is approaching, let me praise the Brother Leader by saying that he was one of those rare individuals who could either bore the living daylights out of his audience or leave you rolling on the floor laughing for hours. There seemed to be little left between these two options."
Of course, for the unfortunate people under Qaddafi's rule the show has not been so funny. Let's hope for an end, the sooner the better.