Following the revolutions to oust Mubarak and Ben Ali, the world has turned its focus on the country sandwiched right between Egypt and Tunisia. On the 15th of February, only four days after the resignation of Mubarak, an uprising began in the western Libyan city of Benghazi.
At the onset of the uprising, Libya’s ruler of 41 years Muammar Gaddafi stayed uncharacteristically silent, to the point that many of his own followers believed he had fled the country. Unfortunately for everyone this wasn’t the case.
By the 21st of February violence had erupted as Gaddafi ordered a crackdown on the protests. By this time the protesters had reached the capital of Tripoli. Mad Muammar sent in the army and air force to bomb the protesters. Although casualty numbers are impossible to verify, estimates of the dead range from one thousand to three thousand lives.
Saif al-Islam Muammar Al-Gaddafi, the eldest son of Gaddafi, went on state television to warn all the dissidents of the dire consequences of their actions. He claimed if the uprising was successful “15 Islamic fundamentalist emirates” would take control of the country, he said this presumably to gain favor with western nations. He also mentioned that “mistakes had been made” in dealing with the protests.
The following day Muammar Gaddafi himself went on state television to deny rumors that he fled the country saying “I want to show that I’m in Tripoli and not in Venezuela. Do not believe the channels belonging to stray dogs.” Soon after, two Libyan Air Force colonels flew their jets to Malta refusing orders to bomb civilians.
Since Gaddafi’s first public address he has gone on television repeatedly sounding more desperate and crazy by the day. On the 22nd, he said he will hunt opponents of his regime, purging them “house by house” and “inch by inch”. He vowed to “fight until his last drop of blood” and “die as a martyr”. A Libyan diplomat who recently defected said this speech was “a code to start genocide” against the Libyan people.
Gaddafi has also threatened to blow up his country’s oil pipelines should his regime fall, saying “It’s either me or chaos.” This sent oil prices soaring over the $100/barrel mark in the last week, even though Libya only produces 2% of the world’s oil.
On the 24th he told state television that al-Qaeda was responsible for the uprising in his country and claimed al-Qaeda had been drugging the youth with hallucinogenic drugs. On top of that he compared himself to Queen Elizabeth of England saying only he had the “moral authority” over his country.
Madman Muammar is now more desperate than ever as his opposition presently controls most of the country including the three largest cities outside of Tripoli. He is now said to be held up in his bunker in Tripoli with loyalists in the army and armed mercenaries surrounding him, ready to be unleashed on the public in a last ditch effort to cling to power.
Over the past few days, the US, the UN and the EU have all put sanctions on the Gaddafi Regime and family in response to the violent crackdown on his people. They are trying to freeze the oil driven Gaddafi fortune, which some estimate to be as much as 92 billion dollars.
With no real American ties to the regime it was easy for Secretary of State Hilary Clinton to pledge assistance to the Libyan opposition over the weekend, although it is not known what kind of assistance she was referring to (my guess is to protect the oil fields!).
No one really knows for sure whether or not Gaddafi will survive this third African revolution in a month and a half. The only thing that is known is that Libya, like Egypt and Tunisia will never be the same again.