Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Death Throes of the Khadafi Regime

Mumar Khadafi is trying to hold on to power for as long as he possibly can, and his security forces are using deadly force to try and retain power even as his own diplomats overseas are repudiating his regime and tribes that operate in much of the country outside Tripoli are also taking matters into their own hands. Even Libya's diplomatic mission to the UN has repudiated the regime.

Egyptians tell of harrowing tales of trying to escape from Libya. Thousands are fleeing the country.

The UN Security Council is holding an emergency meeting over the situation in Libya and the EU has also weighed in:

The deadly uprising and likelihood of a civil war or protracted insurrection has roiled the stock markets and oil prices.

Meanwhile, the addled Fidel Castro thinks that the Libyan uprising is a pretext for a US invasion.
Cuba's former leader Fidel Castro says it's too early to criticize Libya's government - but just the moment to denounce something says is planned: A U.S.-led invasion of the North African nation.

Castro uses a column published in Cuban media on Tuesday to accuse the United States of planning a NATO invasion of Libya to control its oil. He says that might happen "in a question of hours or very short days."

He says the plan "has to be denounced."
It would be much easier for the US to invade Bahrain and the UAE, where oil reserves are even greater - and where US forces already have a significant presence (CENTCOM headquarters, fleet bases, prepositioned stores, etc.), and where protests against the Bahraini regime have also been met with a violent crackdown.

What Castro himself should realize that his own regime is on the chopping block if the Cuban opposition gets its own act together and pushes Castro and his brother to the curb for more than 50 years or ruinous sociopolitical doctrine.

Many of the issues that ignited the protests throughout North Africa and the Middle East are worrisome to people around the world, including in failed states, autocratic and kleptocratic regimes such as Cuba. A lack of socioeconomic opportunities, free speech, and repressive regimes has led to uprisings for improved social and economic opportunities and demands for reforms.

Who's exactly sticking their necks out for Khadafi? This report indicates that it isn't the army, or the general population but rather hired thugs and mercenaries who Khadafi imported to quell the insurrection against his regime. Khadafi has done whatever he can to sustain his regime, even undermanning and curtailing his regular army so that he can maintain a smaller cadre of professional thugs to deal with potential uprisings.
Another reason Gadhafi may have opted to use foreign mercenaries against his people is because he understands his army's weaknesses -- precisely because he created them.

The last time Libya's armed forces fought any major war was in 1987 in Chad. Thousands of Libyans were killed, and the conflict taught Gadhafi an important lesson: that his armed forces might not be up to snuff. After that he established separate security brigades to protect his regime, apart from the regular army. They're elite paramilitary forces, smaller in number than the Libyan army, but thought to be fiercely loyal to Gadhafi.

The infamously paranoid Libyan leader has also long feared a military coup -- the same type that brought him to power in 1969. So he has intentionally kept his own army understaffed and under-equipped, according to Charles Gurdon, a Libya expert who runs Menas Associates, a political risk consultancy in London.

"They did not have modern weapons and they didn't even have ammunition for a number of years," Gurdon told AOL News. "On the other hand, there are security brigades designed to fight against the army if necessary, and to protect the regime."

Ruthless and devoutly loyal to Gadhafi, it's those security brigades that Gurdon believes are attacking unarmed protesters in Libya's main squares, perhaps with the help of foreigners. Most of the Libyan leader's sons have their own security brigades as well.
Khadafi just got himself fatwa'd by an influential Muslim Brotherhood cleric.
Influential Muslim cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi has issued a fatwa that any Libyan soldier who can shoot dead embattled leader Muammar Gaddafi should do so 'to rid Libya of him.'

'Whoever in the Libyan army is able to shoot a bullet at Mr Gaddafi should do so,' Qaradawi, an Egyptian-born cleric who is usually based in Qatar, told Al-Jazeera television.

He also told Libyan soldiers 'not to obey orders to strike at your own people,' and urged Libyan ambassadors around the world to dissociate themselves from Gaddafi's regime.

Famous in the Middle East for his at times controversial fatwas, or religious edicts, the octogenarian Qaradawi has celebrity status in the Arab world thanks to his religious broadcasts on Al-Jazeera.

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