Thursday, February 24, 2011

Violence Continues In Libya As Khadafi Attempts To Squash Insurrection

So, what exactly is going on in Libya now? What started out as protests has turned into what can be described as a civil war or insurrection against Mumar Khadafi's regime. Khadafi's grip on Libya is severely constrained as the army continues to side with the opposition and his loyalists are largely holding on to Tripoli.

Yet, Khadafi is attempting to sow seeds of violence and discord by firing on civilians, including those that sought refuge in mosques.
An army unit and militiamen loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi blasted a mosque with antiaircraft missiles and automatic weapons Thursday, targeting protesters who had holed up inside. The attack, which occurred just 30 miles from Tripoli, comes as Qaddafi finds himself increasingly squeezed by antiregime forces and isolated internationally for his brutal attempts to hold on to power.

Protesters inside the mosque “suffered heavy casualties,” though estimates for numbers killed were not available from witnesses, the Associated Press reports.

The attack was reportedly carried out by a legion of mercenaries and Qaddafi's personal security forces. The New York Times describes the mercenary brigade fighting with an increasingly isolated Qaddafi, who may have even been deserted by parts of the Libyan armed forces at this point:

Distrustful of even his own generals, Colonel Qaddafi has for years quietly built up this ruthless and loyal force. It is made up of special brigades headed by his sons, segments of the military loyal to his native tribe and its allies, and legions of African mercenaries he has helped train and equip. Many are believed to have fought elsewhere, in places like Sudan, but he has now called them back.
Opposition groups now hold much of the country outside Tripoli, including oil fields, refineries, and cities.

The fighting has spread westward towards Tunisia, as opposition groups consolidate their control over Tobruk and eastern Libya.

There's concern that with foreigners fleeing the country that Khadafi may engage in an even more violent crackdown against the opposition. I'm not so sure that Khadafi is in a position to carry out that kind of violence outside of Tripoli and he's being further constrained on a daily basis as his thugs and mercenaries are pushed back.

Those fleeing Libya are fortunate enough to be escaping the violence. Egyptians that have fled have called the situation a bloodbath, and that supports contentions that hundreds, if not thousands have already died.

Another sign that Khadafi isn't all there? He's claiming that al Qaeda is behind the uprising against his regime by drugging people's Nescafe in his latest speech given a day after his last rambling speech blaming external groups/forces for the uprising.
Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi on Thursday blamed the uprising in his country on al-Qaida followers who give young Libyans hallucinogenic pills in their coffee to get them to revolt.

In a rambling phone call to Libyan state TV, Gadhafi said those revolting are "loyal to bin Laden ... This is al-Qaida that the whole world is fighting." Al-Qaida militants are "exploiting" teenagers, giving them "hallucinogenic pills in their coffee with milk, like Nescafe," the embattled leader said.
Nescafe? People still drink that?

Sadly, the only person who appears to be utilizing hallucinogenic pills is Khadafi, who is still under the impression that people want him to remain in power, and he's going to hang around well past his expiration date.


This video shows the border crossing between Libya and Tunisia and Tunisians trying to help Libyans escape the bloodbath:

Three Egyptians are confirmed killed
in Libya as a result on Khadafi's ongoing crackdown. 25,000 Egyptians have fled Libya since Khadafi's crackdown began.

Rumors began circulating among oil traders earlier today that Khadafi was shot and killed. There's no evidence Khadafi's dead, but that didn't stop traders from sharply selling off oil futures today.

I'd say that was wishful thinking - and Khadafi's end can't come soon enough.

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