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Ear to the Ground

Libya Brings in the Big Guns Against Protesters

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Posted on Feb 21, 2011
AP / Libyan State Television

In this video image broadcast on Libyan state television early Monday, Seif al-Islam, son of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, says protesters have seized control of some military bases and tanks and warns of civil war in the country that would burn its oil wealth.

Longtime Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi’s grip on power has been significantly shaken by protesters in recent days, but Col. Gadhafi made it clear Monday that he wasn’t ready to go the way of his former counterparts in neighboring Tunisia and Egypt by striking back from the air and bringing in gunmen on the ground.  —KA

The New York Times:

The faltering government of the Libyan strongman Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi struck back at mounting protests against his 40-year rule, as helicopters and warplanes besieged parts of the capital Monday, according to witnesses and news reports from Tripoli.

By Monday afternoon, a witness saw armed militiamen firing on protesters who were clashing with riot police. As a group of protesters and the police faced off in a neighborhood near Green Square, in the center of the capital, ten or so Toyota pickup trucks carrying more than 20 men — many of them apparently from other African countries in mismatched fatigues — arrived at the scene.

Holding small automatic weapons, they started firing in the air, and then started firing at protesters, who scattered, the witness said. “It was an obscene amount of gunfire,” said the witness. “They were strafing these people. People were running in every direction.” The police stood by and watched, the witness said, as the militiamen, still shooting, chased after the protesters.

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Blackspeare's avatar

By Blackspeare, February 22, 2011 at 1:23 pm Link to this comment

Qaddafi is the last of the true Arab leaders derived from the plundering and murderous nomadic Bedouin tribes, but like most true Arabs they’re only brave when they greatly outnumber their enemies——outwardly they talk bravely, but inwardly they are cowards at heart.  Qaddafi gave a rather coherent, though rambling speech today demonstrating his bravery and that he wants to die a martyr, but soon he and his sons will flee the country.

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By diamond, February 21, 2011 at 6:39 pm Link to this comment

In fact Gaddafi has fled, two of the planes he sent to bomb his own people have defected to Malta and a tribe that makes up a large part of the military have sided with the protesters. You can only kill so many people before you end up with no people to rule, rob and exploit. Even his bullet-headed son must know that. And Gaddafi’s been there for 42 years. Enough is enough. Time and the jig are both up.

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Samson's avatar

By Samson, February 21, 2011 at 6:39 pm Link to this comment

Gee, using aircraft and bombs and missiles and machine
guns against people who oppose the government.

How original!

At least no one has sold him killer drones yet.

Probably has his intel people searching for a wedding
to attack next.

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By rollzone, February 21, 2011 at 5:00 pm Link to this comment

hello. climate change is making angry people. brains
are swelling, and political suffering is becoming
unbearable. this century is awakening minds to lives
beyond their tribes, beyond their clans, beyond their
borders. someone wrote Qaddafi has gone beyond his
borders, to send in mercenaries from around Africa,
to slaughter swollen brains; and left his baby in
charge of propaganda. we could have grabbed him when
he was tenting in the Hamptons. this was just alike
letting Osama get away. financial interests blinded
justice. we owe it to the people of Libya to tell
them where he is hiding. believing this brattish
mentality for suppressant violence is acceptable in
today’s society, is silently condoning this behavior.

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Blackspeare's avatar

By Blackspeare, February 21, 2011 at 4:19 pm Link to this comment

At least we have one despot who sticks to despotic principles——no foreign press allowed and the shooting to kill of protesters by para-military and military personnel permitted.  Now that’s a dictator who Hitler, Stalin, and Pol Pot would be proud of!  Qaddafi is in the same mold as Saddam Hussein——he’ll bring his adversaries in for talks and then when they’re all together he’ll kill them all——great sport!

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