Qaddafi in his 'last hours'

Sunday, February 27th, 2011

Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi promised last week that he would fight till the last drop of blood and the last bullet in his rifle, to "save Libya" from what he called extremists and foreign agents.

It seems he is determined to live long enough to fulfill that promise. Reports from Libya indicate thousands may have been killed or injured since protesters called for Qaddafi’s ouster on February 17.

President Lisa Anderson, an expert on Libyan affairs, told The Caravan the waves of contention spread from Tunisia and Egypt to Libya.

“Tunisians and Egyptians are the most important neighbors of Libya, empowered people who were deeply frustrated, very frightened.”

“Everyone in Tunis, Egypt, and Libya had a popular fear, it was dangerous to express these kinds of views to the government and clearly there is strength in numbers. There was strength in numbers in Tunis, and then here, Libyans felt that if they could do it then we can do it."

Anderson predicted that the fighting would likely continue until the Tripoli government falls, but she said that the post-Qaddafi period would be fraught with questions because Libya does not have a civilian bureaucracy or coherent military establishment like Egypt and Tunisia.

“Its not going to be a coherent civil war, there are going to be local militias trying to keep the peace in various areas of the country and will not necessarily be coordinated with each other.”

Muneer Betelmal, an AUCian student from Benghazi, was in his home country last week.

“We are now seeing the last hours of a desperate man. He is now willing to do whatever it takes to stay in power or burn the country before he leaves. I was in Benghazi last Saturday, and before things become horrific, I saw five people killed by sniper fire in front of the house of one of the martyrs.”

“Benghazi is the thorn in his side, it was the birthplace of the revolution.”

Some United Nations Security Council members have been discussing the possibility of international pressure, such as slapping Tripoli with sanctions or other punitive measures.

But that is an idea that Anderson cautions against.

"There is obviously the American intervention in Afghanistan and Iraq, which has been catastrophic for those places,“ she said.

“This is one of those exceptional circumstances where the United Nations could play a really constructive role, keep in mind the Libyans are going to be very sensitive about this, some people will welcome it and other will be concerned about it."