The situation in Libya is a disaster, scores have been killed. Official reports are at 300, but once the dust settles it’s going to be in the thousands. Gaddafi has declared war on his own people, and made it very clear that he will fight till he is martyred. He’s lost it.
Two airplanes have defected to Malta, two helicopters have also arrived and there are reports of a warship defecting — currently denied. The East of Libya seems to be under complete control of the protesters and it seems most of the tribes — apart from Gaddafi’s own tribe — are fighting his regime. However there are reports that Gaddafi has transported thousands of African mercenaries. Therefore even though he’s lost a significant chunk of his army, he still has billions of oil wealth (estimates indicate the Gaddafi family has $70 billion) to draw from and hire resistance.
There are also rumours that he is or will destroy oil pipelines to the outside world and unleash islamic militants on his own people – why they would kill the rebels is beyond me. It seems to me that Gaddafi is on his last legs, but will go down with the blood of thousands on his hands.
I’m very disappointed with how the EU, US and even African Union have reacted. Whilst they condemn the violence, they are not doing much about it. If the West really is so pro-democracy it needs to show more support to these demonstrators. It needs to send the signal that if you support democracy the West will support you — perhaps by the EU or US declaring Libya a no fly zone and shooting down any airplanes — Gaddafi is using them to strafe his own people.
Everyone is very afraid, Malta — my homeland — is afraid that war is on it’s shores, the EU that it will be flooded by migrants. That there are 10,000 EU citizens in Libya is probably making them worry like hell. Getting these EU citizens out of their should be the EU’s priority, but so should supporting the democracy and these demonstrators.
I have lived in Libya around 1994-1996, a few years after sanctions were imposed by the US and Western world. The place was peaceful, barren, but it appeared dead to me, both during the day and at night. Few people were on the streets, most were around the kebab shops. The atmosphere felt wrong. Now I realise why, the people were afraid.
Fourty years the Libyan people have lived in fear, they have finally risen against Gaddafi like never before. Gaddafi has given other countries the perfect excuse to intervene. Our governments should help put an end to this bloodshed, perhaps even genocide.
If the West does not have a stronger voice and take more decisive actions then it will be fodder for extremists. No one knows who will rise to power in the revolting Arab states, will they get a true democracy (respectful to Islam) or an Islamist theocracy (another dictatorship). The Arab world must decide for itself, but it will only be motivated to elect a true democracy if the West gives fewer reasons for the Arab people to hate it, otherwise no amount of money will reduce terrorism. Our actions today will be suffered or celebrated by our children tomorrow.
Further info: The BBC are running a fantastic up to date series on the events. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-12307698
Al Jazeera are getting some of the latest reports out of Libya: http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/spotlight/libya/
For people’s accounts, just search for #Libya #Gaddafi on Twitter (http://twitter.com/)