Sunday, February 27, 2011

Ian MacIsaac: Libyan insurrection gains U.S. support

Saturday Feb. 26

8:15 P.M. Central time (4:15 A.M. Libyan time)

  The Libyan insurrection against dictator and self proclaimed “Leader and Guide of the Revolution” Muommar al-Qaddafi has grown from a series of riots on February 16th in the eastern city of Benghazi into a full-bore militarized rebellion around the middle of last week, a movement which today controls more the majority of the country’s territory. The revolutionaries have closed in on the nation’s capital, Tripoli, located in the northwest of the country. Qaddafi, the country’s dictator of almost 42 years has holed himself up in his compound there, and is fighting—as he and his son Saif proclaimed they would—“to the last bullet” against the pro-democracy insurrection taking over his country: the third wave of major protests that have turned the eyes of the world toward North Africa since December 2010.

  Saturday the United States announced its unilateral solidarity with the anti-government protesters and insurrectionists in Libya. In a publicly released call to German Chancellor Angela Merkel published by Reuters, President Obama said that Qaddafi, by using “mass violence against his own people … has lost legitimacy to rule and needs to … leave now.”

  The tone of the statement marks a change for the President’s position on the recent protests across the Arab world. Both he and the U.S. government as a whole had stayed rather quiet amidst the prior Tunisian and Egyptian Revolutions and had, until very recently, remained just as silent on the situation unfolding in Libya, with the president before today voicing nothing more than what he termed “deep concern” for the wanton slaughter of over one thousand peaceful Libyan civilians by Qaddafi-loyal military, aided by mercenaries from sub-Saharan Africa bought by the desperate dictator to hold up his crumbling regime.

  In addition, the Obama administration Saturday made announcements of new sanctions against Libya in coordination with the U.N., which simultaneously leveled major economic sanctions of its own upon the Qaddafi regime. The sanctions are largely symbolic, however, with most experts predicting that Qaddafi's regime will very likely fall within a matter of weeks--perhaps even days.


  Even as Qaddafi’s own cabinet ministers and diplomats publicly denounced his regime and sought international asylum—including his UN and Australian ambassadors within days of the rebellion’s explosion—the U.S. refrained from taking a clear position on the matter until the President’s statement Saturday.

  Secretary of State Hillary Clinton backed the President in an announcement of her own Saturday, taking the opportunity as well to justify the administration’s previous hesitancy to make a determination on Qaddafi’s fate. “We [had stated previously] that the [Libyan] government's future is a matter for the Libyan people to decide, and they have made themselves clear … [Qaddafi] has lost the confidence of his people,” the Secretary said in the official government statement. “...He should go, without further bloodshed and violence.”


  As this article is being written, it is nighttime in Libya; little new information will be coming out of the country until dawn, around midnight our time. Libya is a country long forbidden to journalists and even now open only for pro-revolution newsmen and women in the rebel-held eastern portion of the nation. Indeed it is remarkable we are getting as much information and footage as we are. Much of it is gruesome: some photos have been released showing human bodies simply cut in half by the bullets fired by Moammar al-Qaddafi’s helicopters, jets, and snipers, using ammunition manufactured for use against tanks and airplanes.

  Qaddafi will be dead in less than a week. That is not up for debate; it is simply a matter of time and geography, both of which are not on his side. The only question is: how many other people are going to have to die first?

  Quite fittingly, his end will likely mirror Hitler’s: in his bunker underneath his capital, with his people having forsaken him, his country ravaged and destroyed—all of it due to his own narcissism and egotistical visions of his future as a King of Kings. It is doubtful Qaddafi will kill himself, though. Given his likely penchant for drugs, anyone who has seen Tony Montana’s death at the end of Scarface can likely imagine Qaddafi’s approaching end.


  President Obama mentioned to Merkel the “brutalization of the [Libyan] people”; even this is an understatement. Just under or over 300 people died in the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions, respectively. The Libyan revolution is not over and yet by the time you read these words the death toll will likely have reached 1,500, almost all of those killed directly by those under the command of Qaddafi and the fraction of the Libyan government and military that remains under his control.

  The Arab world and Libya will not rest until they have democracy and a secure economic future. Qaddafi has no place in either, never can, and never will.

  About the author: Ian MacIsaac is a staff writer for the Capital City Free Press. He is a history major at Auburn University Montgomery in Montgomery, Alabama, where he serves as co-editor of the school newspaper, the AUMnibus.

Copyright © Capital City Free Press

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