Saturday, February 26, 2011

Libya Today

The battle for Libya has turned into a war. The capital is embattled, with Gaddafi's palace secure, but the other cities are dueling the Gaddafi loyalists, who are hopelessly outnumbered- some estimates saying 5,000, plus mercenaries. But the people have far less machinery and training, excepting the military who sided with the people.

The loyalists and liberators are dueling in several cities. "Within the country, anti-government protesters said the demonstrations were gaining support, and footage believed to be filmed on Friday appeared to show soldiers in uniform joining the protesters.

The footage showed soldiers being carried on the shoulders of demonstrators in the city of Az Zawiyah, after having reportedly turned against the government - a scene activists said is being repeated across the country. Our correspondent in Libya reported on Friday that army commanders in the east who had renounced Gaddafi's leadership had told her that military commanders in the country's west were also beginning to turn against him.

They warned, however, that the Khamis Brigade, an army special forces brigade that is loyal to the Gaddafi family and is equipped with sophisticated weaponry, is currently still fighting anti-government forces.

Our correspondent, who cannot be named for security reasons, said that despite the gains, people are anxious about what Gaddafi might do next, and the fact that his loyalists were still at large.Those worries were compounded as security forces loyal to Gaddafi reportedly opened fire on anti-government protesters in the capital, Tripoli, after Friday prayers. Heavy gun fire was reported in the districts of Fashloum, Ashour, Jumhouria and Souq Al"-Al Jazeera.

There are some dangerous implications that the US may intervene, which would be dangerously close to just another imperialist occupation. "Neoconservative guru William Kristol recently advised President Obama to seize this moment in history and intervene militarily if “force is used to kill innocent civilians” in Libya. “Hundreds of millions of lovers of freedom," Kristol claims, "would salute” Obama. This escalating rhetoric from pundits and the administration toward Libya is not surprising. Libya has oil, and the West needs it.But we should not repeat the mistake of Iraq. The United States – or Europe – should not send troops to Libya except as part of a UN peacekeeping mission."-FPIF

Gaddafi is surrounded in many ways and is in a desperate plea to hold power "an uprising which was last night closing in on Tripoli after thousands of protesters braved gunfire to try to march through the capital. Standing on the ramparts of a fort overlooking the city's Green Square, Colonel Gaddafi pumped his fist and told 1,000 pro-regime demonstrators: "We can crush any enemy. We can crush it with the people's will. The people are armed and when necessary, we will open arsenals to arm all the Libyan people and all Libyan tribes."

Urging the crowd to "retaliate against them, retaliate against them," the 68-year-old President was shown on state television calling on them to "prepare to defend the nation and defend the oil. Some residents claimed there were now neighbourhoods of the capital under opposition control. Others, including the area where the dictator is thought to have a fortified bunker, remained under regime control. Witnesses claimed that armed Gaddafi supporters were also driving at speed through Tripoli's streets."-Indepenent.

The reports are varied and unclear, but what is clear is the conflict is holding and seems to be in the hands of the self-liberating people of Libya. The outcome is not certain however, owing the wide disparity of the armaments and training. But sheer numbers is on the side of the people.

The Student Insurgent stands in solidarity with the people of Libya to gain self-determination.

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