The Gadaffi regime is prepared to fight to the last drop of blood to crush the revolution. This isn’t new. He and his Free Officer allies have always hammered opposition with ruthless efficiency – the public execution has been a centrepiece of the regime’s repertoire since serious challenges first emerged in the 1980s. What is new is the level of escalation demanded of the dictatorship. When they couldn’t rely on the police and army to crush the protesters, they turned to mercenaries to butcher them in their hundreds. . . .
The surreal atmosphere in the presidential palace is communicated in dispatches from defecting officers. “I am the one who created Libya,” Gadaffi reportedly said, “and I will be the one to destroy it.” Last night, one of Gadaffi’s thuggish sons – an alumnus of the London School of Economics, as well as a close friend of Prince Andrew and Lord Mandelson – threatened civil war if people didn’t go home and stop protesting. They’ve cut off the internet and the landlines, and banned foreign journalists in order to be able to carry out massacres under the cover of secrecy. This is a catastrophic lashing out by a regime in mortal freefall. It is seeking, in effect, a blood tribute in compensation for its lost authority.
Even at this late hour, it would be foolish to underestimate Gadaffi’s ability to just hang on, to clench Libya in a rigor mortis grip. As crazed as he manifestly is, he has demonstrated considerable shrewdness in his time.
Richard Seymour rather deftly describes a tyrannical regime going dangerously crazy as it puts down its opponents. But on 22 March he’s had second thoughts:-
The air strikes on Libya are, under the terms of the UN resolution, supposedly intended to protect civilians and result in a negotiated settlement between Colonel Gaddafi and the rebels. This has resulted in some controversy, as air strikes devastated Gaddafi’s compound – Bab El-Azizia, the presidential palace abutting military barracks in Tripoli. The defence secretary Liam Fox has insisted, against British army opposition, that Gaddafi would be a legitimate target of air strikes. Assassination, whatever else may be said about it, would leave Gaddafi unavailable for negotiations. But a “compound” – what could be wrong with bombing such a facility?
Well if this compound is as you described it above – the headquarters of a megalomaniac “crazed” dictator willing to butcher protesters in their hundreds – it would seem productive to bomb it.
Richard S. then goes on to complain about the violent rhetoric used against Gadaffi. What a difference a month (and a UN resolution and the chance of some effective action) makes!
Richard Seymour on Gadaffi, and any other dictators/tyrants/despots
If the western powers supported him,
He was dangerous; wicked; mad;
If the western powers then thwarted him,
He wasn’t quite that bad.