Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi has appeared on TV saying he will die a martyr in Libya, rather than flee into exile in the face of gathering protesters. The scale of the loyalist military’s response to the protests seems to be intensifying, while evidence of more troops refusing orders and defecting is also coming out. NATO may need to intervene.
There are reports that 150 military personnel were executed for failing to fire on the protesters in Benghazi (which implies a larger loyalist force). There’s a graphic video of burned bodies, which you really don’t need to see, purportedly soldiers who refused to shoot.
Two Libyan pilots landing their planes in Malta rather than carry out orders to bomb protesters but reports are still coming in of heavy weapons being used against the protesters, including warships bombarding Benghazi.
Meanwhile, there’s also video of men in irregular uniforms, apparently protesters and army defectors, with AK-47s arresting Africans, apparently mercenaries, and reports from Egyptians fleeing the country of African mercenaries being executed. Other reports mention white mercenaries, possibly South African.
Al-Jazeera reports that ads in Guinea and Nigeria are offering $2,000 a day for mercenaries but I’m not sure there will be too many more takers the way things are going. (check out this transcript of an interview on Al-Jazeera with a Gaddifi regime official. I love the journo’s final comment)
That Gaddafi is executing his own troops who are refusing to shoot protesters while importing mercenaries shows his days are done but it also shows this isn’t going to end as cleanly as it did in Egypt.
I don’t think the rest of the world can just sit by while Gaddifi uses heavy weapons on civilians. NATO may have to intervene. I’m not saying they should send troops, foreign soldiers on the ground is the last thing they need. Just taking control of the airspace and (carefully) targeting loyalist tanks, planes, and ships attacking civilians may be enough.