Gaddafi not going quietly

Written By: - Date published: 9:21 am, February 23rd, 2011 - 35 comments
Categories: International - Tags: , , ,

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.

35 comments on “Gaddafi not going quietly”

  1. nadis 1

    Awful. Wouldnt want to be a mercenary and captured by the opposition.

    Reminds me of a Nigerian activist who had said of Abacha “just go, take all the oil money with you.. we’ll be better off” or words to that effect.

    I’m not a psychologist but surely Gaddafi is insane? Essentially he is saying “my people love me so much I must kill them to prove it”.

    I’d imagine NATO would be too timid to interfere – worried about inflaming middle east/islamic passions.

    • Marty G 1.1

      NATO would worry about pissing off the other middle eastern countries but, frankly, some of them aren’t long for this world anyway and NATO showing it will draw a line on the level of repression could help other revolts, not to mention gain the friendship of the current revolutionaries.

      Turkey is a member of NATO so if they are seen to lead the mission that would help.

    • rosy 1.2

      “but surely Gaddafi is insane”
      I would think so. He phoned his ‘friend’ Berlusconi to say ‘everything is fine’ Pfft. A Tsar Nicholas moment might be on the way in Libya. Britain is sending a warship, if only to get Britons out, but it might send a mesage

  2. joe90 2


    Google translation:

    Reuters reported, citing Al Jazeera Alvdhaiipon Libyan Interior Minister Abdel-Fattah Younis announced joining the revolution of February 17. He called on the army to join the people and respond to legitimate demands. Younis said that the Libyan collapsed not there is a line return. Yunus explained that the lead officers Gaddafi misses him and hit one of the members of his family

  3. Pascal's bookie 3

    Anyone aware of any comment from the make shift govt in Egypt? They could sort this pretty pronto I should think.

    • Colonial Viper 3.1

      (Sorry OT) I know Israel is pissed that the new Egyptian authorities have let Iranian military ships pass through the Suez Canal. First time in decades it seems.

      • joe90 3.1.1

        Israel: Arab protest‘opportunity for peace’.

        President Shimon Peres said on Tuesday the anti-government protests sweeping the Arab world that have toppled the leaders of Tunisia and Egypt are an “opportunity for peace” in the Middle East.

        “We believe that the biggest guarantee of peace is having democracy in our neighbours. We are happy to witness this democratic revolution which is taking place in the Arab world,” he said here in an address to the Spanish parliament.

        “Now is precisely the time to resume the talks between us and the Palestinians. I say to our Palestinian neighbours: ‘Let’s return immediately to the negotiating table’. This storm is also an opportunity for peace.”

  4. ianmac 4

    Man’s Inhumanity to his fellows. Perhaps most Dictators are mad, but how does a madman get to the top? So sad.

    • Colonial Viper 4.1

      Being a little mad/sociopathic/psychopathic probably helps the climb. Then once you are in power there is nothing to stop the rest of it really blossoming out.

  5. AlAhrami 5

    Ah, more armchair generals from the Antipodes.

  6. Gary 6

    There’s a rally in Wellington in Midland Park today at midday for Libya. More information here:

    Avaaz also have a petition requesting the UN to impose a no-fly zone:

  7. Rich 7

    I think NATO should not intervene. The “wars on stuff” have destroyed any credibility the West has as a friend to the Arab/Muslim people (not to mention western support for dictators across the region right up to the point where the position became untenable).

    It’s a bit like if the Soviet Union were to have intervened in Eastern Europe in 1989. Even if they were trying to hasten the end of Honecker and Ceaucescu, it would have been seen as another colonial intervention.

    The only thing to do is to let the Libyans work it out for themselves.

    • Dilbert 7.1

      I would tend to agree Rich.

      This is why the United Nations should have a free standing army of its own which it can deploy for Security and Peace Keeping Missions without the need to rely on other specific country’s or military alliance. However in the absence of this or NATO who else could fill the need, the Chinese?

  8. nadis 8

    I wouldn’t put any store on the new Egyptian government. The only thing that has changed is Mubarak is gone (with his $40 billion). The army is still running the place. The army still owns most commercial assets. The same politicians and heads of ministries are still in place. Martial law is still in place. Nothing has changed but everyone “feels better”.

    Maybe just maybe elections later this year will improve things, but no matter what, any Egyptian government will only govern with the consent of the military.

  9. joe90 9

    Nine Twitter accounts to follow for news on Libya..

  10. NX 10

    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.

    A far left-wing blog is calling for military intervention to remove an old socialist dictator.

    Must be opposite day.

    • lprent 10.1

      A. Blogs don’t think or offer opinions. Remember that I will ban people for being stupid enough to think that software can think.

      B. It’d be hard to describe Libya as being a socialist state. A petrostate – yes. But it has been about as socialist as Saudi Arabia since I first looked at them. The only real difference between Saudi Arabia and Libya has been their choice of weapon suppliers and their attitudes to state religions.

      • NX 10.1.1

        A. There wouldn’t be blogs without people. But it’s not for me to say who you should you ban.

        B. I suspect Gaddafi would call himself a socialist given he named the country “The Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab”.

        • NX

          Also, being banned from commenting on a far left blog concerns me not a bit.

          A ban from Kiwiblog would be a different story, but fortunately your powers don’t extend to there.

          • lprent

            I don’t care how you justify it, all you have to do is not be stupid and avoid the self martyrdom offenses in the policy. That was just a mild warning.

            • NX

              Okay, having read your policy, I’m sorry for implying that the authors of this blog support Marty G’s view to call to arms.

              You know, the only thing worse than a ban is the threat of one.

              I’ve been listening to the earthquake stuff most of the day, so feeling a little drained at the mo – so a self-imposed break from here probably isn’t a bad idea.

              I liked sparring with you lefties. Viper & I had many rounds – some mutual respect may have developed, but that maybe going too far ;).

              Anyway, whoever wins the next election; NZ will still be a great place (expect if it’s NZ1st).

              • Colonial Viper

                Hey dude 🙂

                Me, I just want to see a NZ with prosperous happy communities, and a place which offers good prospects and lifestyle for the kids.

                And a bit of political sparring with you on the road there 😉

              • lprent

                Yes. That is rather the point. Personally I’d prefer not to moderate – it would drop my workload by a lot. But I just have to look back to the comments section in 2007 to see why I hated reading the mindless waffle that passed for commentary. Each of the items in the policy was put there for a specific reason to cope with over worked memes

                The reason that particular one was put in because this is a multi author blog where the authors have some quite different views. To avoid facing up with authors as individuals (and probably to foster the 9th floor myth), it used to be common to presume that the sites machine had a brain.

                I found that quite offensive both professionally as a programmer, and because the one thing I am sure about with people on the left is that they usually disagree with each other on many things. To me the unthinking political sheep behavior always seemed to be largely on the right of the political spectrum

                So I stopped the behavior being used here. The behavior modification worked pretty well because those on the left are well aware of our differences, and individual behavior is part of the mythology of the right (even if the practise is often hard to discern).

                I usually just warn these days unless someone starts to argue. Then I will flip into moderation mode. Of course arguing with a sysop in moderation mode is a self evident attempt at matyrdom. I attempt to impose maytrdom on as individual a basis as possible to satisfy their luser needs

        • lprent

          Yeah like words have any meaning…. I suppose that you think that the National Socialists in Germany ran a socialist state as well.

          Darn just did a Godwin

          • rosy

            Or the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is democratic

            • jimmy

              hehe there is a rule of thumb that any country with something like democratic before its name is usually anything but.

              By NX’s logic National Socialism is left wing.

        • The Voice of Reason

          You’re really not getting the hang of google, are you, NX? Gaddafi named the country the Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya. Didn’t it look funny to you when the named stopped at ‘Arab’? Huh?

          Jamahiriya means congress, sort of, and completes the concept Gaddafi claimed he was going to bring to Libya of a peoples’ local democracy driving a representative national leadership. All utter bollocks of course.

  11. The Economic Illiteracy Support Group 11

    Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi has appeared on TV saying he will die a martyr in Libya

    Hopefully someone with a well-aimed AK47 will oblige the man – in the near future.

    • The Voice of Reason 11.1

      I seem to remember Saddam Hussein saying the same thing. And then being found a while later hiding in a hole in the ground.

  12. ianmac 12

    Just signed a petition for “Libya: Stop the Crackdown”. You might be interested?

  13. Pascal's bookie 13

    Dave Anderson at newshoggers mentions a low cost thing that US/NATO could very easily do that would serve as a force multiplier against the regime:

    Broadcast, on every available medium, all the live intel that the US has on regime troop movements and positioning. The govt’s forces will already be in systems shock with all the defections. Trust within their command and control systems will be low, the ‘rebels’ know it’s win or die.

    Give the rebels free intel publicly, under the guise of ‘letting the world know what the Libyan govt is doing’. Aside from the tactical benefits this provides the insurgent forces, it can also motivate further defections/surrender.

    Interesting idea anyway.

  14. Really the arab world is waking up. I have no idea how such actions happened so quickly on so much different places. Actually the civil wars will continue everywhere. Gadaffi is just the beginning.

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