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Qadafi may have fled to Venezuela (unconfirmed but credible British sources)


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I am also of the opinion that the US should not get involved, unless it is part of a large-scale international effort, and even then we should play a limited role. There are simply too many elements at play: the near universal disregard that many people in that region have for the US, the fractious nature of the political makeup of the country, and the potential loss of life and limb (not to mention the added financial burden) of Americans. This is internal civil unrest and it would be preferable for it to remain internal.

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I'm not getting a warm and fuzzy feeling from the most recent reports. Yesterday it seems like collapse was imminent. Now it almost seems like he may have managed to stabilize and lockdown Tripoli & that defined battle lines may be being drawn. I hope this doesn't dissolve into an extended civil war; I'm sure they are on the verge of it.

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He's got that syphillis-addled-brain type of crazy.

Has it ever been proven that Hitler had syphilis? I've read both yes and no. Ditto Lenin, Stalin and Mao. That just seems too convenient to me. All the horrors of the 20th Century explained away by syphilis.

Anyway, when it comes to Qadafi I mean more cartoon crazy. If I have to explain this, you don't know Qadafi. He's like an Arab mash up of Bob Dylan (physically), Gary Busey (see his rant yesterday or at the UN I think last year) and Michael Jackson (see his giant white umbrella two days ago). He would be hilarious if he wasn't such an evil SOB and people weren't being slaughtered.

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the only way Gaddafi will leave Libya is in a pine box.

It appears Gaddafi and his goons already suspect the US and Israel for inciting the protests:


So, going in there may be a bad idea.

He says a lot of stuff, most of it not sane. The people have called out for help.

There's plenty we can do without even hurting anyone on either side.

It's very likely that Gaddafi can still kill his way back into control.

He still has quite a few soldiers and mercenaries at his disposal, plus dangerous vehicles.

So far it seems he's concentrated most of his take back the country campaign on Tripoli.

If he is able to crush the protesters there (possibly killing thousands if not hundreds of thousands) and move on to other cities fully, we're all going to regret not acting sooner.

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President Obama's first lengthy comment on Libya:


Secretary Clinton and I just concluded a meeting that focused on the ongoing situation in Libya. Over the last few days, my national security team has been working around the clock to monitor the situation there and to coordinate with our international partners about a way forward.

First, we are doing everything we can to protect American citizens. That is my highest priority. In Libya, we've urged our people to leave the country and the State Department is assisting those in need of support. Meanwhile, I think all Americans should give thanks to the heroic work that's being done by our foreign service officers and the men and women serving in our embassies and consulates around the world. They represent the very best of our country and its values.

Now, throughout this period of unrest and upheaval across the region the United States has maintained a set of core principles which guide our approach. These principles apply to the situation in Libya. As I said last week, we strongly condemn the use of violence in Libya.

The American people extend our deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of all who've been killed and injured. The suffering and bloodshed is outrageous and it is unacceptable. So are threats and orders to shoot peaceful protesters and further punish the people of Libya. These actions violate international norms and every standard of common decency. This violence must stop.

The United States also strongly supports the universal rights of the Libyan people. That includes the rights of peaceful assembly, free speech, and the ability of the Libyan people to determine their own destiny. These are human rights. They are not negotiable. They must be respected in every country. And they cannot be denied through violence or suppression.

In a volatile situation like this one, it is imperative that the nations and peoples of the world speak with one voice, and that has been our focus. Yesterday a unanimous U.N. Security Council sent a clear message that it condemns the violence in Libya, supports accountability for the perpetrators, and stands with the Libyan people.

This same message, by the way, has been delivered by the European Union, the Arab League, the African Union, the Organization of the Islamic Conference, and many individual nations. North and south, east and west, voices are being raised together to oppose suppression and support the rights of the Libyan people.

I've also asked my administration to prepare the full range of options that we have to respond to this crisis. This includes those actions we may take and those we will coordinate with our allies and partners, or those that we'll carry out through multilateral institutions.

Like all governments, the Libyan government has a responsibility to refrain from violence, to allow humanitarian assistance to reach those in need, and to respect the rights of its people. It must be held accountable for its failure to meet those responsibilities, and face the cost of continued violations of human rights.

This is not simply a concern of the United States. The entire world is watching, and we will coordinate our assistance and accountability measures with the international community. To that end, Secretary Clinton and I have asked Bill Burns, our Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, to make several stops in Europe and the region to intensify our consultations with allies and partners about the situation in Libya.

I've also asked Secretary Clinton to travel to Geneva on Monday, where a number of foreign ministers will convene for a session of the Human Rights Council. There she'll hold consultations with her counterparts on events throughout the region and continue to ensure that we join with the international community to speak with one voice to the government and the people of Libya.

And even as we are focused on the urgent situation in Libya, let me just say that our efforts continue to address the events taking place elsewhere, including how the international community can most effectively support the peaceful transition to democracy in both Tunisia and in Egypt.

So let me be clear. The change that is taking place across the region is being driven by the people of the region. This change doesn't represent the work of the United States or any foreign power. It represents the aspirations of people who are seeking a better life.

As one Libyan said, "We just want to be able to live like human beings." We just want to be able to live like human beings. It is the most basic of aspirations that is driving this change. And throughout this time of transition, the United States will continue to stand up for freedom, stand up for justice, and stand up for the dignity of all people.

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On CNN they just showed a woman in Tripoli who was mad at Obama for not saying or doing more to help them.

They also showed cellphone footage of thugs and mercanaries going through the streets and breaking into houses, dragging people into the streets and beating them.

Ben Wedeman says that Benghazi's defeneses are very weak, he doesn't seem too confident that they would hold out for long versus Gaddafi's killers, planes, warships, and anti aircraft fire if or when he moves on that city.

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According to top regime officials who have joined the protesters, Qaddafi has lost the military and all he has are his mercenaries.

He's lost most of the military in the east. He apparently still has quite a bit in the central and western area and he has lots of mercenaries and there are reportedly more coming to reinforce him from elsewhere.

He also has warships, planes and tanks, and there are quite a few tanks around Tripoli right now.

Tons of people starving and unable to reach food in some areas may be a much more immediate problem though.

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Has the military turned on him in the East or just sitting it out?...if not it will be very bloody

The military has turned on him on the most part in the east, however a lot of their arms and vehicles there have been destroyed or ransacked in the early chaos.

Also they are spread out in various cities, whereas Gaddafi's forces would assumedly attack at one city with a much more focused and powerful onslaught.

I do hope I'm giving him or whoever may be in charge if he's being controlled, more credit than they deserve.

And I hope more military officers and soldiers changes sides.

What could theoretically improve things is if his own tribe rejects him, and there are supposedly some opposition members talking to them.

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Has the military turned on him in the East or just sitting it out?...if not it will be very bloody

It's a very fluid, very confusing situation. A lot of information coming in. The east is gone. They've basically seceded at this point and I've read the military there is with the protesters. Also read a little awhile ago that he lost a major city in the west. His first big loss outside of the east.


6.45pm: Nour Al Masmari, former head of Gaddafi protocol, tells Al Jazeera he resigned because it was the "human" thing to do following the Libyan leader's actions, which he called "genocide". Masmari said "it is the end of it" adding:
Now [Gaddafi] is using mercinaries, not because he wants to use them but because he cannot use the army. He cannot use the armed forces of Libya because they are Libyans and they are faithful and honest people. They cannot kill themselves. and killing their cousins and uncles and friends means they are killing themselves. So he doesnt trust them. He doesnt even trust his own guard.

---------- Post added February-23rd-2011 at 11:44 PM ----------


Gaddafi has lost it ...

With his hold over Libya loosening, Muammar Gaddafi seems to have lost his mind and perhaps his nerves.

Marwan Bishara

Last Modified: 23 Feb 2011 20:21 GMT

The Libyan leader has lost all three pillars of his rule - tribal, military and diplomatic. Judging from his desperate speech last night, he seems to be losing his mind and perhaps his nerves.

That's why it's only a question of time for his regime to breakdown.

For the last four decades, Gaddafi has based the stability of his rule on a careful balancing act among more than 100 tribes and clans, especially the 30 influential among them, that pride themselves on playing an important role in freeing Libya from colonialism.

Gaddafi has used bribes when possible, blackmail and scare tactics when necessary, to insure the tribes' loyalty to the regime, or at least its neutrality.

However, over the last few days, one after the other, Libyan tribes have declared their opposition to the Gaddafi regime and vowed their support and allegiance to the revolution of February 17.

Diplomatic breakdown

Gaddafi has also lost his diplomatic core as the country's overseas diplomats have been quitting their jobs in protest against the violence while others have expressed outright support of the revolution.

In reality, the Libyan regime no longer has diplomatic relations with the outside world, which for all practical purposes has severed all relations with his regime.

Much of the world considers Gaddafi's regime outlawed.

Last but not the least, the Gaddafi security regime has been losing support among its armed forces as fighter jet pilots, sailors and entire military bases disobey orders and take a stand in favour of the revolution.

Gaddafi has admitted that his police force has deserted and gone home refusing to use arms against the protesters. As a result, entire cities have been liberated from the grip of the regime.

Watching Benghazi, the largest city in the east, as well as other cities, celebrate their newly gained freedom illustrates the degree to which the Libyan regime has lost influence in the country.

The capital, Tripoli, might still prove to be the most dangerous. An escalation in the capital where Gaddafi’s sons have concentrated their militias might lead to more bloodshed.

As Gaddafi 'loses it', diving deeper in isolation and finding no way out, he is more than capable of ordering the worst crimes.

Unless he loses the loyalty of these militias, or they are deterred from carrying his orders, the last hours and days could prove to be violent.

Having said that, like the Tunisian and Egyptian military before them, the Libyan military and militias could still prove to be more conscientious than their dictators.

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If you were president, what would you do visionary?

I don't know exactly, because I don't know nearly enough about what Obama has at his disposal.

(honestly I would make a horrilbe president anyway)

That said, I would at the least get in contact with the opposition in the eastern areas and see if they need or want help.

If they need help and want us to give it, I would see what options are available and give them what help I could, but do my best to make sure they America isn't alone in doing it.

I would be doing a lot of quiet pushing for other countries to lead the way, but make sure that the world knew where we stood...much earlier than we have.

I would also have done my best to ensure the safety of the Americans in Libya.

Here's some other specific ideas just off the top of my head for what we could do to help the Libyans. (some are much likelier to happen or work out than others)

Providing aid through food, supplies, or logistics information, trying to cut off some of Gaddafi's mercenary support, getting people in better touch with each other, coming out much stronger on tv, moving international talks at a much faster pace and going around those who have no interest in helping out if things stall, talking with ex-officials and reporters to get more info, sending an international armada of ships near Tripoli, installing a no-fly zone, taking out aircraft sites, putting people on the ground there to see what is going on.

Now I don't know that we aren't already doing this at least some of it. And in some cases we have been, albeit very lately.

I wouldn't single us out either, other than that Obama has been far less vocal than pretty much anyone on this.

I think the international community as a whole though has somewhat dropped the ball on this and the worst part is that this came after the other revolutions, not out of nowhere.

You would think we'd be getting better at dealing with things by now, not worse.

Again I understand at least some of what Obama must be thinking, trying to gather the facts and protect Americans there, but things are moving far too slowly.

Sending Hillary to Europe to chat about another resolution with the the UN human rights council on Monday, is ludicrious.

That's five days from now and in that time a lot can happen.

And that's just how long it will take for them to start talking about some resolution that they might put into place...(though I'm not sure who is part of the council and how they would even vote).

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6:25am Tunisian, Algerian and Moroccan opposition parties have made a joint statement on the killings in Libya, calling on their governments to intervene.
At this very moment, our Libyan brothers are suffering the agony of another age. Hundreds of victims have fallen under bullets, heavy arms and war planes. It is a genuine industry of extermination that has been unleashed. We must stand up to it, as any conscious individual would, and do everything to stop this massacre.

Gaddafi is capable of anything: he is setting tribes against one another, activating his militia and using an army of foreign mercenaries. This man has lost all sense of humanity.

The political parties which co-sign this statement urgently call on the governments of the Maghreb and international authorities to do everything to halt this revolting massacre which will remain engraved as a disgraceful stain on the collective memory.

6:34am Further to reports we got in from Tripoli late last night, of up to ten tanks - as well as carloads of people cheering for Gaddafi - heading toward the city centre, a medical student identified as Sara called us on Skype. She said she had seen men in civilian dress holding swords - and running toward the farm opposite her house in the Janzour suburb of east Tripoli.

She and her family barricaded their front door with couches and furniture, which she doesn't think will be enough if a group tries to break through. They can hear "booming sounds in the near distance", which Sara thinks are doors being broken down at other houses.

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