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Unrest in Libya
February 20, 2011 2:44 PM   Subscribe

2210 GMT: Libya's 2nd Secretary in its Embassy in China, Hussein Sadiq Al Misrati, has just quit in an on-air interview with Al Jazeera, saying he is not honored to represent a regime that kills its own people. Al Misrati asked other diplomats to follow his action and called on the army not to attack protesters. And the diplomat claimed that Muammar Qaddafi's son Saif Al Islam, who was supposed to speak on State TV tonight, will not do so --- he was shot by his brother Mutasam in a fight for control. Libya is spinning out of control and appears to be on the verge of either collapse or civil war. Here is a relatively comprehensive (but by no means exhaustive) link to the unrest of the past week. Unlike Egypt, which saw the downfall of a regime played out on television and the internet, communication in and out of Libya is extremely restrictive, making it very difficult for the media and outside observers to understand just what, exactly, is going on in the country. Hundreds of protesters have so far died (many in the second-largest city of Benghazi), and rumors abound that some in the military have decided to turn against the regime.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates (1138 comments total) 64 users marked this as a favorite

 
It is heartening to see people at the top call for positive change, willfully putting their own well-being on the line, in doing so. I hope the country pulls through with as little bloodshed as possible.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:54 PM on February 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


wow. Interesting that the Libyan ambassador to China quite given the rumors of jasmine revolution in China.
posted by kuatto at 2:54 PM on February 20, 2011


I was just noticing this starting to bubble on Twitter. Thanks very much for convening a thread, Holland Oates.
posted by mwhybark at 2:56 PM on February 20, 2011


"It is dangerous to be right in matters on which the established authorities are wrong." -- Voltaire

Here's hoping for the swift removal of another tyrant.
posted by Hardcore Poser at 2:57 PM on February 20, 2011 [17 favorites]


Here's the Al Jazeera English liveblog. Nothing about Libya on their live stream right now.
posted by auto-correct at 2:57 PM on February 20, 2011


I know very little about Libya, but I very much hope that events there turn in a more peaceful direction soon.
posted by Forktine at 2:58 PM on February 20, 2011


AJE live blog:

http://blogs.aljazeera.net/middle-east/2011/02/17/live-blog-libya

(they set up the URL on the 17 and have been using inline anchors for date-to-date, latest post is Feb 21 noon local)
posted by mwhybark at 2:59 PM on February 20, 2011


Qaddafi's son is speaking live on AJE right now.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 3:00 PM on February 20, 2011


One of Gadaffi's sons is giving a speech on AJE now.
posted by auto-correct at 3:01 PM on February 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well, he doesn't look like he's been shot.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 3:02 PM on February 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


Libyan unit defects via Reuters.
posted by curious nu at 3:04 PM on February 20, 2011


A friend of mine is currently sitting in an office in Tripoli, hearing occasional gunshots. He's scheduled to fly out in a few hours. Creepy.
posted by _Lasar at 3:06 PM on February 20, 2011


This interview is very strange.

1) Looks like a high school A/V club studio
2) He's just rambling, talking off the cuff, his eyes darting all over the place
3) Video frames keep rolling every few seconds, making it look like they're trying to insert some sort of subliminal message
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 3:08 PM on February 20, 2011


Live Al Jazeera TV on now (he's not shot)
posted by Duug at 3:08 PM on February 20, 2011


Twitter list from Guardian World: Arab protests
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 3:10 PM on February 20, 2011


Middle East Unrest in graphics (Reuters)
posted by clavdivs at 3:10 PM on February 20, 2011


Frequent and informative tweets and retweeting from AJE's @evanchill, today as throughout the past month.
posted by kaspen at 3:10 PM on February 20, 2011


He is denying the numbers of killed and wounded, says both sides have made mistakes, and says there is foreign interference going on.
posted by Duug at 3:10 PM on February 20, 2011


"There is a plot against Libya"

No shit. It's the Libyan government that's doing the plotting. This guy is a fool.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 3:11 PM on February 20, 2011


I'll give Gaddafi fils this: He's at least acknowledging the fact that something serious is going on, he's not just give the "Nothing to see here, move along" tactic that Mubarak tried.

He is, however, sticking with the "Foreign Conspiracy" talking point, so maybe he hasn't learned his lesson as much as I thought at first.
posted by auto-correct at 3:11 PM on February 20, 2011


Dude is totally tweeking.
posted by Jimbob at 3:12 PM on February 20, 2011


Live Twitter feed direct from Libya (via the phone line link)
posted by Duug at 3:13 PM on February 20, 2011


Yeah, this speech is decidedly weird. Slouched in a chair, weird room (I also thought "high school"), and it's really hard to follow whatever the thread is.

There are apparently unconfirmed reports that Gaddafi had fled the country. Apparently the first guess was to Venezula but that's being denied by the government there.
posted by curious nu at 3:15 PM on February 20, 2011


Bad times for dictators.
posted by Meatbomb at 3:16 PM on February 20, 2011 [8 favorites]


He's saying that Libya is not like Egypt, this could lead to civil war and could split the country into three pieces. If it separates, who gets to run the oil and manage it?

Weird speech.
posted by Duug at 3:17 PM on February 20, 2011


Whatever the heck is flickering in the video definitely has writing on it.
posted by curious nu at 3:17 PM on February 20, 2011


I keep expecting the people to storm the studio.
posted by stonepharisee at 3:19 PM on February 20, 2011


Reuters: "FLASH: People in the streets of Libyan capital are throwing stones at billboards of leader Muammar Gaddari: witness"
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 3:19 PM on February 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah, this speech is decidedly weird. Slouched in a chair, weird room (I also thought "high school"), and it's really hard to follow whatever the thread is.

There are tweets saying it's improv. I could believe that. My first impression was that his speaking style was pretty much Palin with a tan.
posted by jaduncan at 3:20 PM on February 20, 2011


More about Benghazi: Libyan soldiers defect to protesters' side in Benghazi
posted by scody at 3:21 PM on February 20, 2011


adjusting the suit- a sign of severe stress-rapid eye movement and his dome shines. He is reading his text and trying to home spin it. Lots of hand gestures, slouches and squints. He is offering alot of cash, says oil is the 'Libyan conduit'. Outside intervention/spooky frogman talk.


The man is trying to re-organize himself using the old criteria.
posted by clavdivs at 3:22 PM on February 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


Wow, he's actually promising civil war. It's absolutely strange. Horrible to watch.
posted by Duug at 3:22 PM on February 20, 2011


There are tweets saying it's improv.

Yeah, he said at the beginning he was speaking unrehearsed, and said that he was going to speak in Libyan dialect(?) rather than Standard Arabic. Still, he doesn't seem like he has a clear point, exactly. Duug's got the right of it, I guess. "Don't do this, it'll be hell, we'll lose our oil and money and then it's just civil war between our three regions."
posted by curious nu at 3:22 PM on February 20, 2011


(he's not shot)

It's just a flesh wound.
posted by I love you more when I eat paint chips at 3:25 PM on February 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


These are the words/mannerisms/posture/attitude of a man used to getting his way. I highly doubt that "general scolding" was what the people of Libya were hoping for with this speech. I'm guessing that the words of the younger Qaddafi will simply end up being more fuel to the fire.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 3:25 PM on February 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yes and now he's saying, look if you all go home, we'll have a big meeting, and sort out a new constitution and sort out all the 'silly' penal stuff (? brutal imprisonment?) and everything will be fine.
posted by Duug at 3:25 PM on February 20, 2011


If this weren't so serious, I'd make a joke and say that Jeffrey Tambor is looking great these days!
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 3:26 PM on February 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


ah, the caveat, 6 hours- 3 days, send your delegation, the local systems must be kept in line, more cash. He has a point, it will be house to house, street to street.
posted by clavdivs at 3:27 PM on February 20, 2011


Lybian Youth Movement on Facebook. ArabRevolution on Posterous. (Some stuff graphic).
posted by stonepharisee at 3:27 PM on February 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Tomorrow we will create a new Libya, otherwise we will be fighting each other. 1000 times worse than Egypt."

Is anyone else wondering whether he's got the plane lined up on the runway and it's a last gasp hope from the regime?
posted by Duug at 3:27 PM on February 20, 2011


So he just said, "Come back tomorrow and we'll start a new Libya." Why is this guy saying it, rather than the Colonel? Weirdness on weirdness.
posted by curious nu at 3:27 PM on February 20, 2011


Well, one thing's for sure. Either Hussein Sadiq al Musrati or the Gadaffis will never be coming home again.
posted by jaduncan at 3:28 PM on February 20, 2011


William Hague has threatened Libya with occupation?
posted by run"monty at 3:28 PM on February 20, 2011


Christ, what an asshole.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 3:28 PM on February 20, 2011


So he just said, "Come back tomorrow and we'll start a new Libya." Why is this guy saying it, rather than the Colonel? Weirdness on weirdness.

Col. Gaddafi rumoured to have left the country. This is his son. It makes a kind of sense.
posted by hoyland at 3:29 PM on February 20, 2011


"The US and Europe will come and take over Libya."
posted by Duug at 3:29 PM on February 20, 2011


Saif El Islam Al Gaddafi: prince of the straw man argument

not for long.
posted by narcotizingdysfunction at 3:29 PM on February 20, 2011


No, he and the colonel will fight this out.
posted by clavdivs at 3:30 PM on February 20, 2011


"The world will not allow chaos in Lybia". Ghadaffi has often threatened Europe with mass immigration if they don't play ball.
posted by stonepharisee at 3:30 PM on February 20, 2011


Shout out to Canada.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 3:31 PM on February 20, 2011


Man, this is surreal. Now he's saying the protesters are all on drugs.
posted by Duug at 3:31 PM on February 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


anyway...i have spoken with you...we have found many cells....something something ecstasy...libyans live in germany and canada...they are inciting you to stand against us....they're living there and they have health care...something something ammunition...happy and comfortable in europe....
posted by narcotizingdysfunction at 3:31 PM on February 20, 2011


I grabbed the flickering frame from the speech: here. I'm assuming it's just the original Libyan State TV banner.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 3:32 PM on February 20, 2011


Poisoning relations with the expats, nice.
posted by unixrat at 3:33 PM on February 20, 2011


"Gadaffi is not a traditional president." No shit, Saif!
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 3:33 PM on February 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


A hint of the ivory tower intellectuals attack there, I thought. With their fancy houses and healthcare and all. I am not sure this works as well from the mouth of Libya's richest family as he thinks.
posted by jaduncan at 3:34 PM on February 20, 2011


This guy is not used to having to make sense. Threats and bluster, and nothing else. Nothing coherent.
posted by stonepharisee at 3:35 PM on February 20, 2011


Some of Saif's poses
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 3:36 PM on February 20, 2011 [3 favorites]


Yes...yes, they took the guns in and shot themselves. This is the worst excuse ever.
posted by jaduncan at 3:36 PM on February 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Stonepharisee, the arab revolution link is fantastic. Thanks.
posted by artof.mulata at 3:37 PM on February 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


(Unscripted) speech now at 38 minutes and running.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 3:37 PM on February 20, 2011


oh, its on now
posted by clavdivs at 3:38 PM on February 20, 2011


An earlier draft of Saif's speech was much shorter:
The exports of Libya are numerous in amount. One thing they export is corn, or as the Indians call it, "maize". Another famous Indian was "Crazy Horse". In conclusion, Libya is a land of contrast. Thank you.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 3:38 PM on February 20, 2011 [29 favorites]


We will not give up Libya we will fight to the last man. We will not allow Al Jazeera to laugh at us. We will live and die in Libya. We will not leave it for some thugs.
posted by Duug at 3:38 PM on February 20, 2011


Sic semper tyrannis?
posted by blue_beetle at 3:38 PM on February 20, 2011


Speech over.
posted by Duug at 3:39 PM on February 20, 2011


That was totally unreal.
posted by Duug at 3:40 PM on February 20, 2011


One of the most damning things IMO was suggesting the death toll was exaggerated. How can he expect to get away with that?
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 3:40 PM on February 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


In every dictatorship, there's always a group of people who can actually do stuff. Not the figurehead dictators, whose job is to terrify the people into obeying, while being just wacky enough for foreign military not to see them as a credible threat - no, these are the people who know what they're doing and can carry out the mechanisms of tyranny.

If they've been watching that speech, I really hope that they are either sitting with their heads in their hands right now, or they're compiling mental lists of valuable objects to boost from the palace before they hop on a covert flight to South America.
posted by ZsigE at 3:43 PM on February 20, 2011 [6 favorites]


That was so bizarre and rambly and unreal. I was actually poised for a rickroll.
posted by elizardbits at 3:44 PM on February 20, 2011 [3 favorites]


goodnews: I think he was in typical disconnect from reality. I have to say that Al Jazeera is absolutely superb as they were with the Egyptian revolution. Amazing coverage, world class.
posted by Duug at 3:45 PM on February 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


I guess if this doesn't work out the colonel will finally get that promotion!

I heard he brought in foreign mercenaries to do the shooting.
posted by delmoi at 3:46 PM on February 20, 2011


Headline on Drudge right now:

Unrest in Iran, Algeria, Yemen, Morocco, China [and Wisconsin]...
posted by 445supermag at 3:48 PM on February 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


If they get Ghaddafi, that would incredible. I feel like I've spent the last few weeks just slack jawed with amazement at this wave of revolution.
posted by vibrotronica at 3:49 PM on February 20, 2011 [9 favorites]


delmoi: well there was a video clip of what looked like an African mercenary.

Apparently the protest is gathering steam in Tripoli as we speak, and there are reports that Gaddafi has lost the city of Benghazi to protestors. Oh and a tribal chief has said unless the government restores peace, the oil will be switched off tomorrow.
posted by Duug at 3:49 PM on February 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


News that Libyan ambassador to India just resigned. (no confirmation yet, just showing up on Twitter)
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 3:50 PM on February 20, 2011


How can we be sure that Gaddafi isn't just one of Fred Armisen's characters on Portlandia?
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 3:53 PM on February 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


If a tribal leader has made this claim, he can back it. The Col. was generous with money but he watched the leaders like a hawk. I would take that announcement that the hawk is gone.
posted by clavdivs at 3:53 PM on February 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


Let me be the first to, as far as I know of, use the phrase "Freedom February"

gogo Arab Revolutionaries!
posted by Windopaene at 3:53 PM on February 20, 2011 [13 favorites]


Wow, apparently there were African mercenaries firing anti-tank missiles into the Libyan protestor crowds earlier on. No wonder they're getting so angry over there.
posted by Duug at 3:53 PM on February 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Where is Ghadaffi's Fem Force Five bodyguard squad? We've been waiting years to see them in action!
posted by PenDevil at 3:56 PM on February 20, 2011 [18 favorites]


I can't help but be reminded of Mohammed Saïd "They're coming to surrender or be burned in their tanks" al-Sahaf, Iraq's Minister of Information during the U.S.-led invasion.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 3:57 PM on February 20, 2011


Oh good grief, I missed this earlier BBC report about major Morocco protests. This is unbelievable.
posted by Duug at 4:00 PM on February 20, 2011


OK, I just have to share this strange feeling from the past few days. I've got a smart phone (Android) and a twitter app. I'm in the state capitol in Wisconsin, where there are hyperbolic signs saying things like "welcome to Cairo". I tut-tut at these, but at the same time I'm getting both the #wiunion tweets and the feed from Al Jazeera English. I'm in meat space at a possibly futile attempt to preserve the human right to organize, but I'm jacked in to a rolling feed about protestors shot and disappeared, public spaces tear-gassed and machine-gunned, then liberated.

It's ridiculous to compare these to the mostly "safe" struggle that public employees and supporters are waging here, but at the same time I have to recognize a connection between all these democratic aspirations. At a time when "democrats" in my federal government are equivocating about these repressive regimes, I have to hope that the spirit of resistance I'm witnessing will feed into a global movement for justice.
posted by Mngo at 4:11 PM on February 20, 2011 [23 favorites]


Middle East Unrest in graphics (Reuters)

Libya's per capita income is four times Egypt's and unemployment is three times higher? Holy moly, inequality powderkeg.
posted by kittyprecious at 4:11 PM on February 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Full text of the "speech".
posted by Jimbob at 4:13 PM on February 20, 2011


Oh good grief, I missed this earlier BBC report about major Morocco protests. This is unbelievable.

Huh. I was in Morocco two weeks ago. Everyone was glued to their TVs watching the protests in Egypt, but every person I talked to (and OK, English-speakers in tourist-friendly areas are not representative of the general populace) said, "No, not here."
posted by kittyprecious at 4:15 PM on February 20, 2011


I think the Egypt thing was really a wakeup call for people who are upset with their governments. Not that Tunisia wasn't important, obviously it had a big impact on inspiring the Egyptians. But everyone knew Mubarak's reputation as a brutal dictator. One who was propped up by and allied with the U.S. and everything. But in a couple weeks he was just gone Just like that.

It's hard to overstate just how amazing that is. The idea that such a thing could really work in a country like Egypt. And work so quickly.
posted by delmoi at 4:15 PM on February 20, 2011 [16 favorites]


Libya was #2 on the Economist's shoe thrower's index, so good call there. (OTOH, Tunisia is #11, so they need to rethink their methodology a bit.)
posted by A dead Quaker at 4:17 PM on February 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's hard to overstate just how amazing that is. The idea that such a thing could really work in a country like Egypt. And work so quickly.

The people are universally oppressed by fear. Once they lose that fear, all bets are off.
posted by Jimbob at 4:17 PM on February 20, 2011 [4 favorites]


If it separates, who gets to run the oil and manage it?

BP, Chevron, and the other Western oil companies, as usual. Meet the new oil boss, same as the old oil boss.
posted by orthogonality at 4:20 PM on February 20, 2011 [7 favorites]


Libya was #2 on the Economist's shoe thrower's index, so good call there. (OTOH, Tunisia is #11, so they need to rethink their methodology a bit.)
But Bahrain was rated even lower.
posted by delmoi at 4:21 PM on February 20, 2011


Mngo: "It's ridiculous to compare these to the mostly "safe" struggle that public employees and supporters are waging here, but at the same time I have to recognize a connection between all these democratic aspirations."

You're not the only one.

I missed the speech, but I get the impression there will be lots to follow this week nonetheless.
posted by maudlin at 4:23 PM on February 20, 2011


This is looking like the Arab version of 1848, only this time the good guys have a chance.

Hopefully, this will cause those in the US natsecstate who've been promoting the "Tamil Solution" to stop promoting massacre as the path to "stability."
posted by warbaby at 4:26 PM on February 20, 2011 [4 favorites]


Hacker, Tor developer, Wikileaks supporter, and previous subject of a MeFi FPP about all the times he gets stopped and searched at airports, MeFi's own Jacob Appelbaum tweeted yesterday that a number of hackers were en route to Morocco, with gear. (I presume they picked Morocco over other potential revolution hotspots because it's easier for non-Moroccans to enter and it has decent Internet penetration, but what do I know.)

So, it looks like the possible upcoming revolution in that country will be tweeted, blogged, and streamed...

And protests are starting there already:
"In spite of the Moroccan government's campaign—through its official media, its ministers and its allies—to discredit the February 20 movement, peaceful protests took place today throughout the country. Thousands of protesters gathered simultaneously in Rabat, Casablanca, Tangier, Tetuan, Beni Mellal, Kenitra, Agadir, Marrakech, Essaouira and in other, smaller cities such as Bouarfa, Sefrou, Bejaad and Jerada."
posted by Asparagirl at 4:38 PM on February 20, 2011 [7 favorites]


MeFi's own Jacob Applebaum tweeted yesterday that a number of hackers were en route to Morocco, with gear.

His tweet:
Highly skilled hackers will be in #morocco very soon. If you know any like minded people living there: pgp+email at deadhacker.com today.
Lol. Sounds like a good way to get caught and charged with espionage
posted by delmoi at 4:41 PM on February 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well, the hackers could be Moroccan. Maybe. And if they're just using technology to let local people get their own photos and reports and video out, that's just assisting journalism.

And anyway, isn't it a bit silly to worry about espionage charges when you're trying to overtly overthrow a government?
posted by Asparagirl at 4:44 PM on February 20, 2011 [12 favorites]


think of it as media special forces.
posted by warbaby at 4:51 PM on February 20, 2011 [5 favorites]


Well, the hackers could be Moroccan. Maybe. And if they're just using technology to let local people get their own photos and reports and video out, that's just assisting journalism.

Well, I don't really know much about the situation in morocco, but who's to say the government cares about allowing journalists to operate. It could be espionage or some other charge.

And anyway, isn't it a bit silly to worry about espionage charges when you're trying to overtly overthrow a government?

Well, it won't do much good if you get caught. I was mocking them for the "hey, anyone over there want to hook up? Just send me an email" message. Obviously the government itself could send him an email and catch the 'hackers' pretty easily.
posted by delmoi at 4:57 PM on February 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


So, it looks like the possible upcoming revolution in that country will be tweeted, blogged, and streamed...

The only question is while the matter to the powers that be. They're clearly ok with killing people.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:58 PM on February 20, 2011


Yeah, those hackers better not try anything . It could be dangerous. Best to just stay home, yes?
posted by BeerFilter at 5:00 PM on February 20, 2011 [6 favorites]


Remind me to never have a revolution with y'all, Metafilter.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 5:02 PM on February 20, 2011 [6 favorites]


Thus, Abdellah Hammoudi, the well-known and widely respected Professor of Anthropology at Princeton, wrote a letter expressing his support for the peaceful march, which, he said, is “the only way we have left to demand the kind of reforms that can solve the problems of our country.” A group of independent journalists—including such household names as Aboubakr Jamai, Ali Amar, Ali Anouzla, Nadia Lamlili, Ahmed Reda Benchemsi, Driss Ksikes and Kenza Sefrioui—signed a petition in favor of the movement and calling on the government to allow local reporters to cover the events. The majority of business leaders remained studiously quiet, but Karim Tazi, now the president of the Banque Alimentaire, was among the protesters in Rabat. “We are at a historical moment,” he said, “and we must not miss it.”

Support also came from people who are associated with the monarchy. Hicham Alaoui, the rebellious crown prince of Morocco, gave an interview to France24 in which he, too, expressed his admiration and support of the movement. The historian Hassan Aourid, a former spokesperson for the palace, also declared himself in favor of a constitutional monarchy, giving the example of Great Britain as a good model.

posted by clavdivs at 5:03 PM on February 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


IWO, easy on the tin-foil people.
posted by clavdivs at 5:06 PM on February 20, 2011


Good for Misrati, and I hope he and his family don't face retribution.
posted by Phalene at 5:10 PM on February 20, 2011


Yeah, those hackers better not try anything . It could be dangerous. Best to just stay home, yes?

If they are going to try, they shouldn't solicit help from random people on the internet, is what I'm saying.
posted by delmoi at 5:15 PM on February 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


If they are going to try, they shouldn't solicit help from random people on the internet, is what I'm saying.

Or hopefully, they're being carefully about it, somehow.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:28 PM on February 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Libyan tribe threatens to cut oil exports soon
posted by homunculus at 5:33 PM on February 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


If it separates, who gets to run the oil and manage it?

I'll hazard a wager here: somehow, entirely mysteriously, the oil will end up in the hands of people friendly to US and/or British oil interests.
posted by Malor at 5:36 PM on February 20, 2011 [6 favorites]


Right now, the headline China news on Xinhua is "Chinese railways set record for single day passengers". I guess everything is okay in China.
posted by vidur at 5:39 PM on February 20, 2011


According to Libyan eyewitnesses who've been interviewed on Al Jazeera, Green Square in Tripoli was taken over by protesters today and that they're heading back there tomorrow. Also, more reports that parts of the army have joined the protesters. I hope this is over soon and without bloodbath.
posted by Kattullus at 5:42 PM on February 20, 2011


I'll hazard a wager here: somehow, entirely mysteriously, the oil will end up in the hands of people friendly to US and/or British oil interests.

Italy buys most of their oil. Why wouldn't you say Italy?
posted by Threeway Handshake at 5:44 PM on February 20, 2011


Al Jazeera interviewed a protester in Benghazi who said that an army unit made up of Tripolitans which is stationed in Benghazi opened fire at an army unit made up of Benghazis. If I understood the protester correctly, there was a firefight with the Tripolitans coming out on top but that protesters came to the aid of the Benghazis.
posted by Kattullus at 5:58 PM on February 20, 2011


I've been following the revolution in Libya for the past week, getting reports from my brother and father who are both in the country, as well as from other libyans who have managed to maintain regular contact with their family in the east of the country.

Protests started in Benghazi on the 15/16th of Feb, a day before the scheduled 'day of rage' of Feb 17. Between then and up through now, the brutality of Gaddafi's forces has been astonishing.

Protesters were almost immediately met with live ammunition. In the case of Benghazi, snipers were posted on rooftops downtown. In another city in eastern Libya, helicopters were firing on protestors.

As the days passed, mercenaries were sent in to quell the uprising in the east. Resulting in at this point hundreds killed.

Tripoli, where my brother and father are, was under complete lockdown during Gaddafi's staged 'pro-Gaddafi' protests. Many neighborhoods were being patrolled by armed guards, ready to fire on anyone exiting their home.

Everyone was waiting for Tripoli to wake up. Early in the uprising, information was so poor that my brother, living in tripoli, was not aware of the scope of the revolt in the east. He wasn't aware that the east had been effectively take over by protestors (save but a military barracks within Benghazi).

Government media was threatening an overwhelming response to the people of Benghazi. Everyone was convinced the massacres of the last few days would pale in comparison to bloodbath that would be Gaddafi's retribution. My mother was crying all day.

With no media presence, he'd probably get away with it.

Sometime today, a respected scholar of Islam in Tripoli was able to get on alJazeera and he gave a fatwa. Libyans must come out in full force and protest and try to stop the impending massacre. The ball started rolling, a large clan, the werfillas jumped on board and extolled their people to protest.

[Side note, he was arrested earlier today, everyone was devastated, but shortly after the new of the green square being taken over, we heard he was rescued and freed]

Then reports started coming in, parts of Tripoli were heating up, Fashloom was out, Soug al-Jouma was out, people were braving the gunmen to go out and protest.
Once these people got to the Green Square, thats where the rest of the world joins the story:
Saif's ridiculous speech. While everyone was laughing at this clearly delusional man, the government had redoubled its efforts at the Green square.

Since his speech, many have died. Gunfire is all over the city, of course, the protestors have no guns, so the source is clearly the government. After the massacres in the east, now it is Tripoli's turn. Mercenaries have been set loose there now.

People are getting killed there right now.


I've left out tons, about how some generals in benghazi switched sides, the efforts to open up the egyptian/libyan border, stuff I can't even remember because I'm so exhausted from trying to keep up with everything....
posted by mulligan at 6:16 PM on February 20, 2011 [178 favorites]


Well, you clearly have an inside line. Get some rest if you can and let us know more when you know more. Hold your mother if you can. You already know we're with you.
posted by mwhybark at 6:27 PM on February 20, 2011 [7 favorites]


It's all happening so fast, it's astonishing and terrible.
posted by elpapacito at 6:35 PM on February 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


somehow, entirely mysteriously, the oil will end up in the hands of people friendly to US and/or British oil interests.


Whiting: “As they say in the bible, there are many, many ways to light Europe”.

-'Syriana'
posted by clavdivs at 6:43 PM on February 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


I love how Gaddafi, Jr. was blaming the unrest on potheads and illegal immigrants. What is this, Arizona?
posted by Rhaomi at 6:56 PM on February 20, 2011 [15 favorites]


The Revolutions of 2011
posted by Avenger at 7:14 PM on February 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


Sometime today, a respected scholar of Islam in Tripoli was able to get on alJazeera and he gave a fatwa. Libyans must come out in full force and protest and try to stop the impending massacre. The ball started rolling, a large clan, the werfillas jumped on board and extolled their people to protest.

That's really interesting. There's been a lot of talk about these uprisings as Facebook Revolutions, and while social media have plaid a critical role in organizing the early phases in each country, its seems to me like an equally important enabler of these movements expanding out to mass participation has been the availability of TV that's not government propaganda.

Al Jazeera in particular, but not them alone: one of the pivotal moments of the Egyptian Revolution was that Mona El-Shazly interview of Wael Ghonim (who was also one of the main organizers of the social media phase of that revolution) on DreamTV.
posted by strangely stunted trees at 7:23 PM on February 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


What are werfillas? Google is seriously not helping.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 7:41 PM on February 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


http://www.libyafeb17.com/

(From Twitter; can't vouch for anything posted there.)
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 7:42 PM on February 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sorry, I misread. "Who are the Werfillas," is then the more logical question.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 8:35 PM on February 20, 2011


News that Libyan ambassador to India just resigned. (no confirmation yet, just showing up on Twitter)

Reuters says the ambassador has confirmed this to the BBC.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 9:02 PM on February 20, 2011


There is some comfort in the scatteredness and ineptitude of the ruling family's proclamations and justifications of power. If only because it likely means they won't be able to hold it together much longer, and the violence will end sooner than if there were more competent folk in power. At least, I sure hope that this turns out to be true.
posted by Hardcore Poser at 9:13 PM on February 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


From Jacob Applebaums' twitter:
Tripolitanian AlJazeera Arabic confirms injured protesters arriving at #Tripoli hospitals are being killed by pro-gov forces #Libya
posted by delmoi at 9:48 PM on February 20, 2011


Fuck.
posted by eyeballkid at 9:55 PM on February 20, 2011


Oh and everyone needs to stop using .ly domain names. Seriously. That money goes into Qaddafi's pockets. I've actually mentioned that before talking about bit.ly, I was kind of joking but now it's a little more serious.
posted by delmoi at 10:02 PM on February 20, 2011 [11 favorites]


Seconding delmoi on the .ly domains. Why not just use the Google URL Shortener?
posted by vidur at 10:12 PM on February 20, 2011 [4 favorites]


I was a fan of http:// ➡.ws but they seem to be down at the moment. I think twitter actually blocked using Unicode URLs or something.
posted by delmoi at 10:17 PM on February 20, 2011


@goodnewsfortheinsane: Sorry, I misread. "Who are the Werfillas," is then the more logical question.

Al-Warfalla, probably? He is one of the tribal leaders in Libya, he is also head of military units and who threatens Qaddafi together with other tribal leaders to shut off oil flow to the west.
See here:http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/02/20/libya-protest-tribes-idUSLDE71J0PP20110220
posted by carmina at 10:20 PM on February 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


Twitter makes the worst infrastructure choices, don't they? Tweeting birds, Libyan dictators, Ruby...
And the ->.ws shortener? Jesus fuck, why would anyone want a punycode short name, delmoi?
Aaargh. Every creator of a URL shortener service needs to be kicked in the balls. Also the assholes who invented YouTube URLs, which are the moral equivalent.
...anyway, back to the revolution

posted by ryanrs at 10:27 PM on February 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


ryanrs: twitter counts, or counted that as one character. It also used unicode in the shortened part so you would end up with 2 or 3 character codes instead of 5-6 character codes like bitly. Anyway I am not a fan of shorteners at all either. But I figured if you're going to use one, use the most ridiculous one.

Man if Libya goes down and actually becomes a democracy along with Tunisia and Egypt all three countries will be connected. They could do a European union type thing
posted by delmoi at 10:35 PM on February 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yeah, some sort of cooperative thing...

BTW, I haven't heard much out of Israel lately. Are they still threatening to bomb Iran?
posted by ryanrs at 10:51 PM on February 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Serious.ly, drop Gaddafi.
posted by Skeptic at 12:09 AM on February 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Bookmarking more than anything else. My brother lives in Libya. We received indirect emails from him yesterday with an outline for evacuation through two methods (personal and company avenues). We haven't heard anything in the last 24 hours.
posted by michswiss at 12:15 AM on February 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


delmoi: "Oh and everyone needs to stop using .ly domain names. Seriously. That money goes into Qaddafi's pockets. I've actually mentioned that before talking about bit.ly, I was kind of joking but now it's a little more serious"

http://www.ltt.ly/en/personal/hosting/index.php?c=13

Actually, not that much as I thought it would fore a .ly domain name (compared to the $150/2yr for a Cook Islands co.ck domain). Here's a matrix:
Your Name.ly 40 LYD/YEAR
Your Name.com.ly 15 LYD / YEAR
Your Name.net.ly 15 LYD / YEAR
Your Name .org.ly 15 LYD / YEAR
Your Name.gov.ly 15 LYD / YEAR Require the presence of and official documents that prove that the entity seeking registration is a government or education entity.
Your Name .edu.ly 15 LYD / YEAR Require the presence of and official documents that prove that the entity seeking registration is a government or education entity.
posted by wcfields at 1:11 AM on February 21, 2011


Godalmighty, there are reports of unmarked police cars machinegunning the demonstrators. These bastards are going down.
posted by Skeptic at 1:14 AM on February 21, 2011


Godalmighty, there are reports of unmarked police cars machinegunning the demonstrators.

Ah fuck...... Jesus...... Goddammn..... How can humans be so sick?
posted by marsha56 at 1:40 AM on February 21, 2011


Because they can. Because that's what they've not only been getting paid to do, but also what they feel perfectly great doing. They get to be the ultimate Big Man—the one with the authority to kill while wearing the power of the State.

These murders will not be in vain. The country is shifting, and all of those monsters gunning people be down should be aware of how precarious their position is. They are ruthlessly and wantonly defending a leader that probably won't last the month. Each bullet, each death is galvanizing them not to negotiate with Qaddafi and his sons. It's horrible and terrible, and I wish that they could free their country without death, but the tyrant is determined to make revolution as painful as possible for them. I only hope and pray that these victims death will not be in vain and a new country will dawn because of them.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 1:47 AM on February 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


Because its what they've been doing for the past 3 decades without any repercussions...
posted by xqwzts at 1:53 AM on February 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ok maybe Mubarak will escape, but for fuck sakes if there is any justice in the world I want to see fucko and all of his sons hanging from meathooks. It was good enough for Mussolini, it's good enough for Qadaffi.
posted by Meatbomb at 2:07 AM on February 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


I don't exactly want to see him and his family killed (though I wouldn't exactly shed tears if it were to happen). I want to see them in chains before the people of Libya. I want to see see that once haughty tyrant humbled before all those he oppressed, before the widows and widowers of those he has killed. I want for it to be hammered through that thick skull of his that he is not Libya, and that the real Libya will hold him in account. That's my desire anyway. He'll probably run off to Saudi Arabia. At least all of those aging dictators can play shuffleboard together or something.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 2:22 AM on February 21, 2011 [6 favorites]


I was in Libya a few years ago - in Tripoli and Ghadames. The friends I was staying with have moved on to another country now, but I sincerely hope that the locals I met are all safe. Or if they're not safe, that at least they're being as brave as they can be, and can get in touch with their families. I can only imagine what it's like in Green Square now.

When I was there my understanding was that as long as Gaddafi had control it would be a peaceful sort of oppression, but that as soon as his grip slipped, all hell would break loose because his son would not be able to take over and all the competing interests would start fighting. After that interview, I'm not surprised no-one thought the son could manage it, he looks ridiculous.

Gaddafi has apparently learned two things from Mubarak's mistakes: use live ammo, and bring your thugs in from out of town instead of using local boys. I want so much to be optimistic. But Libya is not as open to the world's scrutiny as Egypt, and whenever oil is at stake, things get bloody. Even if Gaddafi loses, I'm concerned the next stage will have more in common with Iraq than Egypt.
posted by harriet vane at 3:08 AM on February 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Al Jazeera Arabic estimated the size of Libya's most powerful tribe, the Warfala which joined the anti-Gaddafi protesters at one million."

I have no knowledge of Libyan politics but I'm calling that a fork-sticking moment.
posted by shii at 3:20 AM on February 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't exactly want to see him and his family killed (though I wouldn't exactly shed tears if it were to happen). I want to see them in chains before the people of Libya. I want to see see that once haughty tyrant humbled before all those he oppressed, before the widows and widowers of those he has killed. I want for it to be hammered through that thick skull of his that he is not Libya, and that the real Libya will hold him in account.

ICC. This is one case that is unlikely to result in equivication.
posted by jaduncan at 3:48 AM on February 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


The BBC World Service is reporting that Gaddafi has fled Tripoli, and believed to have gone either Al Bayda or Sabha. However, Al Jazeera has reports out of both cities that indicate that the rebels have taken control there.
posted by Kattullus at 5:06 AM on February 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


The country is shifting, and all of those monsters gunning people be down should be aware of how precarious their position is. They are ruthlessly and wantonly defending a leader that probably won't last the month.


Tribal leaders and the army have joined the protesters, Tripoli is almost under ant-government control and other cities are under anti-government control.

Personally, I think he'll be gone within the week.

Also, the bravery of these protesters is staggering.
posted by fullerine at 5:52 AM on February 21, 2011 [9 favorites]


Since he blamed about everyone else, I'm actually surprised that Gaddafi Jr. forgot to blame the Swiss.
posted by Skeptic at 5:54 AM on February 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Guardian has a profile of Saif and this article has a little info on the other brothers.
posted by harriet vane at 7:24 AM on February 21, 2011


And a liveblog that's currently asleep right now, but promises to return in a few hours.
posted by harriet vane at 7:25 AM on February 21, 2011


Isn't Italy Libya's biggest trading partner (Oil/gas)...? Have they been trying to pressure Qaddafi?
posted by rosswald at 7:37 AM on February 21, 2011


Isn't Italy Libya's biggest trading partner (Oil/gas)...? Have they been trying to pressure Qaddafi?
Berlusconi keeps trying to get Qaddafi to show up for bunga bunga, but that's the extent of it.
posted by stevis23 at 7:40 AM on February 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


This is today's Guardian liveblog. You can tell when their liveblog has closed for the day when the entries revert to chronological order. They generally have separate pages for each day, but sometimes it seems they close a page prematurely by accident or for technical reasons and you end up having to check the front page for a new URL.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 7:42 AM on February 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't know if there's any truth to this, but one of my Saudi students mentioned today that Gaddafi would most probably not be welcomed in Saudi due to his comments about the Saudi king a few years back at a summit.
posted by FunGus at 8:17 AM on February 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't know if there's any truth to this, but one of my Saudi students mentioned today that Gaddafi would most probably not be welcomed in Saudi due to his comments about the Saudi king a few years back at a summit.

I think this is part of the problem: during his long career, Gaddafi has been so successful at alienating just about everybody in the whole entire world (left and right, Christian and Muslim, East and West, North and South), that it's going to be really hard for him to find asylum anywhere. Antarctica, perhaps, but even penguins may have an old grudge against him. He knows this, and it's the reason why he isn't about to step down and leave: it could be called the Ceaucescu Problem.
posted by Skeptic at 8:26 AM on February 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Oh God -- a prayer or a thought, please, for the Libyan soldiers who were murdered and maybe tortured for refusing to become monsters like Qaddafi, soldiers who refused to claim they were "just following orders". From The Guardian's liveblog:
"The news agency also has some horrific detail about the reports that soldiers who refused to fire on civiilians were executed by their commanding officers. Elsanous Ali Eldorsi, a retired judge in Benghazi, said:
We have buried today 11 bodies of soldiers who refused to fire on civilians and were executed by Gaddafi officers ... The bodies were cut, heads in one side and legs in the other … It is a crime what is happening here."
posted by Asparagirl at 8:33 AM on February 21, 2011 [5 favorites]


Antarctica, perhaps

Well, you know, Venezuela. (As is the subject of heavy speculation right now.)
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 8:38 AM on February 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I believe that the Russians (or rather, a prominent Russian) has offered Gaddafi sanctuary in Moscow.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 8:39 AM on February 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


That'd be good ol' Zhirinovsky. Again.
posted by aramaic at 8:42 AM on February 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


.
posted by angrycat at 9:01 AM on February 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Reuters & Guardian are now reporting the Libyan air force is bombing parts of Tripoli (presumably protesters), and the Guardian is saying the navy has also fired on Tripoli.

Um, holy moly. Is he trying to pull a Hama-Part-II?
posted by aramaic at 9:34 AM on February 21, 2011


The only way to save the country is to destroy it, or something.

I'm wondering, if it's true that the military and security forces in Benghazi are in the hands of the opposition, whether they will begin the move East to confront the troops in Tripoli. Civil war.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 9:36 AM on February 21, 2011


Finland's foreign minister has best summed up the situation:

"It is up to the leadership of Libya to listen to its people. And to be quite honest, listening to people does not mean you should be using a machine gun."
posted by Skeptic at 9:43 AM on February 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


Reuters & Guardian are now reporting the Libyan air force is bombing parts of Tripoli (presumably protesters), and the Guardian is saying the navy has also fired on Tripoli.

Just appalling. It seems the current ruling class really would rather see Libya destroyed utterly rather than succeed without them. I can't imagine how this will end in anything other than a bloodbath; they'll either have to kill tens of thousands of ordinary Libyans, or they themselves will be torn to pieces now.
posted by rodgerd at 9:44 AM on February 21, 2011


AJE reporting that they the fighter pilots who landed in Malta were senior colonels ordered to drop bombs on Benghazi; they refused their orders, flew to Malta, and have surrendered to the authorities there, and have effectively defected to Italy.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 9:45 AM on February 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


Sorry, I meant to write that they have defected to Malta, not Italy.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 9:47 AM on February 21, 2011


AJE reporting: "Two Libyan air force jets landed in Malta containing senior military colonels defecting after being ordered to bomb the crowds in Benghazi".

They also confirm that the crowds were bombed by other aircraft.
posted by xqwzts at 9:47 AM on February 21, 2011


Berlusconi backs Gaddafi, his "close friend".
posted by rodgerd at 10:03 AM on February 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Two observations:

1) Has it been confirmed that aircraft have bombed areas where civilians are gathered, as opposed to shooting them? Not that the latter would be any less sickening — just imagine the type of ammunition involved — I just wonder whether it has been confirmed.

2) Why isn't the UNSC gathering right now?

3) ANSA news agency is reporting that some Italian military airfields are being put on high alert. What does this signify?

It seems to me that if Gadaffi et al. are actually engaging in the alleged type of large-scale aggression against its own civilians, that even military action by foreign powers would no longer be excluded.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 10:10 AM on February 21, 2011


Sky News TV says Al Arabiya is saying 160 dead in Tripoli alone, today alone.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 10:12 AM on February 21, 2011


Those were three observations, I know.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 10:13 AM on February 21, 2011


Yeah, why isn't the UN/US/everybody swooping in right now if the Libyan military is bombing the protestors?

The skies over Tripoli and Benghazi should be fucking BLACK with a swarm of helicopters carrying over peacekeeping troops.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 10:13 AM on February 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


"Yeah, why isn't the UN/US/everybody swooping in right now if the Libyan military is bombing the protestors?"

Unfortunately, the UN doesn't work well as an emergency strike force... they have to deliberate everything first. And if the US acts unilaterally and things go bad (or even if they don't) that will just piss everyone off.
posted by Jacqueline at 10:14 AM on February 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


I hate to say this, but I think maybe the Egyptian Army should roll over the border to restore order.
posted by empath at 10:15 AM on February 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


The skies over Tripoli and Benghazi should be fucking BLACK with a swarm of helicopters carrying over peacekeeping troops.

Holy christ no. I want no part of that.
posted by empath at 10:15 AM on February 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


@empath: That might make things worse, given the rumors of mercenaries from Chad. We don't need two foreign countries duking it out in the middle of Libya.
posted by Jacqueline at 10:16 AM on February 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah, i'm inclined to agree. But all things considered, I think it would be better to have Egyptians doing it than the UN.
posted by empath at 10:17 AM on February 21, 2011


goodnewsfortheinsane: I think a big problem here is the fact that there is NO independent media in the country. So it is very difficult for anyone to understand just what exactly is happening and who is targeting whom. It could very well be likely that factions of the military are now fighting each other. Shots fired from planes could be warning shots and not sniper shots. I don't doubt the number of deaths being reported, but the veracity of events occurring now is just really difficult to ascertain at this moment. And I'm not sure which foreign powers would or could successfully intervene here. This is not something that anybody wants to get involved with. Inserting a military presence could undermine the independence of the protesters.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 10:17 AM on February 21, 2011


Holy christ no. I want no part of that.

So we all just sit back and watch the navy shell Tripoli and jets bomb the entire country? How many people have to die?
posted by Threeway Handshake at 10:18 AM on February 21, 2011


Libya air force jets in Malta, pilots seek asylum
posted by homunculus at 10:18 AM on February 21, 2011


Does the US even have forces within the region? I assume they have air bases in Germany, but do they have any large warships? You can't just trot out half ass.
posted by geoff. at 10:19 AM on February 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Holy christ no. I want no part of that.

So we all just sit back and watch the navy shell Tripoli and jets bomb the entire country? How many people have to die?


So you think we should get more people killed to stop the killing? That would be a tremendous escalation, from which it would be difficult to extract ourselves. Military officers are defecting, government officials are resigning, this may be over quickly.
posted by empath at 10:21 AM on February 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Right now I think the best outcome we can hope for is someone makes Gaddafi and his family a very attractive asylum offer and they decide to GTFO.

But even then, the military seems divided, and there are rumors of mercenaries from Chad in the country, so even if Gaddafi bails I expect that it will continue to be ugly for a while. :(
posted by Jacqueline at 10:23 AM on February 21, 2011


Also, as far as I know the opposition hasn't asked for intervention, which seems like a necessary precondition.
posted by empath at 10:23 AM on February 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


1817: The BBC has received reports of ongoing fighting west of Tripoli between regular soldiers and forces loyal to the regime.

If this escalates to a civil war, then yes, we sit back, watch it happen, and hope the good guys win. Oh, and Obama, I know it's a nice day for a round of golf or whatever, but it would be nice to release some sort of statement about the massacre currently underway in Libya.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 10:25 AM on February 21, 2011


Okay, this changes things:
7:56pm: Al Jazeera Arabic is speaking to a political activist in Tripoli, who tells us there are airstrikes "all over Tripoli".

There is death, fear - and women are crying everywhere. The strikes are concentrated against areas that sent large number of protestors to the streets and there are cars full of foreign fighters firing on people.

He says at least 250 people were killed in the past 24 hours alone and is calling for international help. He tells us Tripoli is "under siege by foreign fighters" - that water and electricity have been cut and there is a shortage of food and medical supplies. "It is a genocide," he says.
We should call an emergency UN or NATO session.
posted by empath at 10:26 AM on February 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


One could argue that the report of Libyan air force officers defecting because they did not want to follow the order to use force against civilians, if true, is a strong indicator that such force is indeed being used.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 10:27 AM on February 21, 2011


Yeah, why isn't the UN/US/everybody swooping in right now if the Libyan military is bombing the protestors?

The skies over Tripoli and Benghazi should be fucking BLACK with a swarm of helicopters carrying over peacekeeping troops.


And when they get there, then what? Does anyone have any idea who is in charge of what in Libya right now? Are the peaceful protesters all wearing green jerseys, the security forces in revolt in blue, and Gaddafi loyalists in a smart salmon kit? The place is in chaos at best and in the beginning of civil war at worst. Who knows how many factions are about to start duking it out? There's no indication that inserting foreign troops at this point would do anything other than provide another set of guys with guns and vague ideas at whom they should be pointed.
posted by Panjandrum at 10:27 AM on February 21, 2011 [7 favorites]


For anyone reading this thread who has family and friends still in Libya and can get them a message:
The Dutch ISP XS4ALL has set up an internet dial-up service for people in Libya to get reports and media out of the country; use a dial-up modem to call +31205350535 / username: xs4all / password: xs4all .
posted by Asparagirl at 10:27 AM on February 21, 2011 [9 favorites]


AJE is really intense right now.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 10:28 AM on February 21, 2011


The lack of access to non-government information seems to be a critical hindrance here. I wonder if it would help for Egyptians or others to set up "pirate" radio stations along the borders to broadcast pro-freedom information into Libya, as well as a plea to the military to realize that Gaddafi's reign is ending and thus they should stand down and stop shooting civilians.
posted by Jacqueline at 10:28 AM on February 21, 2011


Or could something be sent via satellite TV?
posted by Jacqueline at 10:30 AM on February 21, 2011


Right now I think the best outcome we can hope for is someone makes Gaddafi and his family a very attractive asylum offer and they decide to GTFO.

This is probably the best thing external forces can do to help. Mercenaries generally tend to stop fighting if their paymaster gets the fuck out of dodge.
posted by fullerine at 10:32 AM on February 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Libya warplanes bombing Tripoli, says resident
posted by Jacqueline at 10:32 AM on February 21, 2011


Having the international community impose a no-fly zone would be a good first step.
posted by amuseDetachment at 10:33 AM on February 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Apparently, Libyan ambassadors to the UN are calling for Gadaffi's exit (AP via NRC Handelsblad).
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 10:35 AM on February 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


And when they get there, then what?

Oh, I don't know. I'm no brilliant military general, but:

Secure the hospitals, embassies and communication centers. Impose a no-fly-zone. Blockade all warships firing upon the city. To start with.

The dudes firing heavy weapons are the bad guys.

At the very least, emergency medical supplies need to get there.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 10:37 AM on February 21, 2011


Cockroaches hate light. What really pisses me off is that the major news don't have a group of ex special armed with cameras for situations like these. One of the big reasons Egypt succeeded is that press exposed what happened. Right now the best weapon is a camera. Instead of selling commercial time they should be doing what they are there for illumination. Man, I miss the Cronkites.
posted by I love you more when I eat paint chips at 10:39 AM on February 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Secure the hospitals, embassies and communication centers.

This is kind of not easy.

No fly zones are conceivable, and I expect one soon, if this doesn't start. I don't know about blockades.
posted by empath at 10:41 AM on February 21, 2011


Sounds like they're following the British model of around 1916 when they crushed the Easter Rising in Dublin with artillery and a warship.

I expected to see exactly this in Egypt, it's horrifying to see it happen, hopefully there'll be some positive outcome to this.
posted by knapah at 10:41 AM on February 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


3) ANSA news agency is reporting that some Italian military airfields are being put on high alert. What does this signify?

Given Berlusconi's support of Gadaffi, it could lead some very bad places indeed.

I'm skeptical that the international community dropping troops on the ground would make things better - international intervention could simply give Gadaffi a rallying point against percieved Western intervention.

But I do wonder if simply sinking Libyan ships shelling civilian populations might be the easiest way to reduce the carnage without risking making things worse.
posted by rodgerd at 10:42 AM on February 21, 2011


One of the guys on AJE a few minutes ago mentioned something about Italian naval vessels off the coast of Lybia. Looking for more on that.
posted by BeerFilter at 10:43 AM on February 21, 2011


Oh, I don't know. I'm no brilliant military general, but:

Perhaps the X-Men could capture the leader of the bad guys and torture him until he gives up the location of the democracy bomb.

America! Fuck Yeah!
posted by fullerine at 10:44 AM on February 21, 2011 [7 favorites]


You guys are good: Libya's team at the UN has called on the bloc to impose a no-fly zone over Tripoli, following reports that warplanes were being used against protesters there. (from the BBC liveblog)
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 10:44 AM on February 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


Dabaashi is speaking live on AJE now
posted by fullerine at 10:45 AM on February 21, 2011


Does anyone have a cite for Libyan military ships being involved in the aggression? I've only read it here so far.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 10:45 AM on February 21, 2011


Also: anyone else frustrated that the Guardian liveblog appears to have stopped updating a couple of hours ago?
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 10:45 AM on February 21, 2011


From the guardian liveblog

Despite others suggesting earlier that William Hague was off the mark in claiming that Muammar Gaddafi had fled to Venezuela, Libyan state television is now reporting that this is actually the case.

It was attributed to the Libyan deputy foreign minister.

posted by fullerine at 10:49 AM on February 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


My latest update is from 6:38 PM BST, ten minutes ago. They moved to a new page without telling us, the annoying phenomenon I described upthread.

You just have to check the Guardian's front page, it's the only way to find out when this happens.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 10:49 AM on February 21, 2011


Dabaashi (ambassador to the UN) has asked the UN on air for help to "stop the genocide."
posted by Threeway Handshake at 10:49 AM on February 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Okay, I got it now, thanks.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 10:49 AM on February 21, 2011


In answer to "Why isn't the UN doing anything?"

The Libyan ambassador to the UN just pointed out that it's President's Day here in the U.S.; everybody has the day off. :(
posted by luvcraft at 10:50 AM on February 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Dabaashi has also just said live on air that Gaddafi must step down or he will be pushed out by the people. It really sounds like things are breaking down everywhere.
posted by Duug at 10:51 AM on February 21, 2011


On my Mac I can't seem to get the AlJazeera stream to work in Chrome or Safari. What's the deal? Chrome crashes and Safari (if it doesn't crash) just gives audio. Am I missing something? Works fine in everything on Win7.
posted by geoff. at 10:51 AM on February 21, 2011


Hope the families of those two pilots were able to get to safety before they defected.
posted by fullerine at 10:52 AM on February 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


The soldiers who have refused to murder their own people are heroes.
posted by rodgerd at 10:54 AM on February 21, 2011 [9 favorites]


We could freeze Libyan regime assets in Western banks. Two seconds of Googling turned up this, from Bloomberg last fall:
"The country has a total portfolio of $8 billion, Huwej says, including 5 percent of Banca di Roma SpA, Italy's fourth-largest bank; $1 billion in U.K. real estate; and stakes in 72 companies in more than 45 countries, many of which do business in the U.S. Libya also has stakes in more than 100 banks with offices from New York to Hong Kong, to Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. The web of share holdings Qaddafi has created over the past 15 years or so shows how easily terrorists can evade embargoes and sanctions and move their money around the globe."
Libya owns 5% of Banca di Roma? No wonder that fucker Berlusconi likes Qaddafi.

Also, recall that Italy and much of North Africa have a long and unsavory history together, usually at the expense of North African people.
posted by Asparagirl at 10:54 AM on February 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Surely President's Day doesn't prevent the UN / UNSC from carrying out emergency business? I imagine there will be some staff present to keep the place running for occasions like this, and I would be stunned if there weren't.

The business of maintaining peace and stability in the international community does not grind to a halt because the Americans are having a bank holiday, does it?
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 10:55 AM on February 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I can't stomach the live video or audio feeds anymore (too upsetting), so I really appreciate the updates y'all are posting in this thread summarizing the news from Al Jazeera and elsewhere.
posted by Jacqueline at 10:55 AM on February 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Got nothing on the Italian naval rumor, but I did turn this as another example of Burlesconi's close relationship with Gaddafi: Silvio very recently gave Muammar a train.
According to Ingeniøren, the train was sent to Libya as an Italian present to the country's leader. The train set is adorned with a message in Arabic, saying “For 40 years’ achievement” – a message thought to be a tribute to Gadaffi.
posted by BeerFilter at 11:07 AM on February 21, 2011


1859: The BBC has learnt that Col Gaddafi was in Libya when he had his phone conversation with UN Sec Gen Ban Ki Moon earlier.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 11:08 AM on February 21, 2011


Are we reading the same Guardian liveblog?
6.38pm: After William Hague said earlier that he had seen information suggesting that Muammar Gaddafi had fled to Venezuela, Libyan state television has carried a denial that he has fled.

The Libyan deputy foreign minister, Khalid Kayem, said: "This news is groundless. It has no basis."
posted by scalefree at 11:09 AM on February 21, 2011


Two senior colonels from Libya flew jets to Malta to defect because they were ordered to bomb protesters in Benghazi (via wlcentral.org)
posted by jeffburdges at 11:09 AM on February 21, 2011


Are we reading the same Guardian liveblog?

That''s weird, the text in my post was copied direct from the blog.
posted by fullerine at 11:11 AM on February 21, 2011


For a little comic relief:

RT @LouBrutus: I just ousted Muammar Gadhafi as dictator of Libya on Foursquare!
posted by Jacqueline at 11:11 AM on February 21, 2011


RT @SultanAlQassemi Breaking Russia Today Arabic: Gaddafi's personal Security Brigade known as the "Mohammed Al Migraif" has joined the protesters in Tripoli
posted by madamjujujive at 11:13 AM on February 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


I read it too. I think it may have been a typo which they simply corrected without comment.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 11:13 AM on February 21, 2011


Meh, juju. I'll believe it when it's reported by an outlet that is not RT.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 11:15 AM on February 21, 2011


Apparently the delayed reaction from other countries is because they're trying to figure out what options will best keep gas prices down.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 11:28 AM on February 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


If any bombs are falling on protestors, they need a no fly zone asap.

If I understand correctly, Berlusconi has played buddy buddy with Gadaffi by obtaining some commitment that American bases in Italy wouldn't be used against Libya. If that's the case, then Obama needs to pull a "pray I don't alter it any further" to establish a no fly zone over Libya.. or maybe Sarkozy could grow a pair and do it himself.
posted by jeffburdges at 11:31 AM on February 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Qatar has called for an emergency meeting of the Arab League.
posted by empath at 11:38 AM on February 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Unfortunately Sakorzy shares with Berlusconi an affection for mistresses, selecting colleagues on looks, race-hate, and corruption. He seems unlikely to be inclined to oppose him.
posted by rodgerd at 11:39 AM on February 21, 2011


Threeway Handshake: "Apparently the delayed reaction from other countries is because they're trying to figure out what options will best keep gas prices down rising"

FTFY
posted by mwhybark at 11:43 AM on February 21, 2011


Okay, I've changed my mind. When a country's own ambassador to the UN states unequivocally that the head of state is in the process of committing genocide, the world needs to act.

One thing I don't understand: where are the mercenaries coming from? Who are they? How does that work? Is there just an international pool of mercenaries to hire? Are Libyan soldiers fighting with these mercenaries? If they don't speak the language, how do the logistics of combat/suppression work? I really don't get it.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 11:48 AM on February 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


empath: We should call an emergency UN or NATO session.

I saw an interview on Al Jazeera with either a journalist at the UN or a UN official (I missed the first part of the interview) which said that until the planes landed in Malta, the UN couldn't actually convene the Security Council because so far only one country was involved, but now that Libyan fighter-jets had landed in Malta, it was an international matter.

Personally I think it's bullshit to consider the slaughter of civilians a purely internal matter, but large multinational bodies exist only at the forbearance of its members, so I can understand why this bureaucratic procedure exists, even though I think it's insane.
posted by Kattullus at 11:49 AM on February 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


"Also, recall that Italy and much of North Africa have a long and unsavory history together, usually at the expense of North African people."

Doesn't anyone remember the friggin Punic Wars anymore?
posted by omegar at 11:49 AM on February 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


Umm, I mentioned Sakorzy only because he doesn't need Berlusconi assistance, presumably France could put carriers off Libya's cost within hours.

Obama could presumably maintain an air presence using Ramstein in Germany, but that'd require continued air tanker support. I've no idea whether Spain or Germany could manage a no fly zone over Libya.
posted by jeffburdges at 11:49 AM on February 21, 2011


"One thing I don't understand: where are the mercenaries coming from? Who are they? How does that work? Is there just an international pool of mercenaries to hire? Are Libyan soldiers fighting with these mercenaries? If they don't speak the language, how do the logistics of combat/suppression work? I really don't get it."

Rumor has it that Gadhafi hired soldiers from Chad.
posted by Jacqueline at 11:51 AM on February 21, 2011


an update from the We Are All Khaled Said FB page (some of it already mentioned upthread): "7 Libyan [a]mbassadors worldwide have resigned. 2 Libyan fighter jets landed in Malta & its pilots have seeked asylum. A massacre taking place now in green square, Tripoli. All Libyan tribes have now officially declared siding with protesters against Gaddafi except his own tribe (not yet)."
posted by scody at 11:52 AM on February 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


(Rumor as it stuff about mercenaries from Chad keeps popping up on Reddit and Twitter, but I haven't seen any mainstream media report definitively one way or another about it.)
posted by Jacqueline at 11:52 AM on February 21, 2011


Okay, so the mercenaries are from Chad. Doesn't really answer my questions. Who are they? Are they just sitting by the planes with AK47s in a duffel bag? Did Gaddafi call the president of Chad? Or did he call a private contractor in Chad? How do they know what to do once they arrive?
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 11:56 AM on February 21, 2011


RE: mercenaries

Last night CNN had someone on the ground who reported the soldiers were from Sudan.
posted by ltracey at 11:58 AM on February 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Egyptian foreign ministry spokesman Hosam Zaki says the Egyptian army has been ordered to facilitate the evacuation of all Egyptians from Libya. Some 100 buses, full of Egyptians, are on their way to the Libya-Egypt border - where the army has set up relief tents.
posted by empath at 12:00 PM on February 21, 2011


I wonder if some of the mercenaries are former child soldiers. There has been an effort to get governments to stop using them but then what are all those unemployed child soldiers going to do? It's probably not easy for them to integrate back into civilian life, so I could see how they would be easy recruits.
posted by Jacqueline at 12:01 PM on February 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


From the Guardian's Liveblog:
Through contacts, I've just talked on the phone with one of the organisers in Cairo of a convoy of medical supplies destined for the eastern part of Libya.

He told me that the convoy, which was organised in conjunction with the Arab doctor's syndicate, the Red Crescent and Libyans living in Egypt, has just departed in the last couple of hours carrying antibiotics, needles and other supplies.

It is made up of five ambulance and 30 doctors, according to the man, an engineer with relatives in Libya, who told me: "The hospital system in the east of Libya and in other parts is collapsing."

He added: "The Egyptian government have been very good and have done everything to help facilitate us but we are worried that it is proving difficult to get across the border on the western side of Libya from Tunisia."
This follows an earlier attempt which was turned back by Libyan borderguards. From AFP:
Seif Abdel Latif, a member of the Egyptian doctors's syndicate said he was trying to head to Libya with an aid convoy but Egyptian border guards stopped him from entering Libya.

He said the guards only allowed medical supplies and two doctors into Libya, where violent clashes have resulted in up to 400 deaths according to the Paris-based International Federation for Human Rights (IFHR). Human Rights Watch has cited a death toll of 233.
posted by Kattullus at 12:02 PM on February 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


2001: Ominous news from our colleagues over at BBC Monitoring: "'Libyan military source confirms orders were issued for the aerial bombardment of Benghazi within two hours,'" reported Al-Arabiya TV in an urgent screen caption at 1947 GMT." (from BBC liveblog)
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 12:03 PM on February 21, 2011


Here's a fascinating little piece from the Financial Times on Saif, Gaddafi's son. Two months old, but still worth a read.
posted by Duug at 12:11 PM on February 21, 2011


I have a vocabulary query. The shooting and bombing of Libyan civilians by Libyan security forces is being referred to by several sources as "genocide". While the definition of genocide does include the systematic targeting and destruction of a national group, not just an ethnic or religious group, isn't it generally understood that it's the destruction of a national group by a different national group? What is happening in Libya is horrifying, but if we're going to go all coldly grammarian here, wouldn't the situation call for a different word than genocide? What would that word be? The phrase "friendly fire" has the connotation of a mistaken attack on one's own people or allies, so that one wouldn't work either.
posted by Asparagirl at 12:17 PM on February 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


IMO, the use of "genocide" at this point is hyperbole. However, genocide is a possibility in the near future. Libya is divided into different tribes and tribal loyalties, and last I heard, the only tribal leadership remaining loyal to Gadhafi is his own native tribe. If they end up as the only ones armed...
posted by Jacqueline at 12:21 PM on February 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Oh, and I think the correct term at this point is "civil war."
posted by Jacqueline at 12:21 PM on February 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Massacre" would also be appropriate.
posted by Panjandrum at 12:22 PM on February 21, 2011 [13 favorites]


but if we're going to go all coldly grammarian here

Why would we want to do that?
posted by fullerine at 12:23 PM on February 21, 2011


Or what Panjandrum said. :)
posted by Jacqueline at 12:23 PM on February 21, 2011


"but if we're going to go all coldly grammarian here"

"Why would we want to do that?"

Misusing/overusing the word genocide cheapens it, and makes people less likely to take it seriously in the future.
posted by Jacqueline at 12:24 PM on February 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Article 2 of this convention defines genocide as "any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: killing members of the group; causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life, calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; [and] forcibly transferring children of the group to another group."

Genocide has nothing to do with who is doing the killing, but simply the act of trying to eliminate or crush a group of people.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 12:26 PM on February 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Merriam-Webster: " the deliberate and systematic destruction of a racial, political, or cultural group"
posted by Flunkie at 12:26 PM on February 21, 2011


just came out of seclusion, reading this thread, very puzzled why the BBC is now choosing to cover the Archbishop of London

okay, question: given all but one of the tribes have declared against Q., is the idea that this is the last gasp of the regime? If it's civil war, is it all tribes v. Q's tribe?
posted by angrycat at 12:27 PM on February 21, 2011


" the deliberate and systematic destruction of a racial, political, or cultural group"

"Now comes the role of the National Guard and the Army, we will not lose one inch of this land. 60 years ago they defended Libya from the colonialists, now they will defend it from drug addicts. Most of he Libyans are intelligent, they are not Baltagiya (thugs) Benghazi is a million and a half not the few thousands who are in the streets. We will flight to the last man and woman and bullet. We will not lose Libya. We will not let Al Jazeera, Al Arabiya and BBC trick us."
posted by Threeway Handshake at 12:28 PM on February 21, 2011


If it's civil war, is it all tribes v. Q's tribe?

Not sure if anyone can say definitively. Very tough to understand what's going on. Probably more like all other tribes vs. Q's tribe + large part of military + mercenaries (though who know how many of those there are). Q's side doesn't have to be big, so long as they have all of the guns.

VERY DISTURBING video now popping up on twitter of a series of images of dismembered bodies in a hospital in Libya. Unbelievable atrocities have and are occurring. Dear lord. Please make this stop.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 12:31 PM on February 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


It just sounds odd to me, that usage of the word. Under that definition, if (let's say) a Canadian targeted other fellow Canadians for murder purely on the basis of their nationality, he would technically be committing genocide. The Kent State killings would be genocide, under that usage. And yet "genocide" historically carries the connotation, if not the technical definition, of group A versus group B, not group A versus group A. But I guess there isn't any other word (in English, anyway) for something so specific as a military turning on its own people over political differences.

Anyway, vocabulary derail over; this is definitely not the time or place for nitpicking.
posted by Asparagirl at 12:36 PM on February 21, 2011


I tend to think that when people are going to hospitals specifically to kill the wounded, "genocide" might not be all that bad a term.
posted by Flunkie at 12:36 PM on February 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


(from BBC liveblog) 2020: UK comedian Eddie Izzard tweets: "Just sent this Direct Message @SaifGaddafi Please stop the military killing your people. History is watching and you can stop it. Thank you."

Okay, well that's sorted. Thanks, Eddie. Everybody can go home now.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 12:36 PM on February 21, 2011


Dude, you're underestimating the power of chiffon.
posted by I love you more when I eat paint chips at 12:39 PM on February 21, 2011


it's hard to imagine there's a sane person out there thinking, "ah yes, this is the way to maintain power."
posted by angrycat at 12:39 PM on February 21, 2011


The Egyptian/Libyan convergence: Yusuf al-Qaradwi just issued a fatwa against Qaddafi live on AJ Arabic.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 12:39 PM on February 21, 2011


It's equally hard to imagine the words "Gaddafi" and "sane" seriously placed in the same sentence, unless there's strategically placed "not" accompanying them.
posted by Panjandrum at 12:43 PM on February 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


Somewhere, maybe on the blue, I read that one of Q's sons had been shot and or killed by his brother in a fight for control. Any truth to this, as far as we know?

Thanks to people providing us with insight into this situation from their contacts within Libya. One of the many reasons why I love Metafilter so much.
posted by wowbobwow at 12:44 PM on February 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


jeffburdges: "presumably France could put carriers off Libya's cost within hours."

France only has one carrier, and I think it's in the Persian Gulf right now, so it probably can't get to the Libyan coast for another couple of days, even if Sarkozy wanted to intervene.

I also think Rwanda and Darfur, among others, have shown that the international community isn't really equipped to deal with situations like these, either individually or through the UN, so I wouldn't really bet on any military response from an outside force.
posted by Copronymus at 12:48 PM on February 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Somewhere, maybe on the blue, I read that one of Q's sons had been shot and or killed by his brother in a fight for control. Any truth to this, as far as we know?

Given the rumor came out just before he showed up on TV, no.

Also I wouldn't call this genocide, but it is horrible. Up thread people were talking about perhaps sending in military people take out Gadaffi, but that would be really complicated and not a simple thing where you just send in bombers and solve the problem. On the other hand if the UN Ambassador is asking for military intervention in his own country that's kind of a big deal.

If there is going to be a military intervention, it needs to be well thought out and done through the U.N, not just send in some troops and hope for the best.

One thing you could do though would be to bomb airport runways. That would prevent most airplanes from taking off. You could also look for helicopters and take them out too.
posted by delmoi at 12:52 PM on February 21, 2011


AJE is reporting that the Austrian Army has "closed" the airspace above Tripoli..
posted by youthenrage at 1:05 PM on February 21, 2011


the Austrian army?
posted by angrycat at 1:08 PM on February 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think they're saying that the airspace has been closed by the Libyans, and an Austrian transport plane sent to bring back their citizens is now stuck at Tripoli's airport.
posted by knapah at 1:09 PM on February 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


and other cities?
posted by stratastar at 1:09 PM on February 21, 2011


Check that - the airspace is closed, preventing an Austrian Army C-130 from leaving with Austrian/EU refugees. Presumably the Libyan Airforce has closed the airspace. This is is the sort of thing that will drag other governments in very quickly.
posted by youthenrage at 1:09 PM on February 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


why would the airspace be closed? Could this be to prevent the army from turning on the regime?
posted by angrycat at 1:11 PM on February 21, 2011


I'm GUESSING that it's something more along the lines of "The Libyan Airforce is sending out so many bombers/helicopters that they aren't allowing any non-Libyan Airforce aircraft up in the air." Basically the airspace is too crowded with aircraft attacking the civilian population that nobody else can get up in the air.
posted by youthenrage at 1:14 PM on February 21, 2011


why would the airspace be closed? Could this be to prevent the army from turning on the regime?
I assume it would mean "closed to any aircraft other than Libyan military aircraft", and that its purpose would be to give their military unimpeded flight, so that they can more efficiently kill people.
posted by Flunkie at 1:15 PM on February 21, 2011


It's like watching a madman pull the "If I'm going down, I'm going to take down as many people as possible with me" lever, in slow time.
posted by stratastar at 1:16 PM on February 21, 2011


I hope programmers worldwide will join me in calling for M[ou]'?am+[ae]r .*([AEae]l[- ])? [GKQ]h?[aeu]+([dtz][dhz]?)+af[iy] to step down.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 1:16 PM on February 21, 2011 [23 favorites]


crap Iran sending tankers to the Suez
posted by angrycat at 1:22 PM on February 21, 2011


What's the precedent from putting something like this in action:

abuuardvark: http://twitter.com/#!/abuaardvark/status/39793726477963264

NATO enfoced no-fly zone, hold MQ + regime individually responsible for deaths, call urgent SC meeting, targeted sanctions
posted by stratastar at 1:22 PM on February 21, 2011


rumors that people are being prevented from donating blood to the injured
posted by angrycat at 1:24 PM on February 21, 2011


I hope programmers worldwide will join me in calling for...

For genealogists, it's Soundex code Q310 or K310. Much easier.
posted by Asparagirl at 1:25 PM on February 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


If anyone isn't reading Sultan AlQuassemi's twitter feed, do.
posted by stratastar at 1:27 PM on February 21, 2011


Also, much as I dislike Berlusconi, those spreading totally unjustified rumours of Italian military collusion in the massacres, please STOP. There is a shitload of perfectly innocent Italian civilians living in Libya, and such rumours are going to get them all killed.
posted by Skeptic at 1:28 PM on February 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Re : Closing the airspace

May be a way of stopping the exodus of foreign nationals from the country.
Can't think of anything which is more likely to force the world to intervene though.

May be a fully defected air force trapping the government forces in the country.
posted by fullerine at 1:35 PM on February 21, 2011


Why would they care about stopping the exodus of foreign nationals from the country?
posted by Flunkie at 1:36 PM on February 21, 2011


Use them as hostages, powerful argument against UN or other foreign intervention.
posted by featherbender at 1:38 PM on February 21, 2011


According to eyewitness accts on twitter, hospitals there are FUBAR due to lack of supplies
posted by angrycat at 1:38 PM on February 21, 2011


Al Qassemi: "BREAKING Al Arabiya: Reports that Muammar Gaddafi will be delivering an address on TV soon #Libya"
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 1:39 PM on February 21, 2011


Gaddafi the Father apparently going to be addressing the nation soon, according to Sultan al Qassemi twitter feed.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 1:39 PM on February 21, 2011


many accts of African mercenaries arriving in Libya airports
posted by angrycat at 1:39 PM on February 21, 2011


Why would they care about stopping the exodus of foreign nationals from the country?
posted by Flunkie at 1:36 PM on February 21 [+] [!]


One word: hostages. That move once gave Saddam a few extra months' time.
posted by Skeptic at 1:39 PM on February 21, 2011


Two tweets, moments ago, from the SultanAlQuassemi fee that stratastar linked to, claim that (1) the "Secretary of Protocol" has resigned on camera, and (2) Muammar Qaddafi will be delivering an address on TV soon.

I have no idea what the "Secretary of Protocol" is, but at the very least it seems like the regime might be fracturing.
posted by Flunkie at 1:40 PM on February 21, 2011


Whoah, I didn't realize until now -- the fatwa against Qaddafi uttered live on Al Jazeera Arabic by Al Qaradawi was not just "it is wrong to side with him", the fatwa (as translated by Sultan AlQuassemi's twitter feed) was calling for Qaddafi's murder:

"I am issuing a Fatwa now to kill Gaddafi. To any army soldier, to any man who can pull the trigger & kill this man to do so. Save your countrymen from this brutal tyrant. It is wrong of you to stand by while he kills innocent people"

At this point, things are turning against Qaddafi so quickly and so violently that I think he won't even get a perfunctory military trial like Ceaușescu or a formal hanging like Sadaam; he'll probably just go down Mussolini style: shot and then hung up on a meathook over a local gas station while being pelted with stones from the crowd. Or something like that.

Sic semper tyrannis, motherfucker.
posted by Asparagirl at 1:44 PM on February 21, 2011 [7 favorites]


Various twitter feeds on Libya, from blogsofwar.com
posted by clockzero at 1:46 PM on February 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


tweet:

Pro-Gaddafi forces only hold Gaddafi's compound & Jamahiriya rd, source in Tripoli said on MSN
posted by angrycat at 1:47 PM on February 21, 2011


I am issuing a Fatwa now to kill Gaddafi. To any army soldier, to any man who can pull the trigger & kill this man to do so.
It's amazing how quickly the dam has burst. Just, what, maybe four days ago, I remember hearing an NPR correspondent on the scene saying something like "none of the protests are explicitly against Colonel Qaddafi".
posted by Flunkie at 1:49 PM on February 21, 2011


"Breaking BBC Arabic: Libyan State TV carries statement from Saif Al Islam Gaddafi denying that military aircrafts have bombed Tripoli"

This asswipe has a PhD from LSE, and wrote a thesis on democratization...
posted by stratastar at 1:50 PM on February 21, 2011


It's amazing how quickly the dam has burst. Just, what, maybe four days ago, I remember hearing an NPR correspondent on the scene saying something like "none of the protests are explicitly against Colonel Qaddafi".

Yeah, no kidding. And just a few weeks ago when Tunisia went and Egypt was just getting started, people were saying Qaddafi was totally secure and any kind of uprising was unlikely.
posted by delmoi at 1:50 PM on February 21, 2011


Just, what, maybe four days ago, I remember hearing an NPR correspondent on the scene saying something like "none of the protests are explicitly against Colonel Qaddafi".

At this rate, Hillary Clinton should be announcing that the regime appears to be stable any moment now.
posted by scody at 1:51 PM on February 21, 2011 [11 favorites]


I wonder which national government in the region will actually look at the writing on the wall, pack up all the booty they can, then quietly depart en masse before they hear the creak of the tumbrels.

Yeah. Not likely.
posted by maudlin at 1:53 PM on February 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's the political version of "sub-prime is contained!"
posted by Asparagirl at 1:54 PM on February 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


Wow

Turns out that whole The Internet will grant power to the people turned out to be true.
posted by fullerine at 1:57 PM on February 21, 2011 [13 favorites]


It's crazy how fast all of this is happening.
posted by delmoi at 2:00 PM on February 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


fullerine's link is really good
posted by angrycat at 2:02 PM on February 21, 2011


It was clockzero's link.
posted by fullerine at 2:06 PM on February 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


FWIW, this Dutch guy is tracking aviation activity in the region. His reports may or may not mean anything, but I have been following him for a while now and he is generally reliable when it comes to flight tracking.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 2:06 PM on February 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Now is the time for all good men people to come to the aid of their party make a donation to groups like the EFF as a kind of "thank you" to the Internet for making days like today and months like this month possible.
posted by Asparagirl at 2:07 PM on February 21, 2011


Isn't there a formal set of obligations incumbent on the international community invoked by the use of the word genocide?

I seem to recall this from watching the Clinton-era State Department contort themselves silly in order to not call the Rwanda genocide what it was.

If so, then I would think the Libyan UN diplomat is attempting to force UN involvement, not simply calling for a no-fly zone. He's calling the the UN to act in accordance with its' responsibilities.
posted by mwhybark at 2:07 PM on February 21, 2011


Turns out that whole The Internet will grant power to the people turned out to be true.

Yeah but Al Gore is still fat.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 2:07 PM on February 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Watching CNN is like reading an amateur geocities page from 1999.
posted by stratastar at 2:08 PM on February 21, 2011 [7 favorites]


Flunkie: "I tend to think that when people are going to hospitals specifically to kill the wounded, "genocide" might not be all that bad a term"

Is there a news source for this? :(
posted by bleary at 2:14 PM on February 21, 2011


delmoi: It's crazy how fast all of this is happening.

Yeah. A month ago I listened to this interview with Juan Cole, nobody's fool when it comes to matters of the Middle East, one month ago and he was explaining why Tunisia was unique and that democratic uprisings would not spread. Now it's quicker to list the Middle Eastern governments which aren't in real trouble rather than the one's that are.
posted by Kattullus at 2:19 PM on February 21, 2011


bleary, I got it from one of delmoi's posts in this thread, and delmoi got it from Jacob Appelbaum's twitter feed. I don't know of any other source of it.
posted by Flunkie at 2:19 PM on February 21, 2011


Don't want to derail, but this is not clear cut genocide by any stretch. It's a dictator killing those who oppose him. There is no indication his government is targeting particular tribes, or hunting down and killing political opponents who stay home and don't protest in any way.

None of which is to lessen the horror of these attacks, but it's not Rwanda style genocide.
posted by msalt at 2:20 PM on February 21, 2011


The photos that are coming out of Libya are really awful, but they're the sort of thing that is usually suppressed. This is it -- this is what war looks like. Bodies are torn apart. Internal organs spill out.

I'm glad for the web. Suddenly, the mention of Libyan dead isn't an abstraction. People who are concerned about the event are able to see graphic evidence of what Gadaffi is doing to his own people.
posted by Astro Zombie at 2:21 PM on February 21, 2011 [12 favorites]


From SultanAlQassami's twitter feed:
Khaled Kaeem, Libyan Deputy FM: The Libyans were out on the street shuting against Al Jazeera, calling it a "Liar"
I was saying Boourns
posted by Flunkie at 2:22 PM on February 21, 2011


Quite a few tweets seem to be coming through of Egyptian TV reporting Egyptians being attacked and killed in Libya. I can't imagine Egypt staying out of it if.

Gadaffi can't last more than a couple of days at most if that happens.

I hope.
posted by fullerine at 2:22 PM on February 21, 2011


I'm curious about the frequent attribution of this being the Middle East. Isn't it more accurately North Africa?
posted by michswiss at 2:22 PM on February 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


msalt: "None of which is to lessen the horror of these attacks, but it's not Rwanda style genocide."

I never said it was. I said there may be a strategic, legalistic reason for the diplomat to use the word.
posted by mwhybark at 2:22 PM on February 21, 2011


On that Blogs of War mashup page, in the lower left pane, there are some French-language tweets that include specific geographically located events which I'm not seeing reported in English, including reports of mercenary attacks on 'habitations' in the east and of a radio station which is in the hands of the rebellion.
posted by mwhybark at 2:26 PM on February 21, 2011


michswiss: I'm curious about the frequent attribution of this being the Middle East. Isn't it more accurately North Africa?

It depends on where you draw the boundaries. Africa and Asia are continents. A part of Asia and and a part of Africa are referred to as The Middle East. Which parts people include is elastic.
posted by Kattullus at 2:29 PM on February 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Post on the FP blog on possible responses...

It's been a long time since I've felt so frustratingly powerless on the internet.
posted by stratastar at 2:41 PM on February 21, 2011


Libyan state TV is streaming online here. It's showing some kind of video about goats and vineyards at the moment.
posted by Asparagirl at 2:42 PM on February 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


AJE just showed footage from Libya state television: 2 Tunisians "confessing" to having passed out inflammatory literature, causing the uprising.

Even if that's how it all started, these bastards opened fire on their own people. I think Gaddafi and Co. could have possibly walked away from all of this, until they opened fire. I wouldn't doubt if they're torn limb from limb after all of this.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 2:42 PM on February 21, 2011


People have been arrested in Zimbabwe for watching videos about the Tunisian and Egyptian uprisings, and charged with plotting to overthrow the government.
posted by rtha at 2:45 PM on February 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


"Breaking Al Jazeera: Statement by Libyan Military Officers asks all members of the Libyan army to head to Tripoli & remove Gaddafi #Libya"

(from SultanAlQassemi)
posted by Flunkie at 2:46 PM on February 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


anybody heard about a coup in Qatar?
posted by clavdivs at 2:47 PM on February 21, 2011


I doubt anything's going on in Qatar. If things were to kick off, however, Al Jazeera's in a real bind.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 3:00 PM on February 21, 2011


god, why large caliber fire? just deadly efficiency? Is there absolutely no caring about what the world thinks at this point?
posted by angrycat at 3:12 PM on February 21, 2011


Tweet was alluding, I suspect to the 95' coup.

SultanAlQassemi Khaled Kaeem, Libyan Deputy FM to Al Jazeera: Why don't you speak about the coup d'etat of the Qatari Emir against his father? #Libya
about 1 hour ago via web


so, maybe AJ is getting pelted.
posted by clavdivs at 3:13 PM on February 21, 2011


angrycat I've been looking at the pictures of the two Libyan fighters that have landed in Malta. They are armed with Matra 155 unguided rocket launchers. Definitely not a precision weapon, but one designed for maximum mayhem.
posted by Skeptic at 3:16 PM on February 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


It depends on where you draw the boundaries. Africa and Asia are continents. A part of Asia and and a part of Africa are referred to as The Middle East. Which parts people include is elastic.
The "Greater Middle East" is a B.S. term thought up by the Bush administration to basically refer to the "Muslim world" - a term coined in 2004, by the way. Libya has never been a part of the actual middle east.
posted by delmoi at 3:18 PM on February 21, 2011


angrycat: You can't load a fighter jet with .38 ammunition. Word is they're using airstrip against the people.
posted by cmfletcher at 3:18 PM on February 21, 2011


god, why large caliber fire? just deadly efficiency? Is there absolutely no caring about what the world thinks at this point?

well, you dont have to led them so much.

When your fighting for your life, you care little about what the world thinks, he doesnt care what his own people think, even his professional solders.
posted by clavdivs at 3:18 PM on February 21, 2011


"Now it's quicker to list the Middle Eastern governments which aren't in real trouble rather than the one's that are."

Every time something major changes I post the updated color-coded Wikipedia map about which governments have fallen, which have severe protests, etc. in my office hallway. We've got a strip going down the wall. I think we're going to run out of wall before they run out of revolutions.
posted by Jacqueline at 3:19 PM on February 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


"I'm glad for the web. Suddenly, the mention of Libyan dead isn't an abstraction. People who are concerned about the event are able to see graphic evidence of what Gadaffi is doing to his own people."

As I posted on my Facebook page earlier today: I think social media will permanently alter how we perceive wars. Before it was just a story on the evening news. Now it's retweets of civilians' horrified dismay from watching people get shot right in front of their eyes. You can click through, follow their feeds, respond, and form connections with real people who are being deeply and personally affected by the violence in their countries.
posted by Jacqueline at 3:21 PM on February 21, 2011 [14 favorites]


airstrikes not airstrips.
posted by cmfletcher at 3:26 PM on February 21, 2011


I think social media will permanently alter how we perceive wars
While this is valid, Television coverage during vietnam is considered a watershed in the publics preception of war. This new technology only speeds up its transmission nto the people.
posted by clavdivs at 3:28 PM on February 21, 2011


Well, it speeds it up, but it also completely removes the filter.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 3:29 PM on February 21, 2011 [9 favorites]


Watching people on TV doesn't have anywhere near the same emotional connection as being able to respond and converse with them.
posted by Jacqueline at 3:31 PM on February 21, 2011


I think social media will permanently alter how we perceive wars.

I hope so, too, but this is also what they said about Matthew Brady's Civil War photography appearing as copperplates in Harper's. Warfare certainly has more of a face than it ever has had, but so long as the decision makers are removed from the violence, they can continue to see it as a geopolitical/strategic game of chess.

My old Int'l Affairs school was crawling with these types, so quick to dismiss the experience of suffering as worthless anecdota.
posted by The White Hat at 3:32 PM on February 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


With the removal of Libyan troops from the Libya-Egypt border, aid will hopefully start streaming in -- along with reporters and tech help. Ben Wedeman from CNN, who is very multilingual (and who was a real treat to follow during the Egyptian revolution), has supposedly just made it into eastern Libya, the first Western TV journalist to get in the country.
posted by Asparagirl at 3:43 PM on February 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


unconfirmed reports of Libya naval ships firing on Tripoli
posted by angrycat at 3:44 PM on February 21, 2011


tweet:

Dear Libyan air force, Please come to Malta. We have cookies.

posted by angrycat at 3:56 PM on February 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


BBC: "2356: The upcoming speech by Col Gaddafi is now being trailed as an interview, not a speech."
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 3:58 PM on February 21, 2011


Al Jazeera English, so strange: Libya, Libya, Libya, Libya, Libya, Libya, Libya, Libya, Libya, Libya, Libya, Libya, Libya, Libya, Libya, Libya, Libya, Libya, Libya, Libya, Libya, Libya, Libya, Libya, Australian weather
posted by Flunkie at 3:59 PM on February 21, 2011 [5 favorites]


When are they broadcasting this 'interview'?
posted by delmoi at 4:00 PM on February 21, 2011


I've been wondering that, too, delmoi, but it's 2:00 AM Tripoli time, so I'm wondering if it's not going to be until hours and hours from now.
posted by Flunkie at 4:03 PM on February 21, 2011


Saif's speech was pretty late yesterday. They know the world is watching.
posted by CunningLinguist at 4:05 PM on February 21, 2011


SultanAlQassemi just tweeted "Gaddafi now on TV"
posted by Flunkie at 4:07 PM on February 21, 2011


Reuters:
Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi will refute in an interview with state television on Tuesday "malicious rumours that have been broadcast", state TV said.
posted by CunningLinguist at 4:08 PM on February 21, 2011


Shall we write a Twitter advisory about not using .ly domain. Little help, here?
posted by wowbobwow at 4:09 PM on February 21, 2011


What I want to read is the person who saw this coming and called it before it happened. We already know every intelligence agency and foreign office blew the call.
posted by warbaby at 4:09 PM on February 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


If the stream of #Gaddafi tweets can be believed, the interview lasted seconds, and essentially just said "I'm in Tripoli, not in Venezuela, don't believe the dogs".
posted by Flunkie at 4:10 PM on February 21, 2011


Or more specifically "the dog TV channels".
posted by Flunkie at 4:11 PM on February 21, 2011


Bizarre three second clip of Khadaffi in a car with an umbrella.
posted by Catfry at 4:11 PM on February 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Qadaffi in an Elmer Fudd hat, holding an umbrella in some sort of East German car is a bit of art house cinema masterpiece (if he wasn't killing his own people).
posted by geoff. at 4:17 PM on February 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


photo

posted by CunningLinguist at 4:18 PM on February 21, 2011


Wow.

It's the umbrella that really gives it that extra touch of WTF?
posted by vibrotronica at 4:23 PM on February 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


I think he wants to play guitar for Metallica or RHCP.
posted by I love you more when I eat paint chips at 4:28 PM on February 21, 2011


I know it's wrong to judge people by their looks, but damn if that guy doesn't just exude creepiness and evil. Those dead eyes, the withered, sagging skin, that scrappy pedo mustache... he gives me the same heebie-jeebies as Joe Jackson.
posted by Rhaomi at 4:29 PM on February 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I thought Gaddafi couldn't surprise me anymore. I was wrong.
posted by Skeptic at 4:36 PM on February 21, 2011


He looks like an old rock star.
posted by delmoi at 4:39 PM on February 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


I just got word that my brother was able to evacuate to Malta, I'm assuming just before the closure of airspace. About 10 people from their group weren't able to leave due to exit visa issues.
posted by michswiss at 4:41 PM on February 21, 2011 [6 favorites]


He looks like a scammer getting suckered by scambaiters.
posted by Anything at 4:42 PM on February 21, 2011


Full text of Col Gaddafi's 20-second speech, according to BBC Monitoring: "I am satisfied, because I was speaking in front of the youth in the Green Square tonight, but the rain came praise to God it bears well. I want to clarify for them that I am in Tripoli not in Venezuela. Do not believe these channels they are dogs. Goodbye."

256 characters? I thought this was supposed to be the Twitter Revolution?
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 4:43 PM on February 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


Good to know he's decided to stick it out to the bitter bitter end. I'm sure that will work out in his favor.
posted by Panjandrum at 4:46 PM on February 21, 2011


Well, it speeds it up, but it also completely removes the filter

no-ish, and i can prove it but this not the place, oh it is, as was the tweet I highlighted upthread. "we" "here" have to discern what the person is tweeting. Heck, even Andy Carvin admitted he is getting "tweet headish" which is natural doing it for 15 hours... and he's back tweeting....the filter is much different but not completly gone.
posted by clavdivs at 4:46 PM on February 21, 2011


Channel surfing, I see that in the midst of bloody revolution in Libya, HLN ("Headline News") is dedicating its "Issues" segment to...

*drumroll*

...who is and isn't invited to the William-Middleton wedding.

In April.

Damn, I wish I got AJE here. Or at least had the patience to wait through the constant buffering on its live stream.
posted by Rhaomi at 4:59 PM on February 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Youtube stream not working for you Rhaomi?
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 5:02 PM on February 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I had tried an embedded version from another site, but this one works much better. Thank you!
posted by Rhaomi at 5:05 PM on February 21, 2011


Libyan state TV has a band, thats filtering and buffering.
posted by clavdivs at 5:07 PM on February 21, 2011


A couple things:
It's long over, but re: genocide:
I read a whole pile of books about the Cambodian genocide in the 1970's under the Khmer Rouge, and that was classically hard to classify as genocide, because the slaughter of the people was so wholesale. What ended up making the genocide claim reasonable, though, was when the KR began fixating on the Vietnamese as meddling neighbors, and rounding up and executing ethnic Vietnamese and those accused of being Vietnamese-at-heart. One of the basic responses of a regime in trouble is to (a) try to shift the blame elsewhere, and (b) to try to shift it somewhere specific. This creates an 'other' that can be scapegoated, and can very readily lead to genocidal conditions. One can imagine this happening in the Libyan context if, say, one of the ethnic groups were pegged as the starting point of the revolution and systematically targeted as a result. So while we may not have a de facto genocide at the moment, the kinds of violent moilization that we're seeing can very, very easily turn into genocide proper. It's as easy as telling the military that they're not firing on civilians, but those traitors from Tribe X.

Re: War and New Media:
Indeed, the television (and newspaper) coverage gave people incredible insight into what was happening in Vietnam, promising a new age of people understanding what's going on with their militaries. But post-Vietnam, the news media has been steadily infiltrated by government and corporate interests and diverted away from covering conflicts in the way in which Vietnam was covered. Since television is a broadcast medium - a massive footprint controlled by central distributors - this has been more-or-less copmletely effective in destroying the value of television as a source of non-establishment views. Thus, there were a pile of 'secret' conflicts the US has been engaged in which received little or no coverage as they occurred; the bombing of Iraq through the nineties, after the conclusion of Iraq I comes to mind.

The promise of the internet and the social media is that it isn't broadcast, and thus it's rather harder to centrally control what information people have access to. We're getting blog and twitter coverage from people on the ground in Libya, and we're also getting access to broadcast media (like Al Jazeera English) that would never be broadcast by a commercial entity in the US.

The question going forward is whether governments will figure out how to control the new media in the same way they put the head-lock on televised news in the eighties and nineties. It's a much harder proposition than controlling a television station, simply because the threshold to making a website is so low. But, you know, kill net neutrality, turn the net into Home Shopping Network Part Deux, and we'll see where we end up...
posted by kaibutsu at 6:11 PM on February 21, 2011 [8 favorites]


Re: Genocide

I heard on NPR on the way home that the loyalist military leadership have announced that they are going to "cleanse" Libya of its anti-government protesters. Whenever people in power with weapons start using verbs like "cleans," genocide is usually soon to follow. :( So my previous assertion that it was hyperbole may soon be outdated. :(

I fervently hope that "cleanse" was just a poor translation to English, but NPR is pretty good about that stuff, both in quality of reporting/translation and in their newscasters knowing all the connotations and associations associated with loaded words like that.

Also, with that kind of language coming from the military, I'm no longer optimistic about the situation automatically improving if/when Gadhafi and sons go into exile. Plus, there are all those mercenaries entering the country, and they might just decide that looting and pillaging in Egypt is more fun than going home, especially if they were expecting their promised $2000/day but then no one is left to pay them. :(
posted by Jacqueline at 6:31 PM on February 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Forget the Libyan military defectors and the common folk; has anyone interviewed Lionel Richie yet?
posted by Asparagirl at 6:33 PM on February 21, 2011


clavdivs: "Well, it speeds it up, but it also completely removes the filter

"we" "here" have to discern what the person is tweeting. Heck, even Andy Carvin admitted he is getting "tweet headish" which is natural doing it for 15 hours... and he's back tweeting....the filter is much different but not completly gone
"

You mentioned reporting the war in Vietnam as being a watershed moment in people's perception of war. Absolutely! But it was shown only through the eyes of the few.

Look at Egypt. There were hundreds, if not thousands of people actively involved in the protests in Egypt using twitter, flickr, youtube and facebook to give not just a sense, but a broad description of what was going on; every one of these people is a reporter. I think the multitude of sources forms a consensus of objectivity. Or a trending of objectivity, as the case may be. In that, the traditional filters are lost. And as amazing as media by the masses is, it's also incredibly dangerous in that I think it's eventually going to be gamed by the few who have the most to lose to manipulate the masses and destroy objectivity.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 6:34 PM on February 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Reuters: UNSC will meet behind closed doors on Tuesday
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 6:36 PM on February 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


The more I think about it, the more I'm worried about the foreign mercenaries being recruited into Libya and what they will do if/when Gadhafi fall. Whomever ends up in charge should seriously consider paying them off to GTFO instead of trying to catch them and prosecute them. Buy their weapons off them for a decent price and offer them a generous "exit bonus" at the border if they leave by a certain date. Dip their hands in indelible ink so there's no incentive for them to come back and try to collect again. Then beef up security along the southern borders.
posted by Jacqueline at 6:37 PM on February 21, 2011


If you are looking for more background on the British government's (and Tony Blair's) involvement in Libya, look no further than this recent Vanity Fair article: The Lockerbie Deal.
posted by mattbucher at 6:39 PM on February 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Not to make light of it, but the horror of this whole situation makes me almost nostalgic for the Line of Death days.

One of the most amusingly unamusing memories of my adolescence was an NBC promo clip that went:

"Is it Kaddafi, Gaddafi or Qadaffi? Find out tomorrow, on Today."
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 6:40 PM on February 21, 2011


The photos that are coming out of Libya are really awful, but they're the sort of thing that is usually suppressed. This is it -- this is what war looks like. Bodies are torn apart. Internal organs spill out.

I'm glad for the web. Suddenly, the mention of Libyan dead isn't an abstraction.


For the past hour I've been posting at site after site about a picture I saw, a twit-pic link I wish I'd never clicked. (I think I need catharsis by writing about it, it was so horrific.) The upper half of bodies tha'd been ripped apart ... I didn't stick around long enough to read the caption so I'm not sure if that was from rocket/ missile damage or if Muammar's barbarians cut them up.

And yeah, so much for the vague sense of witnessing history from a comfortable distance.
posted by NorthernLite at 6:53 PM on February 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


There have been plenty of pictures like this from other wars. Plenty of pictures from the Iraq war even. It's just that U.S. networks are squeamish about showing dead bodies for whatever reason
posted by delmoi at 6:59 PM on February 21, 2011 [6 favorites]


I can't click on any of the image or video links in the Worldnews subReddit anymore. Too upsetting.
posted by Jacqueline at 7:09 PM on February 21, 2011


unconfirmed reports of anti-aircraft guns used on people
posted by angrycat at 7:09 PM on February 21, 2011


The pictures coming out of Libya are awful. But the calls for military intervention by the US or UN are scary as fuck. What is the distinction between that and the invasion of Iraq? Hussein was a more repressive dictator who killed far more of his own people than the big Q in Libya. Was the big takeaway from Iraq that what we really need is to spread the machine guns of freedom and 2000 pound bombs of democracy to a greater number of countries?
posted by Justinian at 7:11 PM on February 21, 2011


@Justinian: I think the takeaway from Iraq was that if we're going to topple a dictator, we need to commit and follow-through. If we hadn't wimped out in 1991 the last two decades would have played out very differently (and probably for the better).
posted by Jacqueline at 7:16 PM on February 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Gotcha, we just implemented the invasion wrong. Next time it will be different, pinkie swear.
posted by Justinian at 7:17 PM on February 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


If we hadn't wimped out in 1991 the last two decades would have played out very differently (and probably for the better).

Uh.... I'm not sure that the Iraqi people would have welcomed a U.S. occupation any more in '91 than in '03.
posted by scody at 7:18 PM on February 21, 2011


@scody: We didn't have to occupy the country in 1991, we just had to follow through on our promised support to the domestic revolutionaries. Instead we left them in the lurch and they were slaughtered. :( Fucking CIA flakes. :(
posted by Jacqueline at 7:21 PM on February 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Uh.... I'm not sure that the Iraqi people would have welcomed a U.S. occupation any more in '91 than in '03.

Many Iraqis were slaughtered after we egged them on in '91; they tried to rise up against Hussein with the belief that we would continue to support them, and then we pulled out, effectively allowing Hussein to go ahead and slaughter those who had shown dissent.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 7:23 PM on February 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


I saw this listed on the alj liveblog, but the link took me to a 404. found it. google map of episodes of violence, collected by @Arasmus.

Mapping Violence Against Pro-Democracy Protests in Libya
posted by bleary at 7:23 PM on February 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


The "Greater Middle East" is a B.S. term thought up by the Bush administration to basically refer to the "Muslim world" - a term coined in 2004, by the way. Libya has never been a part of the actual middle east.

I have this Readers' Digest atlas published in 1960's that shows the Arabian peninsula as the "Near East", North/east Asia as "Far East" and South Asia as "Middle East". Makes perfect geographical sense, although putting India and Burma in the term wouldn't presumably make cultural sense now. Here's an interesting etymology on Wikipedia.

I've heard people use the terms Mashriq and Misr to refer to the Arabian peninsula, although Misr technically is only Egypt and not the entire region.

Personally, I prefer splitting the region into a couple of sub-regions, based on cultural, political and linguistic similarities: 1) Gulf states, 2) North Africa, 3) Levant and 4) Asia Minor (which would include Iran and Turkey)
posted by the cydonian at 7:29 PM on February 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Please note that I am actually generally strongly opposed to the US going to war or messing in other countries' domestic affairs.

HOWEVER, my point is, once we're ALREADY going to war then we might as well follow through and do it right! By half-assing it in 1991 and then imposing sanctions we left the Iraqi people a lot worse off than they probably would have been if we'd finished defeating Saddam Hussein, and we probably alienated a lot more people in the Arab and Islamic worlds than we would have if we'd taken care of things in the Gulf War instead of going back for a do-over a decade later.

Even if we ended up in a long-term occupation of Iraq anyway, we would have been occupying a country that was considerably less fucked up than it was after 12 years of cutting them off from the global economy, starving their children, and periodically bombing the crap out of their infrastructure. Plus we might have actually been seen as "liberators" after all instead of "those fuckwads who have been screwing us for the past 12 years."
posted by Jacqueline at 7:31 PM on February 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


bleary: i wonder if the google designer that made that icon of a traffic cop envisioned it'd be used as a symbol of brutal repression
posted by Mach5 at 7:35 PM on February 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


The US and other nations of the UN/NATO don't actually have to invade to help prevent the loss of life by Qaddafi's ploy to stay in power. The most useful (and rather respectful to the idea of sovereignty) is to have ships that will blockade attempts to do shore bombardments and draw up a quick plan to enforce a no-fly zone. Additionally, have hospital ships staged so that the moment Qaddafi loses, nations can rush in there and help with the wounded. There are real atrocities going on and their ambassador to the UN has already requested help. That seems to be the most useful thing that is also somewhat unobtrusive. Also, doesn't involve us landing brigades in Libya which would not be look at kindly.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 7:37 PM on February 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


I don't believe sending an interventionary force at this point is going to do much more than create even more chaos, chaos in which more people can be murdered and more looting can take place. I hope with all my heart that Qaddafi is finished, and it seems like that's going to happen. Hooray. And five years from now I hope Libyans have revenged themselves upon this tick, this parasite, this worm, by creating a state which is free, and safe, and independent, and prosperous. And sending peacekeeping troops now won't help with that. They should be sent once there is a peace to keep.

(Enforcing a no-fly zone in order to ground Libyan Air Force planes and Army gunships seems like a prudent and humanitarian move, however.)
posted by Ritchie at 7:43 PM on February 21, 2011


HOWEVER, my point is, once we're ALREADY going to war then we might as well follow through and do it right!

Yeah but we're talking about the calls for military intervention in Libya. History tells us that intervening on the basis that if we do everything right and a bunch of stuff beyond our control falls into place things might work out tends to end in tears. Tears and a pile of bodies.
posted by Justinian at 7:45 PM on February 21, 2011


we just had to follow through on our promised support to the domestic revolutionaries. Instead we left them in the lurch and they were slaughtered. :( Fucking CIA flakes. :(

Two points: 1) the CIA is many things, but "flaky" isn't really one of them; 2) there is no way the U.S. would simply have left Iraq to "the domestic revolutionaries" without an occupation.

Many Iraqis were slaughtered after we egged them on in '91; they tried to rise up against Hussein with the belief that we would continue to support them, and then we pulled out, effectively allowing Hussein to go ahead and slaughter those who had shown dissent.

Yep, I'm aware of that, and of course it was horrible (as well as totally telling of U.S. realpolitik). I still contend that a long-term U.S. occupation of Iraq, which is what was essentially the alternative to pulling out, would have ultimately had no more of a good outcome in '91 and beyond than it has in '03 and beyond, though it is certainly true that post-'91 sanctions helped devastate the country's infrastructure, civil society, etc.

On preview: Plus we might have actually been seen as "liberators" after all instead of "those fuckwads who have been screwing us for the past 12 years."

Really? Screwing them for the 'past 12 years'? The U.S. had been screwing them since the '60s, '70s and '80s by supporting Saddam.

The fact that U.S. imperialism consistently fails to be a truly liberating force isn't some accident of bad timing; it's an embedded feature of its design.
posted by scody at 7:46 PM on February 21, 2011 [7 favorites]


@Justinian: Sorry, I got sidetracked on an Iraq derail. :) Thanks for bringing the conversation back to the topic at hand.
posted by Jacqueline at 7:47 PM on February 21, 2011


(yep, my apologies for the derail, too. We can chat more by MeMail if necessary.)
posted by scody at 7:48 PM on February 21, 2011


Nah, I'm more interested in discussing the New Hotness of the Now anyway than I am in rehashing Iraq again. :)
posted by Jacqueline at 7:52 PM on February 21, 2011


Since it's about 5am in Tripoli right now, perhaps its a bit time for us on GMT (-X) to take stock of what's going on in Libya.

To set the scene
- First, high ranking government officials are bailing out on Gaddafi left and right.
- This hasn't stopped him from going on air and telling Libyans, the UN, the US, and the world in general to go take a flying fucking at rolling donut, 'cuz he here 4 life, yo (maybe, still could be in Venezuela).
- No one knows fuck all about the people or organizations who are rising up against Gaddafi, but this was also true about Tunisia, Egypt, and (on-going) Bahrain.
- This shit is brutal. This is not tear gas and rubber bullets, this is air strikes and "high-caliber" rounds, which makes the regime who has done the most to get back in Western favor in the past decade also the one the one to show its colors the quickest when trouble hit. Seriously, do you remember the halcyon days when the Egyptian military was pretty much guarding the peaceful protesters in Tahrir Square? Which brings me to my next point...

Libya is our Ally
- Libya is not dependent on European, or US, military and economic aid, and therefore is a strong independent ally in the region.
- Ditto for Bahrain, aka "Home of the US 5th Fleet."
- Libya made nice in the early Aughts, by giving up it's chem/nuke program, after Bush II decided to get tough on dictators.
- Thereafter it became a great US/EU ally in the fight against Al-Qaeda.


- Yeah, that part above is pretty much bullshit.


Libya is Batshitinsane
- Libya is not on dependent on European, and US in particular, military and economic aid, and therefore could give a shit about what we think. They've got oil, so go fuck yourself.
- No, seriously, they're basically the Saudia Arabia of North Africa.


What Really Happened
- Libya made nice in the early Aughts, by giving up it's chem/nuke program, after Bush II decided to start invading countries on basically a whim and the word of a good hype man.
- Libya did this because Gaddafi -- who, let us never forget, is the equivalent of making Michael Jackson dictator of a country -- is still a wily politician, realized he was safer selling shit-tons of oil to the West than he was blowing up their planes.
- Oh, yeah, BTW, he offered this up before 9/11, we just weren't that interest at the time.
- Gaddafi did this because he had already alienated the Russians by going Pan-Arabist. Then, after he alienated the Arab world, he went Pan-African, then -- when that didn't work -- he just supported any splinter group he could before sputtering out and just being a weird-ass dictator.
- Essentially, Gaddafi made nice with the West because he ran out of bizarre-O revolutionary groups to support.
- Which brings me to my next point:

Gaddafi is one the best politician of the last 100 years
- There's a reason he's on this list, he has shattered Libyan politics to the point where he IS Libyan politics.
- Libya has no constitution. The equivalent is Gaddafi's Green Book, which fans of Twilight might generously describe as "readable."
- Since assuming power Gaddafi has randomly dissolved or circumvented any political structure in Libya that has gotten in his way or possibly mildly irritated him.
- This is why he rules as "Brother-Leader of the Revolution," because there are no meaningful political institutions outside of his own personal whims. Being Prime-Minister is for people with "laws" and "institutions."

What This Means
- We have no idea of what's happening in Libya. Media blackout + Complete lack of influence = total ignorance
- Really, do we have any idea of who is in control in Benghazi? Apparently the gov lost control a while ago, but is it a local movement, part of a widespread national resistance, maybe a splinter group of security forces? We have no idea.
- Let's not even talk about how the Libyan military is not at all integrated into Libyan society like the Egyptian military is.
- For fun! Here's a population map of Libya! If some group has control of the area around Tripoli, and another group has control around Benghazi, that means the country is effectively split in two.
- Oh, shit, that means....


Civil War
Look, I want to be wrong here, but the sheer fact that we now have a bifurcated country that has only been held together by a (fantastically) crazy strongman for the past 4 decades means that there probably isn't a huge organized democratic movement. What we have is a lot of people who have been pissed off for a long time. Compound this with the fact that Libya still has strong tribal elements and you end up not with a Ukraine throwing off the yoke of a totalitarian master, but a Yugoslovia slipping leash that kept its respective heads from biting each others' eyes out. I know some people have started throwing around the dreaded 'G'- Word, but I don't think that fits now; this is much more in the "Dictator clinging to power by shooting anything not waving a flag with his face on it" more than an actual targeted assault against a specific people. This is not to say, however, that things couldn't go really wrong, really quickly. Libya is something like 80% Arab and 20% Berber, with some incidental Christian and Jewish minorities. Or wait, maybe its more like 90/10. Numbers are hard to come by, but that's OK, because these people don't actually exist!

In Conclusion
Libya is at least 8 times more fucked up than you think it is, and the chances of things ending well are pretty slim. That said, let's all hope for it ending well.

Still, not a genocide, because that would imply one ethnic group against another. Libya is so (officially) homogeneous that would be, almost, silly. What we are seeing now is more state-violence without any aim than to maintain the state. Maybe after the whole place collapses we can see some seriously inter-tribal violence, but for now let's drop the G-Word all together; this is classic dictator-on-populace violence.

So, yeah, let's hope this will turn out well, but let's not forget that this is a military disconnected from the populace of nation that has been ruled by an erratic dictator for an astoundingly long amount of time in a country that the West has basically fuck-all of influence. Best of luck, but here's a picture if an adorable kitty, just in case.
posted by Panjandrum at 8:14 PM on February 21, 2011 [215 favorites]


In that, the traditional filters are lost.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts

my yes, but also those filters were being lost during the vietnam war. The news reports of the war were increased by the media towards the end putting more pressure on the administration. Nothing like this mind you but the reporters were increasing the stories and the weekly casulty figures feature on fridays really hit home, these casualty lists were repeated during the gulf wars. (M/L newshours' 'roll call' for example)
If the traditional filter was news that went from reporter to news desk to Walter Cronkite, yes the filters are all but gone. What i agree 100% is the transmission of empirical data; pictures, phone calls, etc. relaying the events to us and the co-ordinating efforts/mindset of reporters is amazing...well 99%.

the chances of things ending well are pretty slim

I disagree. The more defections, the better.
posted by clavdivs at 8:27 PM on February 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Tomorrow at the office while chatting at the coffeemaker I am going to repeat everything Panjandrum just wrote and my coworkers will think I am so smart! Thanks! :D
posted by Jacqueline at 9:09 PM on February 21, 2011


What is happening in Libya is horrifying, but if we're going to go all coldly grammarian here, wouldn't the situation call for a different word than genocide? What would that word be?

Democide?
posted by L.P. Hatecraft at 9:18 PM on February 21, 2011


This piece on one of The New Yorker's blogs seems to echo some of Panjandrum's points about Libya's post-Gaddafi possibilities.
posted by Serf at 9:21 PM on February 21, 2011


There have been plenty of pictures like this from other wars. Plenty of pictures from the Iraq war even. It's just that U.S. networks are squeamish about showing dead bodies for whatever reason

There was some suppression of the images. Fewer images, less coverage. Then the whole unwillingness to be seen as "anti-patriot" (anti-war, anti-troops, whatever).

But still, exactly right. Those of you gasping at those images of people torn up like they were made of playdough? You just saw what fresh IED "wounds" can look like. And grenades. And... well, fill in the blank.
posted by zennie at 10:01 PM on February 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Panjandrum: "That said, let's all hope for it ending well. "

Amusing and informative, if ultra-super pessimistic! Actual Libyans in this tread, he only really meant the amusing stuff! We believe that you can make it work out OK!

No, really, we actually do.
posted by mwhybark at 10:21 PM on February 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


To expand further upon the Filtration effect concerning the new medium. There was one youtube clip posted of a crowd around 3 or more badly burned/mangled bodies. The grief and anger is evident and in the clip you see other people using phones to capture the image. Is this insensitive? I thought not because perhaps they also wanted to make sure these images get out to the world. So, a friend came over earlier, he does not have a computer so I set up the twitter feeds, AJE, and that youtube clip. When my friend saw that he wondered why others were taking pictures. And I explained that these are not foreign reporters but the people and that they need to get these images out for a greater cause/awareness. It is not a bad question but one that requires a bit explanation to the non-computer user. The final kicker is the look on peoples faces when you show how close you can bring then to seeing a revolution .
posted by clavdivs at 10:37 PM on February 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


Another 10 years under Gadaffi won't make Libya any less likely to fall into civil war when he loses power, which'll happen eventually. In fact, they've maybe more chance for avoiding civil war now while they're seeing so much optimism from their neighbors. And their neighbors will benefit if Libyia isn't run by a dictator who likes backing foreign terrorist organizations.
posted by jeffburdges at 11:16 PM on February 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's important to remember, perhaps, that Libya is a strategic ally of the European Union in its War on Immigrants, jailing potential asylum seekers before they manage to cross the ocean into Europe; in other words, before they obtain the rights of asylum seekers. This allows the EU to reduce immigration without technically breaking any laws.
posted by klue at 2:37 AM on February 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


I feel like vomiting. What convinces any military group to fire on unarmed civilians? Where can you hire/air lift in mercenaries willing to do so?

I agree that this doesn't count as genocide, and I agree an armed, ground intervention would eventually, probably end in ignominy. However, it took that Israelis under 24 hours to completely annihilate the combined Arab air forces in the Six Day War. Is it out of the question for the UN Security Council to authorise NATO forces to do the same in Libya? And do the same for Libyan military artillery pieces? What are the arguments against denying the Libyan military its larger materiel?

As a side note, I find it nightmarish that UK Prime Minister's much-vaunted Middle Eastern tour was scheduled long, long ago, and was largely aimed at selling UK military arms to the Middle East. This shit has got to stop.
posted by asymptotic at 5:17 AM on February 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


The Italian stock market is suspended today for "technical problems". There is some skepticism about that explanation (Libya happens to be the largest shareholder of Italy's largest bank).
posted by Skeptic at 5:31 AM on February 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Where can you hire/air lift in mercenaries willing to do so?

There are rumours that these are veterans from Liberia and Sierra Leone (Charles Taylor was another good friend of Muammar). By all accounts not very nice people.
posted by Skeptic at 5:41 AM on February 22, 2011


Hoy vey Panjandrum that is a buzzkill. The other day with Mubarak and today with *adafi are the first two days in years, really that I can clearly remember, checking the news before I checked my e-mail.
posted by bukvich at 5:55 AM on February 22, 2011


However, it took that Israelis under 24 hours to completely annihilate the combined Arab air forces in the Six Day War. Is it out of the question for the UN Security Council to authorise NATO forces to do the same in Libya?

I'd love it if European/US/whoever else's military was able to charge into Libya and dismantle their military quickly and efficiently in whatever way necessary, but in a situation where you have:
- Soldiers killing civilians
- Soldiers who have defected to the civilian side and are fighting the above
- Soldiers who are hanging around not sure what side to go with
- Soldiers trying to leave the country to defect
- Mercenaries killing civilians
- Mercenaries doing who knows what (sitting around, deciding they're not up for it and leaving the country, etc)
- Civilians maybe collecting stolen army weapons and fighting whoever

It would be incredibly difficult as a foreign soldier to enter this scenario and know who was trying to kill you because they are pro-Gaddaffi, who is trying to kill you because they are anti-Gaddaffi but don't want outsiders interfering, who is not trying to kill you but happen to be waving guns in your direction, who is maybe deciding to defect/go AWOL but suddenly OH SHIT THE MARINES better shoot first anyway because they'll assume I'm a bad guy, who wants to get the fuck out of the country because the guy who was paying them has fucked off and the easiest way seems to through you...

So yeah, it's not a question of how much military force can be brought to bare, but how chaotic it is and how little is known about who's who, and who's siding with who.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 6:05 AM on February 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


However, it took that Israelis under 24 hours to completely annihilate the combined Arab air forces in the Six Day War.

In retrospect I realise you only mentioned the Arab air forces, my bad.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 6:09 AM on February 22, 2011


Although that said, if anything airplanes aren't that efficient at killing civilians compared to tanks, APCs, Artillery, and most tricky to take out without collateral damage: men with guns.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 6:22 AM on February 22, 2011


is his army that bad-ass that the world has to sit back and watch as civilians are mowed down?
Would it really be that hard to establish a no-fly zone with U.S. aircraft and naval resources? Or is that one of those well-intentioned horrible ideas that could lead to World War Three?
posted by angrycat at 6:31 AM on February 22, 2011


Where can you hire/air lift in mercenaries willing to do so?

After so many many years of civil war and genocide in various parts of Africa, I think people capable of wartime atrocities are even easier to find, unfortunately. There are hundreds of thousands (millions?) of people alive now all over the world that have never known any existence other than constant warfare.
posted by elizardbits at 6:36 AM on February 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


I can't seem to find anything about it now, but I could have sworn I heard a fairly broad dismissal of claims that airstrikes had happened in Tripoli on Morning Edition this morning. There also seemed to be a very strong attitude that the lack of western journalists on the ground in Libya very nearly means that these events aren't happening.

I've also heard a lot more coverage via the American MSM about events in Bahrain than in Libya in the last 48 hours.

Do we (Americans) really not give a shit about this? Do we really need more coverage of Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber and the Oscars? Is there the intention of distracting our attention and limiting the perceived legitimacy of the struggle of other peoples?

I'm really asking.
posted by goHermGO at 7:16 AM on February 22, 2011


It's cheaper to pay a 23 year-old monolingual blogger to write about Lady Gaga than it is to pay a 45 year-old, seasoned, Arabic-speaking journalist to walk into a war zone and start asking questions.
posted by The White Hat at 7:20 AM on February 22, 2011 [16 favorites]


Independent journalists were not allowed in Libya. Now that the eastern border is open, CNN and NBC (Ben Wedeman and Richard Engel) and journalists from Al-Jazeera have entered and have been reporting throughout the day today, as they push west.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 7:23 AM on February 22, 2011


NPR's got one in there too.
posted by angrycat at 7:37 AM on February 22, 2011


It's cheaper to pay a 23 year-old monolingual blogger to write about Lady Gaga than it is to pay a 45 year-old, seasoned, Arabic-speaking journalist to walk into a war zone and start asking questions.

Though I agree with the underlying sentiment here, it does not exactly apply to what has happened and is happening in Libya. Not even seasoned Arabic speaking journalists for other countries/networks were getting in to ask questions before today. Thus the swirling rumors and confusion of the past few days.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 7:42 AM on February 22, 2011


Wow, check out the Soviet-cartoonesque artwork in front of Gadaffi's house. (Guardian)
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 7:43 AM on February 22, 2011


Wow, check out the Soviet-cartoonesque artwork in front of Gadaffi's house. (Guardian)

It looks like it was spray painted gold?
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 7:45 AM on February 22, 2011


Gaddaffi speaking now, AJE
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 7:52 AM on February 22, 2011


Gaddaffi now speaking from his parent's basement.
posted by geoff. at 7:54 AM on February 22, 2011 [8 favorites]


Is he doing an impression of Frank Costanza?
posted by cmfletcher at 7:56 AM on February 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


And after Elmo and Hosni, continuing the trend of referring to himself in the third person.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 7:56 AM on February 22, 2011


1) Framing is horrible
2) Broadcasting from crumbling/damaged concrete shelter
3) Wearing crazy brown muumuu/turban get-up
4) Not reading notes; just yelling - is very animated
5) No apologies, just defiance

Madman.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 7:57 AM on February 22, 2011


dude, just imagine if Qadaffi dropped dead mid-rant
posted by angrycat at 7:58 AM on February 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


It looks like a bomb shelter -- after the bomb.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 7:58 AM on February 22, 2011


Libya may be his country, but it doesn't actually belong to him.
posted by scalefree at 8:00 AM on February 22, 2011


guy is craaaaazzeeeeee
posted by angrycat at 8:00 AM on February 22, 2011


AJE might as well not have the translator on. Would be more revealing, perhaps, and more entertaining, surely.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 8:00 AM on February 22, 2011


I'm having a really hard time following the translation. It's so freaking incoherent. Asians, his father's corpse, rats and cats? Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 8:00 AM on February 22, 2011


3.57pm: It is a rambling speech and unclear so far what point Gaddafi is trying to make. (from Guardian liveblog)
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 8:01 AM on February 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ooh, here comes the artsy pan and zoom shot again. I guess that means he's serious.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 8:01 AM on February 22, 2011


I think he's blaming the bombings of Tripoli, not on his air force, but on England, Italy and the US. This is really hard to follow.
posted by geoff. at 8:02 AM on February 22, 2011


Screw that Downfall meme. From here on out I'm captioning this speech.
posted by cmfletcher at 8:02 AM on February 22, 2011 [12 favorites]


I could have sworn I heard a fairly broad dismissal of claims that airstrikes had happened in Tripoli on Morning Edition this morning.

I did not hear that, but the (now-former, as of yesterday) Libyan ambassador to the U.S. was interviewed this morning and begged the U.S. and UN to get involved; there are a few other stories linked on that page, but I don't recall hearing any denialism.
posted by kittyprecious at 8:04 AM on February 22, 2011


No, I think he saying that since the US bombing didn't work back then that he can ride this out too. That's the point of broadcasting from the bombed-out building with the plane/fist sculpture.
posted by scalefree at 8:05 AM on February 22, 2011


So true, this should be the new Downfall meme.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 8:05 AM on February 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Err, does he realize we can see the reflection in his glasses, and there's nobody there but the camera crew?
posted by aramaic at 8:05 AM on February 22, 2011


d'yall hear that sad little sigh the translator let out?
posted by angrycat at 8:07 AM on February 22, 2011


Whatever they're paying that interpreter, it's not enough
posted by theodolite at 8:08 AM on February 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


Yay, Gaddafi! Now please stop pointing those guns, thank you.
posted by scalefree at 8:08 AM on February 22, 2011


From the AJE liveblog: "5.49pm: Qassem Najaa, a former Libyan airforce colonel, tells Al Jazeera that the country's army has been oppressed by Gaddafi for years, and is now turning against him."

Oppressing the army? Wow, SMART.
posted by kittyprecious at 8:08 AM on February 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Err, does he realize we can see the reflection in his glasses, and there's nobody there but the camera crew?

ENHANCE!
posted by luvcraft at 8:08 AM on February 22, 2011 [5 favorites]


We're all writing along at home, right?
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 8:11 AM on February 22, 2011


Man, that guy needs a hug.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 8:12 AM on February 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


You know, Colonel, today might have been a good day to have gone with a speechwriter.

I realize that there's a language barrier here, but this makes Bush's ramblings seem pretty damn coherent.
posted by FunGus at 8:16 AM on February 22, 2011


gangs or rats? or gangs of rats?
posted by angrycat at 8:16 AM on February 22, 2011


Reading glasses, ACTIVATE!
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 8:20 AM on February 22, 2011


Dramatic glasses removal!
posted by scalefree at 8:20 AM on February 22, 2011


NEW GLASSES
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 8:20 AM on February 22, 2011


Oooh, the Green Book. Libya has no Constitution, it only has the Green Book. Written by You Know Who, of course.
posted by scalefree at 8:21 AM on February 22, 2011


it looks like he's reading from a Mead notebook
posted by angrycat at 8:23 AM on February 22, 2011


Between the lines I can actually make out, is he calling directly for civil war?
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 8:23 AM on February 22, 2011


I think he's filibustering.
posted by BeerFilter at 8:23 AM on February 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Anyone who. . . .
Punishable by death.
posted by Mister Bijou at 8:25 AM on February 22, 2011


*insert David Caruso one-liner*
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 8:26 AM on February 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


One of those renegade fighter pilots should drop their charges on his house, then fly to Malta, yes?
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 8:26 AM on February 22, 2011


That's a paddlin'.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 8:27 AM on February 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yeltsin... Al-Zarqawi... America.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 8:28 AM on February 22, 2011


Yeltsin, Tianemmen, Koresh, Fallujah. He's all over the place.
posted by scalefree at 8:28 AM on February 22, 2011


goodnewsfortheinsane: Between the lines I can actually make out, is he calling directly for civil war?

This is Gaddafi's call to arms to his supporters, yes. I hope he doesn't have any, and frankly, I can't really imagine that anyone watching this speech will be convinced to go fight for this massmurdering fuckhead.
posted by Kattullus at 8:28 AM on February 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Worst. Poetry slam. Ever.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 8:29 AM on February 22, 2011 [14 favorites]


Buddy Holly, Doris Day, Red China
posted by The White Hat at 8:29 AM on February 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Shit My Dad Says, Libya Edition
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 8:29 AM on February 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


The Ogre does what ogres can,
Deeds quite impossible for Man,
But one prize is beyond his reach,
The Ogre cannot master Speech:

About a subjugated plain,
Among its desperate and slain,
The Ogre stalks with hands on hips,
While drivel gushes from his lips.

W. H. Auden, August 1968
posted by Anything at 8:30 AM on February 22, 2011 [22 favorites]


"The rats who have taken the tablets" - he's referring to Apple fanboys here, right?
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 8:30 AM on February 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Warren Ellis:
Gadaffi's speech seems to boil down to "Everyone is on drugs except me. Also I am Batman."
posted by The Whelk at 8:30 AM on February 22, 2011 [15 favorites]


I can't really imagine that anyone watching this speech will be convinced to go fight for this massmurdering fuckhead.

I don't know his current level of support, actually, but I imagine cash and threats could buy a small army of some sort (not necessarily made up of only Libyans).
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 8:32 AM on February 22, 2011


"British warship, HMS Cumberland, is heading to international waters near Libyan waters, in case it is needed to evacuate any of the 3,000 British nationals in Libya" -- FM Hague via Guardian
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 8:32 AM on February 22, 2011


he makes Hosni Mubarak look dignified
posted by angrycat at 8:32 AM on February 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Interpreter's sad little sighs now turning into annoyed gasps.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 8:33 AM on February 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Does anyone remember his speech at the General Assembly? I vaguely recall a translator just gave up and walked out.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 8:34 AM on February 22, 2011


I feel so sorry for this translator. Worst job ever.
posted by threeturtles at 8:34 AM on February 22, 2011


For a second, I thought the interpreter just gave up and left.
posted by dirigibleman at 8:35 AM on February 22, 2011


We're seeing an exponential rise in Crazy Dictator Speeches. First Mubarak was the gold crazy standard, now it's Gadaffi, and by the end of the month someone screaming DEATH TO ALL BUNNY RABBITS while wearing a paper bag bedazzled with 'I AM THE UNDYING SUN" and lisa frank stickers during the siege of a presidential palace will be not notable enough to report.
posted by The Whelk at 8:35 AM on February 22, 2011 [25 favorites]


I admire Arabic-English interpreters for their knowledge of the various dialects of both languages, but AJE may have been better off just training a dedicated Gadaffi-English translator for this specific purpose. (The mind boggles at the number of dialects of Gaddafi.)
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 8:36 AM on February 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


goodnewsfortheinsane: Does anyone remember his speech at the General Assembly? I vaguely recall a translator just gave up and walked out.

They had to change interpretors mid-speech as the first one was too worn out to continue.
posted by Kattullus at 8:38 AM on February 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


The mind boggles at the number of dialects of Gaddafi.

Crazy, Super Crazy, Duper Amazing Crazy, Peak Crazy, Gun And Cake Crazy, Tom Cruise Crazy, I mean the list goes on.
posted by The Whelk at 8:38 AM on February 22, 2011


/sympathy for the translator: I once told a group of female Mexican gardeners that I would love to plant their vulvas...rather than their bulbs.

Poor translation can be funny. Apparently, this is universal.
posted by zerobyproxy at 8:38 AM on February 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Satan is downstairs listening and thinking, "Man, I am so not looking forward to having him here"
posted by angrycat at 8:39 AM on February 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


They had to change interpretors mid-speech as the first one was too worn out to continue.

Right, that was it. (I also heard you can't recycle those interpreters, you use them once and then they go straight into retirement.)
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 8:41 AM on February 22, 2011


Branch Davidian shout-out!
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 8:42 AM on February 22, 2011


Now he's just repeating himself.
posted by scalefree at 8:43 AM on February 22, 2011


Ok, I'm pretty sure he has a diagnosable mental illness. Or severe dementia. Seriously...

Davidian cults in Waco? Disorganization of thought much?
posted by threeturtles at 8:43 AM on February 22, 2011


"This is not a joke" "Don't let them tease you" I'm sensing a theme here.
posted by scalefree at 8:44 AM on February 22, 2011


Waco was connected to Branch Davidians, wasn't it?
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 8:44 AM on February 22, 2011


I think he's trying to justify the use of government force. "See? The Americans used force, why can't we?"
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 8:44 AM on February 22, 2011


The translator is barely keeping up with the sheer volume of Crazy.
posted by The Whelk at 8:44 AM on February 22, 2011


Waiting for him to drift out the left side of the frame and just keep talking
posted by theodolite at 8:45 AM on February 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


"It's not a joke we gotta do whatever it takes!" (did I hear that right?)

Now get off my yard you fucking bastards!
posted by I love you more when I eat paint chips at 8:46 AM on February 22, 2011


In seriousness, Mubarak at least seemed to cling to power, or else weasel his way back into it. Gadaffi is just saying, if you're not with me you can drop dead. Much more dangerous, it would seem. Much depends then on the size and determination of the opposition. Do we have a clear view on that? It's much more difficult to determine as an outsider compared to Egypt, when we at least had video from Tahrir most of the time.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 8:46 AM on February 22, 2011


I think he's saying that the evil US used an armed response at Waco and the Chinese used an armed response at Tienanmen square so it'll be cool if I kill a few of my own people. Please see the death penalty section of my green book for further information.
posted by cmfletcher at 8:46 AM on February 22, 2011 [6 favorites]


He's definitely justifying the use of massive force against the protesters.
posted by scalefree at 8:47 AM on February 22, 2011


Did he just say no one "decent" has joined the revolution? I? What?
posted by The Whelk at 8:47 AM on February 22, 2011


Ugh. This is starting to look like Phnom Penh.

CNN reporting Lybian diplomats saying conflicting things at the UN. Great.
posted by vrakatar at 8:47 AM on February 22, 2011


TRANSLATOR CHANGE
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 8:47 AM on February 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Oh man the translator had to tap out.
posted by The Whelk at 8:47 AM on February 22, 2011


New translator!
posted by monju_bosatsu at 8:47 AM on February 22, 2011


translator #1 down!
posted by cmfletcher at 8:47 AM on February 22, 2011


New translator! Tag, you're it.
posted by scalefree at 8:47 AM on February 22, 2011


This one is easier to understand so far, thank Thor.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 8:47 AM on February 22, 2011


This translator is a lot better.
posted by amuseDetachment at 8:48 AM on February 22, 2011


Elsewhere, there appears to have been disagreement at the UN as to who represents Libya -- both Dabashi & Shalgham claim the right. The US, Britain & France want a formal statement from the UNSC, while Russia & China don't.

The Guardian liveblog describes it as "events have descended into farce"

Groan.
posted by aramaic at 8:48 AM on February 22, 2011


JUST LET ME TALK TO THEM! I'll get this idea out of their silly little heads! They've just been confused by foreign media.

Also Germans!
posted by The Whelk at 8:48 AM on February 22, 2011


The Whelk: "Oh man the translator had to tap out"

Is it likely that they will kill the other translator? :(
posted by bleary at 8:48 AM on February 22, 2011


Obama to speak soon, but not about Libya -- Dutch US correspondent
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 8:49 AM on February 22, 2011


An hour in, according to AJE.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 8:49 AM on February 22, 2011


This translator is a lot better.

Well, Gaddafi has slowed up a bit. For the time being, that is. . .
posted by Mister Bijou at 8:49 AM on February 22, 2011


Oh AJE is just talking over him now "In case you've missed it, crazy guy is still talking, yeah we'll get back to that"
posted by The Whelk at 8:49 AM on February 22, 2011


Is it likely that they will kill the other translator? :(


Pretty sure he's an AJE translator.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 8:50 AM on February 22, 2011


Is it likely that they will kill the other translator? :(

I would imagine he's not in Libya. Probably just headed for retirement in Qatar.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 8:50 AM on February 22, 2011


amuseDetachment: This translator is a lot better.

The first one started well too... the current interpreter is starting to falter a bit. Doing live, simultaneous translation is incredibly hard on the brain.
posted by Kattullus at 8:51 AM on February 22, 2011


You can hear the Arabic audio spilling from the translator's headphones, it arrives earlier than the audio-with-video.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 8:51 AM on February 22, 2011


Yes this is obviously an AJE translator. I highly doubt Lybian State TV wouldn't broadcast with secondary audio (other lanugage feeds).
posted by amuseDetachment at 8:51 AM on February 22, 2011


Any radio covering the translation? I gotta go back to work but the Col. could go on for hours.....
posted by vrakatar at 8:52 AM on February 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also it's live simultaneous translation of hard to follow free-floating fast paced craziness
posted by The Whelk at 8:52 AM on February 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Doing live, simultaneous translation is incredibly hard on the brain.

I'm sure the content of the speech doesn't help.
posted by amuseDetachment at 8:52 AM on February 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh crap for a second there it looked like he was about to have a heart attack.
posted by The Whelk at 8:53 AM on February 22, 2011


Doing live, simultaneous translation is incredibly hard on the brain.

Off-topic: I work at a film festival in Amsterdam a few days each year. They used to have live interpretation between English and French there, and I noticed one of the most common mistakes the (otherwise genius) translators made was they flipped the language names, that is when a speaker said "I will be answering questions in English" in French they would translate it to "I will be answering questions in French" in English. I still wonder what causes that.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 8:54 AM on February 22, 2011


The demonstrators are supporting us? Wow.
posted by threeturtles at 8:54 AM on February 22, 2011


I keep waiting for someone to stride forward from off camera and just shoot him. He's really melting down now.
posted by vrakatar at 8:55 AM on February 22, 2011


I think he refuses to stop talking until he beats Castro's record... in tenure.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 8:55 AM on February 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Drunk children?
posted by vrakatar at 8:56 AM on February 22, 2011


I'm seriously beginning to think that he's just going to keep going until somebody shows up to kill him
posted by theodolite at 8:56 AM on February 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


I still hope he ends with "Peace out" and just drops the mic.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 8:56 AM on February 22, 2011 [5 favorites]


The protesters are now drug addicts. Good to know.
posted by wierdo at 8:56 AM on February 22, 2011


"stop taking those drugs you're taking, because they're bad for your heart!"
posted by luvcraft at 8:56 AM on February 22, 2011


"finally"
posted by The Whelk at 8:57 AM on February 22, 2011


*applause*
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 8:57 AM on February 22, 2011


Oh it's pot calling the kettle unhinged.
posted by The Whelk at 8:57 AM on February 22, 2011


Oh, just give the poem as a handout, I'll read it on the train, I promise.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 8:57 AM on February 22, 2011


Poetry? Fuck.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 8:57 AM on February 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh shit, he refueled.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 8:58 AM on February 22, 2011


I can't let the country fall into the hands of crazy people. LOL. Too LATE.
posted by threeturtles at 8:58 AM on February 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


How about a nice refreshing drink of crazy juice Colonel
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 8:58 AM on February 22, 2011


Poetry? Fuck.

Oh god, I'd shoot him over this alone.

As mentioned upthread, what are the odds of just dropping dead on camera mid-rant?
posted by The Whelk at 8:59 AM on February 22, 2011


Crazy people from the banana?
posted by dirigibleman at 8:59 AM on February 22, 2011


BEARDS?! IMPOSSIBLE!
posted by The Whelk at 9:00 AM on February 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


[i]Poetry? Fuck.[/i]

He's learned something from the Vogons.
posted by stevis23 at 9:00 AM on February 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


I agree with the Guardian liveblog, it sounds like he's already responding to the media coverage of the first part of the speech. At least we know it's actually live.
posted by Kattullus at 9:01 AM on February 22, 2011


AJE is just damn sick of listening to him. Let's sum up.
posted by threeturtles at 9:01 AM on February 22, 2011


Oh man, went to a meeting, came back and he's still going on.

"I don't understand, can the ships in FireFly go faster than light? This does not make sense to me. If history tells us anything it is that to get to other planets faster than light travel is a necessity. Why did Fox cancel FireFly? Will they bring it back? Young people, how is it possible for you not to like FireFly? Is it Nathan Fillion? These are my people, they are shouting, "Bring back FireFly!" How can you like Castle? It is not even that good, my people, it is not that good. What was with The Office last week? The American colonialists, this does not make sense. If he was making a movie for the last 7 years why are we just finding out about it? The American writers are on drugs, they do not even try anymore."
posted by geoff. at 9:01 AM on February 22, 2011 [5 favorites]


Oh great, now I'm never going to find out how it ends.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 9:01 AM on February 22, 2011


AJE gave up.
posted by amuseDetachment at 9:02 AM on February 22, 2011



I agree with the Guardian liveblog, it sounds like he's already responding to the media coverage of the first part of the speech. At least we know it's actually live.


The speech is eating itself
posted by The Whelk at 9:02 AM on February 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Al Jazeera anchor: "Substantive might not be the right word." :D
posted by dirigibleman at 9:03 AM on February 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


"It's impossible for the youth to follow anyone else. If not Gaddafi, who else would they follow? Somebody with a beard?"

He's called Jesus, you Philistine.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 9:03 AM on February 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Al Jazeera anchor: "He promised that everyone would have their own municipality within the Libyan political context. It's probably not as signficant as he is hoping." Oh the sweet burn of understatement.
posted by Kattullus at 9:04 AM on February 22, 2011


"Military convoy now heading westwards from Tripoli. [...] Many military helicopters heading west over Hay al-Andalus." -Quilliam Foundation
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 9:05 AM on February 22, 2011


The speech is eating itself

Heh, I'm imagining the end [SPOILER ALERT] of Hundred Years of Solitude.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 9:06 AM on February 22, 2011


This makes me wonder what's happening on the streets while everyone else is watching his little song-and-dance on television.
posted by jackflaps at 9:06 AM on February 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


PEACE OUT
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 9:06 AM on February 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Speech over. Thank Jebus.
posted by Kattullus at 9:06 AM on February 22, 2011


Oh he's done! With shouting!
posted by The Whelk at 9:06 AM on February 22, 2011


That was anti-climatic
posted by The Whelk at 9:07 AM on February 22, 2011


Transcript of the speech
posted by cmfletcher at 9:07 AM on February 22, 2011 [16 favorites]


GOLFCART
posted by amuseDetachment at 9:07 AM on February 22, 2011


I feel like Libya just got rickrolled.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 9:08 AM on February 22, 2011 [5 favorites]


FACT LINE 1
FACT LINE 2
posted by BeerFilter at 9:08 AM on February 22, 2011


He was "yelling at Qatar" at the end, according to the Twitters.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 9:08 AM on February 22, 2011


Al Jazeera anchor: "He ends his speech with what he probably thinks is a rousing call to arms to his supporters. He is not greeted by the kind of crows that usually cheer one of his speeches." Keep burning, man whose name I don't know, keep laying down that righteous burn.
posted by Kattullus at 9:08 AM on February 22, 2011


So both son and father are incoherent (and probably quite manipulatable) thinkers. Who actually runs the place, then?
posted by jaduncan at 9:10 AM on February 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


"we've just watched a lunatic rant for over an over...This regime is done."
posted by The Whelk at 9:10 AM on February 22, 2011


"Die Lösung" (The Solution):
After the uprising of the 17th of June
The Secretary of the Writers Union
Had leaflets distributed in the Stalinallee
Stating that the people
Had thrown away the confidence of the government
And could win it back only
By redoubled efforts. Would it not be easier
In that case for the government
To dissolve the people
And elect another
Bertolt Brecht
posted by Mister Bijou at 9:10 AM on February 22, 2011 [12 favorites]


aw, green book got no respect
posted by angrycat at 9:16 AM on February 22, 2011


Based on a sample size of two, it looks like the crazy is the norm for these gun thugs.
posted by warbaby at 9:19 AM on February 22, 2011


I like how the US has normalized relations with a guy that still has a statue of a giant fist crushing an American fighter jet.
posted by dirigibleman at 9:19 AM on February 22, 2011 [7 favorites]


I'm really hoping that the military officers have watched the speech and it sinks in that this is the man issuing orders to fire on their countrymen.
posted by cmfletcher at 9:22 AM on February 22, 2011


Thanks, Mister Bijou, since the start of the Libya protests that quote had been wandering my head, but I couldn't quite locate where it came from. Gaddafi seems to be taking the "dissolve the people" idea a bit too literally, though...
posted by Skeptic at 9:22 AM on February 22, 2011


I wish AJE would take a sec to tell us what those signs in arabic on state tv say. Obviously there are pics of Gadafi being held up, signaling it's pro-Ghadafy, but it could be footage from an event in the past.
posted by BeerFilter at 9:37 AM on February 22, 2011


Well, BeerFilter, from what I could make out they said: "Careful now!" and "Down with this sort of thing!"
posted by Kattullus at 9:42 AM on February 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


Lead story on the Tripoli Post, 22 Feb 11, 17:48 GMT: Mubarak gives up Egyptian presidency. Second headline: Libyan National Youth Council distributes 150,000 laptops to members. Nothing to see here, move along.
posted by Quietgal at 9:54 AM on February 22, 2011


My husband pointed out to me this morning a most important fact: Qaddafi is the last of the Naked Gun dictators.
posted by Asparagirl at 10:11 AM on February 22, 2011 [6 favorites]


My husband pointed out to me this morning a most important fact: Qaddafi is the last of the Naked Gun dictators.

I do believe I spot Castro in there, right at the beginning.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 10:27 AM on February 22, 2011


Fidel Castro has stepped down due to his old age. His brother Raúl is now President. It's a technicality, but I think Asparagirl's husband can still claim to be right.
posted by Kattullus at 10:29 AM on February 22, 2011


I feel like vomiting. What convinces any military group to fire on unarmed civilians? Where can you hire/air lift in mercenaries willing to do so?

Mercenaries? The US, for starters. Blackwater/Xe are notorious for gunning down civilians for lulz, never mind for money; this is part of the controversy over the detained "diplomat in Pakistan"; he's been a Xe mercenary, and just as in Iraq, they're reviled for attacking civilians for their own entertainment[1].

And Africa is stuffed with mercenaries and private armies, some local, some foreign.

Nor are millitaries exactly immune from civilian massacres. Mai Lai, Yugoslavia, Katyn, and so on.

[1] I know a "security guard" who worked in Iraq for a while who commented that the Blackwater mercs were "loose units" and "nutters", in his words. When other mercs think you're a dangerous nutbag, well...
posted by rodgerd at 10:44 AM on February 22, 2011 [5 favorites]


Via the Guardian -- a very cool visualization-thingie which, when you mouse over the topic bubbles, pops up recent related posts/comments aggregated by Appinions.
posted by Kat Allison at 10:53 AM on February 22, 2011


numerous reports coming trough the BBC that they are using snipers in Tripoli to keep people from massing together.
posted by edgeways at 11:27 AM on February 22, 2011


According to BBC News the Interior Minister just defected to the people's side.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 12:06 PM on February 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also from BBC News: the commander of an air force base in the east of Libya has destroyed his own base (? presumably this means "damaged the runway") to prevent Gaddaffi sending in reinforcements.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 12:08 PM on February 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


AJE: "Nicaragua's president, Daniel Ortega, says he has telephoned Muammar Gaddafi to express his solidarity with the embattled leader"
posted by klausness at 12:14 PM on February 22, 2011


Jesus, Ortega, what rock did he crawl out from under
posted by angrycat at 12:41 PM on February 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


gangs or rats? or gangs of rats

Wait, when did Kadaffi become a coke-fueled Bowie character from the mid-70s?

yes, i realize that's redundant
posted by scody at 12:43 PM on February 22, 2011


AJE - Libya's defected interior minister urged the Libyan army to join the people and respond to their "legitimate demands" echoing the language used by defecting Egyptian military leaders before the fall of president Hosni Mubarak.
posted by CunningLinguist at 12:44 PM on February 22, 2011


Ortega, a child rapist, supports Gadhafi, a mass murderer.
You know, Reagan's instincts weren't always wrong...
posted by Skeptic at 12:51 PM on February 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Guardian is saying that Saif Gaddafi is expected to hold a press conference in Tripoli. More Grade A crazy on the way.
posted by Reggie Knoble at 12:57 PM on February 22, 2011


8.40pm Libya's UN ambassador tells reporters:

I spoke to him [Gaddafi]. I told him: "Muammar, we are getting old, let's give our children a chance." He said: "We give our children plenty of chances." I told him: My children are not with us, they want change." He said: "My children want change, too."
posted by empath at 12:59 PM on February 22, 2011


mass defections= more support for oppostion
low key yet stern responses from gov'ts= more pressure.
people arming themselves=given=more pressure.
more reliable information on crimes by the minute=that extra special pressure.
keep up the pressure.
{72-240 hours/48 hours callout for "outta there"}
He is all guns and thugs and those he can threaten now.

He has been in power since i was 2 years old.
posted by clavdivs at 1:10 PM on February 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think we can count on one thing: Qaddafi isn't getting out of this one alive.
posted by dunkadunc at 1:19 PM on February 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Is it clear what elements of the military are loyal to Qaddafi? If he's using mercenaries because he can't depend on his own forces to slaughter the populace, why would they stand by and allow mercenaries to do so? This is puzzling to me.
posted by taz at 1:31 PM on February 22, 2011


I think we can count on one thing: Qaddafi isn't getting out of this one alive.

I'm guessing he'll be dead before the U.N. agrees on the wording of it's statement.
posted by cmfletcher at 1:34 PM on February 22, 2011 [5 favorites]


Ortega, a child rapist, supports Gadhafi, a mass murderer.
You know, Reagan's instincts weren't always wrong...
Because Pinoche was such a great guy?
posted by delmoi at 1:46 PM on February 22, 2011


I said that they weren't always wrong, delmoi.
posted by Skeptic at 1:47 PM on February 22, 2011


Oh, I read on reddit that the building he was giving his speech from is a museum, it was damaged decades ago by a US bombing run, thus the statue.

Anyway, is there a video of this speech anywhere? or an actual transcript?
posted by delmoi at 1:56 PM on February 22, 2011


What a year, so far. Jesus.

I'd like to chime in with two bits of schmoopy:

I realized in the course of showing someone this thread that I don't read the news for stuff like this anymore, I just keep the thread(s) open here.

The "new comments" thing so totally rocks on an iPhone that it's tough to accurately characterize it.

As you were.
posted by nevercalm at 1:58 PM on February 22, 2011 [8 favorites]


Interesting bit of trivia from Sultan Al Qassemi's twitter feed: "Resigned Libyan Ambassador to Arab League to Al Hayat (via Al Arabiya) Abdel Moneim al-Honi: Mousa Al Sadr was burried in Sabha in the south." He follows that post with a link to Sadr's Wikipedia page.

Someone said it before, but I'm starting to realize it more fully now. The entire world hates Gaddafi. He has been an evil bastard to every nation, including his own. Who knows what atrocities will be revealed/divulged once he is finally removed from power.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 2:02 PM on February 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Gadhafi vows to fight on, die a martyr
posted by Burhanistan at 2:02 PM on February 22, 2011


A martyr to exactly whom? Once the jackass kicks the bucket he'll be forgotten outside of Libya in a decade or less. Inside of Libya I suspect people will spit when they mention his name.
posted by edgeways at 2:16 PM on February 22, 2011


Sounds like the green book is getting a new appendix.
posted by cmfletcher at 2:23 PM on February 22, 2011


"A martyr to exactly whom? Once the jackass kicks the bucket he'll be forgotten outside of Libya in a decade or less. Inside of Libya I suspect people will spit when they mention his name."

Forgotten? Tell that to people who were on PanAm Flight 103.
posted by jaduncan at 2:23 PM on February 22, 2011


Well, people who knew people who were on it, I guess.
posted by jaduncan at 2:23 PM on February 22, 2011


Or the Berlin Disco
posted by stonepharisee at 2:26 PM on February 22, 2011


Is this Irony or Absurdity?: Saif al-Islam Al Qadhafi's Disseration
posted by homunculus at 2:27 PM on February 22, 2011


Or UTA 772.
posted by Skeptic at 2:28 PM on February 22, 2011


we did kill one of his kids during the 80s, right?
not justifying anything, just -- maybe we helped push him over the bend
posted by angrycat at 2:31 PM on February 22, 2011


Or Pan Am 73
posted by mattbucher at 2:33 PM on February 22, 2011


Is this Irony or Absurdity?: Saif al-Islam Al Qadhafi's Disseration

It is extremely common for rich students not to write their own work.
posted by jaduncan at 2:35 PM on February 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Ironsurdity.
posted by vibrotronica at 2:38 PM on February 22, 2011


> A martyr to exactly whom?

Presumably, he's referring to being a martyr in Islam. I doubt that any Islamic scholar from any side of the spectrum (Wahhabi, Sufi, Shia, or otherwise) would countenance that sentiment. Maybe one on Qaddafi's payroll.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:42 PM on February 22, 2011


I had to put myself on a news fast today (I got almost nothing productive done yesterday) but the one little indulgence I'm still allowing myself is checking this thread for new comments. So ditto on what nevercalm said, and thank you all for being awesome.
posted by Jacqueline at 2:47 PM on February 22, 2011


It is extremely common for rich students not to write their own work.

Is it also common for the people who write the work for rich students not to write their own work too?
posted by scalefree at 2:49 PM on February 22, 2011


Is it also common for the people who write the work for rich students not to write their own work too?

So much so that companies who sell essays now have the same anti-plagarism software that universities have.
posted by jaduncan at 2:51 PM on February 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


It is, in short, plagarists all the way down.
posted by jaduncan at 2:52 PM on February 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


May sound tin-foil, but I think he was whacked outta his skull on xanax and liquid MDMA during his 'rant in the ruins'

maybe we helped push him over the bend

yeah and he took 20 plus years to get revenge by killing his own people. What about the hit squads he sent out to kill dissidents back "in the day".
posted by clavdivs at 3:04 PM on February 22, 2011


I'm just musing on his wackiness. Aside from the horror of the situation, I am fascinated by his bat-shit insane qualities. That we killed his kid (shrug) couldn't have helped his overall sanity index.
posted by angrycat at 3:23 PM on February 22, 2011


Tin foil? I don't think so. I would guess truly evil, certifiably insane and completely wasted, in more or less equal measure.
posted by Morrigan at 3:29 PM on February 22, 2011


A frightening claim from AJE's liveblog:

Libya's deputy UN ambassador says that Gaddafi's speech was code for his forces to start genocide against the Libyan people

And somewhat more amusingly:

Al Jazeera's Rawya Rageh says that all speakers in Libya's state TV press conference keep repeating that "assailants" and arrested men "are on hallucination pills".
posted by klausness at 3:58 PM on February 22, 2011


Robert Fisk has some harsh things to say.
posted by warbaby at 4:08 PM on February 22, 2011


holy crap, from warbaby's link:

Only a few days ago, as Colonel Muammar Gaddafi faced the wrath of his own people, he met with an old Arab acquaintance and spent 20 minutes out of four hours asking him if he knew of a good surgeon to lift his face
posted by angrycat at 4:49 PM on February 22, 2011


Three things to remember about Muammar Qaddafi:

1) Is crazy as a bedbug
2) Was born in a tent to Bedouin nomads
3) Took over an entire country when he was 27 years old.

It's a helluva a resume, and a handy reminder that he doesn't play by the same rules as other world leaders.
posted by Diablevert at 5:05 PM on February 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


I'm just musing on his wackiness. Aside from the horror of the situation, I am fascinated by his bat-shit insane qualities.

The man has parades of soldiers praising him and pictures of him everywhere, so his ego is bound to have had odd things happen to it. He was super-charismatic at the start, led a revolution and won. He seems rather less bright than Ceasar; I doubt he had the sense to have someone around to whisper that he is still mortal.
posted by jaduncan at 5:06 PM on February 22, 2011


"We don't have any political structures [in Africa], our structures are social. Our parties are tribal parties - that is what has led to bloodshed,” he said. Gaddafi therefore proposed to replicate the dictatorial model used in Libya for the rest of Africa."


The man is loony but smart. A member of the clav clan saw him speak in 2000, Togo if I recall. The guy has an ego the size of a tank. He ignored questions and fumbled with his robes then promised to build a car company. I think he arrived in Togo in a 200-300 vehicle caravan and took over a whole hotel and had his picture put up everywhere in the building.
posted by clavdivs at 5:22 PM on February 22, 2011


He seems rather less bright than Ceasar; I doubt he had the sense to have someone around to whisper that he is still mortal.

Juba would have been a better analogy. And the "Respice te, hominem te memento" only took place during triumph and the laurel was held by a slave.
posted by clavdivs at 5:29 PM on February 22, 2011


Geoffrey Robertson: This evil despot must be brought to justice
Gaddafi's bloody record of terrorism, torture and mass murder deserves punishment many times over
Also, this blogger has collected many stills from Al-Jazeera showing government attacks against Libyans.
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:39 PM on February 22, 2011


Geoffrey Robertson: This evil despot must be brought to justice.

Mmmm. But is Libya small enough and powerless enough for that to occur, in the manner in which he suggests it might? Perhaps, I suppose. I mean, nobody likes the bastard, which helps.
posted by Diablevert at 5:54 PM on February 22, 2011


We still have next to no idea about the makeup of the opposition. Generically there's "the tribes", "the military" & "city councils". But who are the personalities, what are the factions, how are they aligned? We don't even know the axes of their alignment.
posted by scalefree at 6:09 PM on February 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


"This evil despot must be brought to justice"

Not at the expense of prolonging his rule and his violence against the Libyan people.

The best thing that could happen right now would be for him to receive a very attractive, relatively air-tight asylum offer to abdicate, GTFO, and take his sons and top loyalists with him.
posted by Jacqueline at 6:13 PM on February 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Italy-Libya business connections (per earlier)

Its funny because Syria's oil contracts with Italy are almost the opposite of Egypt's and the US' relationship. Italy has no leverage with Syria, and in fact Qaddafi could really screw Italy and Europe. Oil prices have already skyrocketed.

I do agree with Jacqueline though, that probably the worst thing is for Qaddafi to feel cornered. Foreign Gov.'ts are having trouble getting their citizens out. Possible chemical weapons. The whole thing could really be a mess.
posted by rosswald at 6:29 PM on February 22, 2011



@andersoncooper: Did u see Gadhafi's bizzare speech? Is he on drugs? Fareed Zakaria weighs in. The latest from #Libya #ac360 10p
3 minutes ago via Twitter for BlackBerry®

a little ahead of you there AC.
posted by clavdivs at 6:31 PM on February 22, 2011


What really gets on my nuts, and is very symptomatic of Gaddafi, is the whole reason for this has become secondary. That being, the people. For the last 42 years it been about him, you would think that after all this time we would have learned not to feed his ego. People are dying, a culture is being torn apart and families are being destroyed, while all we can talk about is him being a babbling fuck wit killer. We as a society should be discussing his replacement and putting our support behind them if we dont want history to repeat itself.
posted by I love you more when I eat paint chips at 6:32 PM on February 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


As I said, nobody even knows who is in the opposition or what they want so how can we root for them? Libya is basically a black box situation, much more so than Egypt ever was.
posted by scalefree at 6:38 PM on February 22, 2011


"...nobody even knows who is in the opposition or what they want so how can we root for them?"

I estimate that there is a <5% probability that they would be WORSE than Gadhafi.
posted by Jacqueline at 6:42 PM on February 22, 2011


Here is a tip about mercs. You pump them up full of what ever they like or not and hand out cash, it speaks, even these tumbleheads have an NCO structure and the leaders want cash. So they fight and kill and want more cash until one comes to the potable problem of merc management. You can only carry so much cash without wanting to protect it rather then your job of terrorizing people. Your drugged up mercs are good for only small forays. Merc snipers do a nasty job at pinning people down and slowing movement. But relocating to a viable postion is difficult when many people come in your AO.

jolly good paint chips, toss us some links for the reconstruction team because the place is going to explode or qadaffi is going to dee-dee or get killed. I would suggest ways on getting the tribal leaders together for meeting and not hand out a pallet full of euros, how about that. Also, the oil wealth could be re-directed quickly to start job programs and more schools. Need to find the Colonels' hold out poke, how do we do that, start in switzerland?
posted by clavdivs at 6:52 PM on February 22, 2011


The thing about drugs in these situations is they wear off and they run out. Qadaffi is going to get to that point sooner rather than later.

Cold turkey in Lybia.
posted by Sailormom at 7:12 PM on February 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


We as a society should be discussing his replacement and putting our support behind them if we dont want history to repeat itself.

I'm no expert on Libya. But it seems to me that such a statement presumes that there is such a person. Whereas the big, fearful problem is that there may not be. In which case it would seem our options would be to try and impose one, to pick a horse and back him and hope that our backing is enough to enable him to win power, or to wait and see who comes out on top and go from there. Option A has gone right out of fashion since the end of imperialism, and options b and c each have a fairly high risk of endorsing someone who's had to climb a mountain of corpses in order to become king of the hill. Maybe in my ignorance I am unaware of the existence if the Libyan Mandela or Ang Suung Sui Kye or even the Libyan V. I. Lenin. If anyone can name such a person I would be very much interested to learn more.
posted by Diablevert at 7:43 PM on February 22, 2011


Amazing, amazing, amazing interview on Anderson Cooper just a few minutes ago with a man from Benghazi named Moftah, who insisted that CNN use his name and show his face because, he said, "after 42 years I am no longer afraid."
It's been great for us Libyans, you know, for the first time to taste freedom. I'm elated, I see people smiling in the streets. I see people committed to their country for the first time.... The bad news of course is the massacres committed against our fellow countrymen in Tripoli.... [Qaddafi] wants to commit suicide and will take as many people with him as possible.... If you watch the speech, he's the one hallucinating!

...We are not afraid. We broke the fear barrier. We are not afraid of him anymore. The best example is that I'm showing my face.... After 42 years of fear and humiliation you just lose respect for yourself. This time, for the first time, I'm proud to be a Libyan. People are proud to be Libyan. He tried to pit people against each other by tribes... but today, in Benghazi, if you ask someone his name, he says "I'm Abdullah the Libyan" or "I'm Muhammad the Libyan" -- they don't mention their tribes. They want to say to this animal that we don't fear you anymore, we are united. I am not afraid! There's nothing he can do to me. I am a free man now. At last, I am a free man.
posted by scody at 7:54 PM on February 22, 2011 [42 favorites]


Diablevert - I think you're right about the hopes for regime change; they assume that there an alternative regime exists. In the case of Libya it's not even clear that the country's demographics are suited to a single nation. But doing nothing is not an option; the people have spoken; and in any case, the dictators are mostly elderly and will not be around forever. I suspect that a military junta may be Libya's best hope ... which is how we got into this mess in the first place.
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:55 PM on February 22, 2011


Here's a link to the compelling video scody described, since when I clicked on the video link from CNN's main page, the first video showing was uncovering the hard-hitting truth behind whether Hugh Hefner and his fiance have Bieber Fever or not. *sigh*
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 9:46 PM on February 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


I suspect that a military junta may be Libya's best hope ... which is how we got into this mess in the first place.

Well, I was trying to find out more about the military pursuant to my earlier question, and apparently Qaddafi has spent a great deal of effort keeping the military hierarchy and organization off-balance and unaligned, so in the absence of a cohesive structure or strong figure, military factions will probably align tribally:
"Gaddafi has largely dismissed the older tribal military structures but they will probably not have huge problems finding weapons," said the LSE's Brahimi. "Defections from the military will be key to this."

. . .

"Although the larger ones like the Warfallis and the Megrahees were privileged with power and money, his recent actions angered these tribes and for the first time in decades tribal barriers have withered away. People are uniting with other formerly rival tribes or even different ethnicities like the Amazeegh or Berbers."
So an alliance of tribes is probably the best hope — though also, in the aftermath, the greatest danger in terms of civil war.
posted by taz at 11:20 PM on February 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


National Front for the Salvation of Libya
posted by clavdivs at 1:15 AM on February 23, 2011


Robert Baer in Time: Gaddafi's Next Move: Sabotage Oil and Sow Chaos?
posted by adamvasco at 1:22 AM on February 23, 2011


Benghazi activist: “we’re holding mercenaries” via euronews.
posted by adamvasco at 2:18 AM on February 23, 2011


We still have next to no idea about the makeup of the opposition. Generically there's "the tribes", "the military" & "city councils". But who are the personalities, what are the factions, how are they aligned? We don't even know the axes of their alignment.

We know they're Libyans.

Naive? I've had a lifetime of Realpolitik of meddling and of compromise and you know what, "we" don't really give a fuck about stability or what's best for the people or even freedom.

For the first time in 42 years it seems that "they" are free, from Gadaffi but also from us.

Naive? damn fucking right and it feels fucking glorious.
posted by fullerine at 3:31 AM on February 23, 2011 [5 favorites]


mercs firing in Tripoli
gov't forces seem to only hold small parts of the country
posted by angrycat at 3:33 AM on February 23, 2011


Guardian correspondent Martin Chulov is now tweeting from Benghazi.
posted by adamvasco at 3:58 AM on February 23, 2011


Guardian correspondent Martin Chulov is now tweeting from Benghazi.

As a semi-aside, what is the most recent tweet people can see from Chulov. If I go to http://twitter.com/martinchulov, the most recent one I can see is "Every town to benghazi a checkpoint. Reporters as rare as rain here. #libya" (9 hours ago), but I've seen more recent ones linked on Al Jazeera and being re-tweeted... such as this one (two hours ago).

This happening to anyone else? And any idea why?
posted by knapah at 5:00 AM on February 23, 2011


knapah, noticed some weirdness as well but a refresh or two showed me the most recent tweets.
posted by davey_darling at 5:12 AM on February 23, 2011


New York Times: WikiLeaks Cables Detail Qaddafi Family’s Exploits -- "From private militias to $1 million for a concert, antics fuel public anger."
posted by ericb at 6:11 AM on February 23, 2011


"we" don't really give a fuck about stability or what's best for the people or even freedom

We don't want freedom
We don't want justice
We just want someone to love

posted by Meatbomb at 6:15 AM on February 23, 2011


From the Guardian:
As the first foreign news organisation to report from the so-called Free Benghazi, the Guardian witnessed defecting troops pouring into the courtyard of a ransacked police station carrying tonnes of weaponry and ammunition looted from a military armoury to stop it being seized by forces loyal to the Libyan dictator.

Soldiers brought rockets and heavy weapons which had been used in an assault on citizens in central Benghazi on Saturday as Gaddafi tried to keep control of the city. Doctors in Benghazi said that at least 230 people were killed, with a further 30 critically injured.

There was also the clearest confirmation yet that Gaddafi's regime used outside mercenaries to try to suppress the rebellion. Adjoining the police station a large crowd gathered in another courtyard. Upstairs, the Guardian saw a number of mercenaries, allegedly flown in the previous week, being interrogated by lawyers and army officials.

An air force officer, Major Rajib Faytouni, said he personally witnessed up to 4,000 mercenaries arrive on Libyan transport planes over a period of three days starting from 14 February. He said: "That's why we turned against the government. That and the fact there was an order to use planes to attack the people."

Numerous witnesses in Benghazi have said that while artillery was used against citizens, air force planes did not fire on them here. They did, however, according to Faytouni, drop two bombs inside the Rajma military base to stop weapons falling into the hands of anti-government forces.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 7:05 AM on February 23, 2011 [5 favorites]


(from Guardian liveblog) 2.57pm: Libya's former justice minister, who resigned from Gaddafi's government following the crackdown on protesters, has told a Swedish tabloid newspaper that Gaddafi personally ordered the Lockerbie bombing, which killed 270 people in 1988. A reporter from Expressen interviewed Mustafa Abdel-Jalil in Libya. The newspaper's website quotes the former minister as saying: "I have proof that Gaddafi gave the order about Lockerbie."
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 7:07 AM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


two ideas

1) We offer Q. an island with everything he wants, including halucinatory drugs
2)We get boats to lie offshore, taunting him, until Q fires his weapons. Then boats get out of range, thus exhausting his ammunition.
posted by angrycat at 7:09 AM on February 23, 2011


For historical consistency, if anyone cares. Interesting to go back through the Metafilter archives and read the BULLSHIT people posted about the compassion of the UK government and the innocence of Megrahi when it was announced that the prisoner transfer deal was announced.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 7:17 AM on February 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Just got this message from an expat friend who lives in Tripoli:

"We escaped on Sunday, at the last minute. My brother and his family are stuck in Benghazi, they're waiting for the Turkish ships, but there's a lot of Turks...

The situation is horrible. In Benghazi it's total anarchy, everyone's armed, they've put up the flags of the monarchy. They're belligerent towards foreigners, forcing those in state-owned apartments out onto the street. My brother's staying with a friend in a private house and they're safe there."
posted by Dragonness at 7:21 AM on February 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


Oh, he says he's following www.libyafeb17.com, with audio reports and a live feed from Benghazi.
posted by Dragonness at 7:32 AM on February 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


"I have proof that Gaddafi gave the order about Lockerbie."

Wow, holy shit. If true.
posted by dammitjim at 7:44 AM on February 23, 2011


I'm reading reports on Twitter that a fighter jet crashed outside Benghazi when the pilot refused to fire on the city & bailed out.
posted by scalefree at 7:45 AM on February 23, 2011


The Guardian has been pointing out how significant it would be, should that really be the case, if Misrata and Zliten have fallen, as reports suggest. Here is The Guardian's Middle East editor Ian Black talking about the significance of Misrata. The liveblog goes on to point out that Zliten is even closer to Tripoli, only 70 miles away, in fact.
posted by Kattullus at 7:47 AM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


(Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates chose not to include the last line from that guardian liveblog posting at 2:57pm:
"No proof or evidence to support the claim is given in the article."
posted by Mister Bijou at 7:53 AM on February 23, 2011


I'm reading reports on Twitter that a fighter jet crashed outside Benghazi when the pilot refused to fire on the city & bailed out.

AJE is also reporting this. (There not giving a reason, though). There's another Libyan plane (from the national airline, not military) trying to land in Malta.
posted by nangar at 7:55 AM on February 23, 2011


Following the East-to-West advance of the insurgents is giving me WWII flashbacks...
posted by Skeptic at 7:56 AM on February 23, 2011


Busted!! (seemed obvious, no?)
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 7:56 AM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


"I have proof that Gaddafi gave the order about Lockerbie."

Keep in mind that he'd be highly motivated to lie about that right about now, so without that proof his claim has to be considered suspect. Just because it fits your preferred narrative doesn't make it true. Me, I'll wait to see the evidence.
posted by scalefree at 8:02 AM on February 23, 2011


Why would he be motivated to lie about that? Genuinely curious. As for preferred narrative, I tend to stick to Occam's Razor until shown otherwise.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 8:06 AM on February 23, 2011


a rumor, rumor mind you, that Qaddafi is threatening to blow up the oil lines (gas lines?)

he's motivated to lie because it's TERRORISM and now the West is interested.
posted by angrycat at 8:08 AM on February 23, 2011


ok
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 8:10 AM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


He's motivated to say anything that'd help the revolution. It could persuade Libyans to turn against him & gives foreign governments more ammunition against him at the same time. I'm not standing up for Gaddafi, just saying that wanting it to be true doesn't make it true by itself.
posted by scalefree at 8:12 AM on February 23, 2011


AJE now repeating the story that the pilot of the plane ditched outside Benghazi did so because he refused to attack the city.

AJE says the Maltese govt. refused to let the Libyan plane land. A source says Gaddafi's daughter was on the plane.
posted by nangar at 8:13 AM on February 23, 2011


It seems unlikely at this point that any outside military intervention will happen. That may be as well. The situation is evolving very quickly. My guess is we will be seeing internal military confrontations between insurgents and the crumbling regime soon. There is no centralized military command (part of the dictator's divide and rule strategy) and the recent importation of mercenaries will further erode central command as things devolve.

My guess is that within the next few days, it's going to break down into a chaotic bar-fight with no clear authority beyond local commanders.

Not a situation where peacekeepers would be able to operate. Once it is clear that Gaddafi is dead, fled or captured, things may calm down enough for international aid to play a role.

This has all the earmarks of a long 1789-style revolution that is chaotic and unpredictable, rather than a short and orderly transition like the Glorious Revolution that ended the Stuarts. Revolutions come in many flavors, and Libya looks to be a long time getting to peace and stability.

It seems a reasonable bet that we are going to see more insurrections in the region. This is not 1989 with the collapse of a single occupying power. The way things are going in Libya, democracy is not the likely outcome.
posted by warbaby at 8:17 AM on February 23, 2011


Occan's Razor? Here's another narrative:
The Lockerbie bombing was carried out not by Libyans at all but by terrorists based in Syria and hired by Iran to avenge the shooting down in the summer of 1988 of an Iranian civil airliner by a US warship. The US warship, you will remember, was the USS Vincennes; the Iranian civil airliner was Iran Air Flight 655, with 290 people (including 66 children) aboard, all died.
posted by Mister Bijou at 8:20 AM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


i wonder why we're not hearing more on the ground reports? AJ has folks in the Eastern part of Libya, right?
posted by angrycat at 8:27 AM on February 23, 2011


A source says Gaddafi's daughter was on the plane.

Just repeating speculation, of course. AJE's source probably doesn't doesn't know that. An unscheduled Afriqiya Airlines fight with 14 people on board tried to land in Malta, and the Maltese government didn't let them.
posted by nangar at 8:28 AM on February 23, 2011


The EU really should be leaning on Malta to give these jets/ships/planes asylum.
posted by CunningLinguist at 8:31 AM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


The EU really should be leaning on Malta to give these jets/ships/planes asylum.

Why?
posted by Mister Bijou at 8:36 AM on February 23, 2011


there's I guess almost a blockade of Malta, with Libya boats on one side and Italian on the other
posted by angrycat at 8:38 AM on February 23, 2011


In a rare moment of idealism (I'm usually all about the realpolitik) I think people fleeing bloodbaths, especially if they are defecting because they won't participate in said bloodbath, should be given a haven.
posted by CunningLinguist at 8:38 AM on February 23, 2011 [5 favorites]


yeah, but how about those belonging to Gaddafi's inner circle . . . do they deserve a safe haven? The rats abandoning the sinking ship? So they can continue to live on the money they banked in Dubai, London, Geneva, Hong Kong and New York?
posted by Mister Bijou at 8:44 AM on February 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


yeah, but how about those belonging to Gaddafi's inner circle . . . do they deserve a safe haven?

They deserve to be brought to justice and face the consequences of their actions. Which recommends a safe landing in Malta and a debriefing by the authorities convening there now. But, you know, death for all aboard no matter who they are is kind of a, like, cool thing to argue, too.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 8:53 AM on February 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


ShababLibya on Twitter: BREAKING: under ground prisons being discovered in Benghazi, political prisoners being found alive, not seen light of day for years #Libya

Since there is independent media now in Benghazi, would be nice to get some confirmation/footage of this.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 8:57 AM on February 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


International declarations that crimes will be investigated and prosecuted is one thing that would aid the current situation. If nothing else, it may cause more defections among those ordered to carry out massacres. Same with regime members fleeing the country - just so they understand they will be held for investigation.

Malta is probably attempting to avoid armed confrontation with El Crazy's air and naval forces. It's not like Malta is some super power.
posted by warbaby at 9:01 AM on February 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


I'd imagine Malta doesn't want too many refugees, especially not the regime's side, that's reasonable. I'm sure they'd permit refueling if the plane claimed fuel issues though.
posted by jeffburdges at 9:06 AM on February 23, 2011


Yeah, what warbay said.
posted by Mister Bijou at 9:07 AM on February 23, 2011


Malta is probably attempting to avoid armed confrontation with El Crazy's air and naval forces. It's not like Malta is some super power.

Which could be a convincing argument for stronger military coordination within the EU (which as a European I'm not sure I support on the whole, but this is an interesting test case).

Malta is not a member of NATO, but it is a Schengen and Eurozone member of the EU, so it can be argued that a threat to Malta's security is a threat to the security of the EU.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 9:07 AM on February 23, 2011


Im a little bit concerned about al jazeera's constant mentions of black Africans acting as mercenaries. That's the kind of talk that can end with mass murder.
posted by empath at 9:08 AM on February 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


5.06pm: The Maltese ministry of foreign affairs is denying Gaddafi's daughter was on board the Libyan plane that was turned away (see 4.51pm). - guardian

So who knows who was on the plane or why they were trying to get to Malta.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 9:08 AM on February 23, 2011


they just wanted to pick up some fine knights, crosses, and falcons.
posted by The Whelk at 9:09 AM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


The problems of the people on the plane don't amount to a hill of beans? (i know, i know - right actor, wrong movie)
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 9:10 AM on February 23, 2011


empath it's not just AJE : - Over the years, says Mr. Vircoulon, Libya has welcomed many foreign fighters from Chad, Mali, Niger, and elsewhere to naturalize, and Qaddafi has set up special units entirely composed of foreign fighters.
posted by adamvasco at 9:13 AM on February 23, 2011


Im a little bit concerned about al jazeera's constant mentions of black Africans acting as mercenaries. That's the kind of talk that can end with mass murder.

Yep, it has been bothering me too, especially since the prisoners who have been shown on TV as proof rather looked like some poor bastards caught in the crossfire. The last few years Gadhafi has been playing the pan-African card heavily, and I would not be surprised if this had caused some resentment among Libyans against black African immigrants.
posted by Skeptic at 9:13 AM on February 23, 2011


How would the Maltese Ministry of Foreign Affairs even know who was on the plane? I can't imagine Gaddafi's daughter would want it known.
posted by Dragonness at 9:14 AM on February 23, 2011


Dragonness: AJE was reporting that the pilot tried to land, the airport told them they couldn't, and as a last resort, the pilot said he needed to land the plane because he had Gaddafi's daughter on board. The airport said that they still could not land. Again, who knows who was on the plane, or why.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 9:16 AM on February 23, 2011


I see, thanks.
posted by Dragonness at 9:20 AM on February 23, 2011


AJE reports that Italian authorities are estimating that upwards of 300,000 Libyan refugees will end up in Italy.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:20 AM on February 23, 2011


BBC: Who is propping up Gaddafi?
posted by adamvasco at 9:28 AM on February 23, 2011 [7 favorites]


So, I was wondering what happened to the UN having some kind of meeting yesterday, so I looked. UN says Libya may need no-fly zone (May need?)

Split UN rights council may scupper Libya inquiry
The U.N. Human Rights Council will hold an urgent session on Libya this Friday at the request of Western and Latin American nations, who are pushing for an international investigation into the killings of protesters.

But with a majority of Asian and African nations -- backed by Russia, China and Cuba -- declining to support a draft resolution, diplomats said it was likely to be heavily watered down and perhaps not passed at all at the emergency meeting.
So apparently the UN can't even agree to release a statement condemning the slaughter of a country's people by its ruler. Fantastic.

Here is a site that lets you send a message to the UN requesting a no fly zone and freezing of Gaddafi's assets.
posted by threeturtles at 9:42 AM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Adanvasco, thanks.

That's chilling stuff. Incidentally, the author, Frank Gardner, knows his stuff. He was an investment banker in the Middle East prior to joining the BBC in 1995 and became the full-time Gulf-based BBC correspondent in 1998. It hasn't always been hummus and falafel:
"On 6 June 2004, while reporting from a suburb of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Gardner was shot six times and seriously injured in an attack by al-Qaeda sympathisers. His colleague Irish cameraman Simon Cumbers was shot dead. Of the bullets which hit Gardner in his torso (others passed through his shoulder and leg) most missed his major organs yet one hit his spinal nerves and he was left partly paralysed in the legs and dependent on a wheelchair for life. The Saudi Arabian government had forced Gardner to use official minders, who ran away once the firing started. The Saudi government promised compensation but in the end they never paid.
After 14 operations, 7 months in hospital and months of rehabilitation he returned to reporting for the BBC in mid-2005, using a wheelchair or a frame."
(wiki)
posted by Mister Bijou at 9:47 AM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Adamvasco
Time for bed. Nighty night!
posted by Mister Bijou at 9:48 AM on February 23, 2011


: ShababLibya on Twitter: BREAKING: under ground prisons being discovered in Benghazi, political prisoners being found alive, not seen light of day for years #Libya

More
.

Disconcerting: My brain parses "Gaddafi" as "Gandalf" EVERY TIME.
posted by zennie at 10:04 AM on February 23, 2011


Obama's going to finally make a Libya speech
posted by CunningLinguist at 10:10 AM on February 23, 2011


Nick Kristof, NYT: "Amazing: I hear by phone that Tajura, #Libya , less than 10 miles from Tripoli, has fallen. Rebel flag flying over it."
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 10:11 AM on February 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Bob Baer is pretty good at sources and was a good Operations officer. Releasing the political prisoners i had not heard which does indicate Col. Q is going to do a partial scorched earth hoping to create order from chaos. The army needs to make a quick push on were he is and put this to an end. And Malta has enough fire power to destroy the libyan airforce and navy in about 2 hours-4 hours.

How would the Maltese Ministry of Foreign Affairs even know who was on the plane?

air force intel could discern this in a variety of ways. Most popular is who owns the plane, andwhat squadron they belong. Communications intercepts.
posted by clavdivs at 10:12 AM on February 23, 2011


AJE reports that Italian authorities are estimating that upwards of 300,000 Libyan refugees will end up in Italy.

Claims that:
A very senior diplomatic source told me yesterday that Berlusconi is frantic lest Gadaffi falls and the channels are revealed by which Berlusconi gets a cut on the huge amounts of Libyan oil and gas lifted to Italy.[...]I have checked with other diplomatic sources, and they confirm that Italy is using the refugee warning to argue that Europe should back Gadaffi, and not impose sanctions.
So apparently the UN can't even agree to release a statement condemning the slaughter of a country's people by its ruler. Fantastic.

Now you know how the Palestinians felt last week.
posted by rodgerd at 10:17 AM on February 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


From the Guardian's liveblog:
6.32pm GMT: The reason for the uncertainty over the timing of Obama's televisied statement on Libya, as mentioned below, is that the White House is waiting for the ship sent to pick up US citizens to depart Tripoli and arrive in Malta.

According to the state department's notice issued yesterday:
A US Government chartered ferry will depart Tripoli from the As-shahab Port in central Tripoli, located on the sea road across from the Radisson Blu Mahari Hotel, for Valletta, Malta on Wednesday, February 23. Processing of passengers will begin promptly at 10am local time. US citizen travelers wishing to depart should proceed as soon as possible after 9am to the pier and arrive no later than 10am. US citizens will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis, with priority given to persons with medical emergencies or severe medical conditions. The ferry will depart no later than 3pm.
6.41pm GMT: Now the White House is saying that it expects Obama's statement to come after 2pm ET, so in about 20 minutes at the soonest.
posted by Kattullus at 10:51 AM on February 23, 2011


My mind is totally blown. What are we up to now, at least 5 Middle Eastern countries, and now there's an outside chance a European head of state? Truly, truly brilliant. The CIA must be working madly to find a way to ruin the whole thing.
posted by nevercalm at 10:56 AM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


A European head of state?
posted by knapah at 11:03 AM on February 23, 2011


Ah, I guess you mean Berlusconi if he has dodgy dealings with Gaddafi. That man can survive pretty much anything.
posted by knapah at 11:04 AM on February 23, 2011


Although he might sentence himself to death via bunga bunga.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 11:10 AM on February 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


I really hope this is the thing that pushes him over the edge, finally. I mean...the Italian stock exchange shut down because of this? A flood of Libyan immigrants? The potential of their energy stocks plummeting? Was he responsible for putting so many Italian eggs in such an incredibly shitty basket?
posted by nevercalm at 11:11 AM on February 23, 2011


Yeah, I'd imagine the underage prostitution required for bunga bunga would bring down Berlusconi long before his dealings with Gaddafi.
posted by jeffburdges at 11:16 AM on February 23, 2011


Well, if Mubarek, Qaddafi and Berlusconi are all toppled, the men's hair dye industry will surely suffer a dramatic dip on the stock market.
posted by taz at 11:24 AM on February 23, 2011 [11 favorites]


Qaddafi as cockroach. Cartoon by Steve Bell of the Guardian.
posted by Dragonness at 11:57 AM on February 23, 2011


Well, considering how unfazed Berlusconi usually appears to be about even the worst scandals, the way in which he's flipping out about Libya makes one think that Gaddafi may indeed have some incredibly dirty laundry about him.
And maybe not just him: the Gods' Gift to the Middle East, the Amazing Mister Blair, could also face some uncomfortable questions. The inside story on Saif el-Islam's LSE PhD alone is bound to be awfully entertaining.
posted by Skeptic at 12:24 PM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


> there are an estimated 500,000 African expatriates in Libya out of a total population of six million.

This reinforces my worry expressed by empath above. I don't think Al Jaz. is culpable here, as there is now lots of evidence for sub-saharan militia attacks on all and sundry. But the regime is toast, and the backlash will not discriminate. Half a million makes me worry.
posted by stonepharisee at 12:31 PM on February 23, 2011


isn't the dirt he has the delicious gasoline that is sold to Europe?

There was one story on AJ about a 'black African' (that feels not right to say) who couldn't go outside to get food and such because of her fears she'd be mistook for a merc.
posted by angrycat at 12:41 PM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


And in totally unrelated news, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has announced 15% pay rises for government employees! $10,700,000,000 in free loans for Saudis wanting to get married or start businesses! More fudge on the ice-cream mountains! (I made the last one up)
"The king is the only pillar of stability in the region now," read the editorial in the [Saudi] English-language daily Arab News. "He is the assurance of orderly progress... in the Arab world as a whole."
posted by Joe in Australia at 12:51 PM on February 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Are the Saudi's actually concerned about this? Prior to that link i would have said no.. but it does seem like a worried more to make.
posted by edgeways at 12:54 PM on February 23, 2011


The King has also announced the signing of the Sunshine, Lollipops, An Rainbows bill this week.
posted by The Whelk at 12:55 PM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Easy on the jokes. The king is still recovering. More fudge for the king.

That said, and before we get more harhar about that clown in Italy, is there any real news from Libya? That twitter stuff upthread works only half of the time and BBC sucks big time.
posted by Namlit at 12:59 PM on February 23, 2011


Namlit: That said, and before we get more harhar about that clown in Italy, is there any real news from Libya? That twitter stuff upthread works only half of the time and BBC sucks big time.

The Guardian has the best liveblog, in my opinion.
posted by Kattullus at 1:17 PM on February 23, 2011


According to the Guardian, Obama will speak about Libya at 10.15pm GMT (30m from now).

Also:
France's Le Point magazine has a dramatic interview with a French doctor who has just returned from Libya: "On vient de l'enfer" [We have come from hell.]

The doctor estimates the death toll around Benghazi at 2,000, and has this chilling account of the so-called mercenaries loyal to Gaddafi – from Chad or Nigeria, he claims – arriving:

Les forces de répression comprennent la police, l'armée, mais surtout des mercenaires tchadiens, nigériens, entraînés au fin fond du Sahara et très bien équipés et armés. On les a vus passer dans des 4x4, armés jusqu'aux dents, c'était très impressionnant. Il est impossible de savoir combien ils sont : certains disent 5,000, d'autres 50,000. Ce sont des machines à tuer. Lorsque le fils de Khadafi promet des rivières de sang, il sait qu'il a ce qu'il faut pour cela. De Tobrouk à Darnah, ils ont commis un véritable massacre, on parle de plus d'un millier de morts.

[The forces of suppression included police and military, but particularly mercenaries from Chad and Nigeria, trained in the remote Sahara and very well equipped and armed. We saw them go past in 4x4s, armed to the teeth, it was very impressive. It is impossible to know how many there were, some said 5000, others 50,000. They were killing machines. When the son of Gaddafi promised rivers of blood, he knew he could do it. From Darnah to Tobruk, they have committed a full-scale massacre – we are talking of more than a thousand deaths.]
posted by EndsOfInvention at 1:50 PM on February 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


The BBC liveblog has more frequent updates and less analysis than the Guardian; IMO, it doesn't suck big time.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 1:51 PM on February 23, 2011


PDF map from the Guardian showing areas no longer under government control, interestingly it seems slightly over half of military bases and most of the gas/oil pipelines are in the east.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 1:54 PM on February 23, 2011


There are rumors (and at least one news report, from La Stampa, published a month ago) that Berlusconi is/was banging Aisha Qaddafi, who is Colonel Crazypants' daughter. She is a lawyer and was on the defense team for Sadaam Hussein.
posted by Asparagirl at 2:01 PM on February 23, 2011


Apparently Obama was waiting for the ferry to evacuate US citizens before making his statement. Presumably that means tough talk, and not wanting to jeopardize the citizens still there.

Unfortunately, rough seas have prevented ferry from leaving until tomorrow.
posted by msalt at 2:02 PM on February 23, 2011


There are rumors (and at least one news report, from La Stampa, published a month ago) that Berlusconi is/was banging Aisha Qaddafi, who is Colonel Crazypants' daughter. She is a lawyer and was on the defense team for Sadaam Hussein.

What is this, a soap opera?
posted by EndsOfInvention at 2:03 PM on February 23, 2011 [5 favorites]


Berlusconi done in by a fatal taste for Libyan women is an awfully tempting historical metaphor.
posted by msalt at 2:05 PM on February 23, 2011


Andrea Fischer: Kill Like a Girl.
posted by clavdivs at 2:06 PM on February 23, 2011


Uh, Obama showed up early, I guess.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 2:08 PM on February 23, 2011


Aisha's a babe.

She is also apparently denying she tried to flee or was on that plane
posted by CunningLinguist at 2:08 PM on February 23, 2011


Aisha Qaddafi was nine (and present) when the US planes bombed her house and killed her adopted sister. Something like that has gotta make a person hate imperialism, perceived or real.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:08 PM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Aisha Qaddafi was nine (and present) when the US planes bombed her house and killed her adopted sister. Something like that has gotta make a person hate imperialism, perceived or real.

Which would make it awfully strange to sleep with the authoritarian leadaer of Libya's former colonizer. Perhaps her feelings are more complex.
posted by msalt at 2:10 PM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Here's a tumblr blog posting various updates to the Libyan situation.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:10 PM on February 23, 2011


> Which would make it awfully strange to sleep with the authoritarian leadaer of Libya's former colonizer.

Maybe she was using sex for influence. The reports are pretty spurious anyway, and kind of immaterial.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:11 PM on February 23, 2011


Makes me think of Kurosawa's Ran.
posted by msalt at 2:13 PM on February 23, 2011


BBC...IMO, it doesn't suck big time.
Right thanks, all. That's better.
posted by Namlit at 2:15 PM on February 23, 2011


given that there's a very good chance she's going to have some pretty rough days ahead (i.e. torn apart time), maybe not comment on her babe-ness or lack thereof?
posted by angrycat at 2:17 PM on February 23, 2011


EndsOfInvention wrote: ... PDF map from the Guardian

A map of the different ethnic groups shown in slightly-different shades of green, with army bases helpfully overlaid in red for the colorblind. There are also bits shaded in lighter and darker grey to complement the lighter and darker greens, but no indication as to whether they represent population or terrain. The map's legend shows four different ethnic groups, only three of which actually appear on the map. However, since the colors of the ethnic groups can overlay both each other and the greys of the terrain the legend is in fact useless. I recommend defocusing your eyes and treating it as a pleasantly abstract composition of autumn mists.
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:17 PM on February 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


Burhanistan wrote: Aisha Qaddafi was nine (and present) when the US planes bombed her house and killed her adopted sister. Something like that has gotta make a person hate imperialism ...

Surely her father is an emperor in all but name and he has bombed the equivalent of many houses sheltering many Aishas. No sympathy for dictators or their brood.
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:20 PM on February 23, 2011


> Surely her father is an emperor in all but name and he has bombed the equivalent of many houses sheltering many Aishas. No sympathy for dictators or their brood.

Her father is an absolute scoundrel and I'm not defending her own views. But, that event no doubt left a deep and influential impression.

Besides, we're ideally a nation of laws and shouldn't be so happy about collateral damage to children, spawn of Qaddafi or otherwise. It's not the US or any other government's place to punish the child for the sins of their father.

Despite disagreements on Israel/Palestine, I generally like your posts here. You should maybe dial it back when it comes to this sort of thing.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:25 PM on February 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


Joe, the greys are terrain, the Berbers are extreme NW, Touareg W, Tibbu S and SE, Arab N (most of the coastal/populated areas). Also, you need a new monitor.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 2:36 PM on February 23, 2011


Wikipedia has an ethnic map of Libya that might easier to read.
posted by nangar at 2:48 PM on February 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Video of mass burials in Tripoli.

The UN Security Council has expressed grave concern at the situation in Libya and "underlined the need for the Government of Libya to respect the freedom of peaceful assembly and of expression, including freedom of the press."

Elder of Ziyon blog links to what it calls "an unreal puff piece" on Gaddafi's son from the New York Times in 2007
The man — part scholar, part monk, part model, part policy wonk — was Saif al-Islam el-Qaddafi, the powerful 33-year-old son of Libya’s extroverted and impulsive president, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi. He is, in short, the un-Qaddafi.
Saif was most recently in the news for warning that his family would
take up arms ... we will fight to the last bullet. We will destroy seditious elements. If everybody is armed, it is civil war, we will kill each other.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:03 PM on February 23, 2011


Any idea how many fighters the Libyan Air Force has? We hear that 2 defected and one crashed. Does this put a dent in it?
posted by msalt at 3:08 PM on February 23, 2011


Question about the mass burials in Tripoli, which I realize nobody can answer at this point. These were anti gov't forces doing the burying, yes? How does this comport with the idea that it's unsafe to even go outside there?

Not challenging anybody's account, just seemed curious.
posted by angrycat at 3:10 PM on February 23, 2011


Burhanistan, Aisha is an adult. She knows where her wealth and power come from. If she isn't guilty of crimes against humanity herself - and I wouldn't take that for granted - she very definitely knows that they were committed on her behalf every day.

I feel literally sick with anger when I read things like "She is involved with a variety of Libyan charities promoting women's rights, particularly in domestic violence and honour crimes." (from your link) But this sort of anger isn't good for me or pleasant for anyone here, so I'll take a break until I stop frothing.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:17 PM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Joe in Australia: "Surely her father is an emperor in all but name and he has bombed the equivalent of many houses sheltering many Aishas. No sympathy for dictators or their brood."

Man, show a little heart.
posted by dunkadunc at 3:18 PM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


12 Mirages wikipedia says
12 Mirages he has
fly two out to join the route
10 mirages to fly about.
posted by clavdivs at 3:23 PM on February 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


I wonder how many pilots he has now that still have their heads attached to their necks.
posted by angrycat at 3:27 PM on February 23, 2011


we're ideally a nation of laws and shouldn't be so happy about collateral damage to children, spawn of Qaddafi or otherwise

I am surprised to be firmly with Joe on this one. In Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan I have seen up close the behaviour of privileged children of dictators getting whatever whim they want fulfilled with a nod of the head, living in a bubble of wealth and power, stealing from the little people, ruining lives as a means of revenge for the tiniest pervieved slight against them.

Yeah, Aisha could be a saint, but I doubt it. Look at those expensive clothes - they were paid with by the blood of the Libyan people.

Meathooks for the whole lot of them. Vampires and leeches, to be made example of.
posted by Meatbomb at 3:40 PM on February 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


I would just be happy with them (the family) ending up like Ruth Madoff, as unlikely as that is.
posted by rosswald at 3:47 PM on February 23, 2011


I hate this meathook happiness.
I mean, American affluence is built on the blood of lots of folks. So meathooks for all? I can get behind that, but the selective meathookism is weird.
posted by angrycat at 3:54 PM on February 23, 2011 [8 favorites]


Besides, we're ideally a nation of laws and shouldn't be so happy about collateral damage to children, spawn of Qaddafi or otherwise. It's not the US or any other government's place to punish the child for the sins of their father.

Seriously. The opposite would no doubt spawn no end of weepy documentaries on endless US cable channels, as well as "Never forget" BS bumper stickers. There is no justice in condoning the murder of kids, no matter what event for which it may or may not be in reciprocation. If Reagan wore a turban and killed some kid related to a major US politician, he'd be a perennial boogeyman in the states.
posted by nevercalm at 3:54 PM on February 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


According to the Wikileaks cables, Aisha is in fact one of the family's hardliners, and quite adept at manipulating Dad.
Of course, the US embassy isn't necessarily a trustworthy source...
posted by Skeptic at 3:54 PM on February 23, 2011


Of course, the US embassy isn't necessarily a trustworthy source...

A bit. There's already been no end of "worse than Hitler" stuff on the major networks. No doubt the guy's a serious asshole, an international criminal and a war criminal, but we need to remember "the Saddam Hussein lesson" here.
posted by nevercalm at 3:58 PM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi is the strangest head of state I've ever met. When I asked him about Libyan democracy he threatened to sue.
posted by merelyglib at 3:59 PM on February 23, 2011


so let's kill her!
I mean jeez
posted by angrycat at 4:00 PM on February 23, 2011


There was a report on NPR last night about a a reception Berlusconi held for Qadaffi last year. Burly arranged for a hundred or so young pretty women to be hired to listen to an hour long lecture on Islam. Qadaffi said, among other things, that the word democracy comes from the Arabic word for chair, so there will be no true democracy until everyone is sitting in a chair.

Must have been especially puzzled to the models, who were of course sitting in chairs.
posted by msalt at 4:17 PM on February 23, 2011


An outfit calling themselves Barak ("Lightning") Network has a Youtube channel with many amateur videos of the Libyan revolt. They appear to be connected with, perhaps part of the rebel forces. Some of the videos are very distressing to watch. I've put my translations of the titles as links:

Gaddafi's mercenaries fire randomly at the crowd.

Soldiers executed after refusing orders.

Mercenaries storming Libyan houses.

Confessions of a mercenary from Mali (Arabic)

Rebels in control of Green Square
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:22 PM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Joe, thanks. You translated the Arabic? If so you're a man of surprises ;-)
posted by claudius at 5:28 PM on February 23, 2011


A bit. There's already been no end of "worse than Hitler" stuff on the major networks. No doubt the guy's a serious asshole, an international criminal and a war criminal, but we need to remember "the Saddam Hussein lesson" here.

There is a certain irony in US/UK media complaining about Gaddafi bombing crowds of innocent people in the Middle East area.
posted by jaduncan at 5:52 PM on February 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


but the selective meathookism is weird

At the moment we are focused on Qadaffi. I assure you I am quite liberal as to who should be swinging :) No justice, no peace, etc.

we're ideally a nation of laws

With heavy emphasis on ideally. Democracy in the US is a pure sham at this point, sold to the people to stop them from standing up.
posted by Meatbomb at 5:59 PM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Claudius wrote: You translated the Arabic?

Meet my little friend :-)
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:09 PM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Meet my little friend :-)

Holy crap has their translation engine gotten good.

المرتزقة وهم يقتحمون منازل المواطنين في ليبيا

"Mercenaries storming the houses of citizens in Libya"
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:45 PM on February 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


huh. our democracy is a sham huh? I guess it's time to do what every true revolutionary does when they are pushed too far:
Pack a motherfuckin' bowl and light that shit up
posted by angrycat at 7:12 PM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


HELLO CIA/NSA I MEANT THAT I AM GOING TO SMOKE SOME MARIJUANA
NO MEATHOOKS INVOLVED ALTHOUGH MEATHOOK SOUNDS LIKE A KILLER STRAIN
AND WHEN I SAY KILLER I MEAN OF COURSE HIGH THC LEVELS
posted by angrycat at 7:15 PM on February 23, 2011 [6 favorites]


angrycat I think we are on the same page
posted by Meatbomb at 8:18 PM on February 23, 2011


I've tried reading so many revolutionary histories, and always seem to get stalled out on page 420...
posted by kaibutsu at 10:09 PM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Jacqueline: I wonder if it would help for Egyptians or others to set up "pirate" radio stations

@bencnn: In matter of days people of Benghazi set up from nothing FM radio station "Voice of Free Libya" to broadcast news of the revolt.
posted by hattifattener at 12:04 AM on February 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Bloombeerg: Berlusconi's `Slavish' Courtship of Qaddafi Haunts Italy. And a bit more ....at the heart of the Rome-Tripoli friendship pact is what some critics say amounts to a gigantic bribe that allows Berlusconi's government to fulfill an election promise to combat illegal immigration.
posted by adamvasco at 2:18 AM on February 24, 2011


Berlusconi's `Slavish' Courtship of Qaddafi Haunts Italy.

You don't say.
posted by Skeptic at 2:26 AM on February 24, 2011


France and allies consider no-fly zone around Libya
posted by Anything at 3:37 AM on February 24, 2011


So it goes:
The [Libyan state] TV channel broadcast pictures this morning of a burning police station in the town, which is 30 miles west of Tripoli. The pictures were followed by footage of around 20 bodies, most with their hands tied behind their back. The channel said the men had been shot for refusing to shoot protesters.
via grauniad liveblog
posted by Mister Bijou at 3:53 AM on February 24, 2011


From the same liveblog:

In Tripoli, she says jeeps are patrolling, with heavily armed secret service agents threatening "anyone who comes out will be shot at". She says the regime sent a text message to all Libyans at 8am this morning ordering them to go back to work and to send their children back to schools.

Er, Muammar, you appear to have some communication problem right there...
posted by Skeptic at 4:17 AM on February 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


Inside Libya's first free city: jubilation fails to hide deep wounds
If you scroll down you'll see a rather good caricature of Gaddafi that some artist has painted on a wall. How long have they been bottling that one up? Surely it's the first time they've been able to show it in public.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:18 AM on February 24, 2011


One of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's closest aides, Ahmed Gadhaf al-Dam, says he has defected to Cairo in protest of the regime's fierce crackdown on protesters.
posted by Anything at 4:30 AM on February 24, 2011


Economist: A new flag flies in the east
posted by stevis23 at 5:17 AM on February 24, 2011


"Dog for sale"
posted by Anything at 5:31 AM on February 24, 2011


Gaddafi speaking on State TV again. It's literally all about kids on drugs. Seriously.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 6:21 AM on February 24, 2011


Oh, okay, now he's really getting into the conspiracy. It's actually al-Qaeda who is giving the drugs to kids to undermine Libya. There is a place in Tunisia where al-Qaeda gives the kids the drugs and brainwashes them. Right. There you go. That clever Gaddafi has finally figured it out!
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 6:25 AM on February 24, 2011


Aaaaaaaand now the threats/bargains. "Now that the oil is shut off, how are you going to survive? Will al-Qaeda pay you? Life was great, we gave people loans, there was enough money for everyone. Maybe we can adjust salaries and incomes."
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 6:27 AM on February 24, 2011


After the kids on drugs with machine guns, now it's the the bin laden / al-Qaeda card. . .
AJE livestream
posted by Mister Bijou at 6:27 AM on February 24, 2011


Link?
posted by Sailormom at 6:29 AM on February 24, 2011


Back to the hallucination pills . . .
posted by Mister Bijou at 6:29 AM on February 24, 2011


New idea: Hey, how about I just be, like, the ceremonial head of Libya? And then you guys can run the country however you want. But it's really important I stay here as head of state in some way. That cool?
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 6:31 AM on February 24, 2011


He's really just a crazy guy ranting. Nothing makes sense. As soon as he says one thing, he contradicts it in the next sentence.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 6:34 AM on February 24, 2011


News at 11 Captain Crazypants is crazy.
Libya rebels isolate Gaddafi, seizing cities and oilfields.
Pro-democracy protesters take over eastern part of the country, as state structure appears to be disintegrating
Soldiers in the cities controlled by the protesters have switched sides, filling the void and no longer supporting Gaddafi's government. In a statement posted on the internet, army officers stationed in Misurata pledged their "total support" for the protesters.
posted by adamvasco at 6:47 AM on February 24, 2011


VISIT #LIBYA! An isolated paradise where Pills, Drugs and Guns abound on stunning beaches ruled by a benign Queen called #Gaddafi #Tripoli
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 6:51 AM on February 24, 2011


I'm sold. Where do I get these hallucination tablets?
posted by The Whelk at 6:54 AM on February 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


Chinese takeaway:
About 4,600 Chinese had left Libya by Thursday in China's largest-ever evacuation, the rescue of about 30,000 nationals stuck in the riot-torn north African state.
---
Among the 4,600 Chinese evacuees, more than 4,000 left Libya Thursday on two Greek ocean liners chartered by the Chinese embassy in Greece, China's Foreign Ministry said in a statement Thursday.
The "Hellenic Spirit" and "Olympic Champion" left Benghazi, Libya's eastern port and second-largest city, at 7 a.m. Beijing time (2300 GMT, Wednesday) and were expected to arrive at the port of Heraklion on the Greek island of Crete at about 8 p.m. Beijing time (1200 GMT).
xinhuan
posted by Mister Bijou at 6:55 AM on February 24, 2011


Contrast that to the UK failing to get anyone out claiming "yeah the charter plane had technical problems" when actually the airline was refusing to send their planes into a war-zone. Read in the Guardian that the Polish ambassador had space on the Polish evacuation flight so went to the group of Brits waiting at the airport and offered them the spare seats. Come on UK government, sort it the fuck out. Then again there are rumours the SAS will be deployed to help the oil workers stuck in the desert but that's an easy crowd-pleaser. Where were the planes/ferries/amphibious landing craft from the RAF/Royal Navy?
posted by EndsOfInvention at 6:59 AM on February 24, 2011


And note there were apparently 300 Brits in Libya (I think now at least one, maybe two planes have gone over and come back) versus China's 30,000.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 7:00 AM on February 24, 2011


Well, EndsOfInvention, the Spanish ambassador first thought an evacuation "inconvenient", and then literally told the Spanish residents (including embassy junior staff): "We can't do anything for you, you're on your own", so the Brits could still have it worse...
posted by Skeptic at 7:07 AM on February 24, 2011


Philippines starts evacuating Filipinos from Libya:
Philippine President Benigno Aquino said that 13,000 Filipinos may be evacuated from Libya, and promised that the government is prepared to move out all of its citizens from that country if the situation becomes worse.
Asked how many Filipinos the government is prepared to move out from Libya, the President said in a news briefing, "About 13,000 of the 26,000 (Filipinos in Libya), if necessary."
The president said that the government will lease planes from Philippines Airlines and Qatar Airways costing 13 million pesos ( 298,100 U.S. dollars) per flight with a capacity of 200 to 300, to be drawn from a standby fund that can be augmented by more funds " if there is a need to physically evacuate all of our citizens."
xinhua
posted by Mister Bijou at 7:15 AM on February 24, 2011


10,000 Thais on way out of Libya:
About 10,000 Thai labourers working in Libya will be evacuated to neighbouring countries by sea and land.
Foreign minister's secretary Chavanond Intarakomalyasut said the Thai Embassy in Rome has chartered a ship to evacuate 4,000 Thai labourers working in risky areas of Libya.
The first trip will carry 2,000 people from the Libyan port of Tripoli to Tunisia, which takes only two and a half hours. The second trip will take another 2,000 Thai labourers from Libya to Italy.
Bangkok Post
posted by Mister Bijou at 7:21 AM on February 24, 2011


Can those Xinhua news items be confirmed by any other sources (i.e. not PRC state media)? Considering China's usual disinterest in the safety and human rights of its citizens, that would be pretty embarrassing for the rest of the nations who can't seem to figure out how to get their people to relative safety.
posted by elizardbits at 7:38 AM on February 24, 2011


> I have seen up close the behaviour of privileged children of dictators ... living in a bubble of wealth and power

Here's a video of Qaddafi's sons at an exclusive party they threw during the Venice Film Festival in 2005.
posted by Dragonness at 7:39 AM on February 24, 2011


Considering China's usual disinterest in the safety and human rights of its citizens

Among these people are most likely skilled workers and engineers in the oil industry. Valuable to any nations economic development.
posted by Catfry at 7:41 AM on February 24, 2011


Images of jubilant Libyans in rebel-controlled areas.
posted by Dragonness at 7:43 AM on February 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Can those Xinhua news items be confirmed by any other sources (i.e. not PRC state media)?

Will Voice of America do?
"Also Thursday, ferries carrying at least 4,000 Chinese evacuees arrived at the Greek island of Crete."
VOA
posted by Mister Bijou at 8:06 AM on February 24, 2011


Washington, DC
February 24, 2011
Notice to the Press:
In meetings with senior Libyan Government officials, U.S. diplomats were told that some members of CNN, BBC Arabic and Al Arabiya would be allowed into the country to report on the current situation. These same senior officials also said that some reporters had entered the country illegally and that the Libyan Government now considered these reporters Al Qaida collaborators.
The Libyan Government said that it was not responsible for the safety of these journalists, who risked immediate arrest on the full range of possible immigration charges. Foreign journalists already in Libya who are not part of the approved teams were urged to immediately join the approved teams in-country.
Be advised, entering Libya to report on the events unfolding there is additionally hazardous with the government labeling unauthorized media as terrorist collaborators and claiming they will be arrested if caught.
US Department of State
posted by Mister Bijou at 8:34 AM on February 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Is there a reason we are still treating "the Libyan Government" as a valid entity?
posted by threeturtles at 8:42 AM on February 24, 2011


In what seems like a desperate ploy for U.S. support, Gaddafi is now blaming everything on Bin Laden and Al Qaeda.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 8:59 AM on February 24, 2011


On the bright side, desperate ≠ convincing.
posted by kittyprecious at 9:04 AM on February 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


In what seems like a desperate ploy for U.S. support, Gaddafi is now blaming everything on Bin Laden and Al Qaeda.

This is the first time in the whole Libya situation that I have actually laughed out loud.
posted by jaduncan at 9:24 AM on February 24, 2011


1753: The Libyan Deputy Ambassador to the UN, Ibrahim Dabbaschi, tells the BBC French for Africa that he has information that mercenaries loyal to Col Gaddafi have been loading the bodies of people killed in Tripoli on planes. He says they are then taken to the desert near the town of Sirte, where they are being dumped. (bbc)
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 9:58 AM on February 24, 2011


I kinda laughed also at the ludicrousness of it, but it also shows you why this guy has gotten and kept the power that he has - he's a master fricking player. Ludicrous or not, he's using two massively hot buzzwords for the U.S. Government there, and ones that play into a history of support from the U.S. He's hitting some very strong hot buttons that now have to be addressed by the U.S. whether or not they take these claims seriously.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 9:59 AM on February 24, 2011


I just reread the BBC article about that phone interview.. what a masterpiece of evil. he blame the "unrest" on Al Qaeda, effectively blames all violence on kids on drugs, and then this, where he throws it all in their faces with a magnificent slap: "This is your country and it is up to you how to deal with it."
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 10:05 AM on February 24, 2011


L'Estrange Fruit: "In what seems like a desperate ploy for U.S. support, Gaddafi is now blaming everything on Bin Laden and Al Qaeda"

Wow. The man's grasping at straws. I mean, he's completely blown it with all the massacres: Does he really think anyone's going to take his word about this Al Qaeda 'emirate' now?
posted by dunkadunc at 10:11 AM on February 24, 2011


Wow. The man's grasping at straws. I mean, he's completely blown it with all the massacres: Does he really think anyone's going to take his word about this Al Qaeda 'emirate' now?

He's been massacring his own people for years and probably assumes that there's nothing that he can't still spin.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 10:15 AM on February 24, 2011


Does he really think anyone's going to take his word about this Al Qaeda 'emirate' now?
I'd place even money on Glenn Beck.
posted by Flunkie at 10:18 AM on February 24, 2011 [6 favorites]


AJE reporting that the Swiss are seizing Qaddafi's assets there.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:23 AM on February 24, 2011


AJE reporting that the Swiss are seizing Qaddafi's assets there.

Is his ability to pay his mercenaries at all dependent on money he has at banks that plausibly could decide to stop giving up the cash?
posted by Anything at 10:36 AM on February 24, 2011


Just a guess, but I'd say he pays his forces from local coffers and anything he has in Switzerland is probably his personal stash.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:40 AM on February 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Holy crap watch this - a massive rally in Benghazi.
posted by CunningLinguist at 10:46 AM on February 24, 2011 [9 favorites]


"I felt like I was an American reporter going into Paris after World War II...I feel like I'm not up to the task of conveying the significance of what we're seeing here." - CNN's Ben Wedeman
posted by CunningLinguist at 10:47 AM on February 24, 2011


(reporter = soldier, sorry)
posted by CunningLinguist at 10:49 AM on February 24, 2011


Holy crap watch this - a massive rally in Benghazi

Does anybody know what they're singing?
posted by nangar at 10:53 AM on February 24, 2011


> Holy crap watch this - a massive rally in Benghazi.

That's amazing. They are rightfully ecstatic that an outside camera crew has finally made it in, meaning that they don't have to feel so alone in their struggle.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:54 AM on February 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Contrast that to the UK failing to get anyone out claiming "yeah the charter plane had technical problems" when actually the airline was refusing to send their planes into a war-zone

It's like they don't have an air force.
posted by rodgerd at 11:19 AM on February 24, 2011


Economist: Endgame in Tripoli
posted by adamvasco at 11:20 AM on February 24, 2011


Guardian says:

Gaddafi will commit suicide as Adolf Hitler did at the end of the Second World War rather than surrender or flee, according to a former Libyan cabinet minister.

The claim comes in an interview with former justice minister Mustafa Mohamed Abud Al Jeleil in the Swedish newspaper Expressen.


You know who else- oh wait.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 12:03 PM on February 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


The farce thickens. Reuters is now reporting that Generalissimo Muammar Gaddafi is not dead.
posted by Kattullus at 12:08 PM on February 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


RUMOR: Gaddafi Shot... oil prices fall due to said rumor...
posted by JoeXIII007 at 12:09 PM on February 24, 2011


Nevermind...
posted by JoeXIII007 at 12:10 PM on February 24, 2011


So now he's gonna hold his breath and turn blue if they don't give him his toys back? The last refuge of the overly entitled is a tantrum.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 12:13 PM on February 24, 2011


Just because no one else has mentioned it here yet, AJE has been reporting all day that Libyan tribal leaders held a meeting in al Baida in eastern Libya and talked to Libyan government officials and military officers who had defected to the opposition. They've had a few video clips, but few details.
posted by nangar at 12:52 PM on February 24, 2011


As of yesterday Eastern Libya has been starting to form it's own government. The boarder on the western Libya/Tunisia is nearly devoid of a Libyan presence, it's all Tunisian forces there now.
posted by edgeways at 12:58 PM on February 24, 2011


10.33pm GMT: So what is Libyan state television showing this evening? According to reports, Jamahirya TV is filing in a Tripoli hospital interviewing terrified-looking patients, who all maintain that they were injured falling down stairs, tripping in the shower and so on. (guardian)
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 2:45 PM on February 24, 2011


If the oil price fell 10% following unsubstantiated rumours about my death, I'd be really concerned about my safety...
posted by Skeptic at 2:53 PM on February 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


I wonder if there's a precise tally somewhere in Tripoli of how much Gaddafi has spent on his personal wardrobe over the years. I'm going to throw out a guess of $27 million USD.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:55 PM on February 24, 2011


50K in lip stick for his whacky female guard.
posted by clavdivs at 3:20 PM on February 24, 2011


Well he was having some wardrobe malfunction in his second to last speech. All that adjusting. I was a little worried that he was going to be all I am turning into a monster and disrobing in the process prior to becoming a monster. But he's monstrous already, so there's that.
posted by angrycat at 7:30 PM on February 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


I will say this about Qaddafi though: he is more than anyone in Libyan history uniting every segment of Libyan disparate society. He's performing every single action out of the "How to make your country hate you" playbook, including hiring foreign mercenaries, bombing his own people, acting so crazy no one can reasonably support you, and blaming everyone. This will become one of the most important events of Libyan history, when tribes and city-dwellers alike become part of a united Libya that they themselves created. In a perverse way, Qaddafi's actions over the last month will make the future Libya possible.

That's my takeaway from everything I hear about what's going on. As always, we will see.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 8:10 PM on February 24, 2011 [5 favorites]


I think we should take Colonel Qaddafi at his word. These "protestors" are kids on drugs, that is hallucinogens supplied by Osama Bin Laden. After all, BL brought down the twin towers with boxcutters, how hard could it be to slip some hallucinogenic drugs in Libyan kids coffee? Plus the kids are running around all crazy, which is how kids on drugs would act. We can now put this silly "revolution" in Libya into the right perspective. Qaddafi is a hero for opposing Bin Laden, mastermind of 9/11 and now slipper of hallucinogens into young Libyans coffee. The heroic Qaddafi is fighting a street battle for these very kids lives, who are under the influence of soul-destroying and mind-scrambling drugs. We here in the US should be extending our deepest gratitude and hopes that Qaddafi will prevail and defeat the darkness of drugs and Osama Bin Laden. Remember, marijuana smoking teens is how Bin Laden got funding to further his nefarious plans here in the US. Now he has used his evil drugs to poison the minds of young Libyans. They must be saved. Go Qaddafi!
posted by telstar at 10:35 PM on February 24, 2011


UN Security Council to meet on Libya
posted by Anything at 2:47 AM on February 25, 2011


As to reports of unrest in North Korea, the indispensable Front Section had a roundup of links yesterday.
posted by Kattullus at 3:12 AM on February 25, 2011


Meanwhile Abu Dhabi arms fair has just ended: Tanks, guns, teargas and trade at Idex 2011; and here's the exhibitors list
which you can sort by country.
posted by adamvasco at 3:29 AM on February 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Considering Colonel Qaddafi's history with the Reagans, it all this drug talk really that far fetched?
posted by Sailormom at 4:39 AM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Bribes "Increased landing charges" paid for evacuations from Tripoli Airport.

Proof, once again, that there are always people who, no matter how fucked-up the general situation is, will manage to extract some personal gain out of it.
posted by Skeptic at 5:58 AM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ah, yes, reminds me of he mother of all no-bid contracts
posted by Mister Bijou at 6:20 AM on February 25, 2011


The Guardian: Mitiga Airbase outside Tripoli has defected.
posted by nangar at 7:04 AM on February 25, 2011


Martin Chulov
The Mitiga air base is confirmed to have fallen in Tripoli. #Libya. #Ghaddafi. Planes that strafed citizens took off from here.
posted by geoff. at 7:06 AM on February 25, 2011


Oh well, looks like I got beat to the punch. Mitiga doesn't look really like it is outside Tripoli. It seems a lot closer than the main, international airport.
posted by geoff. at 7:07 AM on February 25, 2011


Bribes "Increased landing charges" paid for evacuations from Tripoli Airport.

Proof, once again, that there are always people who, no matter how fucked-up the general situation is, will manage to extract some personal gain out of it.


Not sure why everyone is calling these bribes. I mean, have you flown lately? Airport taxes are a bitch.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 7:20 AM on February 25, 2011


Yeah, I'd guess when the Italian Air Force built the place in 1923 was well outside Tripoli. However, It now looks like the sands of time and post-war urban sprawl now place Mitiga Airbase in Tripoli. On the other hand, Tripoli International Airport is a good way to the south of the city.
posted by Mister Bijou at 7:35 AM on February 25, 2011


Just something I picked up on Google: The Nation: Against A 'No-Fly Zone' In Libya
It's not needed: it isn't clear that Libyan pilots are willing to bomb their own citizens. And, the revolution playing out in Libya isn't likely to go on for months, or even weeks. Either Moammar Gadhafi surrenders or falls, or (far less likely) he somehow recovers to take control.
It seems that Robert Dreyfuss here has missed some important points: The willingness of Libyan pilots to bomb their fellow citizens is not the only issue; Pilots are also flying mercenaries into the country, and Gaddafi has hired mercenary pilots, who presumably would not have a problem bombing Libyans.
posted by Anything at 7:45 AM on February 25, 2011


They're also using cargo planes to remove corpses for disposal in order to hide war crimes. I think that by itself justifies a No Fly Zone.
posted by scalefree at 8:42 AM on February 25, 2011


I don't understand all the talk of no-fly zones as a solution to... something. Let's say a no-fly zone is established. How is it enforced? What about civilians trying to escape?
posted by zennie at 8:46 AM on February 25, 2011


It's a moot point now, accordin to the Times of Malta, Tripoli just closed its airspace.
posted by peppermind at 8:53 AM on February 25, 2011


Gaddafi is speaking from Green Square right now on AJE.
posted by cmfletcher at 8:57 AM on February 25, 2011


And protests are heading to the Green Square. This will wendell.
posted by Skeptic at 9:01 AM on February 25, 2011


How long was it? 41 seconds? Anyway, today's fashion statement: Soviet/Chinese tank commander.
posted by Mister Bijou at 9:02 AM on February 25, 2011


"Dance and sing"?
posted by Burhanistan at 9:04 AM on February 25, 2011


Please be sure to put your signs in the bin on the way out so we can use them for the next staged rally. Thank you.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:05 AM on February 25, 2011


Anyway, today's fashion statement: Soviet/Chinese tank commander.

With Elmer Fudd hat.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 9:13 AM on February 25, 2011


Hat by 'ushanka'
posted by Mister Bijou at 9:26 AM on February 25, 2011


The BBC's John Simpson has interviewed the former Libyan interior minister Abdul Fattah Younis al-Abidi, who resigned on Tuesday and went over to the opposition. In an extract of the interview, which has just been broadcast, he called on Gaddafi to resign. Simpson added that the former minister told him that Gaddafi was "probably insane" and thought that he would last more than a few days. Simpson reporter the former minister as predicting Gaddafi would not commit suicide, but would instead go down fighting, which would be a "form of suicide".
Abdul Fattah Younis al-Abidi was one of Gaddafi's closest aides - probably the minister closest to him. He also told Simpson that he believed Gaddafi ordered the Lockerbie bombing personally.
posted by adamvasco at 9:29 AM on February 25, 2011


From The Guardian:
John Hooper sends news from Tripoli that contrary to earlier reports the huge Mitiga airport is still in government hands. Ansa's correspondent in Tripoli has visited the airport and reports that it was "surrounded by soldiers and police".
posted by Kattullus at 10:05 AM on February 25, 2011


speech with translation. "The mass lies"
posted by clavdivs at 10:16 AM on February 25, 2011


This just in, a new interview with Seif Gaddafi : youtube
posted by Mister Bijou at 10:31 AM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


List of Libyan officials who have resigned or joined the protesters.
posted by cmfletcher at 10:31 AM on February 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


BBC feed: 1800: EU diplomats in Brussels have reached a broad consensus on imposing sanctions against Libya, but a formal decision will wait for early next week, says the BBC's Europe Correspondent Chris Morris. The measures include an arms embargo, asset freezes and travel bans against senior Libyan officials.

WTF? Sanctions are a long-term measure, the equivalent of barricading a city. People are dying NOW, everything is happening NOW, and they're talking about imposing fricking sanctions NEXT WEEK? Where's the damn support to send in the damn U.N. forces to do something?!
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 10:44 AM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


1800: EU diplomats in Brussels have reached a broad consensus on imposing sanctions against Libya, but a formal decision will wait for early next week, says the BBC's Europe Correspondent Chris Morris

This isn't the Chris Morris I'm thinking of, right?
posted by Rory Marinich at 10:46 AM on February 25, 2011


People are dying NOW, everything is happening NOW, and they're talking about imposing fricking sanctions NEXT WEEK?

China and Russia are blocking any action in the UN, and Italy is blocking action in the EU.
posted by rodgerd at 10:49 AM on February 25, 2011


[E]verything is happening NOW, and they're talking about imposing fricking sanctions NEXT WEEK? Where's the damn support to send in the damn U.N. forces to do something?!

I take it you're new to the U.N.?

Italy is blocking action in the EU

Do you have a cite for this, rodgerd?
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 10:50 AM on February 25, 2011


Mr. Bijou, where did you find the link to that video?
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 11:03 AM on February 25, 2011


New York Times: The Lede (scroll down)
posted by Mister Bijou at 11:07 AM on February 25, 2011


It looks like this was the interview from this morning where Saif said the whole "I have three plans - plan a live and die in libya, plan b live and die in libya, plan c live and die in libya." Recorded either last night or early this morning (EST).
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 11:08 AM on February 25, 2011


NYT The Lede interview: direct link
posted by Mister Bijou at 11:09 AM on February 25, 2011


It looks like this was the interview from this morning

OK, I only just caught it.
posted by Mister Bijou at 11:11 AM on February 25, 2011


I hadn't seen it before. It's fascinating. He really seems to believe what he's saying. Or is trying very hard to convince others (the west, yes?) that everything is under control. As for the timing, I just think it's important to place these things in order, as things are moving very fast and the significance of this coming out now as opposed to 12 hours ago does make a difference.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 11:15 AM on February 25, 2011


Although, it does appear as though we'll be hearing from Saif again soon:

Sultan Al Qassemi -- Breaking Al Arabiya: Saif Al Islam Gaddafi will hold a press conference shortly. #Libya
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 11:18 AM on February 25, 2011


I hadn't seen it before. It's fascinating. He really seems to believe what he's saying. Or is trying very hard to convince others (the west, yes?) that everything is under control.

I did some reading on Gaddafi last night, and from what I've read I completely believe he'd think that.... this is a guy who got blacklisted by the European community over terrorist act(s) and then used another terrorist attack (Lockerbie) to bargain his way back in (trading reconciliation for financial compensation) .... this man has balls so big I wouldn't be surprised to learn we're living on them.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 11:24 AM on February 25, 2011


(Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates: "I hadn't seen it before. It's fascinating. He really seems to believe what he's saying."

He's using The Secret.
posted by mkultra at 11:24 AM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


L'Estrange Fruit: I'm actually talking about the video Mister Bijou posted - it's not of Gaddafi Sr. but rather Jr. Gaddafi - the one schooled at the London School of Economics and the formerly supposed next best hope for a reformed Libya.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 11:27 AM on February 25, 2011


Gotcha. Well, its apropos to everything senior has been spouting also.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 11:31 AM on February 25, 2011


Saif is gaining traction by saying the oil is for the people and will not be destroyed.
Not that big of a crowd, Q was standing on a box. Lots of parked cars in back ground. IMO, the anti-government faction will have to deploy military forces at this point. Find the man and make a massive push with tanks and troops in the front and protesters at the rear for support, they can't lose.
No-fly zone is a lark, easily defied then what, shot down aircraft dropping on the people, only help Col. G. He always has a plan and seems to be have been more effective in his shock tactics and rumor milling. This will wear off like a cool slash of water. The real communication problem may be defected army units using the existing military bands for any sort of co-ordination, these could be compromised.

military limbo/statis does not mean lost traction for the revolution.
posted by clavdivs at 11:56 AM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


White House announces unilateral sanctions shortly after last US evacuees leave the country.
posted by cmfletcher at 12:24 PM on February 25, 2011


I feel just awful for whats been going on. Goes to see how lucky we are.
posted by joegardy at 12:31 PM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


My Tripoli expat friend fears that after all the foreigners have been evacuated Qaddafi will retaliate against Benghazi and other liberated areas from the air, in full force.
posted by Dragonness at 1:42 PM on February 25, 2011


The Fire That Is Burning In Libya Will Singe Some Surprising Institutions In The West.

A Spotlight On The Libya Lobbyists.

How To Make Gadhafi Look Good, By Various Lobbyists.

Richard Perle: Libya Lobbyist.

Libyan Opposition Leaders Slam U.S. Business Lobby's Deals With Gaddafi.
posted by ericb at 2:13 PM on February 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


I don't understand all the talk of no-fly zones as a solution to... something. Let's say a no-fly zone is established. How is it enforced? What about civilians trying to escape?

Presumably specific flights are permitted and others are shot down by fighter jets.
posted by Anything at 2:19 PM on February 25, 2011


From ericb's fourth link, a sentence that should come as absolutely no surprise to anyone at this point:

"Rozen reports that Perle traveled to Libya twice in 2006 as a paid adviser of a Boston-based consulting firm, the Monitor Group, and met with Vice President Dick Cheney after the trips."
posted by scody at 2:26 PM on February 25, 2011


A no-fly zone brings in the military. That changes everything. Do not underestimate the impact of war planes in the sky. It exposes the regime as weak and may boost confidence. But it also creates feelings of resentment. Perceived chaos mounts, government control crumbles. Further use of force becomes a political possibility. It changes the whole situation. I'm not opposed to violence but I'm not sure the West can afford to get dragged into this. Hopefully not too many will suffer before Ghadaffi folds.
posted by eeeeeez at 3:12 PM on February 25, 2011


My Tripoli expat friend fears that after all the foreigners have been evacuated Qaddafi will retaliate against Benghazi and other liberated areas from the air, in full force.

I'm afraid that sounds much too plausible...
posted by klausness at 3:12 PM on February 25, 2011


Industry Lashes Out at Mariah, Beyoncé and Others Who Played for Qaddafi's Family.
posted by ericb at 3:33 PM on February 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Libya still has 9.5 tons of mustard gas. Apparently, they were supposed to destroy all of it, but they were given an extension until May 2011.
posted by klausness at 3:54 PM on February 25, 2011


holy crap mustard gas
i am a pacifist but damn if i am not praying to any God that may exist that Qadaffi dies, and dies quickly
i feel a bit of my soul crumble at the thought, but damn, not mustard gas
posted by angrycat at 7:01 PM on February 25, 2011


I think use of actual WMDs is probably the one thing that could mobilize the global community into organizing an invasion to prevent their further use. There's a lot to be said for non-interference but I don't think anybody would want to sit still while that was going on.
posted by scalefree at 7:39 PM on February 25, 2011


Because mustard gas is so much worse than having a mercenary shoot a few holes through you.
posted by dunkadunc at 8:05 PM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yes you're equally dead either way but the international community has agreed on conventions of war that exclude the use of chemical weapons under all circumstances. And the US made such a big deal about them in deciding to invade Iraq. I'm just stating the fact, not making a judgment on the morality of the calculus involved.
posted by scalefree at 8:16 PM on February 25, 2011


Though getting shot is terrible and deadly, chemical warfare agents can kill a lot of civilians in a very indiscriminate manner, and worse, leave a hell of a lot of wounded that are permanently scarred and incapacitated. There's a reason everyone decided not to use chemical weapons, and though they aren't as useful on the battlefield as they used to be, they're still rather useful for mass exterminations coupled with panic and terror.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 8:30 PM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Everyone on Anderson Cooper 360 tonight is hoping Gaddafi is killed soon.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:40 PM on February 25, 2011


Zimbabwe Prof Arrested, Tortured for Watching Viral Vids (via)
Zimbabwe thread time?
posted by jeffburdges at 8:43 PM on February 25, 2011


Do not click this link if you want to sleep well tonight.
posted by telstar at 8:55 PM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


As protests crackdowns continue, West lines up to sell arms.

See? We still come out ahead.
posted by telstar at 9:11 PM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Zimbabwe Prof Arrested, Tortured for Watching Viral Vids

Embassy of the Republic of Zimbabwe
1608 New Hampshire Avenue N.W.
Washington D.C. 20009
Tel: 1-202-332-7100; Fax: 1-202-483-9326
posted by scody at 9:59 PM on February 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Everyone on Anderson Cooper 360 tonight is hoping Gaddafi is killed soon.

He Who Shall Not Be Spelled has been condemned by the US, EU, UN, Arab League, African Union, Sarah Palin, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Al Qaeda in the Maghreb, and his own diplomatic corps. Few things short of a full-blown alien invasion could achieve such unanimity against them...
posted by Skeptic at 12:35 AM on February 26, 2011 [6 favorites]


The tribes against the bunker; Libya's is a tribal revolution...
posted by adamvasco at 3:30 AM on February 26, 2011


Serbian mercenaries in Libya
posted by adamvasco at 4:06 AM on February 26, 2011


The Iranian state news is reporting that Gaddafi's youngest son, Saif al-Arab, has defected to the uprising.
posted by Kattullus at 4:06 AM on February 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


Huh... looking for more information about Saif al-Arab I came across a forum where people are blaming the Rothschilds for the revolution. It's like running into an internet forum from the 19th Century. People blaming UFOs and the Sasquatch? That would not have surprised me... but the Rothschilds? What next, calling for a crusade against the Cathars?
posted by Kattullus at 4:14 AM on February 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


where's the forum?
posted by telstar at 5:30 AM on February 26, 2011


Al-Qaida's Embarrassment: Revolutions Mark Setback for Terror Group
posted by telstar at 5:32 AM on February 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


Reuters is now reporting that Generalissimo Muammar Gaddafi is not dead.

ObPython.
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:05 AM on February 26, 2011


If you google Saif al-Arab, telstar, you'll find it.
posted by Kattullus at 7:17 AM on February 26, 2011


If he's lost the Ukrainian nurse, it's all over.
posted by CunningLinguist at 9:27 AM on February 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Big Picture: Libya: Unrest and uncertainty
posted by homunculus at 9:58 AM on February 26, 2011


AJE correspondent reports that anti-government protesters have attacked black Africans in Libya, taking them for mercenaries.
posted by klausness at 10:43 AM on February 26, 2011


Saif al Islam (who hasn't defected) spoken on Al Arabiya. A summary was tweeted by Sultan al Qassemi.

The Guardian summarized his remarks this way:
The unrest in Libya opens up all options including civil war and foreign intervention, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi has told Al-Arabiya TV.

"What the Libyan nation is going through has opened the door to all options, and now the signs of civil war and foreign interference have started," the son of the Libyan leader said.

"An agreement has to be reached because the people have no future unless they agree together on a new programme."
A few quotes from al Qassemi's summaries:
All these lies, "children were killed" "mercenaries were brought in" these are all lies.

The biggest mistake was the there was no international media, & the Libyan media was a failure.

The security men don't know about crowd control so there was shooting in Benghazi.

The Interior Minister was Kidnapped, he was forced to read the statement on TV, Baltagiya kidnapped him.

Ahmad Gaddaf El Dem didn't run away, he is on an official mission now.

Abdul Rahman Shalgham, he is a cool guy, high class, but he didn't have contact with Libya so he watched the media ... Of course he will be affected with the media, he is behind the oceans, no contact.

Some people have legitimate demands, I demand them more than these people.
posted by nangar at 10:49 AM on February 26, 2011


According to Reuters:
Libya's ex-justice minister Mustafa Mohamed Abud Ajleil has led the formation of an interim government based in the eastern city of Benghazi, the online edition of the Quryna newspaper reported on Saturday.

Quryna quoted him as saying that Muammar Gaddafi "alone" bore responsibility "for the crimes that have occurred" in Libya and that his tribe, Gaddadfa, were forgiven.

"Abud Ajleil insisted on the unity of the homeland's territory, and that Libya is free and its capital is Tripoli," Quryna quoted him as saying in a telephone conversation.
posted by nangar at 1:24 PM on February 26, 2011


More confusing spelling, apparently the man's name is Abdul Jalil (عبد الجليل).
posted by nangar at 2:29 PM on February 26, 2011


There's a group of Lilbyan protesters marching down my street now, I'm watching form the balcony. They seemed to have boxed in 1 car and aren't letting it pass.
posted by Hoopo at 3:02 PM on February 26, 2011


FYI, as I posted in the old Egypt thread, there's news that the Egyptian army has passed constitutional amendments to be put to referendum.
posted by Anything at 3:58 PM on February 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Nope. I was wrong. It's مصطفى محمد عبود الجليل - Mustafa Muhammed Abud al Jalil. (عبود not عبد). Ajleil just represents a contracted pronunciation of al Jalil.
posted by nangar at 3:59 PM on February 26, 2011


The UN Security Council has passed a resolution. It includes a referral to the International Criminal Court. (Listening to this on AJE)
posted by nangar at 5:39 PM on February 26, 2011


The UN Security Council has voted unanimously to impose sanctions on Muammar Gaddafi's Libyan regime for its attempts to put down an uprising. They backed an arms embargo and asset freeze while referring Col Gaddafi to the International Criminal Court for alleged crimes against humanity.
posted by homunculus at 5:54 PM on February 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


> More confusing spelling,

I have to hold my nose when I type "Gaddafi" since his name is spelled with a qaf (ق), but it's more G sounding in the local dialect, and that's how most media outlets transliterate it so what can you do.
posted by Burhanistan at 6:36 PM on February 26, 2011


Obama says Gadhafi must leave Libya 'now'
posted by Burhanistan at 6:39 PM on February 26, 2011


Obama brings up the rear again, eh?
posted by telstar at 6:43 PM on February 26, 2011


?

Obama spoke forcefully about the situation, and unilaterally imposed American sanctions and so forth, as soon as Americans were evacuated. This preceded the UN's similar resolution.

You may say that he shouldn't have waited until Americans had been evacuated, and you may have a point if you do so, but it's at the very least understandable, and certainly many people would disagree with you.
posted by Flunkie at 6:48 PM on February 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


Obama brings up the rear again, eh?

Why would Obama lead? It's not his country, and the US is not the boss of the world. If he did take the lead, he would give Gadaffi a foreign enemy and nationalist resentment to justify the repression. I really like the fact that Obama understands this.

Don't forget, George Bush is the one who took all the international pressure off of Gadaffi, to open up oil deals for US companies. Tony Blair was deep in bed with him. Berlusconi, we all know about that.
posted by msalt at 6:57 PM on February 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Msalt wrote: Why would Obama lead? It's not his country, and the US is not the boss of the world.

The moral answer is that he could have, and it might have saved people's lives.

The cynical answer is that he could have, and it would have reinforced the USA's power and standing.

Everyone could see that Gaddafi was going to go. Why not push him? Why seek consensus on whether the sun is shining? Why not take that fleet in the Mediterranean or some of the forces in Germany and impose a unilateral no-fly zone "until the situation is resolved". As for the administration's defense that it waited until all the embassy staff were out - well, now we know how to paralyse the USA: threaten to endanger one of its embassies. The USA won't do anything until they're safe.
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:45 PM on February 26, 2011


Everyone could see that Gaddafi was going to go. Why not push him? Why seek consensus on whether the sun is shining? Why not take that fleet in the Mediterranean or some of the forces in Germany and impose a unilateral no-fly zone "until the situation is resolved".

While we're at it, why not invade Venezuela, Cuba, Yemen, Morocco, Bahrain, Iran and Saudi Arabia?
posted by empath at 7:48 PM on February 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


It isn't just Obama. Where's Obama's opposition? Boner? Nothing. Limbaugh (who really runs much of the show anyway)...what? Both sides are in the same boat, they're watching what looks very likely to be US hegemony taken down a notch or seven. Obama did what every politician these days does, wait until the parade is well underway, get in front of it and proclaim himself drum major.

Obama spoke forcefully about the situation, and unilaterally imposed American sanctions and so forth, as soon as Americans were evacuated.

This speaks volumes.
posted by telstar at 10:20 PM on February 26, 2011


Yeah, wouldn't want to protect Americans first. Moral righteousness is worth far more than a few American lives, amirite?
posted by Windopaene at 10:26 PM on February 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


Has anyone from the US's Administration actually said that Obama was keeping silent until the embassy staff were evacuated, or is this a charitable interpretation of his actions? It just doesn't seem plausible that the entire foreign policy of major nation would be suspended because of some general and inchoate danger to which a small group of its employees are exposed. I mean, I haven't heard that there were any specific threats made against the embassy staff, and I'm sure that the US embassy there has weapons and a bunker just for situations like this.
posted by Joe in Australia at 11:03 PM on February 26, 2011


This is the ethical equivalent of rimming Voldemort in public.
The ever-entertaining Charlie Brooker rants about Gaddafi's costumes and his celebrity friends.
posted by Joe in Australia at 11:29 PM on February 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Seemed to be an incredible coincidence, that as soon as all the Americans had been evacuated, (and there was nothing that said that that was only embassy personnel), he immediately announced sanctions.
posted by Windopaene at 11:29 PM on February 26, 2011


Joe in Australia: "This is the ethical equivalent of rimming Voldemort in public.
The ever-entertaining Charlie Brooker rants about Gaddafi's costumes and his celebrity friends
"

Just swung by to post the same thing. A tad facile in places but on the whole SNORT BWA HA HA geez I hope this ends quick.
posted by mwhybark at 11:54 PM on February 26, 2011


Joe in Australia: "Has anyone from the US's Administration actually said that Obama was keeping silent until the embassy staff were evacuated, or is this a charitable interpretation of his actions?"

Well, I dunno if there were official State Department news releases, but I know I was certainly aware that the President was not gonna speak until that ferry left the dock, and I am pretty sure this thread was my primary news source. I could be wrong, as I am a fuzzy-headed middle-aged fumblefingers.

Not sure what you mean by 'charitable' here exactly. Were there any Western power denunciations that took place in the midst of evacuations? I mean, there could have been and I just missed it. Given that I'm only looking at this thread. And all.
posted by mwhybark at 12:00 AM on February 27, 2011


Has anyone from the US's Administration actually said that Obama was keeping silent until the embassy staff were evacuated, or is this a charitable interpretation of his actions? It just doesn't seem plausible that the entire foreign policy of major nation would be suspended because of some general and inchoate danger to which a small group of its employees are exposed.

As mwhybark says, I don't know that there's been an official State Dept. "oh hai this is why we waited" statement, but it seems to have been a pretty widely assumed position that the silence was to safeguard their safety... though there certainly were others who weren't in the mood to be "charitable."

Oh, and it wasn't just a "small group of employees" that were trying to evacuate, either -- in addition to the approx. three dozen State Dept. employees, there were about 600 U.S. citizens. Is that a big enough number to have been cautious for you?
posted by scody at 12:54 AM on February 27, 2011


"to safeguard their safety" -- best accomplished by the Dept. of Redundancy Dept., of course.
posted by scody at 12:55 AM on February 27, 2011


There were unsourced quotes from 'state department officials' that the US was waiting until American citizens were accounted for before taking any action against Qaddafi.
posted by empath at 12:55 AM on February 27, 2011


empath: "before taking any action "

of course, we're pretty much still waiting on that part of it.
posted by mwhybark at 1:10 AM on February 27, 2011


I'm not sure what a no-fly zone is going to accomplish. What if an American plane gets shot down? What if we shoot down the wrong plane? What if there's a guy on the roof with a rocket launcher that we take out that turns out to be a journalist with a camera?

The Libyan army is split in two, but just because the half fighting for Qaddafi is surely bad, that doesn't make the other half worth killing or dying for. We should not be choosing sides in the very early stages of a Civil War. We wouldn't be thanked for it, in the long term, even if our side won.

There is no such thing as an easy war, or a clean war, or a good war. There are wars that are unavoidable, and there are wars that aren't. And this is one we can and should stay on the sidelines for.
posted by empath at 1:23 AM on February 27, 2011


But the bigger point is, US unilateral military action is not a good thing. George Bush probably really thought he was freeing the Iraqi people when he took down Saddam, who was a truly shitty dictator every bit as bad as Gadaffi, if not worse. So what? Not our business, plus lots of unintended consequences when we meddle in other people's business.

I was on one of the hippy alternative greyhound buses years ago (Green Tortoise? I forget). There was an obnoxious drunk on there. The bus driver did what I thought was a very wise thing. Instead of getting all officious on the guy, which would have made it a rebel vs. authority figure thing we all watched, probably rooting for the rebel, he just minded his own business until the drunk pissed everybody off so bad we were about to lynch him.

By the time he finally kicked the guy off, the bus was united 100% in the action. Yes, exactly find where the parade is going and get in front and lead it. Because that's democracy. And the alternative is being a dictator. Like Gadaffi.
posted by msalt at 1:27 AM on February 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


Although, it may not be an unavoidable war for Libya's immediate neighbors, as well as European countries such as Italy. They would perhaps be justified in intervening military if things look set to expand outside the borders of Libya.
posted by empath at 1:28 AM on February 27, 2011


TheGuardian: Soundtrack to the Arab revolutions.
posted by nangar at 3:51 AM on February 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


Epic PR fail: Gaddafi minions drive foreign reporters to Zawiyah (30 miles from Tripoli), to show them how the government is still in charge there, find out the contrary...
posted by Skeptic at 4:58 AM on February 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Obama brings up the rear again, eh?

Or: Obama waits until all US citizens have been evacuated from Libya before making statements that could anger Gadaffi.
posted by klausness at 5:24 AM on February 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Has anyone from the US's Administration actually said that Obama was keeping silent until the embassy staff were evacuated, or is this a charitable interpretation of his actions?
I don't know of anyone from the US Administration actually explicitly saying that, but why on earth would they? "Oh hey guys, just want to let all you reporters know, we don't want to say anything that might piss off Gaddafi while there are still Americans in his control, but you can be sure that as soon as we get them out, we're gonna say a lot of stuff that's really gonna piss him off. He'll probably even wish he didn't let them go!"

Frankly, I think that characterizing him keeping silent until Americans (not just embassy staff) were safe as merely "a charitable interpretation of his actions" is, itself, an uncharitable interpretation of his actions.

In any case, from one of Kattalus' posts in this thread:
From the Guardian's liveblog:
6.32pm GMT: The reason for the uncertainty over the timing of Obama's televisied statement on Libya, as mentioned below, is that the White House is waiting for the ship sent to pick up US citizens to depart Tripoli and arrive in Malta.
I also thought that I had read (in real time) something like "The ferry has been delayed, and so has Obama's statement". I don't know where I read it (if in fact I did), though.
posted by Flunkie at 6:44 AM on February 27, 2011


I'm not sure what a no-fly zone is going to accomplish. What if an American plane gets shot down? What if we shoot down the wrong plane? What if there's a guy on the roof with a rocket launcher that we take out that turns out to be a journalist with a camera?
I presume that you mean a hypothetical no-fly zone imposed upon Gaddafi's regime by outside forces, as opposed to the actual no-fly zone imposed by Gaddafi's regime.

"I'm not sure what a no-fly zone is going to accomplish": Keeping Libyan warplanes out of the sky, so that they can no longer be used to suppress, wound, and kill Libyans.

"What if an American plane gets shot down": Then that would be bad, and hopefully the crew manages to successfully escape the crash.

"What if we shoot down the wrong plane": Then that would be bad, and hopefully the crew manages to successfully escape the crash, and hopefully it is followed up by an inquiry into any potential negligence that might have caused the error.

"What if there's a guy on the roof with a rocket launcher that we take out that turns out to be a journalist with a camera": Then that would be bad, and hopefully the guy miraculously escapes unharmed, and hopefully it is followed up by an inquiry into any potential negligence that might have caused the error.

If, on the other hand, you mean the actual no-fly zone imposed by Gaddafi's regime, I would think that it is meant to accomplish keeping commercial and private planes out of the air so as to give Libyan warplanes unimpeded access to suppressing, wounding, and killing Libyans.
posted by Flunkie at 6:54 AM on February 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


> Has anyone from the US's Administration actually said that Obama was keeping silent until the embassy staff were evacuated, or is this a charitable interpretation of his actions?

Actually Jay Carney, the White House Press Secretary, did say that Friday. (I'm just relying on my memory of the press briefing. I didn't go back and listen to the whole thing.)
posted by nangar at 6:56 AM on February 27, 2011


Tunisian PM just resigned after days of violent protests in the capital (just announced on AJE).
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 7:01 AM on February 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Saudi intellectuals call for sweeping reforms.
posted by adamvasco at 7:01 AM on February 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Oh, and also, there was a coup attempt in Congo. Rebels set fire to the President's house and six people died. Because the past few weeks have been and continue to be so dramatic, the Congo story got about 15 seconds on AJE before they moved on to other stories.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 7:03 AM on February 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


What Libya's Troubles Mean for Its Italian Allies.
In June 2009, a Dutch-registered firm controlled by the Libyan Arab Foreign Investment Company (Lafico), took a 10% stake in Quinta Communications, a Paris-based film production and distribution company. Quinta Communications was founded back in 1990 by Berlusconi in partnership with Tarak Ben Ammar, the nephew of the late Tunisian leader, Habib Bourguiba.
(Scroll down)
posted by adamvasco at 7:24 AM on February 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


If, on the other hand, you mean the actual no-fly zone imposed by Gaddafi's regime, I would think that it is meant to accomplish keeping commercial and private planes out of the air so as to give Libyan warplanes unimpeded access to suppressing, wounding, and killing Libyans.

or Saddam Hussein torturing and murdering his own citizens, etc..
posted by empath at 7:31 AM on February 27, 2011


Actually Jay Carney, the White House Press Secretary, did say that Friday.

Excerpts:
First of all, I want to apologize. I know it’s a late briefing and a delayed briefing, even after announced, but there are a couple of reasons for that. It’s obviously been a busy day -- a lot going on in the Middle East and a lot going on at the White House, and I wanted to hold the briefing so that I could gather as much information as I could and be in a situation -- rather, a position to give you as much information as I could at this briefing, which I am now in.

And so I have a few things I want to tell you about Libya before I take your questions. The State Department has suspended embassy operations in Libya and will temporarily withdraw all embassy employees from Tripoli. A ferry with approximately 200 U.S. citizens left this morning. A charter plane recently took off for Istanbul, Turkey, with remaining embassy personnel and American citizens who had requested evacuation. Further to what I started with, that obviously was very recent and one of the reasons why I wanted to delay the briefing was to make sure that plane had taken off.

Consistent with the President’s tasking to the government to prepare options to hold the Libyan government accountable for its violation of human rights, we have decided to move forward with unilateral sanctions, which we are in the process of finalizing; coordinated sanctions with our European allies; and multilateral efforts to hold the Libyan government accountable through the United Nations.
...
Q Okay. The pair of sanctions to stop violence immediately is pretty weak. What other steps, more forceful steps, could you take? How quickly could they come? Would more steps have to wait until Secretary Clinton goes to Geneva on Monday, for instance?

MR. CARNEY: Well, let me just say that there has never been a time when this much has been done this quickly. The United States has acted in concert with our international partners and with great deliberation and haste. I know that in the past few days it’s sometimes been frustrating when you’ve been able to question American officials about what we’re doing, and maybe haven’t gotten all the answers you want. I discussed this with the President just a few hours ago, or an hour ago.

The purpose -- the focus that he has is on our obligation to the security of American citizens and also getting the policy right. And I can assure you that has been the guide -- those have been the guiding principles as we’ve proceeded over the course of the last week.
...
Q I know that the administration, the President in particular, has been hesitant to mention Qaddafi’s name. There was a lot of concern about Americans still on the ground potentially being held hostage. So now that it appears that most of the Americans who wanted to get out have gotten out, can we expect stronger language now from the President, perhaps calling him out by name?

MR. CARNEY: Well, I don’t want to put words in the President’s mouth for the next time he speaks, but I think you’ve heard me use some pretty strong language against Colonel Qaddafi and --

Q But we haven’t heard that from the President himself.

MR. CARNEY: Dan, I think I expressed when I came out here that there has been a clear reason for the way we have handled ourselves this week. The airplane that carried American citizens, the remaining American citizens that we wanted to get evacuated from Libya, was wheels up less than an hour ago.

So I would just say that your analysis of the situation is fairly accurate, and it’s been all of a half an hour or so since those American citizens were in flight towards Istanbul.
...
Q I know that the administration, the President in particular, has been hesitant to mention Qaddafi’s name. There was a lot of concern about Americans still on the ground potentially being held hostage. So now that it appears that most of the Americans who wanted to get out have gotten out, can we expect stronger language now from the President, perhaps calling him out by name?

MR. CARNEY: Well, I don’t want to put words in the President’s mouth for the next time he speaks, but I think you’ve heard me use some pretty strong language against Colonel Qaddafi and --

Q But we haven’t heard that from the President himself.

MR. CARNEY: Dan, I think I expressed when I came out here that there has been a clear reason for the way we have handled ourselves this week. The airplane that carried American citizens, the remaining American citizens that we wanted to get evacuated from Libya, was wheels up less than an hour ago.

So I would just say that your analysis of the situation is fairly accurate, and it’s been all of a half an hour or so since those American citizens were in flight towards Istanbul.
...
Q Earlier this week, P.J. Crowley at State said that we had tried for a couple of days to get the ferry into port before the weather had stuck it there for a while, and it was unclear whether we’d been unable to get it in because of chaos or whether the Libyan government actually opposed -- frustrated our attempts to get it in. Have we determined yet what the hold-up was?

MR. CARNEY: Wendell, on the operation that was designed to evacuate American citizens and embassy personnel, I would refer you to the State Department. I can say that the very important thing is that that ferry did depart, and as did the airplane that left a little later, not long ago.
...
Q Second, given that the issue of American citizens being in Libya sort of tied the hands of what you could say today versus what you said yesterday and all of these things, have you learned some lessons from this? Are you dealing differently in places like Bahrain, in Yemen, in Jordan? Are any warnings to be given -- here’s Libya, in the middle of Egypt and Tunisia, and we waited until I believe February 20th is the first time even a suggestion was made for American citizens to start thinking about getting out.

MR. CARNEY: Well, Chuck, what I would say, again, is that every country is different, as I’ve said before. And the situations that we’ve seen in the countries where there has been unrest have been different. And we are always evaluating the actions we take and, if you will, doing after-action analyses of the actions we take. But this is obviously ongoing.

What I would say is that one of the lessons we have taken from this is that we need to focus on our core priorities, not on the understandable desire at different points along the way to express how we feel in a way that could sometimes be counterproductive to our long-term goals of the policies that we need to pursue, or to the safety of American citizens.
posted by ericb at 7:52 AM on February 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


Oops ... paste-and-copy fail. Ignore the one repeated Q&A.
posted by ericb at 7:57 AM on February 27, 2011


Remix of Gaddafi's speach: Zenga Zenga (Alley by Alley).

AFP write-up.
posted by nangar at 8:07 AM on February 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


A National Libyan Council held press conference in Benghazi (Reuters).

Rebels in eastern Libya ... said on Sunday they had formed a national council to act as the face of the revolution but said it was not an interim government.

Hafiz Ghoga, the spokesman for the new National Libyan Council formed after a meeting of Gaddafi opponents in the eastern city of Benghazi, also said he saw no room for talks with the Libyan leader who has lost control of large swathes of the country.


Shabab Libya and Enough Gaddafi on twitter add:

council: totally behind Tripoli as the current and future capital, says no division east west or south

council says strategically very unlikely that gaddafi will come back with more mercenaries

Press conf w/interim council say satisfied with UN resolution, pple will bring #gaddafi down,

Libya al Hurra livestream.
posted by nangar at 9:10 AM on February 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


The BBC has a Correspondent in Tripoli
posted by stratastar at 11:37 AM on February 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Food prices and current revolutions from The Independent previously on the blue
posted by warbaby at 12:08 PM on February 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Unrest spreads to Oman
posted by scody at 2:55 PM on February 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


The London School of Economics, which granted Gadaffi's son Saif al-Islam a PhD, is under fire for accepting £1,500,000 from al-Islam's Gaddafi International Charity and Development Foundation. The LSE, which says it only received about £300,000 of the promised total, says that "In view of the highly distressing news from Libya over the weekend of 19-20 February, the school has reconsidered those links as a matter of urgency."
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:30 PM on February 27, 2011


African mercenaries in Libya nervously await their fate
posted by Anything at 5:53 PM on February 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


African mercenaries 'immune from prosecution for war crimes'
posted by homunculus at 10:16 PM on February 27, 2011


homunculus: They can't be tried by the ICC (thanks, America!), but they can be tried by, say Libyans. Just like I could if I flew to someone else's country and started murdering people.
posted by rodgerd at 10:39 PM on February 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


> African mercenaries in Libya nervously await their fate

Very interesting, and under normal circumstances this link would have made a decent FPP on its own. I don't know what I would have wanted done with these hapless mercenaries had I been a Libyan.
posted by iati at 11:46 PM on February 27, 2011


Washington Post article on Radio Free Libya.
posted by nangar at 12:46 AM on February 28, 2011


Mouin Rabbani: With the 42-year reign of Libya’s Muammar Qaddafi coming to a seemingly inevitable end, it is worth reflecting on the significance and regional implications of his ouster.
(via).
posted by adamvasco at 2:13 AM on February 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


Europe Tries to Reconcile Libya Criticism with Booming Arms Exports. The Arms embargo is halting the boom for Defense contractors.
UK Telegraph has more.
posted by adamvasco at 3:26 AM on February 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


All the prosecutions should take place in Libya anyway, both of Gaddafi loyalists and mercenaries. It's their revolution, not the U.N.'s.

In time, we may uncover mercenary recruiters abroad who never themselves voyaged to Libya, but nevertheless knew they were recruiting for crimes against humanity. Ideally, such recruiters should be extradited to Libya too, assuming Libya established reasonable judicial process, the person can be caught outside their own country, etc. The ICC should get involve only when the person cannot be extradited to Libya and their own country doesn't prosecute them.
posted by jeffburdges at 4:18 AM on February 28, 2011


The Guardian: Opposition forces in Misrata shot down military plane trying to bomb the city's opposition-controlled radio station. Pro-Qaddafi forces trying to retake air base.

Jadaliyya: Update from Benghazi: Inside Information on the Opposition Movement
posted by nangar at 4:41 AM on February 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Guardian reports from western Libya: Libya's Berbers join the revolution
posted by nangar at 5:38 AM on February 28, 2011


Libyan leader vows to hang on to power. . . the world according to Hong Kong / Taiwan's Next Media Animation
posted by Mister Bijou at 7:02 AM on February 28, 2011


Pretty strong speech by Clinton at the Human Rights Council. It sounds like it's sunk in that the world is changing.

(Yeah, she took some time to reiterate the US's anti-Iran and pro-Israel positions, but still.)
posted by nangar at 7:11 AM on February 28, 2011


(Yeah, she took some time to reiterate the US's anti-Iran and pro-Israel positions, but still.)

Should she not be anti-Iran?
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 7:15 AM on February 28, 2011


Should she not be anti-Iran?

I don't disagree with what she said about Iran (or Israel) in the speech. But I thought it weakened her speech to work in the usual US policy grudges in the region while criticizing other countries on the council for basing on their own position on the council more on their relationships with the countries in question than the human rights.

Maybe if she'd mentioned Iran's hypocrisy, but hadn't gone on so long about it, it wouldn't have bothered me. (Or if she had mentioned other countries in the same vein - though I can understand why she didn't.)

On the whole though, I was pretty impressed.
posted by nangar at 7:35 AM on February 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


One can hope, perhaps naively, that as other countries in the region move towards better governments then Israel and Iran become irrelevant as far as geopolitical strategy goes.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:48 AM on February 28, 2011


It's thirdhand information, but a friend with family in Tripoli just told me that Gaddhafi's goons are knocking on doors there and handing weapons to any men they find. They're told that if they refuse, their entire family will be executed.
posted by peppermind at 7:51 AM on February 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's thirdhand information, but a friend with family in Tripoli just told me that Gaddhafi's goons are knocking on doors there and handing weapons to any men they find. They're told that if they refuse, their entire family will be executed.

Seems like a strategy that could backfire...
posted by EndsOfInvention at 8:39 AM on February 28, 2011


SecState Clinton is speaking live from Geneva now (on AJE).
posted by Burhanistan at 8:45 AM on February 28, 2011


Clinton dropped an "all options are on the table" quip, and indicated that NATO would be moving naval assets in the area to possibly enforce a no-fly zone.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:55 AM on February 28, 2011


Clinton dropped an "all options are on the table" quip, and indicated that NATO would be moving naval assets in the area to possibly enforce a no-fly zone.

Well, it's convenient that NATO was about to start the regularly scheduled naval exercise "Noble Mariner" in the Med involving a similar scenario.
posted by Skeptic at 9:06 AM on February 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


regularly scheduled naval exercise "Noble Mariner" in the Med

Who comes up with these names...
posted by Dragonness at 9:13 AM on February 28, 2011


Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi tells the BBC he is loved by all his people and denies there have been any protests in the capital, Tripoli.

He's reaching almost Iraqi-Information-Minister-like levels of hilarious self-delusion at this point. Just wish that everything else he was doing was also hilarious, as opposed to terrifying and tragic.

On that note, a quote from the article which could easily be interpreted in two very different ways: "Col Gaddafi said that his people would die to protect him."
posted by ZsigE at 10:17 AM on February 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Aljazeera is interesting... A newsreader with a lisp.
posted by Catfry at 10:51 AM on February 28, 2011


Al Jazeera is pretty effortlessly multicultural, it's impressive.
posted by Kattullus at 11:00 AM on February 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


regularly scheduled naval exercise "Noble Mariner" in the Med

Who comes up with these names...


The Art of Naming Military Operations
posted by empath at 11:01 AM on February 28, 2011 [5 favorites]


>The Art of Naming Military Operations

Wow, still reading. Thank you. Here's why I love this place!
posted by Dragonness at 11:29 AM on February 28, 2011


And you didn't even need to waste an ask me question.
posted by empath at 11:46 AM on February 28, 2011


On that note, a quote from the article which could easily be interpreted in two very different ways: "Col Gaddafi said that his people would die to protect him."

#Gaddafi says, Libyans love and ready to die for him, apparently he is ready to kill all of us to prove we have died for him!
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 12:30 PM on February 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Who said it: Charlie Sheen or Muamar Gaddafi?

posted by Burhanistan at 12:33 PM on February 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Meanwhile in Saudi Arabia there was a statement titled “Toward the State of Rights and Institutions,” and it was signed initially by more than 1500 people, including prominent names such as Sheikh Salman al-Auda. Another statement came out around the same time by a group that became known as the “Feb. 23 Youth”. The signatories list is mainly made up of journalists and cyber activists.
posted by adamvasco at 12:52 PM on February 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


AJA has all the good rhetoric.
get ready folks, the push is coming.
posted by clavdivs at 2:03 PM on February 28, 2011


Nelly Furtado to Give Away Qaddafi Million
posted by Burhanistan at 2:06 PM on February 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Heard two things on NPR today that struck me:

(1) I had wondered why the pilot who ejected rather than bomb civilians ejected, as opposed to flying somewhere to defect, or landing in rebel-controlled territory.

It's because when he refused the order, his co-pilot put a gun to his head.

(2) A reporter said he encountered a group of people effusively praising Gaddafi, kissing his picture, going all out to show the reporter how much they loved Gaddafi. The crowd eventually drifted away, leaving just the reporter and one of the Gaddafi-praisers. At that point, the reporter said, "You know, there are reports that they're killing people in other towns. And I think that maybe they're paying you to pretend that you like Gaddafi."

The response: "Yes. But know this, sir: We will get our freedom."
posted by Flunkie at 3:50 PM on February 28, 2011 [8 favorites]


UN Watch reports that Libya will be suspended from the UN Human Rights Council. The Council has always been a bad joke; I suppose this acknowledgment is good in a way, but it just highlights the other countries that remain on the Council.

The funny thing is that the UNHRC is still set to adopt a less-than-critical report on the state of human rights in Libya under Gaddafi (a href="http://blog.unwatch.org/index.php/2011/02/28/hall-of-shame-un-human-rights-council-to-adopt-report-praising-gaddafi-regime/">points this out out.

The "interactive dialogue" part of the report itself (starting on page 6 of the pdf) is interesting reading. Most of the forty-four countries whose delegates contributed to the "dialogue" were embarrassingly supportive, and some - like the UK and Canada - were embarrassingly neutral.

In contrast, here are the countries which deserve to be singled out for their frankness:
Switzerland noted that hundreds of peoples were under administrative detention in the country, despite having been acquitted by the court or having already served their sentence. Courts continued to pronounce death sentences and inflict corporal punishment, including whipping and amputation.

Australia remained concerned over restrictions on freedom of assembly and expression; the detention of political prisoners; limited rights to fair trial under the new State Security court; enforced disappearances; deaths in custody; discrimination towards minorities; lack of legal protections against domestic violence; and the application of the death penalty.

The Czech Republic remained concerned that the death penalty could be applied even to offences that could not necessarily be characterized as the most serious crimes. It
also remained concerned that corporal punishment, including amputation and flogging, was prescribed by law.

Israel noted that The Libyan Arab Jamahiriya should live up to the membership standards set forth in General Assembly resolution 60/251 and serve as a model in the protection of human rights; while, in reality, its membership in the Council served to cover the ongoing systemic suppression, in law and in practice, of fundamental rights and freedoms.

France referred to the situation of refugees; allegations concerning arbitrary detention, torture, ill treatment and enforced disappearance; the death penalty, which remained in force for a large number of crimes; the absence of non-governmental organizations with expertise in the field of human rights; and the severe restrictions on freedom of expression and association.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:18 PM on February 28, 2011


Show me a country with a perfect human rights record and I'll show you a small and rather unimportant country blessed in its neighbors and fortunate in its supply of natural resources; shangri-la, perhaps. Or in other words, of course the human rights council is a joke; like the rest of the UN mostly what it exists for is to say "tsk" rather sternly, and it has a tough time managing even that. Tsking has its uses, if the object of your censure or their allies has cause to bow to shame. But the shameless - the Mugabes and ghaddafis of the world - will forever be beyond its reach.
posted by Diablevert at 5:27 PM on February 28, 2011


Diablevert, I can show you lots of countries that don't prescribe amputation as a punishment; ones in which people don't disappear; ones in which people have the right to a civilian trial and appeal from unjust verdicts. You might call this "tsking" but I would say it's about establishing norms of national behavior. And if "the Mugabes and ghaddafis of the world" aren't concerned about this sort of criticism then why do they exclude human rights NGOs and fight to control bodies like the UNHRC?
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:58 PM on February 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


I call it mere tsking because it lacks enforcement mechanisms. And I agree that creating norms can be useful and beneficial; tsk away, by god. But enforcing norms is entirely another matter, one the UNHRC is unequipped to handle unless the country is weak and lacks powerful friends. Even the weak, if sufficiently unconcerned about international reputation, may defy it with little consequence. If the international community actually gets its shit together to do something more concrete than calling upon Gaddafi to step down and freezing his assets, it will be a unique and interesting development. But it certainly yet remains an open question whether it will; as you can see, you can be a universally loathed dictator who's openly massacring your own people and still have it be a bit iffy whether you've lost enough friends on the security council for the UN to take action. But it was ever thus. I'm only surprised that you should think it unusual or unexpected.
posted by Diablevert at 6:51 PM on February 28, 2011


France seems to be calling for a no-fly zone. The US Navy is moving a carrier, and the mighty Kearsage.

Also, some of that "tsking" can be very dangerous, just ask these guys.
posted by vrakatar at 7:05 PM on February 28, 2011


SARGE!
posted by vrakatar at 7:10 PM on February 28, 2011


Diablevert: "I'm only surprised that you should think it unusual or unexpected."

Diablevert, I can only assume you haven't been following Joe's interest in the unrest in the Arab world on this site. He has been *highly* passionate about it here. It's very odd to read you as taking him to task for being overly blasé about the sluggish and confused international response to the situation. In my experience that is clearly something that he is not.

I would also note that perhaps this may be a case of furious agreement, and encourage you to take a quick look at Joe's posting history of late.
posted by mwhybark at 7:10 PM on February 28, 2011


The World Oil Politics of the Libyan Revolt
posted by homunculus at 7:28 PM on February 28, 2011


the plot thickens (perhaps): Via The Guardian:
"11.38am: On Flightradar.com there is a Afriqiyah Airways Airbus A320-232 (registration 5A-ONK) just over Palermo, on route from Tripoli to Rome Fiumicino.
Afriqiyah Airways is wholly owned by the Libyan government.
Are they still doing scheduled flights?
If not, who is on board?"

To be continued, I guess...
posted by Namlit at 3:49 AM on March 1, 2011


Not hearing much about this anywhere else Libyan opposition rejects U.S. weapons offer.
posted by adamvasco at 6:12 AM on March 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


NO Foreign Intervention
posted by empath at 6:12 AM on March 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


On the other hand there has been calls for a no fly zone from locals
posted by Catfry at 6:13 AM on March 1, 2011


I'm actually pretty impressed by their graphic design skills...
posted by empath at 6:16 AM on March 1, 2011


Earlier I saw footage from Benghazi of a massive rally using a gigantic flag from the old regime which has become the standard for the anti- ghaddafi fraction, and all I could think of was where they had gotten such a flag in so short time. I mean it was gigantic and not improvised sheets but good quality, and surely it wasn't just someone had it lying around in a cellar for decades.
posted by Catfry at 6:21 AM on March 1, 2011


It's very odd to read you as taking him to task for being overly blasé about the sluggish and confused international response to the situation.

I do not find him blasé; I think you have misunderstood me. I am of the opinion that "sluggish and confused" is batting above average for the international community and that expecting anything much better than that is naive give the structure of the institutions and the history and incentives of the members. I think his passion wasted on an unworthy object, in other words.
posted by Diablevert at 6:40 AM on March 1, 2011


Quoting an opposition military leader, Colonel Hamid Belkhair, on the subject of intervention from an article in the Guardian:
"He has been recruiting from Africa and he is massing a big army of mercenaries to the south ... His aim is to cut our supplies and bomb all our weapons. He will use those mercenaries to attack us."

....

"We can accept supplies ... We don't need soldiers."

"We would welcome air force support and any equipment. If we can take hold of Sabah air base ... we can stop the mercenaries coming in and this would be a savage blow to his offensive options. He is only still in power because of his air force."
(I think Sabah is a misspelling of Sabha, a southern oasis still under govt. control.)
posted by nangar at 6:53 AM on March 1, 2011


Earlier I saw footage from Benghazi of a massive rally using a gigantic flag from the old regime which has become the standard for the anti- ghaddafi fraction, and all I could think of was where they had gotten such a flag in so short time. I mean it was gigantic and not improvised sheets but good quality, and surely it wasn't just someone had it lying around in a cellar for decades.

I noticed those as well - those flags would be pretty simple to put together with a few bolts of fabric. I like to imagine the grandmothers of the revolution are busy cranking out giant flags in anti-ghadaffi sewing bees.
posted by davey_darling at 7:02 AM on March 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think Sabah is a misspelling of Sabha, a southern oasis still under govt. control.

Sabha was called Sabah prior to 1988
posted by empath at 7:05 AM on March 1, 2011


It's probably something like that, but it shows a (to me) surprising astuteness on the part of the revolutionaries. If I were in a similar situation I would think of supplies and weapons and medical attention and self preservation. But there seems to also be an awareness that this is also a war of perceptions and "hearts and minds", and I think some surprising amount of competency at this has been shown. The opposition is more resourceful than immediately apparent.
posted by Catfry at 7:12 AM on March 1, 2011


Guardian blog: 3.55pm: Establishing a no-fly zone in Libya would be a "challenging" military operation, a senior US military official said today. General James Mattis, commander of US central command, told the US Senate:

My military opinion is that it would be challenging. You would have to remove air defence capability in order to establish a no-fly zone, so no illusions here. It would be a military operation – it wouldn't be just telling people not to fly airplanes.
posted by msalt at 9:59 AM on March 1, 2011


Right, that's what I've been saying. A no-fly zone is going to have to follow a shock-and-awe-style aerial bombardment, because we aren't going to let any american airmen die from AA fire and SAMs.

I just don't see how bombing the holy hell out of Tripoli and its surrounds is going to advance anyones interests.
posted by empath at 10:02 AM on March 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


> A no-fly zone is going to have to follow a shock-and-awe-style aerial bombardment, because we aren't going to let any american airmen die from AA fire and SAMs.

I doubt you'll be seeing US bombardment if it comes to that. Maybe radar seeking air to ground missiles and such. But the Libyan airforce is kind of shitty. The presence of a US carrier in range is probably enough to keep it grounded, and at any rate F-18s can engage all of their planes at much further distances than they can. I'm not trying to be gungho USA here, but there's not going to be much competition if it comes to that, which it probably will not.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:07 AM on March 1, 2011


The arguments as I heard them via Aljazeera from Libyan sources was that a no fly zone would prevent bombings of them, but also it would prevent using helicopters for ferrying in mercenaries.
posted by Catfry at 10:08 AM on March 1, 2011


Ban Ki Moon has been really outspoken -- this is kind of unprecedented for a Secretary General, isn't it?

The winds of change are sweeping the Middle East and North Africa. People are demanding human rights and freedoms. It is our collective reponsibility to stand for human rights.
posted by empath at 1:16 PM on March 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


If Only McCain Were President ...
posted by homunculus at 1:18 PM on March 1, 2011


Christ, I don't even want to think about it.

We'd probably have bombed the Tahrir square and invaded Libya by now.
posted by empath at 1:20 PM on March 1, 2011


You know, I think most of us would be a bit more content in our day-to-day if we thought more about the FIERY GLOBE OF DOOMED HUMANITY that would be ours if McCain were prez.

Or wait -- oh God. No he wouldn't be president because the stresswouldhavekilledhimandthenPalinand

/forgets to breathe, dies
posted by angrycat at 3:54 PM on March 1, 2011


stresswouldhavekilledhimandthenPalinand

/forgets to breathe, dies


Dead because of a misfiring Palindrome. Try again.
posted by Namlit at 3:59 PM on March 1, 2011


Empath wrote: I'm actually pretty impressed by their graphic design skills...

I know, right? The weird thing is that I've seen the same style on banners in Australia and the UK. Was the style brought to Libya by students from abroad, or is it some sort of global meme? And check out the huge graffiti shown about 2/3 of the way down this article. Where did they practice this?
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:11 PM on March 1, 2011


Re: the anti-Ghaddafi forces use of the old pre-1969 flag: does anyone have any idea if this indicates a desire to return to the old monarchy? Or is it being used merely as a national no-Ghaddafi rallying point?

(After a little checking around, the great-nephew of the king Ghaddafi overthrew, King Idris, is alive and in his early 40s. The old king had no surviving children, he named his nephew as his heir; Ghaddafi held that nephew under 'house arrest' until his death, but the nephew's son is alive and well and apparently in Lebanon or Syria.)
posted by easily confused at 3:32 AM on March 2, 2011


Al Jazeera had an interview with the nephew's son, Muhammed al Senussi. He didn't sound very gung-ho about restoring the monarchy. Asked directly about it, he replied, "That's for the Libyan people to decide," and changed the subject.

Wikipedia says this about the flags design:
The design was based on the banner of the Senussi dynasty from Cyrenaica, which consisted of a black field and crescent-and-star design, and was later used as the flag of the region. The red represented the region of Fezzan, while the green came from the banner of Tripolitania.
posted by nangar at 6:06 AM on March 2, 2011


Guardian: Gaddafi I knew, by Kate Adie
posted by Dragonness at 10:19 AM on March 2, 2011


European arms sales to Libya,. Not just arms but training.
posted by adamvasco at 10:22 AM on March 2, 2011


"If it's ordered, we can do it, but the reality is, and people -- there's a lot of frankly loose talk about some of these military options and let's just call a spade a spade. A no-fly zone begins with an attack on Libya to destroy the air defenses, that's the way you do a no-fly zone, and then you can fly planes around the country and not worry about our guys being shot down. But that's the way it starts."
Defense Secretary Bob Gates.
posted by empath at 10:35 AM on March 2, 2011


Meanwhile, in Iraq: U.S. Silent on Deadly Iraqi Gov’t Crackdown on Protests; 300 Arrested in Sweeps Targeting Dissidents
posted by homunculus at 10:48 AM on March 2, 2011


Obama should get us the fuck out of Iraq like, now. Like I know we're almost out, but like we need to be all the way out.
posted by empath at 11:16 AM on March 2, 2011


well, that's a nice little epilogue to the Iraq fiasco. Jesus.
posted by angrycat at 12:23 PM on March 2, 2011


> Obama should get us the fuck out of Iraq like, now. Like I know we're almost out, but like we need to be all the way out.

Not going to happen. Not at all. There will be bases there for as long as the current two party system is in place here in the US.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:26 PM on March 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Can someone suggest good Arabic-language websites for coverage of the Libyan situation?
posted by Dragonness at 1:18 PM on March 2, 2011


aljazeera.net
posted by empath at 1:21 PM on March 2, 2011


Thanks. I know that one and the Guardian's Arabic blog. Any others would be great...
posted by Dragonness at 1:31 PM on March 2, 2011


Dragoness, have you seen Baraq Network's Youtube channel?
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:51 PM on March 2, 2011


Wow - I just checked out one of the videos there that you absolutely must watch. Give it about 45 seconds and then wait for the chants of FREEDOM! FREEDOM and the songs. It's a whole bunch of Libyans burning Gaddafi's Green Book and the pride and jubilation in their voices stirs even a bitter old cynic like me.
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:59 PM on March 2, 2011


I know, right? The weird thing is that I've seen the same style on banners in Australia and the UK. Was the style brought to Libya by students from abroad, or is it some sort of global meme? And check out the huge graffiti shown about 2/3 of the way down this article. Where did they practice this?

Citizens of the internet, eh? It's kind of a giveaway when some protesters were also doing 4chan memes.
posted by jaduncan at 3:11 PM on March 2, 2011


Are you sure they're saying "Freedom"? I mean, their chant does sound like it, but why would they be chanting in English? Not trying to be cynical here, just asking a question.
posted by Asparagirl at 3:13 PM on March 2, 2011


Can we get a countdown clock for the first time a protest image appears that is some variation of "Uh, WINNING"?
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 3:19 PM on March 2, 2011


Asparagirl: not totally sure, no. And why chant it in English ... uh ... well, they were chanting "Libya" in English ...
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:43 PM on March 2, 2011


Thanks, Joe.

Btw, "Libya" is the same in both English and Arabic.
posted by Dragonness at 5:02 PM on March 2, 2011


> chants of FREEDOM! FREEDOM

I hear "Libya, Libya, Libya!" And then "Hamdullillah, hamdullillah" (thank God, thank God) over and over, in unison. It's very moving.
posted by Dragonness at 6:46 PM on March 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


If we do decide to enforce a No Fly Zone, we're basically picking a side & making sure they win. The only difference between that & a full-on invasion is a matter of how much of our own resources & manpower we put at risk. Either way we end up with a significant responsibility for the nation that emerges at the end of the process. I'm fine with rooting for a side from the sidelines but a little voice in the back of my head keeps echoing Colin Powell's words at the beginning of Iraq: "You break it, you buy it". How many client states in the region do we really need?
posted by scalefree at 7:13 PM on March 2, 2011


Al Jazeera had an interview with the nephew's son, Muhammed al Senussi. He didn't sound very gung-ho about restoring the monarchy. Asked directly about it, he replied, "That's for the Libyan people to decide," and changed the subject.

I'm not much of a fan of monarchy, but a suitably constitutional neutered monarchy could have benefits, a la Spain.
posted by rodgerd at 9:53 PM on March 2, 2011


what a monarchy offers is stability, and I think it's a constitutional monarchy is preferable than a straight jump to democracy, if the monarch has any legitimacy at all. I'm not sure that Libya's 'royal family' has much legitimacy, though, since it only reigned for about 100 years.
posted by empath at 10:12 PM on March 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I don't think Libya will end up installing them as royalty again, though expect that they will move back to the country and become something of an emeritus status where people respect and expect things from them without any official placement. There will be some overtly monarchist parties, I'm sure of though.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 10:42 PM on March 2, 2011


I hear "Libya, Libya, Libya!" And then "Hamdullillah, hamdullillah" (thank God, thank God) over and over, in unison.

The books are set on fire (never thought I'd support book-burners) at 1:00 and there's this incredible roar from the crowd. At about 1:10 I think they're chanting LIBYA! FREEDOM! At about 1:25 the chant changes to the song Libya - Libya - Libya ... Ohhohhh-ohhohhh and then Hamdullillah with the same tune.

It's very moving.

Oh yes.
posted by Joe in Australia at 10:44 PM on March 2, 2011


Idris was the first and only king of Libya, from 1951 to the revolt of 1969; while that doesn't leave a solid historical basis to return Libya to a monarchy with Muhammed al Senussi as the new king, at least the Senussi seem to have a solid *moral* force behind them: Idris's grandfather was the founder of the highly-respected Senussi Muslim order, followed by Idris's father, cousin and then Idris himself in 1916, which appears to be why he was named king in 1951 in the first place.

So, even without a return to monarchy, yes, I think Muhammed al Senussi could be accepted as Lord Chancelor said, in an emeritus status and 'elder statesman' sort of voice.
posted by easily confused at 6:53 AM on March 3, 2011


Not going to happen. Not at all. There will be bases there for as long as the current two party system is in place here in the US.

could you expand on this very exciting idea.
posted by clavdivs at 8:21 AM on March 3, 2011


never thought I'd support book-burners

If you've been to Libya you'll know how ubiquiotous the Green Book is and what a powerful symbol of oppression it is to the people there. It's absolute drivel too.
posted by Dragonness at 9:01 AM on March 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


what a monarchy offers is stability, and I think it's a constitutional monarchy is preferable than a straight jump to democracy, if the monarch has any legitimacy at all.

This may be incidental, but: whether a place is a monarchy and/or democracy are almost totally independent. The former determines who can be head of state and the latter determines to what degree government represents popular will. Japan is a constitutional monarchy and its government isn't exactly stable even if the Emperor-as-symbol is.
posted by kittyprecious at 9:30 AM on March 3, 2011


NOS Nieuws here in the Netherlands has just shown footage from Libyan state TV purportedly showing the three captured Dutch marines and their Lynx helicopter.

As the marines' firearms were shown, a female voice-over cast doubt on the notion that the marines were conducting a rescue operation, and stated that their entering Libyan airspace without official permission was a violation of international law. [Paraphrased, translation mine.]

The clip, shown at the top of the hour, should show up here some time soon:
http://beta.uitzendinggemist.nl/programmas/51-nos-journaal-20-00
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 11:17 AM on March 3, 2011


Six things to consider before imposing a No Fly Zone
posted by empath at 4:21 PM on March 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Seriously underestimated Col. G. always have. The limited air strikes, media blackout, and murdering mercs would by time to re-group but it is a fatal move, even with G junior digging in with his PR campaign. I did not think he would go that route. I would have thought he would have had the will to face his people in a away that could assure that relative events would not get tactical. He has faced down just about everyone on the world stage yet could not stand and explain himself to a majority of his people.
Simple fact, to provide no-fly, you need to attack anti-air capabilities on the ground. The U.N. and African Union would seem the logical choice if the world intervenes on a really significant scale. Having looked at what his forces are at this time, a real push is up to the opposition. Limited military advise (essentially re-forming a professional force) and no-fly at this point would help, with out it, this could be weeks to a month and that cannot happen with Col. G getting stronger through cash, drugs, and fear. One aspect I see as positve is who ever helps does so to strict accordance with the peoples wish and to expect nothing in return. If down in the open and honest, A “thank you”, and “your welcome” would be a refreshing truth.
posted by clavdivs at 4:16 AM on March 5, 2011


More on the Monitor Group's PR efforts:
From Libya With Love
How a US consulting firm used American academics to rehab Muammar Qaddafi’s image.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:59 AM on March 5, 2011


More on the Monitor Group's PR efforts...

"But by far the most revolting element of Col. Gadhafi’s rehabilitation was the suck-up of the intellectuals."
posted by ericb at 6:46 AM on March 5, 2011


Most people seem to have drifted in their attention. At the risk of telling you folks things you already know, there are some pretty compelling developments:
-- Gadaffi forces routinely executing the wounded in ambulances and hospitals, then dragging away the bodies to keep the toll out of site
-- epic battle for Zawiyah, with massive pro-Gadaffi forces including his best troops (the Khamis brigade), mercenaries, tanks and heavy weapons surrounding and pounding the town. They penetrated to the central square but somehow the rebels drove them back and have managed to maintain at least some control of the town, despite indiscriminate shelling, bombing and attacks on civilians and rebel troops alike
- After a failed attack on Brega in the east, a rebel counter-offensive heading west along the coast has taken Ras Lanuf (where many Gadaffi troops defected) and now Bin Jawad, which is halfway between Ras Lanuf and Gadaffi's second stronghold, Sirte.
- In Sirte itself, reports of Gadaffi infighting as one tribe refused demands to go fight in Ras Lanuf and has begun fighting the rest of Gadaffi's forces.
posted by msalt at 10:04 AM on March 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


Libya removes itself from the net: As fighting inside the country intensifies, Libya's links to the net appear to have been completely severed.
posted by homunculus at 10:50 AM on March 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


From NPR:
In a phone interview, Juma'a al-Fardawi, a policeman in Sirte, said there were rumors that 20 army officers were killed for refusing to fire on the rebels in the battle for Ras Lanuf.

He said the people in the community are divided and afraid.

"The tribes in Sirte do not want to fight with the rebels. People have barricaded themselves in their homes," he said.
posted by nangar at 2:08 PM on March 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


U.S. Wavers on 'Regime Change'
the Obama administration is settling on a Middle East strategy: help keep longtime allies who are willing to reform in power, even if that means the full democratic demands of their newly emboldened citizens might have to wait.
Britain seizes Libya-bound ship carrying £100m cash
A cargo ship carrying £100m worth of Libyan currency destined for Colonel Gaddafi's regime was escorted into a British port and the money seized after officials warned the vessel's owners that the cash was the subject of United Nations sanctions.

This is trivial in the scope of things, but I think it's worth remembering how crass and petty dictators really are:
Gaddafi son's LSE thesis 'written by Libyan academic'
Dr Menesi, who was then retired, was brought back to active service as a government bank chairman in Libya, then governor to the Central Bank in Libya, then minister of finance, and finally Libya's ambassador to Austria."
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:19 PM on March 5, 2011


Cambridge firm, Harvard profs put cash before conscience.
posted by ericb at 3:41 AM on March 6, 2011


According to the Guardian a Brittish diplomatic team is in Benghazi to meet with Lybian rebel leaders. The special forces unit that accompanied them was detained by the rebels.

(I think they were serious about the 'no ground troops' thing.)

A bit more here:

"... For our safety we are holding them and we expect this situation to be resolved soon," said the source in rebel-held Benghazi. "They are safe and in good hands. We do not know why they (British government) did not get in touch first or (detail) the purpose of their mission."
posted by nangar at 8:19 AM on March 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


I am shocked and surprised to learn that British spies would be carrying false passports. Do they not realise that this is against every international convention? Previously.
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:15 PM on March 6, 2011


(Wrong country, but) Zeinobia blogs about what Egyptian protesters found at the State Security building in Nasr City.
posted by nangar at 4:17 PM on March 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


FWIW, there's a bit of difference between carrying faked passports (SOP for international spy missions, I imagine) and carrying passports stolen from citizens of another country. And indeed, the rebels even cite the (right fucked) Israeli-Dubai incident in their comments: "They say they're British nationals and some of the passports they have are British. But the Israelis used British passports to kill that man in Dubai last year."
posted by kaibutsu at 4:43 PM on March 7, 2011


Kaibatsu, we don't know anything at all about the SAS's passports. We don't have any basis for speculating that they acquired them in any way that was more honest that the Israeli technique of "look over there while Sharon takes a photocopy for security reasons." And, frankly, I can't imagine any significant moral difference if they had. They're lucky that the Libyan rebels want Britain's support: the usual punishment for spies during wartime is execution.
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:03 PM on March 7, 2011


Apparently Richard Northern, the British Ambassador to Libya, phoned the rebels from Tripoli and asked about about the SAS troops that had been captured with "bags containing weapons, reconnaissance equipment, and multiple passports". As it happens, the call was intercepted and broadcast on Libyan TV. Apparently he had not considered the possibility that Gadaffi might wish to listen-in on a private discussion between Her Majesty's representative in Libya and the leaders of a rebel army. Anyway, here's his explanation for landing a heicopter of highly-trained armed men in a helicopter, at night, in a rebel area:
we sent a small group just to find if there was a hotel, if everything was working, and there was somewhere they could stay and work when we get our group organised.
So it's all clear now. They were travel agents.
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:47 PM on March 7, 2011


the usual punishment for spies during wartime is execution.

True, but spies really carry diplomats in thier repertoire.
posted by clavdivs at 9:08 PM on March 7, 2011


rarely not really.
posted by clavdivs at 9:09 PM on March 7, 2011


You know, the British government is quite capable of printing off whole piles of false British passports, exactly because they own the presses. The fucked upped part of stealing old Mrs Henry's Canadian passport for use by Israeli assassins is that it is very easy to imagine a situation in which Mrs Henry is subsequently identified, arrested, or even executed as an assassin or spy herself, perhaps otherwise setting off an international situation between Dubai and Canada.

You're right; we don't know how the fake SAS passports were created. As such, your comparison to the Israeli assassin debacle is a false equivalence. You intended it to reduce the blame on the Israelis in that situation, which has no relation or bearing on the revolution in Libya. The claim simply doesn't follow.
posted by kaibutsu at 11:11 PM on March 7, 2011


Kaibatsu wrote: You know, the British government is quite capable of printing off whole piles of false British passports, exactly because they own the presses.

The British spies were reportedly "carrying "passports from at least four different nationalities". This being Britain, I suppose it's possible that the nationalities were English, Irish, Scottish and Welsh. Do you wish to try this line of argument or concede the point?

your comparison to the Israeli assassin debacle is a false equivalence. You intended it to reduce the blame on the Israelis in that situation

O noes, I haz been rumbled, must returnz my star 2 Eldrz ov Zyonz.

Do you think anyone actually cares about the Israeli assassination debacle when we have the far more current and amusing British spy debacle to laugh at? I only raised it because the hypocrisy makes the whole thing even funnier. The British newspapers are having a great time of it, pointing out that the SAS troops surrendered after a single shot was fired into the air and that in any event there's a British battleship parked a couple of miles offshore from the rebel base - they could have rowed there! The whole amazing mess is one of the few lighthearted moments of a few very grim weeks.
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:33 AM on March 8, 2011


Libya denies Gadhafi seeking deal to flee country -- "The Libyan government vehemently disputes an opposition leader's claims that Moammar Gadhafi is seeking an exit deal, calling the report a lie."
posted by ericb at 7:20 AM on March 8, 2011


The Libyan Transitional National Council has a website. (via The Guardian)
posted by nangar at 8:41 AM on March 8, 2011


More on The Monitor Group:
Monitor Group planned training for Khadafy’s security apparatus in Libya.
posted by ericb at 10:21 AM on March 8, 2011


How Some Western Academics Have Succumbed to the Power of the Cheque Book.
posted by ericb at 10:23 AM on March 8, 2011


Short CNN clip on the manufacturing of the revolution flags
posted by davey_darling at 2:50 PM on March 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


Hey thanks! Someone else than me did wonder about it then.
posted by Catfry at 3:30 PM on March 8, 2011


Gaddafi threatens armed resistance against no-fly zone
posted by homunculus at 12:05 PM on March 9, 2011


White House working to stop flow of mercenaries into Libya
posted by adamvasco at 12:58 PM on March 9, 2011


Here's an excerpt from Adamvasco's link that should terrify Gadaffi:
On Tuesday, the White House sent out a read out of Obama's call with British Prime Minister David Cameron that maintained planning was going forward on several options for intervention in Libya.

"The President and the Prime Minister agreed to press forward with planning, including at NATO, on the full spectrum of possible responses, including surveillance, humanitarian assistance, enforcement of the arms embargo, and a no fly zone," the readout said.
Tremble in your day-glo Naugahyde boots, slayer of millions! Cower in your camel-skin tent, ravisher of virgins! President Obama has spoken to someone on the phone! Yea, tremble and weep, for they have decided to start planning a response! The planning may even include a decision to use surveillance!
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:15 PM on March 9, 2011


Gaddafi forces beat up BBC team
posted by homunculus at 9:49 PM on March 9, 2011


James Clapper says Libya's Muammar Gaddafi will prevail
The US national intelligence director has predicted embattled Libyan leader Col Muammar Gaddafi will defeat the rebels challenging his grip on power.

James Clapper told the US Senate that Col Gaddafi's superior military force would prevail over the long term.

And Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the US would not act in Libya without international authorisation.

Meanwhile, Libyan rebels are fleeing the port of Ras Lanuf after sustained attacks by Col Gaddafi's force ....
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:25 PM on March 10, 2011


George F. Will on why NOT to intervene in Libya and Ross Douthat's response
posted by carmina at 5:14 PM on March 10, 2011


Al Jazeera cameraman killed in ambush outside Benghazi.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 11:31 AM on March 12, 2011


Benghazi's rebels know it is now them or Gaddafi: Dream of freedom threatened by advancing government forces, the city's people recognise the price they could pay for revolution
posted by homunculus at 2:34 PM on March 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Battle for Libya
posted by homunculus at 7:26 PM on March 12, 2011


Tremble in your day-glo Naugahyde boots, slayer of millions! Cower in your camel-skin tent, ravisher of virgins! President Obama has spoken to someone on the phone! Yea, tremble and weep, for they have decided to start planning a response! The planning may even include a decision to use surveillance!

Where are Australia's carriers? Do you have some Special Forces guys that could take this guy out? No? Okay, then stop demanding that Americans die and kill in yet another Arab country. We've done enough. We've done more than enough.

In fact. Nothing is stopping any of you from taking a plane to Cairo and hopping the border. Lots of idealistic and brave men throughout history of taken up arms in foreign revolutions. The great thing about civil wars is that there's no authority to tell you that you can't fight.

Go.

But leave us out of it.
posted by empath at 7:51 PM on March 12, 2011


Gaddafi forces rout rebels in eastern Libya: Rebels driven out of town of Brega under heavy bombardment as pro-regime forces advance towards Benghazi
posted by homunculus at 9:06 AM on March 13, 2011


From Homunculus's link:
The Obama administration has so far blocked British and French moves to impose a no-fly zone over Libya to curtail Gaddafi's attacks on rebel forces and civilians. One stated reason for its reluctance is concern that the US has little first-hand knowledge of the embattled rebel groups, which have been asking for western military assistance with increasing urgency in recent days.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:49 PM on March 13, 2011


Traditional US "better the devil we know" logic, what a surprise.

I have mixed feelings about Obama, on the one hand he's proving my MA thesis correct, on the other hand, he's being a traditional US President.
posted by knapah at 5:26 AM on March 14, 2011


Qaddafi threatens to Join al-Qaeda as his Forces advance on Rebel Strongholds
posted by homunculus at 9:11 AM on March 15, 2011


Wait, I thought the leaders of the revolt were Al Qaeda? Damn, that guy is crazy and needs to be dead on a meathook yesterday.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:22 AM on March 15, 2011


from libyafeb17.com: 16:16 Al Jazeera Arabic: News that the Free Libyan Airforce have destroyed and sunk 2 Gaddafi warships and hit a third off the coast of Ajdabiya and Benghazi

Is anyone seeing stories anywhere else of the rebels taking to the air? Could be a huge morale booster/game changer there.
posted by davey_darling at 10:55 AM on March 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


Holy crap, more from libyafeb17.com:

20:32 BREAKING BREAKING from Almanara Media The huge fire that has erupted inside Baab Al Aziziyah was due to a martyr mission using a fighter jet to crash into the compound

20:03 BREAKING – Almanara Media confirms the following:

1. Al Gurdabiyya airbase near Sirt has been subject to air strikes by the defected Free Libyan Airforce
2. Shooting and explosions have happened in Baab Al Aziziyah.
3. A big fire has erupted inside Baab Al Aziziyah
4. The defected Free Libyan airforce has bombarded three Gaddafi military convoys headed to the east
5. Demonstrations have broken out in Girgarish, Tripoli
posted by davey_darling at 11:47 AM on March 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


Isn't the Baab Al Aziziyah Gadaffi's ultimate bunker base in the heart of Tripoli?
posted by msalt at 1:15 PM on March 15, 2011


20:03 BREAKING – Almanara Media confirms the following:...

FUCK YES.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 1:21 PM on March 15, 2011


I wouldn't get too excited -- Al Jazeera mentions the report of the ship attack in a live blog entry but does not confirm it, or mention it in their main news story. They say nothing of the Baab Al Aziziyah attack.

They have much more bad news for rebels -- Brega has fallen, Ajdabiya is going back and forth from rebel to government control, and China is apparently vetoing a no-fly zone in the United Nations (no doubt thinking they'll own Gadaffi and his oil if he survives.)
posted by msalt at 1:28 PM on March 15, 2011


FUCK YES.

Yeah, people dying is the best thing.
posted by empath at 2:11 PM on March 15, 2011


They have much more bad news for rebels -- Brega has fallen, Ajdabiya is going back and forth from rebel to government control, and China is apparently vetoing a no-fly zone in the United Nations (no doubt thinking they'll own Gadaffi and his oil if he survives.)

I cheered too soon I guess.

Yeah, people dying is the best thing.

It's a fucking war now. So yes, I do think it's a good thing that some of the soldiers who are propping up an insane autocrat are dying. It's not ideal—and I'd love it if everybody defected all at once and they booted Gadaffi to england or belgium or whatever—but that's not going to happen.

Honestly, I was mostly just excited about the "Free Libyan Airforce". I didn't know about that yet. I was optimistic for the rebels is all.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 3:30 PM on March 15, 2011


It'll be just like shooting womp rats back home...
posted by kaibutsu at 8:06 PM on March 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah, people dying is the best thing.

Your sarcastic moral equivalence is appalling and reprehensible. Do you actually want the Gadaffi regime to prevail, slaughtering untold thousands of innocents? And if not, then what exactly would you prescribe to stop him?
posted by metaplectic at 9:17 PM on March 15, 2011


empath: "Yeah, people dying is the best thing."

Well, I don't like people dying any more than the next guy, but if you've got an evil dictator bringing down heavy reprisals on a country that rebelled against him, the only way you're going to stop him is by killing enough of his forces fast enough that the survivors decide it's not worth it and GTFO.

I don't think they'll be able to reach a nice resolution with Gadaffi at the mediation table, I'll tell you that.
posted by dunkadunc at 3:26 AM on March 16, 2011


Rebels Hold Key Libyan Towns as UN Considers Intervention
posted by homunculus at 8:50 AM on March 17, 2011


Libyan Rebels Maintain Benghazi Media Center to Battle Gadaffi Regime Through the Internet and Airwaves
posted by homunculus at 8:53 AM on March 17, 2011


UN currently drafting legislation authorizing a NFZ and possibly use of force against Libya. Vote to be held at 6PM EST.

I'm presuming that if the resolution passes, we will see an escalation of violence.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 10:15 AM on March 17, 2011


N currently drafting legislation authorizing a NFZ and possibly use of force against Libya. Vote to be held at 6PM EST.

I hope there aren't any american troops contributing to that.
posted by empath at 10:16 AM on March 17, 2011


> I hope there aren't any american troops contributing to that.

There won't be any ground troops. It will be airstrikes on pro-Gaddafi elements, and then regular flyover sorties once his airforce has been grounded and anti-aircraft defenses have been destroyed. If any troops happen to make it on the ground, it would be special forces doing assassinations and such.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:20 AM on March 17, 2011


In response, Libya's Foreign Minister has stated that "Any foreign military act against Libya will expose all air and maritime traffic in the Mediterranean Sea to danger - civilian and military (facilities) will become targets of Libya's counter-attack."
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 10:43 AM on March 17, 2011


Christ, what an asshole. Is he going to go out holding a gun to a baby's head, shouting "I KEEP LIBYA OR THE BABY GETS IT"?

I'm honestly surprised foreign governments don't have any super-deep-cover moles very close to guys like Gaddafi who could arrange for their swift demise.
posted by dunkadunc at 10:50 AM on March 17, 2011


There won't be any ground troops.

I really, really doubt that. A NFZ is an invasion. Don't kid yourself.
posted by empath at 10:52 AM on March 17, 2011


> Don't kid yourself.

Ok, I won't. Try to avoid using inane phrases like as well.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:58 AM on March 17, 2011


What a no fly zone would entail.

It starts with a massive bombing campaign, where we will undoubtedly accidentally drop bombs on innocent civilians.

This is an act of war, for which Libya could very possibly retaliate in unpredictable ways -- terrorist attacks? Bombing naval vessels? I can't imagine we'll start a NFZ without first doing what we can to prevent any kind of retaliation, and I don't think you can completely destroy Qaddafi's ability to carry on fighting with air power alone short of carpet bombing the country back to the stone age.

At the point where American civilians or soldiers are killed, what will then stop the US from demanding a full on invasion in retaliation?

I've said this before, but there is no such thing as a good war. No such things as an easy war. There are only wars which are necessary and those which aren't.

And this one isn't necessary.
posted by empath at 11:12 AM on March 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


I just can't believe that people are already falling for "He is a bad guy who is killing his own people" again.

It's not our job to fix the world. We can't afford it and we're terrible at it.
posted by empath at 11:15 AM on March 17, 2011


But, but, but this time he really is a bad guy!

OK, no, seriously, I see your point. After everything that's happened in Iraq & Afghanistan, I don't believe that the US will get directly involved. Sure, the US might supply intelligence/logistics assets, but I suspect that if any NFZ is created it will be predominately local powers doing it.

...but it's not going to happen. China & Russia won't allow it, the UN vote is just for show so that the West can say "Hey, we gave it a try. Sorry you're all dead. Better luck next time."
posted by aramaic at 11:28 AM on March 17, 2011


Well, shit, y'all. Resolution authorizing military intervention in Libya expected to pass 10-0. I do believe it may time for another FPP, if someone else is so inclined to start one.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 2:09 PM on March 17, 2011


but I suspect that if any NFZ is created it will be predominately local powers doing it.

I hope that's the case.
posted by empath at 2:15 PM on March 17, 2011


I am completely surprised that China & Russia may abstain. Wonder which way Brazil is going to go, then.
posted by aramaic at 2:20 PM on March 17, 2011


Going to war with Libya is my line in the sand with Obama. If we get involved militarily, I'm done. That was literally the only reason I voted for him, that I thought he wouldn't get us involved in another fucking war.
posted by empath at 2:23 PM on March 17, 2011


NPR report just now said it was unclear if the US would be a literal military part of this -- for sure is Britain, France and several Arab countries.

That's wise I think given the US' history in the mid-east. Heck, it it could be all Arab countries with Britain and France providing logistics and backup, so much the better.
posted by msalt at 2:25 PM on March 17, 2011


UNSC passes resolution on no-fly zone. Anyone want to make a new post? This is obviously a major development, and this thread is long and closes in a few days.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 3:38 PM on March 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


empath wrote: "Going to war with Libya is my line in the sand with Obama. If we get involved militarily, I'm done. That was literally the only reason I voted for him, that I thought he wouldn't get us involved in another fucking war."

I dare say that intervening in a civil war where the nominally "good" guys are about to get their asses handed to them in a big way is one of the better uses of our military might. Failing to intervene in the rebellions against Hussein shortly after the 1991 war is a big part of the reason we ended up there in 2003.

There would have been no possible excuse had there been a more..neutral..and less thuggish government there.
posted by wierdo at 3:44 PM on March 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


HUGE celebrations and fireworks in Benghazi right now. France says airstrikes likely to begin within hours, and Guardian reporting that planes will be French, British, American, and Arab.
posted by proj at 4:03 PM on March 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


I rather detest Obama, but props to him if he finds a way to help the good guys when it counts and then GTFO without getting us embroiled in another war ongoing conflict.

The alternative to foreign intervention is the entire city of Benghazi getting slaughtered, but I'm not exactly optimistic. "Smart bombs" aren't.
posted by dunkadunc at 4:09 PM on March 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


Going to war with Libya is my line in the sand with Obama. If we get involved militarily, I'm done. That was literally the only reason I voted for him, that I thought he wouldn't get us involved in another fucking war.

I never understood the view of Obama as some kind of pacifist. He always fairly clearly stated he thought military intervention was legitimate, but that Iraq was the 'wrong' war. This fits nicely in with his intervention doctrine - UN mandated, multilateral (Arab involvement), and with European countries likely taking the lead.

If it works out well, Obama and the US will undoubtedly take the credit - as much as Cameron and Hague in the UK try to bolster the vestiges of Britain's imperial heyday... and if it goes badly, well, the UK and France pushed for it and are likely to be at the forefront of the action.

Practically win win.
posted by knapah at 4:14 PM on March 17, 2011


Oh, smart bombs are pretty smart, but not smart enough to tell good guys from bad guys or go anywhere other than where gravity takes them or their guidance system is told to navigate them to.

So yes, it is highly likely there will be some unintended casualties from any bombing. Hopefully that number can be kept low. And hopefully it's not too late to do any good.
posted by wierdo at 4:15 PM on March 17, 2011


I fully support this.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 4:23 PM on March 17, 2011


finally
posted by Wilder at 5:01 PM on March 17, 2011


I wonder if the events in the Middle East have anything to do with Hilary Clinton's announcement that she won't run in 2012? One of the key elements in her campaign was her claim that she had more foreign experience than Obama - not that that was saying much. Perhaps she wanted to the US to be more active and was feeling stymied, or perhaps she just doesn't want to get blamed for the huge foreign policy void of the past few months.
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:24 PM on March 17, 2011


In light of the recent UN "No Fly Zone" development, Meatbomb has posted a new Libya thread
posted by davey_darling at 7:10 PM on March 17, 2011


I wonder if the events in the Middle East have anything to do with Hilary Clinton's announcement that she won't run in 2012? One of the key elements in her campaign was her claim that she had more foreign experience than Obama - not that that was saying much. Perhaps she wanted to the US to be more active and was feeling stymied, or perhaps she just doesn't want to get blamed for the huge foreign policy void of the past few months.

Or maybe she's just tired of being the point person on foreign policy at a time when it's been one international crisis after another- wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; Mexican drug wars; escalating North Korea tensions; Haiti; north Africa; Japan; Wikileaks. And that's not counting the ongoing political minefield called Israel.
posted by mkultra at 5:43 AM on March 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


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