Monday, February 21, 2011

Libya in Turmoil, is Civil War imminent?

The riots in Ben Ghazi and other Libyan cities have become violent. Gaddafi's security forces have responded with force and brutality. It appears that protesters overran a Cantonment in Ben Ghazi capturing tanks and other military weapons. Ben Ghazi now seems to be in the hands of protesters.

The stark warning on live television by Gaddafi's son yesterday does not bode well for Libya and may in fact lead this (relatively calm - until now) country into civil war.

Gaddafi has ruled the country unchallenged for almost 41 years since he overthrew King Idris in 1969. Contrary to other Arab rulers, Gaddafi does not seem to have amassed wealth in his personal accounts. He has used oil revenues for welfare of his citizens. The poor in Libya may be content and not inclined to riot.

The revolution in Libya is quite different from that in Tunisia and Egypt, where corrupt rulers held sway for a very long time. In Libya, it is matter of freedom and democracy and removing restrictions from a state shackle hold. The middle and educated classes want a proper democracy, freedom of assembly and speech and quite rightly so.

There is a new awakening in the Middle East and NO this is not because of George W. Bush's disastrous war in Iraq, which killed 100,000 Iraqis and 6,000 Americans. Egypt has shown us that regime change can be accomplished without violence provided it is home grown and people are united. There is a new mood in the Middle East and despotic rulers better watch out.

Libya is not Gaddafi's personal fiefdom, he should step down and let an orderly process of change take place. His son's tone was defiant and threatening, promising to unleash the armed forces on the protesters. This may just be a last ditch effort by a dying regime. However, if the armed forces are brought to streets to crush the protesters that could lead to a civil war with horrific consequences.

The Libyan Armed forces should refuse orders to shoot their own people.

Democracy Now reports more deaths

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