Gaddafi Digs in as Libyan Violence Grows
by IPT News • Feb 22, 2011 at 12:00 pm
Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi pledged to "die as a martyr" Tuesday and said he "will fight until the last drop of blood with the people behind me" against the "rats." Gaddafi remained defiant as his country plunged toward civil war. Defecting troops have clashed with pro-government units or fled the country, and the government has lost control of the major eastern cities al-Bayda and Benghazi.
Libya's government is also embattled on the diplomatic front, as dozens of senior Libyan diplomats resigned in response to "massacres" carried out against protesters.
Gaddafi called on the people to take to the streets to stop protesters trying to end his 40-year reign. He also promised to revamp the Libyan government, from the courts to the representative system.
Libya's air force and troops in Tripoli, Libya's capital, have used live fire and shells on civilian protesters, killing hundreds of the tens of thousands of citizens taking to the streets. The order prompted some pilots to fly to neighboring Malta and defect, rather than bomb civilians. Protesters have sacked several state-run media sources, and burned buildings holding the national congress and other people's assemblies.
The move also led to the defection of several Libyan diplomats, including senior figures in the US, EU, India, and the UN. "We are sure that what is going on now in Libya is crimes against humanity and crimes of war," the Libyan deputy permanent representative to the UN, Ibrahim Dabbashi, told reporters. He also called for the imposition of a no-fly zone to stop the violent use of the air force.
The violence became particularly intense following a speech by Seif al-Islam Qaddafi, the son of Muammar Qaddafi, who also threatened the regime would "fight to the last bullet."
"Prepare yourselves for colonialism, on top of everything else. Colonialism is coming back. It will return. The Europeans and Americans will return and will enter Libya by force," he said. "There is no alternative other than to adopt a firm stand. I tell you that the army will play a central role in this, and the Libyan army is not like the army of Tunisia or of Egypt… Our army will support Libya and Mu'ammar Al-Qadhafi to the last moment and it will be victorious, Allah willing. Matters will be set straight. We will destroy all the dens of strife."
While European countries and the United States are cautiously condemning the actions of the Libyan government, the Muslim Brotherhood's spiritual guide has called for the killing of the nation's leader. 'Whoever in the Libyan army is able to shoot a bullet at Mr. Gaddafi should do so,' Yusuf al-Qaradawi told Al-Jazeera television.