During the Egyptian Revolution prominent Islamic scholar, Yusuf al-Qaradawi, called on Muslims to protect Egypt’s Christians from state violence.
Today Qaradawi took a page from the letters of Thomas Jefferson, essencially calling for the tree of liberty to be watered with the blood of tyrants. In a pubic statement made from Egypt he called for the assassination of Muammar Gaddafi saying, “any Libyan soldier who has the opportunity should shoot and kill the Libyan leader.” And it seems Gaddafi is having trouble securing the loyalty of his soldiers.
To put it mildly, things in Libya have escalated.
In a brief statement released today Gaddafi confirms that he is still in Tripoli, the capital of Libya, despite rumors that he had fled to Venezuela.
Libyan Fighter Jets and military helicopters have been deployed against protesters in Tripoli and Benghazi. Military ships off the coast of Tripoli have been bombarding civilian areas outside the city center. And there are widespread reports of soldiers and mercenaries executing demonstrators in the street, including firing on mourners at the funerals of protesters. Reuters is reporting 160 people killed. ABC is reporting more than 200 people killed. Both conservative estimates.
On al Jazeera TV Adel Mohamed Saleh, a political activist on the ground in Tripoli, called it a scorched earth policy, with aerial bombings every 20 minutes and constant peppering of gunfire targeting anything that moves.
Two fighter pilots reportedly defected, landed their jets in Malta with two civilian helicopters. They have requested political asylum. These pilots confirmed to Maltese officials that their orders were to bomb civilians. There are also some number of pilots who have landed in Benghazi refusing to carry out their orders.
Protestors with help from defected military personnel seized control of Benghazi, Libya’s second-largest city, along with it’s port and several military bases, which further suggests that support for Gaddafi is split in the military.
Libyan ambassadors have resigned in China, India, Indonesia and Poland. It’s been reported that the Libyan embassy in London was flying the pre-Gaddafi flag of the opposition. And Libya’s deputy ambassador to the UN has called it a genocide.
Gaddafi’s son, and heir apparent, Saif (sword) Gaddafi blamed the uprising on Islamic extremism saying, “If it comes to civil war five million people will fight. 100,000 will die. It will be a blood bath. We will fight to the last man. The last bullet.”
- Egypt: Spontaneous Order
- Egypt: Moving Forward
- Egypt: The Domino Effect
- Middle East: Democratization
- Libya: on Fire