TIPPING POINT: Gadhafi Regime On The Verge Of Collapse As Deadly Protests Spread To Tripoli


[Illustration by TAMER YOUSSEF]

WALL STREET JOURNAL: Violent clashes between protesters and security forces snowballed in cities throughout eastern Libya Sunday, as the country’s leader, Moammar Gadhafi, struggled to crush an uprising aimed at ending his 42-year rule. Human Rights Watch said it had confirmed 173 deaths in protests so far, doubling the group’s toll from Saturday. But Human Rights Watch and doctors in Benghazi said they thought the final death toll would be significantly higher. Protests also sprang up on the outskirts of Libya’s capital of Tripoli for the first time since the unrest began five days ago, according to residents. Though the protests were quickly quashed by security forces deployed in force throughout the capital, the spread of unrest to Mr. Gadhafi’s center of power was a sign that demonstrations were gaining momentum and no longer confined to the country’s eastern half. Late on Sunday, the country’s Warfala tribe, one of the largest among Libya’s population of 6.4 million, announced it was throwing its heft behind the protesters, suggesting momentum was tipping further against Mr. Gadhafi. The son of the Libyan leader appeared on television to deliver a 40-minute speech early Monday morning, blaming the unrest on foreign agents, drug dealers and Islamic radicals. MORE

RELATED: The United States strongly condemns the use of force in Libya and calls on Tripoli to allow peaceful protests. A written statement from the State Department read:

Quote “The United States is gravely concerned with disturbing reports and images coming out of Libya. We are working to ascertain the facts, but we have received multiple credible reports that hundreds of people have been killed and injured in several days of unrest – and the full extent of the death toll is unknown due to the lack of access of international media and human rights organizations.MORE

RELATED: BBC Arabic reports that Libya’s ambassador to India and a senior Libyan diplomat to China have resigned in protest at their government’s violent crackdown on demonstrators. Could these resignations be signs of a crumbling regime? MORE

RELATED: Muammar Abu Minyar al-Gaddafi (born 7 June, 1942) also known as Colonel Gaddafi has been the de facto leader of Libya since a 1969 coup. Although Gaddafi has held no public office or title since 1979, he is accorded the honorifics “Guide of the First of September Great Revolution of the Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya” or “Brotherly Leader and Guide of the Revolution” in government statements and the official press. MORE

BBC: Reporting from Libya is tricky at the best of times – clearly, the situation there right now is anything but. For 41 years, Muammar Gaddafi – the self-proclaimed “Brotherly Leader and Guide of the Revolution” – has made life difficult for the Western media. While British nationals can enter many of the world’s 192 countries without visas, or collect them on arrival, Libya is one of the exceptions. There, the door is firmly shut to international journalists, local reporters face intimidation and the threat of worse. It explains why, in contrast to recent events in Tunisia, Egypt and Bahrain, we’re unable to report from inside Libya on the protests taking place there, and the authorities violent response. And that’s an uncomfortable place for us to be. MORE

UPDATE: Two Libyan Air Force fighter pilots defected on Monday and flew their jets to Malta where they told authorities they had been ordered to bomb protesters, Maltese government officials said. MORE


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