Feb 22, 2011

Muammar Gaddafi speaks defiantly

Less than 30 minutes ago Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi addressed his people. In a somewhat disjointed speech marked by awkward pauses, Gaddafi promised to stay in power. He also accused the protesters in Libya of being on drugs and referred to them as rats.

According to Al Jazeera English, Gaddafi then called for his supporters to ""Get out of your homes, secure the streets, get the greasy rats out of the streets!"

This comes after a massive crackdown on protesters that many have blamed either Colonel Gaddafi or his son, Sa'if al-Islam Gaddafi, for ordering. Reports from the streets of Tripoli have claimed that those attacking Libyan demonstrators are not native to Libya, but appear to be mercenaries hired from Chad or Niger.

So unlike Egypt, where the military eventually refused to fire on its own people and turned against the regime, in Libya the regime has hired outsiders so that the ethical choice of killing ones own countrymen does not come into play.

In the mean time, Libyan diplomats continue to flee the regime. Iran has halted its oil activities in the country and is moving to withdraw its people within the next 36 hours. The anti-Gaddafi protesters have taken control of the eastern border and Libya and refugees from the conflict are now pouring into Egypt.

CNN's Ben Wedeman crossed the same border last night, becoming the only western journalist that I know of within Libya at this time.

Finally, the group Anonymous, a loose coalition of online hackers and troublemakers, have condemned the Gaddafi regime and have called for the UN to establish a no-fly zone over Libya in order to protect the protesters from government-sponsored violence.

Colonel Gaddafi has vowed to die like a martyr. His wish may yet come true.

UPDATE 1208 EST : Gaddafi closes a rambling speech that lasts over an hour by promising to lead those loyal to him in an effort to 'purify' Libya.

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