Mar 1, 2011

Libya may be on brink of humanitarian crisis

The situation in Libya has disintegrated since my last update. The north African country's authoritarian leader, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, is under fire from the diplomatic community and literally from his own people. Diplomatic and economic sanctions have been imposed by the UN and individual member-countries after Libyan diplomats withdrew support from Gaddafi's regime.

Protests have rocked the country for two weeks, and an all out rebellion has broken out with the resistance taking control of large portions of the country.It is unclear how much of Libya Gaddafi is in control of at this point, but he remains convinced that he is still in control of his country.

Al Jazeera has carried stories about groceries in Tripoli running out of food. Throughout the country protests continue relentless pressure on Col. Gaddafi to step down, however the inflation of food prices might extract a higher toll that the violence of the regime.

Gaddafi is refusing to relinquish control. Today he sent armed mercenaries to confront the demonstrations in cities in the east of Libya. There are no credible estimates as to the number of dead. Unlike Egypt, there are very few journalists freely operating in Libya, restricting the flow of good information from the country.

In the mean time, Libyan protesters are making one thing very clear to the west: they want control of their own country on their own terms, something that would be impossible with western interference. Nevertheless, it does look like a consensus is building to create a no-fly zone. I think that combined with humanitarian aid, such a measured response would not be inappropriate.

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Keep it civil and pg-13, please.