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Analyst: Libyan Government ‘Cracking’ Under Protesters’ Pressure

  • Peter Clottey

Residents stand on a tank holding a pre-Gadhafi era national flag inside a security forces compound in Benghazi, Libya, February 21, 2011

Residents stand on a tank holding a pre-Gadhafi era national flag inside a security forces compound in Benghazi, Libya, February 21, 2011

An official of the Islamic Human Rights Commission, a non-governmental organization, said the violent repression of anti-government protesters by the Libyan administration could mark, in his words, the beginning of the end of Moammar Gadhafi’s over four-decade rule.

Mohammed El-Sayed, researcher for the Islamic Human Rights Commission on Libya, told VOA his organization strongly condemns the violence perpetrated by the Libyan administration on the unarmed anti-government protesters describing it as unacceptable.

“It’s getting to a point where I think the regime is actually showing considerable cracks and faults. We’ve got reports of people quite high (up) in the regime itself actually turning against it and joining the protests. We’ve got reports of the Interior Minister having joined the protesters; the ambassador to the Arab League has done the same thing,” said El-Sayed.

“So, in a sense, we have got all of these developments pointing to one direction, where there seems to be a consensus among the protesters and many sectors within the government itself that they are reaching a point where, I think, they are fed up with the 42 years of this dictatorial regime.”

Reports from Libya indicate the Gadhafi regime is under siege from an escalating popular uprising has turned violent and destructive.

The reports from the capital, Tripoli, indicate an hour-by-hour surge in the uprising with some officials reportedly fleeing the country. Several senior officials have broken with Colonel Gadhafi.

The Libyan leader’s son, Saif al-Islam, went on state television late Sunday to proclaim that his father remains in charge with military support in the face of the most serious anti-government revolt since the Mr. Gadhafi took power in a 1969 coup. The son vowed that the government will fight until “the last man, the last woman, and the last bullet” to stay in power.

The younger Gadhafi warned Libyans to stop the uprising or risk igniting a civil war that will drown the country in “rivers of blood” and lead to a return of colonial powers. He insisted that Libya is “not Egypt or Tunisia,” neighboring countries whose strongmen were swept from power in recent weeks.

But, El-Sayed said the regime seems to be cracking under pressure from anti-government protesters.

“This, I think more than anything, is not so much of a warning than it is a threat to the protesters. They are trying to scare the people into submission. It is a similar thing to what Hosni Mubarak said towards the end of his time in office, when he sort of implied that the protesters want chaos,” said El-Sayed.

“In fact, when he said civil war, he is actually just talking about a massacre being perpetrated by his own security forces in a final bid to save his standing in Libya.”