Qaddafi’s Sinking Ship

By Ali Younes

The one thing clear about the Libyan people’s revolt against the dictatorial rule of Mummar Qaddafi is the absence of any resemblance of something called the Libyan government. The murder of scores of protesting Libyan citizens by Qaddafi’s security agencies proved that Qaddafi in 42 years of power had built no state; no institutions, not even a real government. Any resemblance of government had just melted away during the revolt and most likely in disgust at the mass killing of innocent citizens.

In the meantime, the democratic revolts in the Arab World present president Obama a golden opportunity to show the U.S. in a better light in the Arab world. That said however, a veto vote at the UN Security Council last week in favor of Israel and its illegal settlements has damaged president Obama personal credibility in the region. Moreover, a muffled reaction to the bloodbath in Libya at this critical juncture does more damage than benefits to U.S. image in the region.

Qaddafi’s first speech yesterday was his attempt to address the crises by actually attempting to deny that there are crises to begin with. In his speech Qaddafi was defiant and  in total denial that the people of Libya were revolting against him and his sons and against 42 years of his rule that squandered Libya’s wealth and left the Libyan population poor despite sitting on an ocean of oil and gas reserves.

 Qaddafi blamed everyone but himself for the revolt. He accused and degraded the protesting Libyans as “dogs” and  “rats” he also accused Islamic groups of trying to set up an  Islamic Emirate in parts of country, he also accused Ben Laden, the United States, Al Zarqawi followers and the Zionists of conspiring against the Libyan people.

By all accounts his speech was dangerously lethal. Qaddafi threatened his own people with blood and gore and gave them a choice to either choose him as their leader for ever or turn Libya into another Somalia, Iraq or Afghanistan. Those are certainly not the words of normal man let alone a leader of a country who prides himself to be a “man of the people.”

His son Sief al-Islam Qaddafi was even worse than his father. Sief al-Islam spoke last week as the first official response to the revolt and actually threatened the citizens with civil war and the possibility of having hundreds of thousands of them killed if they did not stop their protests.

The problem however is that Sief al-Islam is not a government official, has no official title, and his only credentials is that he is the son of the “ leader.”

Waving his fingers in threatening  and challenging gestures, Sief al-Islam sat behind a desk speaking down to the Libyan citizens, in a manner  that was more related to medieval overlord addressing his  slaves, than someone who was trying to win over the people. 

Sief al-Islam also warned the citizens that “Libya is not Tunis or Egypt” in that he meant that the regime will not go down as easy as Egypt or Tunis. This might be true, but it means not that the Libyan regime can stay in power after scores of Libyan were killed and many government officials and high military officers are abandoning Qaddafi’s sinking ship. More, increasing international condemnation and isolation makes it very hard, if not impossible, for any country in the world to deal with Qaddafi’s regime. This if the regime survives this crises at all, which is an unlikely scenario.

– Ali Younes is a writer and Middle East analyst based in Washington D.C. He contributed this article to Contact him at:

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