Libya left in turmoil after leader resorts to hostility

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Violence has swept over the country of Libya like the shadow of a dark cloud. All over the Middle East, nations are in the midst of revolution and turmoil.

However, the worst of the brutality is taking place in Libya.

The dawning of each day since the beginning of the protests brought with it tales of worsening bloodshed and increasing volatility in the country.

On Feb. 20, in the city of Benghazi, as citizens gathered to bury dozens of dead from clashes with the military the preceding day, security forces opened fire on a funeral procession. On this same day, Libya’s leader, Col. Muammar al-Gaddafi, ordered the shutdown of the Internet and barred foreign journalists from entering the country.

Gaddafi has since appeared on state television trying to give the illusion that he is still in control of Libya, but if the rambling message he gave was any indication, he is not.

On Feb. 23, news came that an increasing number of Libyan military officers and officials were breaking their bonds with Gaddafi. This marked the first time in four decades that members of the military have challenged his rule.

So, why would they break away? Well, after the officers and officials learned that Gaddafi planned to bomb and kill innocent civilians, they realized that their interests were just too different to make the relationship work.

On Feb. 25, Gaddafi’s “interests” became a reality. His security forces used gunfire in an attempt to disperse thousands of protesters leaving a mosque after prayers in the capital city of Tripoli.

Next, in an attempt to show the world that everything in Libya was just dandy, Gaddafi invited foreign journalists into the country. But his plan had the opposite effect.

The journalists reported that certain parts of the capital city were in open defiance with security forces. They described snipers and antiaircraft guns firing at unarmed citizens. They also reported that Gaddafi’s forces were moving dead and wounded from the streets and hospitals in an apparent attempt to hide the rising death toll.

According to The New York Times, “An estimated 180,000 people have fled Libya in the past 10 days, more than half seeking refuge in Tunisia.”

Now, the rebel forces have seized control of an eastern oil town called Brega. Gaddafi’s soldiers are currently launching a plethora of attacks in an effort to regain the city.

The rest of the globe is slowly taking notice of the dictator’s violent efforts to quell protesters in Libya. The international criminal court is opening an investigation into alleged crimes against humanity. The United Nations has also begun to place sanctions on the country.

Gaddafi needs to take a page out of ex-president Mubarak’s book and take a hike. Violence is not going to stop as long as he is in a position of power in Libya.

Author: Garrett Pekar

Garrett is a sophomore mass communication/journalism major from Granger, Texas. He is the opinions page editor for The Bells. Garrett is also an RA in McLane Hall as well as member of the men’s tennis team. His hobbies include spending quality time with friends and family, listening to music and playing some of his own on the guitar.

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