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calendar   Thursday - February 24, 2011

Lines in the sand of nomenclature

When Tunisia had it’s turnover some weeks ago, the nation-wide protest movement was quickly relabeled as the “Jasmine Revolution”.

Egyptian protesters managed to oust their leader, force a new cabinet to be installed, and wound up with the army in charge for now but promising all sorts of reforms and elections. Somehow this was never a “revolution” even though it effectively toppled the government.

The situation in Libya looks more and more like an actual civil war every day. It looks like a classic old-school South/Central American revolution, other than the niggling absence of one new tinpot dictator appearing to replace the one about to be pushed out of the catbird seat.

News items:

Libyan Protesters Vow to ‘Liberate’ Tripoli as Army Unleashes Attack

BENGHAZI, Libya—A Libyan army unit loyal to Muammar al-Qaddafi attacked anti-government protesters holed up in a mosque in a key city west of the capital Thursday, blasting a minaret with anti-aircraft missiles and automatic weapons, a witness said.

Protesters who had been camped inside and outside the mosque suffered heavy casualties in the attack on Zawiya, 30 miles west of Tripoli, the witness said, but he couldn’t provide an exact toll.

Pro-Qaddafi forces have fought back fiercely as the longtime leader has seen his control whittled away, with Zawiya and other major Libyan cities and towns closer to the capital falling to the rebellion against his rule. In the east, now all but broken away, the opposition vowed to “liberate” Tripoli, where the Libyan leader is holed up with a force of militiamen roaming the streets and tanks guarding the outskirts.

Report: Libyan capital deserted; opposition seizes major city

Benghazi, Libya (CNN)—The Libyan capital was a ghost town Thursday morning, witnesses said, as anti-government protesters declared victory elsewhere after reportedly seizing control of the country’s third-largest city.

Misrata—also spelled as Misurata—is now in the hands of the opposition, who have driven out the mercenaries, according to witnesses and multiple media reports. Witnesses and multiple reports also said that the town of Az Zintan was under opposition control. The opposition also controls Libya’s second-largest city, Benghazi, where crowds cheered as international journalists drove through the city. The only shooting that could be heard was celebratory gunfire.

U.S. Fears Tripoli May Deploy Gas As Chaos Mounts

WASHINGTON—The government of Col. Moammar Gadhafi hasn’t destroyed significant stockpiles of mustard gas and other chemical-weapons agents, raising fears in Washington about what could happen to them—and whether they may be used—as Libya slides further into chaos.

Tripoli also maintains control of aging Scud B missiles, U.S. officials said, as well as 1,000 metric tons of uranium yellowcake and vast amounts of conventional weapons that Col. Gadhafi has channeled in the past to militants operating in countries like Sudan and Chad.

Fleeing Egyptians Tell of Qaddafi’s `Bloodbath’ Across Libya

It’s a massacre in there,” said Mohamed Yehia after he crossed into Egypt at the northwestern town of Salloum, speaking of the deadly crackdown by Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi. “He is crazy. The world must know what he’s doing to his people.”

Yehia, 23, is one of thousands of Egyptians working in Libya who gathered their belongings and left the oil-rich country yesterday after Qaddafi’s son, Saif al-Islam, this week accused foreigners, including Tunisians and Egyptians, of inciting the ongoing revolt.
...
Many of those arriving said they had seen mercenaries from Africa and elsewhere, some dark-skinned and some fair, some speaking French. They had been deployed to attack anti- government protesters in Libyan cities, including the capital, Tripoli, and Benghazi, which has seen some of the worst violence since the uprising began last week, the eyewitnesses said.

Anti-aircraft missiles? Concerns over WMD? Mercenaries? Tanks? Cities “falling” and being “seized”? Bloodbath? That certainly sounds like a whole lot more than just a protest movement. It sounds like full scale civil war. I think it’s time to change labels and start calling this one a revolution. If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, sounds like a duck ... and doesn’t have a portable indoor duck bin ...

image


Maybe the world needs to coin a new phrase that defines a popular uprising with no obvious leaders that is designed to change the existing government by any means possible. Right now the only term we have for something like that is ... Tea Party. [ Drew lets that one sink in for a few moments ]

The Libyan situation is different though. Isn’t it? Their mass protests were met with violence, so they returned violence in spades. So it seems. And the Tea Party people don’t really want to change the system as much as they want to purify it and return it to it’s original more limited form. Aside from removing Gaddafi, I don’t know what the “protest movement” in Libya wants in terms of government. But it certainly seems to be an actual revolution.

And now it looks like Algeria is next on the list. The whole of North Africa is going up in flames. You’d think the West would be cheering them on to throw off their chains of oppression. But we’re not, because we don’t know where they are going. Do the Libyans themselves even know? 


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 02/24/2011 at 10:00 AM   
Filed Under: • Africa •  
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