It’s hard to imagine Gaddafi surviving the people’s revolt against his more than 40 year long rule. Certainly he’s made – and seems to continue making – every effort to cling to power but with his ambassadors to the UN and to various countries around the globe abandoning him, as well as the defections of two middle ranking air force pilots who flew their aircraft to Malta, all Gaddafi really has left are thugs and mercenaries out to heap revenge on those that rebelled against him.
Rumours abound that Gaddafi has already fled the country but no one seems really sure where he’s gone or even if he has left. One might assume that, if he has fled the country, then those that are supporting him would have no further reason to continue supporting him. However, while Gaddafi hasn’t been seen for a few days, his son seems to have taken command on his father’s behalf threatening civil war and to ‘fight to the last man’ and ‘the last bullet’.
Once a leader has fled his country it would be normal for either the governments servants, together with the armed forces, to simply serve the new government entity or to flee with their leader. Once the leader has fled then it’s usually all over and the nation can then begin to rebuild itself. However, because mercenaries are involved – and some reports indicate that, as well as African mercenaries being hired to fight with forces loyal to Gaddafi on the ground, Ukrainian pilots have also been hired to fly Libyan Air Force MiG aircraft – the situation in Libya is different. Most mercenaries have a loyalty to only one thing and that is money. While they are being paid they will continue their work. And, if they are being paid to continue their vengeful offensive against, in this case, Gaddafi’s enemies, then they are likely to continue doing so until they are either routed, killed, forced to flee for their own lives or stop getting paid – even if Gaddafi has already fled.
Already reports have suggested that 233 protesters have been indiscriminately killed by Gaddafi forces that have used tanks, heavy weapons, aircraft and helicopter gunships to violently quell the uprising. If the fierce fighting continues this figure will no doubt rise further. Then there are all the deaths that have likely occurred out of sight of the media and hospital counts and which will be attributed to Gaddafi’s supporters who are likely to have tortured a killed those protesters they have captured. There are even reports of Gaddafi security people executing their own men for refusing to turn their guns on the protesters.
Throughout history many of the bloodiest wars have been civil wars. Libya is not there yet and the only way that it can be avoided is for the rebel forces to quickly overwhelm the aggressors – and that can only be done if they have the full support of the peoples of the rest of the world and, just as importantly, if the aggressors know full well the intentions of the international community to prosecute them for their crimes no matter where they seek sanctuary.