The Middle East has become a hot topic in what appears to be by media sources uprisings and somewhat revolutions taking place. Yet the more interesting factor is that they are working and this is attributed to the fact that Egypt, a country which was ruled for 30 years by dictator Hosni Mubarak suddenly stepped down after 18 days of people protesting in Cairo’s main square. Tunisia although not in the Middle East was where it all originally started with the ousting of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali which lasted little or no more than a month to where he had dissolved government and declared a state of emergency. He fled to Saudi Arabia after France refused him entry to the country.
We have seen in several other countries in the Middle East, such as Iran, where protests are not new, however it seems Iran found a solution to the protests and that is violence. We saw in the debated election results in Iran’s election of 2009-10 people being shot in crowds and severely beaten by so-called elite or particular groups. Violence however has also spurred to another country, Libya where the military have been called in to strike targets inside civilian populated cities and outsourced military groups have formed in protecting the regime that is led by Muammar al-Gaddafi.
Protests in Libya first took place on the 15/02/2011 to where nearly 200 people have been claimed to have been killed with also further possible killings taking place. The protests in Libya have taken place in two places mainly and that is in the nations capitol of Tripoli and in the second largest city in Benghazi. It is in Benghazi that it is reported that over 200 people have been killed. Reports from several news agencies suggest the use of automatic rifles, grenade launchers, mortar fire and other types of munitions. Several government officials have stepped down including the Justice Minister, Abud Al Jeleil, Interior Minister and Army Major General, Abdul Younis and Oil Minister Shukri Ghanem. – Citing that Muammar al-Gaddafi has committed war crimes against humanity and crimes against the Libyan people.
The latest suggests that most of Libya is under the control of the opposition to Muammar al-Gaddafi. According to other reports Gaddafi had also ordered the Libyan Navy to fire shells onto civilian protesters with the warning if they disobeyed they would be executed. On the 22nd of February the dictator of the country released on state television a 20 second video which stated that he was still in Tripoli as opposed to conflicting news reports suggesting he had fled to Valenzuela. He also stated that he would die as a martyr in Libya rather than step down and flee the country. According to the LA Times, on the 22nd of February a Libyan warship had fled to Malta after refusing orders to shell and bomb Benghazi. While 2 Libyan aircraft had also defected to Malta after being asked to bomb the civilian population and carry out mercenaries to airports to where they have been reported to have fired on civilians.
In apparent attempts of violence by the Gaddafi regime to quell the protests which have proved successful in countries such as Tunisia and Egypt, Gaddafi has inadvertently created an armed militia. – Who have taken control of cities and some regions of Libya. In lead to these protests taking place Gaddafi has come out with outrageous quotations such as suggesting that protesters were on drugs and “were being fuelled by milk” according to one report by the Reuters news agency.
In apparent battles taking place around cities controlled by rebel forces in Libya, they have managed to strike back at government military attacks ranging from cities to villages, in what is said to be by Muammar Gaddafis son, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, as “guerilla warfare tactics”. One report by CNN included the rebel forces saying they had shot down a Sukhoi Su-25 (NATO: Frogfoot) with video footage supporting a wreckage of such an aircraft in pieces on the ground; however the report concluded there was no definite cause to its eventual fate. There are talks of civil war taking place and suggestions of civil war already happening with government clashing with what has come to be called “rebel forces”. This comes after peaceful protesters turned into fighting when mercenaries and some Libyan personnel/aircraft had opened fire on peaceful protesters to which there have been reports of up to thousands dead. The seaports of Benghazi, Tobruk and Ras Lanuf are confirmed to be under the control by rebel forces with also other cities said to be controlled and to have repelled government forces from taking over.
The UN has estimated that over a thousand Libyan’s and other nationals have been killed in the fighting that has taken place. The UN Security Council has also approved sanctions against Libya included a UK finding of £900 million going into Libya which has been frozen. – Along with this there has been a restriction placed on Muammar Gaddafi, his family and aides. However Gaddafi has responded by saying he would welcome the UN or African Union to come in and investigate the violence in the country, he said to a French newspaper published on Sunday.
The Sunday Times (UK) have also reported on apparent UK special forces unit who were captured by rebel forces and are being held hostage. Defence Secretary Liam Fox has stated that a ‘small’ diplomatic team were in Benghazi to negotiate a release for the unit which has been from some sources quoted as being part of the Special Air Service (SAS). This comes after (March 3rd, 2011) where 3 Dutch military personnel of the Navy were captured by government forces when landing in their Lynx helicopter to pick up 2 European nationals. The Dutch Ministry of Defence has stated: “The release of the three crew of the helicopter is still intensive diplomatic consultations”. They further stated that the two civilians were transferred to the Dutch embassy in Tripoli and are now safe.
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