Qaddafi continues to insist that he and his family need to maintain their lead over the nation or else some monumental calamity will befall Libya.
People inside and outside the country are not listening.
The latest evidence -- another large city, and this one is located very close to the capital of Tripoli, has fallen into opposition hands. Moreover, multiple Western nations are slapping strong economic sanctions on Libya; the intent is to compel Qaddafi to step aside. Canada has become the latest country to lay down sanctions.
There is certainly a political vacuum in the country. But let's not forget that the humanitarian situation in Libya and its neighboring countries is growing. Tunisia is proving to be a less than welcoming host to the Libyans and people of other nations fleeing Libya. As the Globe and Mail reports,
“We don’t have any more space to accept the Egyptians – we are blocking the border until the Egyptian authorities find a solution for their transportation,” said Lutfi Tabeth, a member of the Ben Gardane revolutionary committee.
It became a frightening and dangerous scene on Sunday afternoon as several thousand Egyptians charged the border, pushing through the Tunisian protesters and attempting to charge into the camps, only to be stopped by Tunisian soldiers who raised their rifles and forced them to sit on the street, closing the border again.
“It’s an awful lot of people, 10,000 to 12,00 a day now, so the security services are not able to control a flow of that size – that’s their concern,” said Sophie Galand, a Quebecker working with the International Committee of the Red Cross/Crescent who was co-ordinating medical aid.
She reported that the border chaos was the main cause of hospitalization, with several hundred people treated for exhaustion, heat exposure and crush injuries. There were no reports of anyone injured in the conflict at the border Saturday, and very few reported having witnessed any violent incidents since last Monday.
A larger concern lies with the refugees who are unable to find transport home. This includes many of the Egyptians. It also includes large numbers of Bangladeshis who were employed by large Chinese construction companies taking part in Libya’s oil-funded building boom.One should never lose sight of the bigger picture -- and in this case it is how North Africa and the Middle East could be reshaped by the political unrest taking place in multiple nations. The New York Times notes that if democracy might be the winner (and there is no guarantee of that), then al-Qaeda might be a loser.
In fact, the motley opposition movements that have appeared so suddenly and proved so powerful have shunned the two central tenets of the Qaeda credo: murderous violence and religious fanaticism. The demonstrators have used force defensively, treated Islam as an afterthought and embraced democracy, which is anathema to Osama bin Laden and his followers.
So for Al Qaeda — and perhaps no less for the American policies that have been built around the threat it poses — the democratic revolutions that have gripped the world’s attention present a crossroads. Will the terrorist network shrivel slowly to irrelevance? Or will it find a way to exploit the chaos produced by political upheaval and the disappointment that will inevitably follow hopes now raised so high?Meanwhile, Qaddafi and his son continue to bluster and bombast their way through another day. How many more will there be?