In Libya, anti-Gaddafi protesters burned public buildings, including the state television, People’s Hall, and police stations, according to reports from Tripoli. Reports from Al-Arabiya also indicate that Libyan air force jets have bombed protesters, killing an estimated 160 people.
Gaddafi’s whereabouts were unknown. In 1986 he narrowly escaped a raid by U.S. Air Force jets in an attack launched in retaliation for Libya setting a terrorist bomb at a German disco.
Although his regime has cut the Internet, there are apparently satellite dishes and other means of communication with the outside world. Al Jazeera, Al Arabiya, and the BBC have been able to talk with doctors in Benghazi where more than 300 people were killed before soldiers defected and joined the protesters.
Even China is reportedly concerned now about the impact of constant demonstrations in support of democracy in half a dozen or more nations.
Sayf al-Islam, one of Gaddafi’s sons, warned in a speech early Sunday that the country was facing a civil war that would leave it torn into two parts. Gaddafi junior said he and his father would fight to the last bullet. It is more likely to be the last Molotov cocktail.
Although Tunisia and Egypt have already fallen to democracy, the collapse of Gaddafi’s regime would be a staggering symbol of how the wave of democracy sweeping the world was unlikely to stop in North Africa and the Middle East.
The U.S. and other Western nations have condemned the Gaddafi regime for killing protesters.
Gaddafi opponents in the east, including important tribal leaders, have said they could stop the flow of oil to Western nations in 24 hours if they choose. Without oil revenue, the 68-year-old leader would be in serious difficulty. There already have been reports of him bringing in mercenaries. If that is true they will want to be paid.
Wintershall AG, a German company that is a major exporter of Libyan oil, has closed its office and sent expat employees and their families home.
Gaddafi himself would likely have a more difficult time finding a haven than presidents Mubarak or Ben Ali. First, it would need to be safe, and second it would have to be a country powerful enough to withstand worldwide condemnation.
For those interested in watching events, Al Jazeera, though it is blocked in Libya, is getting film. It is available in many areas of the world, including the U.S., now that LinkTV is carrying its telecasts.