This is mixed news: it’s wonderful that the Libyans are finally (after all these decades) ousting that wretch Gaddafi from power, but it’s a heartbreak that so many lives are being shed like water.
Libya's interim government forces have made major progress in their attack on Sirte, one of the last strongholds of Muammar Gaddafi' loyalists.
Gunfire was heard and black smoke was seen rising as National Transitional Council (NTC) fighters moved to within 1km (0.5 miles) from the city centre.
The troops regrouped as night fell, preparing for a new assault in the morning, a BBC correspondent says.
Sirte is Col Gaddafi's birthplace, but it is not known if he is in the city.
The city has always been a hugely symbolic target for the NTC, and it seems close to being won, reports the BBC's Alastair Leithead, who is with anti-Gaddafi forces in Sirte.
Most of you are likely familiar with this maniac, but for those of you who have a cursory knowledge of this particular despot, Muammar Gaddaf is:
commonly known as Muammar Gaddafi or Colonel Gaddafi, was the autocratic ruler of Libya from 1969, when he seized power in a military coup, to August 2011, when his regime collapsed. In August 2011, as a result of the 2011 Libyan civil war and the creation of the National Transitional Council, his government lost most of Libya by a NATO-backed opposition force. By the end of August 2011 Gaddafi had lost almost all domestic and international political recognition as well as the majority of Libyan territory. His 42-year rule prior to the Civil War makes him the fourth longest-ruling non-royal leader since 1900, as well as the longest-ruling Arab leader. He variously styled himself as 'the Brother Leader', 'Guide of the Revolution' and the 'King of Kings'.
After seizing power in 1969, he abolished the Libyan Constitution of 1951 and imposed laws based on his political ideology. Gaddafi formulated an ideology, calling it the Third International Theory and publishing it in The Green Book. Gaddafi and his relatives took over much of the economy. Gaddafi started several wars, had a role in others, and acquired chemical weapons. The United Nations called Libya under Gaddafi a pariah state. In the 1980s, countries around the world imposed sanctions against Gaddafi. Six days after the capture of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein by United States troops, Gaddafi renounced Tripoli’s weapons of mass destruction (WMD) programs and welcomed international inspections to verify that he would follow through on the commitment. A leading advocate for a United States of Africa, he served as Chairperson of the African Union (AU) from 2 February 2009 to 31 January 2010.
Like most of history’s villains, he did a little good here and there:
During Gaddafi's period of rule many of Libya's human development indicators improved significantly. By 2010, Libya had the highest GDP per capita, Education Index, and Human Development Index in Africa as well as some of the best health indicators in the continent.
But like most ham-fisted tyrants, he over-estimated himself and overreached, bringing him down to his current situation:
In February 2011, early in the Arab Spring, a protest movement spread across Libya. Gaddafi responded by dispatching military and plainclothes paramilitary to the streets to attack demonstrators. The unrest quickly spiraled out of control and deteriorated into a civil war. On 23 August 2011, Gaddafi lost control of Tripoli, and effective control of Libya with the rebels' capture of the Bab al-Azizia compound.
The International Criminal Court issued arrest warrants on 27 June 2011 for Gaddafi, his son Saif al-Islam, and his brother-in-law Abdullah al-Senussi, concerning crimes against humanity. Interpol has also issued an arrest warrant for him for crimes against humanity. The United Kingdom, United States, Germany and France have recently unfrozen total amount of US$6.6 billion of his assets and assigned them in humanitarian aid for Libya.
Oh, how the mighty asshole is fallen!
His resume is a house of horrors, enough to gag the strong of stomach. Name a human right, he’s violated it. From quelling dissent to modern day ethnic cleansing. His imposition of Sharia law is not for the faint of heart:
Libya's society became increasingly Islamic during Gaddafi's rule. His "purification laws" were put into effect in 1994, punishing theft by the amputation of limbs, and fornication and adultery by flogging. Under the Libyan constitution, homosexual relations are punishable by up to 5 years in jail. A Westerner was shocked in 2005 to see Libyan society, saying it was:
... a country without alcohol, where the population abides by strict codes of male-female conduct that require both sexes to stay virgins until marriage—there are no dance clubs, no bars, no young couples strolling down the street, holding hands...I go in search of the town hotspot and discover it to be the local internet café, where crowds of young men play video games, enter English-language chat rooms, and examine—however surreptitiously—Western porn sites. It takes me a few minutes to notice that there’s not a single woman in the place. Away from the progressive cities of Tripoli and Benghazi, women stay largely in the home, out of sight. A local man, Mahmud, tells me that women here aren’t allowed to see or interact with males outside of their immediate family, including any would-be husband."
And the usually milquetoast UN has actually issued a warrant for once:
The UN referred the massacres of unarmed civilians to the International Criminal Court. Among the crimes being investigated by the prosecution was whether Gaddafi purchased and authorized the use of Viagra-like drugs among soldiers for the purpose of raping women and instilling fear. His government's heavy-handed approach to quelling the protests was characterized by the International Federation for Human Rights as a strategy of scorched earth. The acts of "indiscriminate killings of civilians" was charged as crimes against humanity, as defined in Article 7 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.
This guy was simply everyone’s nightmare except his own:
On the Muslim prophet Muhammad's birthday in 1973, Gaddafi delivered his famous "Five-Point Address" which officially implemented Sharia. Gaddafi's ideology was largely based on Nasserism, blending Arab nationalism,aspects of the welfare state, and what Gaddafi termed "popular democracy", or more commonly "direct, popular democracy". He called this system "Islamic socialism", as he disfavored the atheistic quality of communism. While he permitted private control over small companies, the government controlled the larger ones. Welfare, "liberation" (or "emancipation" depending on the translation), and education was emphasized. He also imposed a system of Islamic morals and outlawed alcohol and gambling. School vacations were canceled to allow the teaching of Gaddafi's ideology in the summer of 1973.
Would you be freaked out living there? I sure would. Here’s some more crazy shit:
Gaddafi is known for erratic statements, and commentators often express uncertainty about what is sarcasm and what is simply incoherent. Over the course of his four-decade rule, he accumulated a wide variety of eccentric and often contradictory statements. He once said that HIV was "a peace virus, not an aggressive virus" and assured attendees at the African Union that "if you are straight you have nothing to fear from AIDS". He also said that the H1N1 virus was a biological weapon manufactured by a foreign military, and assured Africans that the tsetse fly and mosquito were "God's armies which will protect us against colonialists". Should these 'enemies' come to Africa, "they will get malaria and sleeping sickness".
And just to emphasize how nuts this assclown is/was:
Gaddafi has been an unabashed supporter of Islam, often with blatant disregard for religious tolerance. He said that Islam is the one true faith and that those who do not follow Islam are "losers". On another instance, he said that the Christian Bible was a "forgery" and that Jesus Christ was a messenger for the sons of Israel only. In 2006, he predicted Europe would become a Muslim continent within a few decades as a result of its growing Arab population. He endorsed the concept of a peaceful Muslim nation-state. Gaddafi expressed violent hostility towards Israel and the Jewish people throughout his career. At first, he expelled Jews from Libya and sided with Arab states for the elimination of the state of Israel. He funded and supported governments and paramilitary organizations that fought Israel. He said Arab nations that negotiate with Israel are "cowardly", and on multiple occasions, he has encouraged Palestinians to rise up against Israel. He believes in conspiracy theories that Israeli agents had assassinated John F. Kennedy and that Barack Obama's foreign policy was influenced by fears of being assassinated by Israel. Since 2007, he has suggested a single-state solution to the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, at first saying "This is the fundamental solution, or else the Jews will be annihilated in the future, because the Palestinians have [strategic] depth". In 2009, he moderated his proposal in a New York Times article, saying a single-state solution would "move beyond old conflicts and look to a unified future based on shared culture and respect."
I don’t normally advocate harsh measures, but the sooner this asswipe is in the ground, the better off the world will be. Or, as old Billy Shakespeare put it, “nothing became his life like the leaving of it.”
Till the next post, then.