As fighting inside the country intensifies, Libya's links to the net appear to have been completely severed. Net monitoring and security firms are reporting that no net traffic is entering or leaving Libyan net space. Renesys said the outage was more than just a "blip" as many sites have been unreachable for more than 12 hours. Net traffic into and out of the country had been intermittent during recent protests but the cut coincided with a push to oust rebels. During the early days of the rebellion in Libya, net access was restricted but in early March net traffic started to pick up in areas no longer under the control of Colonel Gaddafi's government. Graphs of net activity maintained by Google show a steady rise in traffic to its sites throughout this week. In particular, Libyans were making heavy use of YouTube to post images of the conflict.
Tag Archives | Libya
No stranger to controversial opinions, Christopher Hitchens asks on Slate:
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However meanly and grudgingly, even the new Republican speaker has now conceded that the president is Hawaiian-born and some kind of Christian. So let’s hope that’s the end of all that. A more pressing question now obtrudes itself: Is Barack Obama secretly Swiss?
Let me explain what I mean. A Middle Eastern despot now knows for sure when his time in power is well and truly up. He knows it when his bankers in Zurich or Geneva cease accepting his transfers and responding to his confidential communications and instead begin the process of “freezing” his assets and disclosing their extent and their whereabouts to investigators in his long-exploited country. And, at precisely that moment, the U.S. government also announces that it no longer recognizes the said depositor as the duly constituted head of state. Occasionally, there is a little bit of “raggedness” in the coordination.
According to DEBKAfile, western military advisers have landed in Libya and are actively assisting anti-government forces:
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Hundreds of US, British and French military advisers have arrived in Cyrenaica, Libya’s eastern breakaway province, DEBKAfile‘s military sources report exclusively. This is the first time America and Europe have intervened militarily in any of the popular upheavals rolling through the Middle East since Tunisia’s Jasmine Revolution in early January. The advisers, including intelligence officers, were dropped from warships and missile boats at the coastal towns of Benghazi and Tobruk Thursday Feb. 24, for a threefold mission:
1. To help the revolutionary committees controlling eastern Libyan establish government frameworks for supplying two million inhabitants with basic services and commodities;
2. To organize them into paramilitary units, teach them how to use the weapons they captured from Libyan army facilities, help them restore law and order on the streets and train them to fight Muammar Qaddafi’s combat units coming to retake Cyrenaica.
Has Mad Muammar taken a leaf from George W. Bush’s playbook — If in doubt blame Bin Laden? From BBC News:
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Libyan leader Col Muammar Gaddafi has told state TV that Osama Bin Laden and his followers are to blame for the protests racking his country.
In a phone call addressed to residents of the town of al-Zawiya, Col Gaddafi said young people were being duped with drugs and alcohol to take part in “destruction and sabotage”.
Col Gaddafi is battling to shore up control of Tripoli and western areas. Protesters have been consolidating gains in cities in the east. Opposition politicians and tribal leaders have held a key meeting in the eastern town of al-Bayda to show a united front against Col Gaddafi.
The telephone call addressed al-Zawiya, 50km (30 miles) west of the capital, where fighting now appears to be the most fierce.
Col Gaddafi said the protesters had no genuine demands and were being dictated to by the al-Qaeda leader.
It’s not that easy to get soldiers to shoot at their own people. Ishaan Tharoor writes in TIME via Yahoo News:
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While the protests convulsing Bahrain and Libya this past week occurred in vastly different contexts – and will likely produce very different results — both were met with conspicuously swift crackdowns.
And in both cases, reports suggest the Libyan and Bahraini regimes deployed foreign fighters and mercenaries against their own citizens, lethal clashes that left scores wounded and many dead.
Though difficult to substantiate in the current chaos, reports from eastern Libya, in particular from the city of Benghazi, claim that snipers and militiamen from sub-Saharan Africa gunned down residents on the streets. The Dubai-based al-Arabiya network says some of the guerrillas were Francophone mercenaries recruited by one of the sons of dictator Muammar Gaddafi.
Qatar-based al-Jazeera detailed pamphlets circulated to mercenary recruits from Guinea and Nigeria, offering them $2,000 per day to crack down on the Libyan uprising.
The wave of revolutions sweeping the Arab world started in a forgotten town in the flatlands of Tunisia. It was an unlikely place for history to be made. But so was Tunisia itself, the smallest country in North Africa, strategically irrelevant, with no oil and not much of an army. It has been an oasis of tranquility in this tumultuous part of the world, famous for its beaches, its couscous and its wonderful weather. But there was a dark side to paradise: for 23 years, Tunisia was ruled by a corrupt and ruthless dictator named Zine Ben Ali, who filled his prisons with anyone who spoke out against him.
Former CIA field officer Robert Baer writes in TIME:
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There’s been virtually no reliable information coming out of Tripoli, but a source close to the Gaddafi regime I did manage to get hold of told me the already terrible situation in Libya will get much worse. Among other things, Gaddafi has ordered security services to start sabotaging oil facilities. They will start by blowing up several oil pipelines, cutting off flow to Mediterranean ports. The sabotage, according to the insider, is meant to serve as a message to Libya’s rebellious tribes: It’s either me or chaos.
Two weeks ago this same man had told me the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt would never touch Libya. Gaddafi, he said, had a tight lock on all of the major tribes, the same ones that have kept him in power for the past 41 years. The man of course turned out to be wrong, and everything he now has to say about Gaddafi’s intentions needs to be taken in that context.
Libyan military aircraft fired live ammunition at crowds of anti-government protesters in Tripoli, Al Jazeera television reported on Monday, quoting witnesses for its information.
“What we are witnessing today is unimaginable. Warplanes and helicopters are indiscriminately bombing one area after another. There are many, many dead,” Adel Mohamed Saleh said.
Saleh, who called himself a political activist, said the bombings had initially targeted a funeral procession.
“Our people are dying. It is the policy of scorched earth.” he said. “Every 20 minutes they are bombing.”
Asked if the attacks were still happening he said: “It is continuing, it is continuing. Anyone who moves, even if they are in their car they will hit you.”
No independent verification of the report was immediately available.
The protesters were reportedly heading to the army base to obtain ammunition of their own, but witnesses said the air force bombed the demonstrators before they could get there…
It doesn’t look good for a peaceful revolution in Libya, where Muammar Gadaffi confirms the West’s worst fears about his intentions for dealing with the many protestors demanding his exit. The latest from Reuters:
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Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi will fight a popular revolt to “the last man standing,” one of his sons said on Monday as people in the capital joined protests for the first time after days of violent unrest in the eastern city of Benghazi.
Anti-government protesters rallied in Tripoli’s streets, tribal leaders spoke out against Gaddafi, and army units defected to the opposition as oil exporter Libya endured one of the bloodiest revolts to convulse the Arab world.
Gaddafi’s son Saif al-Islam Gaddafi appeared on national television in an attempt to both threaten and calm people, saying the army would enforce security at any price.
“Our spirits are high and the leader Muammar Gaddafi is leading the battle in Tripoli, and we are behind him as is the Libyan army,” he said.