Gaddafi’s Days Numbered?

There are a number of signs coming out of Libya that indicate the regime is in serious trouble despite the willingness of the state to use violence on the crowds.

Via the BBC (Libya protests: Col Gaddafi under mounting pressure) comes several interesting elements in regards to the situation in Libya.

First, Gaddafi’s son, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi¬† both attempts to throw a bone to the protestors, but also threatens more violence:

In a lengthy TV address, he offered significant political reforms but also vowed that the regime would “fight to the last bullet” against “seditious elements”.

The excepts from his speech drips of desperation both in terms of the promises and the threats.

Second, the story indicates that part of the country was no longer under state control, and that Gaddafi acknowledged this in his speech:

He acknowledged, though, that the eastern cities of Benghazi and al-Bayda had fallen to the opposition.

This is a remarkable development.

Third, fracturing at the elite and tribal levels has started:

Libya’s envoy to the Arab League, Abdel Moneim al-Honi, announced he was “joining the revolution” and its ambassador to India, Ali al-Essawi, told the BBC he was resigning in protest against his government’s violent crackdown on demonstrators.

Mohamed Bayou, who until a month ago was chief spokesman for the Libyan government, said the leadership was wrong to threaten violence against its opponents.

“I hope that [Saif Gaddafi] will… change his speech to acknowledge the existence of an internal popular opposition, to enter into dialogue with them regarding thorough changes in the Libyan system,” Mr Bayou said in a statement obtained by the Reuters news agency that appeared to indicate disagreement within the ruling elite.

In another blow to Col Gaddafi’s rule, two tribes – including Libya’s largest tribe, the Warfla – have backed the protesters.

Fourth, al Jareeza reports that some of the military appears to have defected:

Anti-government protesters in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi have reportedly seized army vehicles and weapons amid worsening turmoil in the African nation.

Mohamed, a doctor from Al Jalaa hospital in Benghazi, told Al Jazeera that members of the military had sided with the protesters.

These are all clear signs that the regime’s days are numbered.

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Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. Brummagem Joe says:

    It’s certainly getting interesting. I don’ t know too much about Libya apart from it’s supposed to be a tribally based society. I see a couple of tribes and some military units seem to have turned against Ghaddaffi and there are definitely signs of panic amongst his govt.

  2. anjin-san says:

    Steven what do you make of the roaring silence around here from Republicans on this issue? OTB has given the mideast situation a lot of coverage, but there is simply no engagement. Interesting, considering the endless chatter we have seen about liberty and tyranny the last few years.

    A cynic would say they simply can’t deal with the fact that the folks they have been telling us are religious fanatics who exist only to kill/enslave Americans are, in fact hungry for freedom and prepared to risk their lives for it.

  3. @anjin-san:

    You mean from the regular commenters?

  4. anjin-san says:


  5. anjin-san says:

    The Libyan Air Force is firing on protestors, but some pilots have flow off to Malta and are seeing asylum. Good for them.

  6. Neil Hudelson says:


    Not to defend Republicans too much, but I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt here on Libya. I’ve been fascinated by the events in Libya, yet haven’t commented on it at all as things are just changing too fast, and I know too little about the country itself.

    From water-cooler talk, I gather that’s how most people are right now, even the more attuned commenters here.



  8. I would suggest that Mr Gaddafi, should resign in a calm way in order to avoid the violence that will lead to death of many people. says:

    Gaddafi should resign whether he likes it or not