I’ll say one thing for Libyan dictator Moammar Qaddafi: he’s quotable. The head trip from Tripoli gave another speech to his dwindling, but feral, band of supporters today, and declared: “We can crush any enemy. We can crush it with the people’s will. The people are armed and when necessary, we will open arsenals to arm all the Libyan people and all Libyan tribes… Get ready to fight for Libya, get ready to fight for dignity, get ready to fight for petroleum!” I don’t think any other tyrant in history has rallied the faithful with that battle cry.
“There are all kinds of bullets!” a protester screamed into the phone during an Associated Press interview, but Qaddafi’s arsenal contains more than just hot lead. The Washington Post reports that “Libyan state television announced that the government would distribute $400 to each family in a bid to head off fresh demonstrations called for by regime opponents after Friday’s midday prayers. It was the first time the regime – which also pledged pay hikes for state employees of up to 150 percent – has attempted to offer incentives to Libyans to remain loyal.”
That’s a lot of money to spend on a last-ditch effort to remain in power, especially since Qaddafi has been blowing so much on slay-for-pay mercenaries to replace his deserting army. Runaway government spending never ends well. Besides, how is a measly four hundred bucks supposed to compete with all those free hallucinogenic drugs the people of Libya have been getting from al-Qaeda?
Qaddafi still has a seat on the U.N. Human Rights Council, but fear not – meetings are underway to consider the possibility of kicking Libya out. Maybe they should hear testimony from the pilots who bailed out of their jet instead of following Qaddafi’s orders to bomb the heavily populated city of Benghazi. The Post notes that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will be arriving in Geneva to attend regular sessions of the Human Rights Council. If Qaddafi is still sitting on his throne of skulls by then, maybe she can weigh in.
The uprising is now focused on Tripoli, one of the few strongholds left to the dictator. Protests have broken out in the capital city. Gunfire has rattled through the city. The AP reports gunmen have “opened fire on another march by thousands in Tajoura, a crowded impoverished district on the eastern side of the capital,” showering the marchers with “a hail of bullets.”
Qaddafi explained his strategy as follows: “Plan A is to live and die in Libya. Plan B is to live and die in Libya. Plan C is to live and die in Libya.” He’ll probably have to settle on one of those plans in the next couple of days.