Libya Regime Loses Control of Eastern Third Of Country
The U.S. government began an expedited evacuation of hundreds of U.S. citizens early Wednesday morning by offering to ferry them to the nearby island nation of Malta.
In spite of a rambling and what some called delusional 73 minute speech by Gaddafi Tuesday threatening to “cleanse” his nation “house by house” and claiming he was willing to die as a “martyr,” he continued to lose control of the country.
Gunfire ripped through the capital of Tripoli as protesters fought with government-backed militias and mercenaries.
A Libyan warship defected to Malta. The Interior Minister resigned and urged the army join “the revolution” [see at bottom of scroll]
The U.N. Security Council met behind closed doors and called for an end to the state violence as calls mounted for greater international constraints on the Gaddafi regime. The Arab League suspended Libya from its ranks on Tuesday.
Western reporters roaming through the northeastern third of Libya report that the Gaddafi regime in that zone has been overthrown and replaced by armed insurgents and organized civilians, joined be defecting army units. CNN’s Ben Wedeman has a video report from liberated eastern Libya.
Bursts of celebratory machinegun fire echoed through the streets of Tobruk on Tuesday as anti-government protesters trashed a monument to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's most treasured work.
Truckloads of demonstrators rolled down the streets of the eastern Libyan port city, past low concrete houses, distant smokestacks and the glinting Mediterranean Sea.
Libyan soldiers told a Reuters correspondent they no longer backed Gaddafi and the eastern region was out of his control.
General Soliman Mahmoud al-Obeidy said the Libyan leader was no longer "trustworthy," adding he decided to switch allegiances after hearing the authorities had given orders to fire on civilians in the eastern city of Benghazi.
"He bombs with airplanes and uses excessive force against unarmed people," he told Reuters. "I am sure he will fall in the coming few days."
Libya has, for the moment, been chopped in two, reports The Los Angeles Times:
Libya has been effectively cleaved in half by the eight-day uprising that has killed at least 300 people. Kadafi's regime holds the capital, Tripoli, and crucial oil fields in the west, analysts said. Hundreds of miles to the east across mostly empty desert, opposition forces control the second-largest city, Benghazi, and the equally rich oil fields in that region.
The opposition claimed its latest prize Tuesday when protesters, arming themselves with weapons seized from police stations and weapons depots, occupied the Mediterranean port of Tobruk, expanding their control to the Egyptian border, according to refugee accounts.
As the chaos and bloodshed deepened in Libya, refugees began streaming across the border to Egypt.
Meanwhile, new revelations from WikiLeaks portray the Gaddafi family as avaricious, fabulously wealthy and power drunk. New details have emerged about the dictator’s sons having paid entertainer Mariah Carey $1 million to sing four songs at a private party in the Caribbean.