In Libya, Gaddafi clings to power as revolution threatens desert empire

"Muammar Gaddafi’s time as leader of Libya is nearing its end. News sources report that Tripoli is surrounded by anti-government forces, elements of the Libyan air force have defected to neighboring countries and Colonel Gaddafi himself has had to turn to mercenaries for protection. This revolution has been brewing since Gaddafi first rose to power in 1969. It is apparent that the people of Libya resent Gaddafi and that his government is not loyal to him.

"For years, Muammar Gaddafi has appeared to be strange and possibly mentally unbalanced. His image in the West is that of a raving clown. He’s seen as someone who would be amusing if he was not a murdering dictator. Since his "Five-Point Address" in 1973, Gaddafi has held onto an ideology of democratic suspension, purging the nation of dissidents and continuous cultural revolution involving intolerance and hostility toward the West. Gaddafi has waged wars against Chad and Egypt, and has also been connected to many terrorist activities.

"Muammar Gaddafi belongs to a small tribe of Berbers known as the Qaddadfa, and is a self-proclaimed "man of the desert." On state trips abroad, he has been known to bring a Bedouin tent to sleep and even hold meetings in. Gaddafi dresses in peculiar and flamboyant Bedouin fashion. He also has a troupe of female bodyguards who receive personal training by Gaddafi and, according to internal Libyan sources, must be virgins. These sort of eccentricities, accompanied with his nation’s economic and policy problems, lead many to believe that Gaddafi is unstable.

"Domestic issues in Libya point to Gaddafi’s instability. Within Libya, Gaddafi has set in place institutions designed to survey and exterminate political opposition. There are public executions of dissidents, sometimes shown on state television. According to the Freedom of the Press Index, Libya is the most censored nation in the Middle East and North Africa. Gaddafi removed foreign languages from school curriculum after taking power, leaving his people further isolated from the West and modern liberalism.

"Libya’s foreign policy, until 9/11, has been one of terror. Gaddafi is alleged to have been a major financier of the Munich massacre during the 1972 Summer Olympics, in which the entire Israeli Olympic team was murdered. Gaddafi is known to have provided Palestinian terrorists with military training and funds. He authorized the sale of surplus weapons to the Provisional Irish Republican Army, terrorist activity against Libyans living abroad and the bombing of a West Berlin discotheque. It was also proved that Gaddafi ordered the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, which killed 270 people, including 35 students from Syracuse University and two from Oswego State.

"This sort of policy exemplifies why President Reagan characterized Muammar Gaddafi as the "mad dog" of the Middle East. Open hostility, isolation and irrational actions help classify Gaddafi not only as a criminal against humanity and peace, but also as a misguided individual who probably has a psychological disease.

"International summits, such as the United Nations and the African Union, are forums for Gaddafi’s madness. At the African Union summit in July 2003, Gaddafi was quoted as saying HIV is a "peaceful virus" and that heterosexuals have nothing to fear from it. At the UN, Gaddafi has raved against the United States and Israel in ways that alienated both Western and Arab states. According to the BBC, at a G8 summit Gaddafi called for jihad against Switzerland and its partition. He said Switzerland should be divided among Germany, France, and Italy based on linguistic lines.

"Gaddafi’s future is bleak and will hopefully be brief. His terrorism and suppression have done little to augment his people’s desire for what our nation holds dear: freedom.