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Libya - A Tyrant's Days Are Numbered

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Firefights on the streets of the capital, Tripoli. Fighter jets allegedly bombarding their own people. Eyewitness reports of demonstrators being massacred by the Libyan security forces. "Rivers of blood will flow through Libya", warns Gaddafi's son, Saif al-Islam, on state television, promising to fight to the last man and the last bullet. With few reliable sources of information available, it is hard to say just how bad the situation is.

Yet the Libyan dictator's days seem numbered. Gaddafi is the longest-serving tyrant in the region and one of its most ruthless. The Libyan people have clearly had enough of this despot, who has ruled over their land for forty years. At first, the unrest was largely concentrated in the east, where the country's second-largest city, Benghazi, is already reported to be in the hands of anti-regime forces. Influential tribes have also turned against the regime, threatening to shut down oil production and exports - the country's lifeblood. Libya accounts for just two percent of global oil production, making its role on the world market a minor one - but it plays a major role for Europe. Libya is Germany's fifth-largest oil supplier and the crisis is already pushing oil prices up.

The European Union has sharply condemned the brutal crackdown by the Libyan regime. Yet EU leaders cannot agree on how to deal with their old ally. They are especially worried about Gaddafi's threat to suspend border controls in the event that the EU supports the protestors. The result would be an unprecedented influx of refugees. Italy and Malta would bear the brunt. A hastily convened United Nations Security Council has called for an immediate end to the violence.

What do you think? Libya - A Tyrant's Days Are Numbered

Write to us at quadriga@dw-world.de


Our guests:

Hamed Abdel-Samad – The son of a Sunnite Imam, he came to Germany from Egypt at the age of 23. Abdel-Samad studied political science in Augsburg and English and French at the University of Cairo. He then went on to lecture at the Institute for Jewish History and Culture at Munich University. Since 2009 he has been working exclusively as a freelance author and journalist. His publications have earned him a reputation as a critic of Islam.

Khaled Mohamed Almhdi – he came to Germany from Libya to study engineering and physics in Oldenburg, focusing his interest on modern laser technology. Almhdi is currently studying at Berlin’s Humboldt University. Besides natural sciences his interests include political sciences and the radical political changes in the Arab world, especially in his native Libya.

Michael Lüders – Born in Bremen, in 1959, he studied Arabic literature in Damascus as well as Islamic studies, political science and publishing in Berlin. His dissertation focused on the Egyptian cinema. His works include documentaries for German public television and a long stint as Middle East correspondent for the “Die Zeit” newspaper. Lüders lives in Berlin, working as a political adviser, publicist and writer.