The gates of hell have opened in Tripoli, observes Juan Cole, noted Middle Eastern scholar. The Arab revolt which toppled governments in nearby Tunisia and Egypt has reached Libya, in other words, and things are cracking open.
- The government has ordered the use of force against civilians. Reports of up to 200 killed are being aired on al-Jazeera.
- Protesters have taken control of some cities and towns beyond Tripoli, the nation’s major city.
- Libyan diplomats abroad have cut ties to the government.
And yet Gaddafi’s administration retains a lot of power. So is this revolt, or incipient civil war?
We summarized an earlier stage of this broader movement, along with a possible Western parallel, here.