Sunday, February 20, 2011

Libya Too?

UPDATE 6:00 pm: Saif al-Islam Ghaddafi, rumored to have been shot, is currently speaking on al-Jazeera, and appears to be fine.


ORIGINAL POST:

If you're not watching al-Jazeera right now, you should
click here to tune in. The situation in Libya is now critical.

Reporting out of Libya is extremely tenuous because of media restrictions, and most of the stories are unconfirmed rumors. Rumors have emerged that Ghaddafi's more moderate son, Saif el-Islam, has been shot in a gunfight with his more extremist brother Muatassim. Ghaddafi is rumored to have left the country. The rumors themselves are completely unconfirmed.

It is significant, however, that al-Jazeera is reporting these unconfirmed rumors. They are actively intervening in the narrative to push Ghaddafi out of the leadership position he has held since 1969. In many ways, this is an "Al-Jazeera revolution" in that their broadcasts have been critical to swaying international public support, forcing governments to respond, and pressuring Arab leaders to leave. King Khalifa of Bahrain should beware. This, however, is not to diminish the clearly central role played by Libyans and Bahrainis over the past few days, many of whom have been injured and killed. They have sacrificed terribly in the name of the freedom that we take for granted here in the United States. If Ghaddafi leaves, it will be their victory.

And the US needs to get in front of this wave, laying the groundwork for a relationship with Libya post-Ghaddafi.



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