Warning: some of the videos are graphic.
You must first know that the Libyan army is naturally fissiparous along tribal lines. LA Times:
A group of Libyan army officers has issued a statement urging fellow soldiers to “join the people” and help remove longtime leader Moammar Kadafi, according to Al Jazeera satellite network.
The news channel also said the officers urged the rest of the Libyan army to march to Tripoli, the capital.
Moammar Ghadhafi, whose last name begins with a letter that has no real English equivalent, is a tribal warlord. What we’re seeing in Libya is a tribal power-sharing arrangement within the military coming apart at the seams.
In another key blow to Gadhafi, the Warfla tribe — the largest in Libya, has announced it is joining the protests, said Switzerland-based Libyan exile Fathi al-Warfali. Although it had longstanding animosity toward the Libyan leader, it had been neutral for most of the past two decades.
The leader of the Warfla tribe was quoted by the UK Telegraph:
All the great tribes of Libya are united. The only thing that divided them was Gaddafi and his regime. A united Libya is a reality that is alive in our blood. That is why you see people in Tripoli taking to the streets without anything in their hands to be shot dead for the sake of their brothers and sisters in the east.
The Libyan Air Force has reportedly flown helicopter sorties against protests, but two jet pilots have reportedly defected to Malta, so the struggle is fully engaged within the armed forces. So far, resistance has centered on cities. Ghadhafi despises urban living, and probably has no idea how dire food insecurity and lack of opportunity are among the population.
To me, this is the most interesting and consequential photo. From WaPo:
That’s the pre-Ghadhafi Libyan flag. After taking power in a coup forty-two years ago, Ghaddafi changed the national flag more than once, settling on a solid green rectangle. This is as open a call for regime change as you can make.
That’s the Benghazi security forces’ barracks in the above picture; frantic calls imploring the world to intervene before the regime counterattacks with tanks have been coming for the last 36 hours or so. One ran here this morning. Yet the Libyan army itself is proving just as prone to factionalism as in Ghaddafi’s salad days.
The cult of martyrdom is now activated against Arab dictators:
A crowd of Libyans here toting heavy arms they’ve captured; I’m not sure if this is from Benghazi or Sabratha:
There had been reports that Ghadhafi was hiring African mercenaries in Guinea and Nigeria; here is video of a dead, allegedly mercenary African: