The town of Az Zawiyah has come under attack from Gaddafi forces, while Gaddafi and his son still deny using deadly force to put down opposition, and according to a recent report, 30 have been killed and about twice as many wounded. It is clear that battes are being waged while diplomatic lies are being used to buy time for Gaddafi's regime. Air and ground attacks have been waged, with air attacks being directed at strategic targets (arms depos and the like) while the ground war has been more vicious, with civilians taking on a combination of army, airforce, mercenary and pro-Gaddafi civilian armed militas (most likely drawn from security organisations within the state).
Meanwhile, a revolutionary force is moving towards Tripoli, but this force might just be an attempt to exert pressure on the Libyan regime, which is trying to buy enough time to consolidate power through creating a layered defence in depth territorial advantage around Tripoli and along major routes to Tripoli. Gaddafi's efforts have so far focussed on attempting to regain the cities closest to him. His forces are probably weakened, as the allocation of airforce capabilities to targets in the immediate vicinity suggest that he cannot wage a war on too many fronts right now, preferring to preserve resources for a drawn out conflict. To be sure, he does intend to launch attacks as far as Benghazi at some stage, but for now he is employing a conservative strategy in respect of his most expensive military assets. He is perhaps hoping that the on-the-ground forces will gain momentum through cooperation with civilian populace. However, thus far, Gaddafi's forces, while seeming to have fought fiercely and incurred many casualties, have not advanced into territory that has been taken by Libyan protesters.
The territorial war is currently in the hands of the protesters, but the death count is mounting higher and higher as increasingly more draconian force is used to crush the populace within and outside of Gaddafi territory. It is evident, from today's post noon-prayer demonstrations in Tripoli, that underwent a security forces crackdown, that Tripoli's supposed peacefulness is a carefully constructed state lie, and one which is increasingly evident. It is primarily evident in the out-and-out denial that Gaddafi and his son, Safi El Islam have exhibited in interviews with the press. Their version of events is so unreal that they cannot be unaware that they are lying. They have decided to adopt a particular line, and will stick to it all the way to the International Criminal Court.
If the BBC is correct, then interpol has already issued warrants for fifteen members of the Gaddafi family in addition to Muammar Gaddafi. Even the head of the London School of Economics has resigned, presumably due to being funded to the tune of 750 000 pounds or so by the Gaddafi regime. Saif has exhibited all the signs of delusion, and has appeared stuttering and agitated in comparison to Gaddafi, who having first shouted warnings of "death" to all and sundry in a long-winded speech, has since calmed down signficantly, but he is still lying through his teeth, insisting that Al Qaeda is behind the attacks and that Libyans 'love him'. "They love me ..." he is at pains to impress, while his son has now gone on the complete defensive, denying that there is any chance that the Gaddafi family might no longer be wanted in Libya.
Meanwhile, the country has a force approaching from the East, that will have to fight it's way through a Gaddafi stronghold in order to be able to advance on Tripoli. But that has the potential to be progressively bloodier as the approach advances towards the capital. Gaddafi might want to keep the appearance of serenity for now, but when the revolution advances upon Tripoli there is no telling what he would do. His son, who seems to alternate the good-cop bad-cop role with his father, sometimes agitated and defiant, sometimes conciliatory and reasonable. Yet even when he appears calm, it seems more like a lid has been placed on his emotions and he is conscious of the need to appear serene and reasonable. He whispers, alternating between rebutting any efforts of the interviewer to ask a question, while reciting a prepared explanation of events that is so outlandish that his body language pleads with us to believe him while his words ring out surprising inconsistencies that should be evident to any reasonable person. It might be that Saif El Islam, after having had the world at his feet for most of his life, is breaking down.
Saif's remonstrations ring out daily across multiple satellite channels, while Gaddafi calls on his own people not to watch the satellite channels, as they are conspiring against him. The farce at work here is unavoidably evident - it is clear that the Libyan regime understands the importance of swaying international opinion (indeed, much as the Apartheid government did). So far, the Libyan regime (what's left of it) have made every effort to present a 'conspiracy' to the international media, while at the same time claiming that the international media is responsible for it's demise. It doesn't take much to figure out that this is a wooing strategy in the delusional minds of Muammar Gaddafi and his son Saif, that is intended to create enough 'reasonable doubt' in the international court of the media in orderto buy enought time to complete their purges and consolidate territory.
Even a baboon, without any language, would be able to see that Saif El Islam is lying through his teeth. I do not believe that he has been given false information. I believe he is a manipulative, blatant liar with no conscience when caught in a survival situation. He has not yet learnt, despite his larger-than-life father, how to stand on principle. His conscience is a public construct. It exists only outside of him, when he is justifying this and that to the media, but there is no real conscience behind his words. His words are designed for self preservation and not for principle. He is the ultimate neoliberal, with no sense of why anyone else exists, except in service to his highness himself. Saif has had it all his way for much too long. And like most trust-fund kids the age of reckoning has come upon him sooner than he expected. Everything was going so well ... he was going to be the next great leader. But now daddy's boy can't quite make the grade, and he is rebelling against all and sundry, insisting that his version of reality is the ultimate diagnosis of unfolding events. It has become difficult for him to accept that the dream he had is no longer within his grasp, and he is unable to adapt because he is trapped within his own reality, unable to reach out into any other.
So Gaddafi and his son are doomed to a precarious existence from this point forward, choosing to fight a war and incur the wrath of the ICC instead of relinquishing power. And the truth is, that Saif El Islam's stuttering has increased in interviews with the international community because he no longer has the option of exile. He is now a marked man, wanted by the International Criminal Court and Interpol. He is effectively an international fugitive, so he has quite unsurprisingly decided to pitch his stake in the ground and defend it. For Gaddafi and his son there is nothing to lose. He must have sensed this at the outset, because his scarface rendition in the first interview was clear indication that he was losing the plot in large measure. Saif is lost in a reality all his own. So the carefully constructed calming language is nothing more than an effort to pacify himself as the castle is falling on all sides, a pitiful attempt to maintain a grip on a reality that increasingly eludes him.
Journalists are also increasingly unconvinced, and challenge him on all fronts. For his part, Saif comes across as a person in an early mid-life crisis, jumping from one explanation to the next, with no consideration or awareness of whoever is listening. It is as if he is consumed within his own mind, and it is likely that having been adulated without question for so long that he has been trapped within his own universe for a long time now and is unable to break out. There is only one truth, that which emerges from the recesses of his mind, and that of his fathers. Yet nobody is fooled by the act and he has become a cautionary tale and all the hope that must have gathered around his 'reformist' views in the past are now in tatters. Oh how the mighty fall!