Is it the End of Days for Libya? "Only the south, Tripoli, and Sert are under Muammar Gaddafi's control," says Mustafa Abd al-Jalil, who, until he quit this week, was Justice minister for the strongman. "East Libya, Zawiya, Misurata, and the western mountains are now under control of the civilians." The ex-minister feels that there may only be one way to end the struggle. "If Tripoli falls, Gaddafi will kill himself, or people close to him will kill him — maybe his guards," he explains. "it will be the waning loyalty of [Gaddafi's sons'] forces and Gaddafi's government that kills his regime."
But even that outcome may not guarantee peace for Libya. Says Dirk Vandewalle, a Libyan expert at Dartmouth University, "Both sides, both the population, and the security organizations, know exactly what's at stake. If government militias [are to] win, they will have to kill many more, and if the security organizations lose, then the people, the regular people in Libya are going to take their revenge." Says Vandewalle: "Either way we're going to see a terrible blood bath. And I think both sides realize this very well and that I think is what really explains the kind of escalating cycle of violence and the very, very brutal actions that we've seen on both sides by now." According to David Mack, a former deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affaris, the worst possible outcome would be a widespread lawlessness in which Libya degenerated into a kind of "Somalia on the Mediterranean."
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