Qaddafi’s Son Says Libya May Become `Like Somalia’ If Protests Don’t End.

Halkaan ka akhri

Saif al-Islam Qaddafi, son of Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi, said the North African nation “risks becoming like Somalia” if demonstrations against the government by “terrorists” don’t end.

The nation can change and have a new constitution if there is a restoration of peace, the younger Qaddafi said in an interview with Al-Arabiya television today.

Anti-government protesters “are not people who want democracy, freedom, a constitution, these are terrorists,” Saif al-Islam Qaddafi said. A limited number of “hardline Islamists” are fighting the regime, he said. The country’s interior minister, among other officials, was forced to defect under threats and duress, he said.

Three quarters of the country is under control of the government and “living in peace,” the younger Qaddafi said.

He denied that mercenaries have been brought in to attack demonstrators.

Protests calling for the ouster of Qaddafi have been met with a crackdown. Qaddafi has bolstered defenses in the capital, Tripoli, and launched counter-strikes against opponents who have seized much of the rest of the country. Almost 300 people have died, according to Human Rights Watch. The unrest has also driven oil prices to a 2 1/2-year high as Libya holds North Africa’s largest oil reserves.

Akram al-Qarfalli, a senior member of the Warfalla tribe, on Feb. 20 announced it was withdrawing support from Qaddafi. The Al-Zawiya tribe threatened to halt the flow of oil if Qaddafi doesn’t stop killing protesters. By Feb. 23 most tribes were united in their opposition, says former interior minister, Abdul Fattah Younis.

The United Nations is in talks to impose sanctions on Libya after Qaddafi told loyalists in Tripoli he’s prepared to arm them to fight opposition forces holding the eastern part of the country. Anti-government protests, ignited by the ouster of Tunisia’s president last month and Egypt’s president on Feb. 11 also have spread to Yemen, Bahrain, Algeria, Iran and Morocco.

Source: Bloomberg

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