Since February thousands of comments on the situation in Libya have been left by readers reacting to key moments in the crisis

Our live blog coverage of Libyan rebels entering Muammar Gaddafi’s compound on Tuesday prompted thousands of comments in response from readers. Since reporting on the uprising began in February, readers have been debating events in Libya, challenging reports and discussing the country’s future ? from Nato’s role in the country to the actions of rebels and pro-Gaddafi forces.

Here we take a look back at some of the comments left by our readers comments representing a wide range of opinions on reports of crucial developments in the conflict.

16 February – Libyan protesters clash with police in Benghazi


My time in Libya is a distant memory, although I am still in touch with a few people from there who came over at the time of the coup. As a generalisation, something which I tend to avoid, Libyans are wary of revolutions, with good cause, they are wary of Green Book like proclamations too. It is the events in the rest of the Arab world that will have the most profound effect, and perhaps the people of Benghazi, who have a history of dissent. Al-Ahly Benghazi ?????? ?????? (Football Club) has been banned before now.

Libya is very different from Egypt, a poor net and comms system, poor population. Morozov’s theories as put forward in ‘The Net Delusion’, will be interesting to review when the revolutionary momentum of Egypt and Libya are compared.

21 February – protests hit Tripoli


Gaddafi wants to hold on til the bitter end, not surprisingly: he’s much less politically astute or interested in the bigger picture than Mubarak. The choice for the western countries (and their Arab “allies”) now is how vocally to encourage a “transition” like Egypt’s, as opposed to just wringing their hands over Gaddafi’s brutality. On one hand neither the US nor anyone else wants to be seen as openly supporting revolutions across the region ? Western leaders must not burn bridges with the government of tomorrow by appearing to acquiesce with Gaddafi’s regime today.


Just come back from a protest at the Libyan embassy [in London] and the atmosphere was angry but really hopeful that this is the last day of Gaddafi in Libya.


I think the EU and particularly Italy had better get a viable policy in place for the inevitable influx of refugees from North Africa that are going to be trying to get across the Med in the next few weeks.

22 February – Gaddafi speaks: “I cannot leave my country, I will die a martyr”


The film starts with the camera purposefully pointing to the sky as the rain comes down. He [Gaddafi] is sat in a vehicle with an umbrella up even though he is covered anyway. He says he wants to prove he has not run off to another country but is in Tripoli. Does he then launch into some powerful rhetoric that will reverse all his misfortunes? No ? he says he wanted to go and chat to the youth in Green Square in Tripoli but it was raining so he couldn’t. All those people who live in Tripoli or close by will know yes ? it is raining. He then closes the umbrella that he didn’t need in the first place ? and that’s the end of his great speech.

24 February – Rebels shut down oil exports as revolution spreads


Some uninformed comments about highly paid, non-taxpaying oil workers on this and other threads.

Most of them (us, I’m often one of them) work 12-hour days minimum, 7 days a week, many weeks at a time, in conditions your average UK worker would run away screaming from ? trailers that leak either water or sand, confined to a dusty rig site or seismic camp site ? then we come home and pay tax on our earnings.

Earnings, which by and large are better than what you would get in the UK (if not, why do it?), but by no means stratospheric, in what is a market-driven race to the bottom in the face of competition from India, China, Indonesia and elsewhere. Certainly anybody asking for danger money gets no more than a smirking “if you don’t go, we’ll find somebody else” type of response.

A few, of course, don’t pay any tax because their home is out in the far east or somewhere similar. However, these are not representative of the majority of hard-working oil/gas industry expatriates, who are at the sharp end of what is left of British industrial export, bringing in foreign earnings that benefit the country and the rest of the population as a whole.

Those with the best pay and conditions are usually employees of Big Oil, whose employers will have got them out of danger long ago. Those who are left behind in the looted camps in the Libyan desert deserve all the support of the British government and their fellow taxpayers.

18 March – UN security council passes resolution against Gaddafi’s regime


This is going to be too late. I have always been opposed, in the light of our past mistakes, to direct military intervention in Libya (seeing the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, also in the name of “freedom and democracy” as failures) and do not see how air support will be enough at this stage.

I would hope that, in the light of the hugely unsuccessful and poorly fought wars we are currently fighting, our leaders think carefully about how to escalate the Libyan situation should they decide to.

In retrospect, I realise that we should have pressed to supply modern weapons to the pro-democracy forces from the start, rather than messing about with SAS operations.


Protecting civilians is clearly a sop, political cover. Those so called civilians are armed and have some renegade army support, but no action directed at them. It is one sided political support, not humanitarian concerns, which is just cover for intervening in the internal affairs by a new PM wanting a display on the world stage, and the same distraction from the French ailing president.


While the resolution sets out to call for a cessation in hostilities and the protection of civilian populations form airstrikes and shelling, it makes no provision for Gaddafi to act under his own statues of law regarding protests.

He is quite entitled to curtail what maybe described as civil unrest. This would include the assembly of bodies of the population who take to the streets. He could do this within the resolution as acting to protect the population. As such protecting his supporters from the anti protesters. He could also enact a curfew to be able to do this while moving such of his organisations to control the population in respect of the resolution.

The cessation of hostilities is to be welcomed but, it is only the beginning. As soon as possible UN, NGOs, charities for humanitarian aid and missions for fact-finding need to be under way.

Though the international community may express a wish to see Gaddafi go it cannot act, except by condemnation, to remove him. This can only be done by the Libyan people themselves. The resolution is also binding on any action they may take.

What the UN does next is critical. It is also very much reliant on the regional organisations actions. Bearing in mind what is taking place elsewhere. While some commenters have identified Egypt as the lynch pin, events have now changed the game. If the regional organisations propose democratic change in Libya then the other states are under increasing pressure to do so.

The UN and the regional organisations have to advance a programme where each state under goes transition as applicable to each state. The will of the people. Sounds simple, but the nature of the region makes it less so.

Far from being a most welcome end to a human problem it has become “not a beginning of the end but, an end of the beginning”. As has been shown, it is a world problem, a human problem. It has been illuminated by many that it should now be of concern as a permanent aspect of the UN for the resolving of other countries civil conflicts. A NFZ in Libya and such actions should be extended further afield. Removing once and for all the rather shameful inaction of UN missions in countries no so distant from this part of the world that has focused our attention.

21 March – Gaddafi’s compoung hit during third day of military action in Libya


If rebel forces are advancing under the cover of air strikes, the coalition is taking sides in a civil war. That will become decidedly problematic if civilians loyal to Gaddafi take up arms to defend territory (armed civilians are still civilians is implied in the UN Resolution).

From the start the necessary diplomatic language for justifying this action as support for democracy and human rights has been totally missing ? and it will haunt the coalition when it tries to support uprisings in other totalitarian states: there is no call for a ceasefire so the people can decide who leads them in a free and fair election.

Gaddafi was forced into a corner because our leaders did not call his bluff when he said his people loved him and say hold an election.

If they want credibility for this action, they should be calling for a ceasefire on all sides and the establishment of a framework for elections. Doing so will empower people who take to the streets in other countries, because it will show that the calls for democracy will be supported by the world community, regardless of how aggressive a regime becomes in trying to suppress them.

However, with the strategy being pursued, we are likely to see a factionalised, if not partitioned, Libya emerging where democracy will not be embraced for decades. There will instead be the victors and the vanquished.

1 April – Moussa Koussa defects


If it’s true that Koussa is not going to be immune from prosecution, one wonders if he was brought to Britain on false grounds? It’s hard to imagine he would have defected if he had known he might be liable to criminal investigation. Perhaps he went to Britain as an envoy from Gaddafi, but once there was told that there would be no deal?

It’s interesting that we haven’t heard a squeak out of Koussa yet ? other high-profile defectors were very eager to speak to the press.

20 April – Documentary maker Tim Hetherington and photographer Chris Hondros killed


Please pass on my deepest respect to Xan Rice. I just listened to his audio report from Misurata ATL. He sounds very anxious and exhausted and is no doubt in deep shock as a result of the deaths of his fellow journalists/photographers Chris Hondros and Tim Hetherington, may they both rest in peace.

25 April – Gaddafi compound hit in NATO attack


They must however find a mechanism/method by which any captured Gadaffi forces are treated as prisoners of war and treated with some semblance of order and ‘protection’. Shooting prisoners in the foot so that they cannot escape is not the answer nor is whisking them away to “unspecified” locations. The rebels who are involved in the capture of prisoners need to control themselves and behave in a humane manner. Vengeance is not a solution to the problem.
I am aware that this is war and as such chaos reigns however the local committees under the control of the rebels need to get organised and come up with better solutions to this problem. Two wrongs don’t make a right.

It is going to take a long time to heal the wounds/scars of the Libyan people after 42 years of Gadaffi’s tyranny. The war is inflicting new, different wounds and trauma. The healing process needs to begin with the humane treatment of all prisoners of war

27 June – ICC issues arrest warrant for Gaddafi

forgodsake takes an anti-intervention position

Sadly it is the average Libyan who suffers at the end of this. Gadaffi is not the most humanitarian leader in the world but he has for the last 40 years kept a volatile country under control. The social system in Libya was second to none ? When the dust settles Libya will be run by a a bunch of warring warlords. It will have been reduced to a failed state and at that time we will have troops on the ground . Hypocritically we will call them peacekeepers

6 July – Libyan rebels in two-pronged offensive


Something tells me that the Battle of Tripoli is likely to become a headline in the coming weeks, seeing as the rebels are getting closer and a negotiated settlement is looking increasingly unlikely ? if it comes to a last stand for Gaddafi, then I pray the battle will result in minimal civilian casualties (as Tripoli has a large population).

15 July – Libya contact group to recognise Libyan rebels


On what basis is the rebels’ insurgency being recognised as a “legitimate authority” in Libya? What implications does that have for democratisation? Have they been elected? Do they have popular support? Gaddafi’s criminality is beyond doubt ? and he no longer has legitimacy; but what are the grounds for the rebels replacing him?

29 July – Abdul Fatah Younis ambush killing blamed on pro-Gaddafi forces


It was always a worry that the differing rebel factions ? who all share the aim of ridding Libya of Gadaffi, but don’t necessarily have much in common beyond that ? would eventually start to turn on each other. The danger of this happening will become especially stark if/when Gadaffi does fall, especially if he falls via military means rather than via a negotiated political process that all sides can accept.

Because potentially that’ll leave a sudden vacuum, and the various rebel factions, with some pro-regime factions thrown into the mix, will start to fight each other for the right to fill it. That the was the nature of the civil war in Afghanistan in the early to mid 1990s (which was catastrophic), and the nature of the civil war in Iraq post-2003 (which was also catastrophic). Younes’ death could be the first inkling of this happening.

15 August – Gaddafi speech urges people to “liberate” Libya from NATO


I think the conflict is entering what could be described as a “very fluid” stage, and the longer the rebels can hold on to their gains in Zawiyah the more uncertain things will become. I think there’s several factors that will play an important part of what happens next:
? The ability for the rebels to keep the coastal road close, and deny Tripoli supplies from Tunisia. That doesn’t necessarily require the rebels to capture Zawiyah.
? Whether or not the rebels can capture and control cities west of Zawiyah. It’ll be interesting to see if those cities stay loyal to Gaddafi, or the rebels need to spend resources keeping them under control. If they side with the rebels it’ll make it even harder for the Gaddafi regime to open the coastal road to Tunisia.
? If the regime can mount an effective counterattack and break the rebel lines. This one is really hard to know, especially if Nato is bombing anything heading towards the rebel frontlines.
? If the rebels try to capture Tarhuna, and move onto Al Khums and Zliten. If they manage that then Tripoli is totally surrounded.

It’s a lot of big ifs, so I think the next couple of weeks will be very interesting.

21 August – Rebel convoy reaches Green Square in central Tripoli


Tripoli appears to have fallen quickly and there is little doubt that the vast majority of the populace is delighted. The country may split along tribal lines but the relative wealth in the region and a smallish population could see a slow road to a unified state. The war is nearly over but the battle goes on. I wish them all the best.

23 August – Saif Gaddafi appears in Tripoli and rebels enter Gaddafi’s compound


The images of men firing off rifles randomly from within Gadaffi’s compound (BBC News) are truly frightening. They are acting as barbarians ? or is it the dawn of how the “new democracy” will work?


The scenes of that sculpture of the fist that Gaddafi gave a speech by, being stood on by a rebel fighter, really momentous.

Last time I looked though the fight in the compound was not over, it’s a big place. And I heard on some blog of a tunnel to the Rixos, where maybe journalists are in a hostage situation. But there is the fog. Al-jazeera and Sky live reports ? astonishing.


I hope that the Libyans try Gadafffi (though after what he’s put them through I’d find it hard to blame anyone who got a bit impatient), hold an election and flip the “international community” the finger, vote in the MB if that’s what they want (and the MB most certainly will not be going along with western governments’ wishes), or otherwise use their own resources for their own nation. I’d rather that Gadaffi had left as Ben Ali did, and avoided all this in the first place ? no call from the Libyans for any external intervention. I think the vast majority there would rather that had happened too.

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