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ARAB WORLD: Media sees Kadafi regime nearing its end, hails predicted ousting of Libyan leader

February 25, 2011 |  9:09 am

-1 Arab media commentators from left and right are praising what they predict is the nearing end of Libyan leader Moammar Kadafi's rule. However, they fear that Kadafi will continue to try to crush the rebellion at any price and that more blood will be shed in the streets of Libya before he is removed from power.

Randah Taqi-al-Din warned in a commentary published in the Saudi-owned Al Hayat newspaper that the embattled Libyan ruler would end his reign with a "crazy crime against his people who preferred to die rather than leave Al-Qadhafi in power."

After Kadafi's 75-minute rambling speech earlier this week in which he was seen banging on a lectern  outside his house in anger while vowing to crush anti-government protesters, whom he referred to as "drug-fueled mice," Tariq al-Hamid concluded in a commentary published in the Saudi-owned Al Sharq al-Awsat that the Libyan regime surely was "living out its last moments" but that he expected Kadafi to "resort to a scorched earth policy" in a last bid to stay in power.

Many people are reported to have died in the fierce clashes between protesters and forces and militias loyal to the Kadafi regime that Libya has witnessed in the last two weeks as Kadafi tries to cling to power. Amateur video footage posted on the Internet claiming to depict battle scenes in the isolated North African country show disturbing images of bloodied people lying in the streets, violence and chaos.

Abd-al-Bari Atwan, editor of the London-based Arabic newspaper Al Quds Al Arabi, described Kadafi in a recent editorial as nothing less than a "blood-thirsty wounded wolf ready to burn the whole of Libya for the sake of maintaining his rule." One Palestinian newspaper, the Al Quds daily, even called on Arab countries to take action against Kadafi.

The Libyan ruler's violent response to the protests and total crackdown on the demonstrators have, however, backfired and resulted in sectors of the Libyan army defecting and ministers and diplomats resigning from their posts en masse and joining the protesters.

Samir Rajab brought up the topic in a commentary published in the pro-government Egyptian newspaper Al Jumhuriyah, arguing that officials were defecting and leaving their positions because they've had it and simply "could not stand what the world was seeing."

Even some newspapers that usually tend to avoid criticism of the Libyan government have apparently changed the tone toward the Kadafi regime or at least begun to cover events in Libya in a more objective manner in recent days.

The pan-Arab Al Arab al-Alamiyah newspaper, a daily known to be supportive of the Libyan government, reportedly covered Kadafi's recent statements and moves and as well as reports of Libyan anti-government rallies and government resignations objectively. 

Expectedly, Libya has dominated the news agenda of pan-Arab news networks such as Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya. At one point, Al Arabiya brought a Libyan opposition figure on air who said Kadafi was not mentally sane.

Amid the media blackout in Libya, both channels have aired significant amounts of amateur video footage in their special coverage of the events there.

Saudi-funded Al Arabiya, which has titled its continuing Libya coverage "Libya's Revolution," aired one amateur video of a protest in the Libyan city of Beida on Friday that showed protesters holding banners with slogans in English denouncing Kadafi.

Qatar-based Al Jazeera, meanwhile, broadcast a video filmed from a balcony showing people, said to be mercenaries, roaming the streets and entering buildings at random. It also aired an exclusive video from Benghazi depicting people celebrating the "liberation" of their city from Kadafi forces. Other footage aired as part of the network's special Libya coverage titled "Libya: The Wall of Silence Falls" showed people cleaning the streets of Benghazi. 

-- Alexandra Sandels in Beirut

Photo: Libyan leader Moammar Kadafi speaking on Libyan state TV earlier this week. Credit: Libyan State TV / Reuters

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