Sienna Jackson / Roundup
It seems that with each passing week there is more to say about the Middle East, and the movement for freedom sweeping through the region that has thrust the Arab world into completely new territory.
On Saturday, the United Nations Security Council has called for an international war crimes investigation of Libya’s current leader, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, in the wake of shocking violence against civilian protesters of the Qaddafi government.
The vote may be the first time that the U.N. has referred one of its own member nations to the International Criminal Court.
Viral cell phone video from protests near the nation’s capital Tripoli depict Libyan military and security forces firing and crowds with live ammunition, killing an undetermined number of people.
Reports from the ground and from people who have fled the country speak of sniper attacks in public squares, the use of antiaircraft weaponry against unarmed protesters, and of security forces hiding corpses to disguise the rising death toll.
Qaddafi’s response to the civil unrest in his country has been brutal in comparison to other Arab nations dealing with similar problems, and has blamed everything from propaganda to a nefarious plot by Osama bin Laden as cause for the turmoil.
President Obama made a strong statement to Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, saying that Qaddafi had lost ‘legitimacy to rule’ and should step down, according to officials.
However, at the moment Qaddafi remains in tenuous power, hidden away in the capital, surrounded by security and armed forces against the approaching waves of furious civilians.
The protesters are making their way steadily towards Tripoli, with rebels taking city after city of defected Libyans. The movement began in the eastern city of Benghazi, and has now within 30 miles of the capital.
Internet communications in the country are already down, and there is a freeze against foreign press. The beleaguered Qaddafi has made clear that he intends to fight the civilian protests, in what some members of the international community are already referring to as a civil war.
The resolution also imposes an arms embargo against Libya, an international travel ban on 16 of the colonel’s inner circle of advisors and freezes the assets of Colonel Qaddafi and members of his family, including several of his children.
Included in the sanctions were measures against Libyan defense and intelligence officials believed to have played a role in the violence against civilians.