Reports: Members of the Libyan Military Are Defecting
From what I’m hearing and reading about what’s going on in Libya, it sounds like hell on Earth. Al Jazeera/English is reporting that military planes have been ordered to fly over protesters in Tripoli and fire on them. See the chyron below:
They also say that some of the pilots have flown to the island of Malta and asked for political asylum because they refuse to fire on their countrymen. See these chyrons:
More from the indispensable Juan Cole, who is my go-to guy for all things Middle East:
I am watching Aljazeera Arabic, which is calling people in Tripoli on the telephone and asking them what is going on in the capital. The replies are poignant in their raw emotion, bordering on hysteria. The residents are alleging that the Qaddafi regime has scrambled fighter jets to strafe civilian crowds, has deployed heavy artillery against them, and has occupied the streets with armored vehicles and strategically-placed snipers. One man is shouting that “the gates of Hell have opened” in the capital and that “this is Halabja!” (where Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein ordered helicopter gunships to hit a Kurdish city with sarin gas, killing 5000 in 1988).