For Libya, the oil-rich North African dictatorship between Tunisia and Egypt, it was only a matter of time before the unrest in the Arab world ignited antigovernment protests. Colonel Muammar Gadhafi has ruled the country with an iron hand since he overthrew King Idris in 1969.
Fight, not flight?
After nearly a week of protests and reports of hundreds being killed, some by government fighter jets, speculation broke out that Gadhafi was fleeing to Venezuela. But he appeared on television Feb. 22 to debunk that rumor.
The Telegraph reported Gadhafi's fighting words: "I will fight to the last drop of my blood. The Libyan people are with me... I'm not going to leave this land. I am going to die here and die here as a martyr."
Protesters seem equally adamant. Ali Zeidan, a senior member of the Libyan League of Human Rights, told The Guardian: "Libyans used to be afraid. But after they saw the blood, they aren't afraid anymore, they are angry."
That anger was partly fueled by the prediction by Gadhafi's son Saif of "rivers of blood" if protesters did not back down.
"Everybody knows somebody who has been killed or injured, everyone is very angry. What Gaddafi's son said made people furious... Now they feel no fear, if there are deaths people accept that we must carry on. Protesters will go to the centre again today and keep demonstrating until the job is done," Ali Zeidan said.
The protesters received support in the form of a fatwa against Gadhafi. New York magazine reported: "An influential Muslim cleric named Yusuf al-Qaradawi issued a fatwa yesterday through Al Jazeera saying, 'Whoever in the Libyan army is able to shoot a bullet at Mr. Qaddafi should do so.' Qaradawi, the spiritual leader of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, also urged Libyan soldiers 'not to obey orders to strike at your own people,' and urged Libyan ambassadors to disassociate themselves from Qaddafi."
Beyond the human cost, other nations are fearful of the impact on the fragile world economy. New York magazine also reported: "Libya, Africa's third-largest oil producer, pumps out around 1.6 million barrels of oil per day and is responsible for roughly 2 percent of global demand. Oil prices rose 9 percent in one day as analysts anxiously monitored the situation. If unrest spreads beyond Libya to other oil-rich countries, industry experts warn that gas prices could hit $5 a gallon by peak summer driving season."
With Gadhafi's days numbered, what will be next for Libya? How will it affect the rest of the world?
Libya in Bible prophecy
The Middle East plays a major role in end-time events leading to the return of Jesus Christ. Libya is mentioned in connection with the conflict between a Middle Eastern power and a European power. Consider these excerpts from our booklet The Middle East in Bible Prophecy:
"Returning to Daniel 11:40, we see that the forces of these two end-time leaders, the kings of the North and South, will clash: 'At the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over' (King James Version).
"The word 'push' is translated from the Hebrew word nagach, which can mean either 'to push' or 'to attack.' It is used of a bull or ram attacking with its horns. Figuratively, this means 'to war against.' The form this 'push' or 'attack' may take isn't spelled out.
"What is evident, however, is that this end-time leader from the south will attack the north in such a way as to warrant a major military invasion of the Middle East. Considering the ways Islamic extremists have attacked the Western powers in recent years, something like a series of major terror attacks against European targets could be the 'push' referred to here. From this point on the king of the South is no longer specifically mentioned in Scripture. What happens to him isn't spelled out.
"The same chapter shows that the king of the North, the European-centered Beast power, will be the victor, as he invades the Holy Land and overthrows 'many countries' (verse 41). Among them are Egypt and the Libyans and Ethiopians (understand that these biblical names for peoples and places may not be precisely identical with today's national borders, although the regions are certainly the same.)"
You need to understand the framework for these prophecies, and the solution to these worldwide calamities. Read or download The Middle East in Bible Prophecy now, and learn more about God's plan for the Middle East and for you.