Things are looking increasingly desperate for the longest leader in the Middle East.
Moammar Gadhafi at this hour is reportedly held up in a set of bunkers, with army loyalists and hired mercenaries outside on the streets still holding power over most of Libya's capital of Tripoli.
Protestors have swelled in number, not deterred by their own Libyan military shells falling upon demonstrators from the air; over 600 killed in riots so far – some saying over 800.
It would seem that the anti-regime masses are nearing the tipping point, and that Libya is crumbling under the domino effect of change in the Middle East. In eight days we've seen his unchallenged power collapse with various diplomatic and military defects taking place around the world.
Colonel Ghadhafi has been on the TV tonight giving a defiant speech and trying to rally citizens to his defense. We'll see if this is successful in the next few days to turn the momentum away from the reformists.
With Libya's state, there is no clear organized opposition or leader to fill the vacuum – assuming Mr. Ghadhafi is over thrown, and this has the West deeply worried.
The Arab world is changing at incredible speed. And in this already volatile region – to talk about 'peace' seems surreal. Everyone needs it, most want it, and the Middle East is no different. Egypt, Israel, and Jordan have in on paper. But while the leaders have made peace in their national interest, Israel has continued to serve as an object of the Middle East's masses' wrath.
Some have noted that things have advanced based on the idea that we are on the verge of a new Middle East. But the recent public sit down in Cairo of staggering multitudes with a radical Sheikh is a good example of how things could easily go in a different direction – all flourishing under the auspicates of free speech. We've seen some of the same things happening in Jordan and the Palestinian Territories too.
Reports about a liberal storm coming over the Middle East are, in my opinion, a bit premature. The sure thing here is that change (normally) does not happen fast. But the reality that has been running the show over the past few decades is crumbling at devastating rate. It takes no time to knock things down – it can take ages to build. The balance of power is going to be very delicate – and libel to be shown over time, to be polarized rather than pragmatic.
Middle East Correspondent