Posted at 11:18 am pst:I am taking the unusual step of posting this during the day because reports indict=ate things are changing fast in Libya.
In Libya, Moammar Gadhafi has reportedly ordered the Libyan Air Force to open fire on military installations. This could indicate a serious escalation of opposition to Gadhafi from within the military itself! In addition, Al Jazeera has suggested that the Air Force has also opened fire on crowds of protesters.
Though the latter would be particularly outrageous, the more important question is whether these signs indicate Gadhafi is using military force to crush opposition to his regime emerging from the military or other security forces. Similar reports of the Libyan Navy firing on targets onshore also are emerging, as well as reports that Gadhafi has given execution orders to soldiers who have refused to fire on Libyan protesters.
The use of conventional “military” weaponry is important and should be watched carefully because it could indicate that it is needed to be used against other “military” target, such as rebelling military units.
The situation remains unclear, but these latest developments combined with mounting evidence of defections by military units to the demonstrators’ side could be the first signs of the possibility that the regime is fracturing.