Gaddafi has lost touch with his people, but though his actions may seem bizarre, there is a kind of logic to his behaviour
guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 23 February 2011
"....In the four decades since he came to power, Gaddafi's behaviour has shocked and amused the world in roughly equal measures – from his bizarre sense of fashion to his appearance on Monday leaning out of something resembling a popemobile and holding a white umbrella. As a Jordanian psychiatrist once told me while we watched Gaddafi's televised performance at an Arab summit: "I meet people like him every day in my hospital."......
Gaddafi, of course, doesn't see himself in the Mubarak/Ben Ali mould. He doesn't see the uprising as a mass rebellion against his leadership but as a flare-up of old tribal rivalries – a reactionary movement bent on destroying the revolutionary spirit of the world's first and only people's jamahiriya...........
One of the key points in Tuesday's speech, emphasised by its symbolic setting, was that his regime had withstood bombing "by 170 aircraft under the leadership of nuclear countries like America, Britain and Nato" – implying that where they failed local rebels cannot succeed.
He also explained why – unlike Ben Ali and Mubarak – he cannot resign. Technically, this is correct since Libya has no president. Gaddafi constantly asserts that he is just an ordinary Libyan citizen (though of course very little happens without his approval). His title, "Brother Leader and Guide of the Revolution", is not a public office but a description of his historical role. Thus, it can never be taken away from him or bestowed on anyone else.
But Gaddafi does have one very important thing in common with Ben Ali and Mubarak. By continuing to bask in the glories of 1969, he has lost touch with his people......"