Whilst I'm still concerned that the result of the Libyan revolt may yet be a prolonged civil war on the Spanish model, that fear has retreated. The reason is simple:
The thing that made the Spanish civil war particularly long and brutal was that, far from one side being a reactionary movement against an Ancien Régime, both sides, in their own way, unleashed revolution on the areas they controlled before attempting to seize the rest of the country from the other.
Gaddaffi, however, showed himself in his last speech to be incapable of this. Despite specifically citing Tiananmen as his model, Gaddafi has seemingly forgotten the rest of the story: the Tiananmen demonstrators were crushed by force, but the populace have been turned against the demonstrators and anyone else advocating human rights in China through the simple device of labelling them traitors in the pay of the western powers. A similar strategy has been successfully used in Russia.
Instead of doing this, and perhaps mobilizing anti-western and nationalistic sentiment to his support, Gaddaffi made a speech which seemed directed at gaining support form the western powers themselves by blaming Osama Bin Laden for the uprising. To say the least, leaders in Europe and America are unlikely to be swayed by such rhetoric.
Probably much more blood will be shed before this is all over, but unless Gaddafi has some as yet unknown trick up his sleeve (WMDs?) it looks like he is finished.
On a side note, it should not be forgotten that Libya has been through a frosty patch in its relations with Beijing in recent years following an interview in which Mussa Kussa, Libyan foreign minister and pro-Gaddafi hardliner, said that:
"When we look at the reality on the ground we find that there is something akin to a Chinese invasion of the African continent. This is something that brings to mind the effects that colonialism had on the African continent [in the past]. […] Therefore we advise our Chinese friends not to follow in this direction i.e. [sic] bringing thousands of Chinese workers to Africa under the pretext of employment, for at the same time Africa is suffering from unemployment." He went on saying that China's programs of training and employing thousands of Africans is welcomed "but this welcome does not mean [accepting] the Chinese coming to settle in Africa."
Whilst by all reports this has not stopped thousands of Chinese workers going to Libya to work in the same oil companies that employs tens of thousands of other foreigners, the Chinese government will certainly not have forgotten this snub.
[Picture: The young Colonel Gaddafi meets the father of Arab nationalism, President Gamal Abdal Nasser of Egypt, 1969]