Qadhafi's son warns of calamitous consequences

After the fall of the eastern city of Benghazi, the battle lines for the control of Libya between the protesters and the government have shifted to capital Tripoli, where heavy fighting has been going on since the early hours on Monday.

Fighting, centred around Tripoli's Green Square surged dramatically following a provocative early morning address on state television by Seif-al-Islam el-Qadhafi, son of Muammar Qadhafi, Libya's ruler for 42 years.

The President's son warned of calamitous consequences of a possible civil war, in case the opposition did not backtrack.

“We will fight until the last man, until the last woman, until the last bullet,” said the younger Qadhafi.

The warnings, which many said amounted to “scaremongering” undertaken by a panicked regime, was combustible material, which inflamed protests further. Tripoli's Green Square soon became an arena of violent clashes, worsened by the use of machine guns and heavy weapons that had been brought in by the security force. After day-break on Monday, several buildings in Tripoli were afire. Human Rights Watch said death toll resulting from clashes in the last four days had climbed to 233.

The anti-Qadhafi revolt appeared to have split open the regime based on tribal loyalties. Al Jazeera television quoted a spokesman of the powerful Al-Warfalla tribe that Mr. Qadhafi had been asked to “leave the country”.

Analysts say it is likely the tribal realignments triggered by the rebellion had begun to fracture the military, which was steered by Mr. Qadhafi and a committee on which 15 major tribes were represented.

In Benghazi, reinforcements sent by the regime to quell the uprising, turned around to join protesters and targeted regime remnants in the Libya's second city.

On Monday, the cracks in the regime edifice were opening up rapidly.

Al Manara, an opposition website reported that Abdel Monem Al-Howni, Libya's representative to the Arab League had resigned as had several other senior officials. In Tripoli framed pictures of Mr. Qadhafi were being smashed and burnt, an indication that the regime could soon be violently heading towards its eclipse.

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