Understanding Qaddafi and his "politics of contradiction"

February 22, 2011

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(Getty Images/Sean Gallup)
Some demonstrators outside the Libyan embassy in Berlin held photos of those purportedly slain in the recent violence in Libya.

Colonel Muammar Qaddafi addressed the Libyan public in a rambling, defiant speech today. In it he vowed not to step down and said he’d die a martyr. Colonel Qaddafi also blamed the protesters’ actions on hallucinogenic drugs and threatened them with severe punishment. To help us parse Colonel Qaddafi’s address and his decades-long grip on Libya is Mansour El-Kikhia, chair of the Department of Political Science and Geography at the University of Texas-San Antonio, and author of the book Libya’s Qaddafi: The Politics of Contradiction.